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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in practice,
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Hi my problem is a behavioral one. I owned 2 neutered tonkinese

Customer Question

Hi my problem is a behavioral one. I owned 2 neutered tonkinese cats, one male and one female which I got from the breeders 5 years ago. Tragically I lost the female a week ago. I picked up 2 male 12 week old tonkinese 3 days ago and my existing male is furious. He is spitting and hissing when I try to do a controlled meet and does not seem to unfrost at all. His fight sign is he puffs his tail up, thankfully he's not yet resorted to this. I have always allowed my cats freedom and have catflaps fitted. Since the death of pipsqueak, buster has become fixtated with the catflap and sits looking at it and sniffing it. This has got worse since the arrival of the kittens. Now buster just wants to be outside all the time even in dreadful weather but he doesn't seem to go far and I have to go and physically pick him up and bring him in. I have tthe kittens in a separate room but I am now worried that he will never accept them. I have given temp homes to 2 adult cats in the past, both male and he was never this bad. Any advice please? Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.
I'm sorry to read of your loss of the female and your problems in introducing the new kittens to your male.
Cats by nature are solitary animals in the wild, congregating during mating season and as females and kittens only until the kittens are grown, at which time they disburse to widely separated territories which they tend to guard quite strenuously. We ask a lot of them to live in close proximity in our homes, and once acclimated to a particular situation, they often do not respond positively to changes. The fact that Buster was used to living with a mature female who was succeeded by two noisy, active, curious, playful kittens definitely isn't helping. Think of an older couple having two healthy active twin 2 year old grandsons suddenly come to live with them in their tiny home. Buster probably sees this change in his environment as catastrophic (no pun intended!). Time and increasing maturity may eventually reduce the friction, but cats are all different and Tonkinese tend to have very distinct likes and dislikes. The bad news is that Buster may never accommodate to their presence in his "territory" and as they mature and present more competition and threat to him, he may begin aggressively attacking them and never agree to a peaceful co-existence. Something you can try which is often helpful in calming and soothing cat relations is Feliway, a feline pheromone product that may provide a moderate to good effect in helping them all to adjust to the new circumstances. You can read about and purchase Feliway online, at some pet stores and at many veterinary clinics without a prescription. The use of two of the three forms (collars, sprays and plug-in diffusers) can optimize the calming effects. The spray used in every room they occupy in your home, plus collars on all of them would be the most potent combination. The spray is odorless and harmless, and can even be sprayed sparingly directly on the kittens if you wish to save the cost of collars for each of them. If they object to being lightly sprayed, you can spray it on your hands and stroke it onto their fur.
Before the recent introduction of this product, we had only time and the maturing of the kittens with which to work. Feliway provides a third option that is frequently quite helpful. Cats being cats, nothing works 100% of the time with all cats, but this product is worth a try. The only other possibility is an anti-anxiety prescription medication for Buster, but I wouldn't recommend that until all else had failed, but it may need to be given long-term, and may not bring about the resolution you would hope for
A female kitten would quite probably have been a better choice for Buster, but hopefully he'll get used to the "twins" and accept them as parts of his new family. If you should have any further questions, please let me know.
Happy New Year!
Dr. Bob

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