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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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You are probably asked this 1000 times. I have a one year

Resolved Question:

You are probably asked this 1000 times. I have a one year old female cat (Molly). I've had her since she was 8 weeks old. She was originally an outdoor cat but we had to move house about 2 months ago and now she is indoors. We have just got a little 8 week old kitten (Mike). Molly absolutely hates him. She is doing everything she can to catch and kill him! Mike doesn't seem bothered in the slightest but it can't be good for Molly - or ultimately Mike if she gets ahold of him. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Evonne x
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.
Hi there - I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed vet in the US who works exclusively with cats and dogs. I'm sorry for the delay in our response. I suspect some of the other experts may be reluctant to take a crack at your question because it seems you've already tried a lot of the things that we typically recommend! Cats can certainly put on a big show when they're unhappy about something, but usually after some time to adjust, they won't actually harm each other. Now there's always an exception to the rule, so I wouldn't test it here.Cats are persnickety critters and their social cues can be subtle and complicated. It's best to try to continue your routine as "normally" as possible and make sure you continue to give the same amount (or more) attention to your current cats even when the kitten is present. It's best to keep the new cat separate from the resident cats for at least a week, just in case the new kitten is carrying anything infectious like an upper respiratory infection. During this time, your new kitten's scent will be around and your resident cat(s) can get used to him. By keeping the new kitten in one room, Molly familiarize herself with her scent but not have to be face to face with him. After her quarantine is up in a week, you can start the process by bringing Mike out of his room, whilst allowing Molly to go into her his room (without actually meeting him). This gives Mike a chance to explore his new home without being followed or frightened by Molly, and it allows Molly to get a good sniff of Mike's environment. It's a flexible process from there, depending on how they all interact with each other. If they seem to get along well, then introduction periods are shorter. Engaging them all in play at one time can be helpful - something like getting them all interested in a laser pointer or a special toy. This is a great ice breaker. If there's any tension, then I'd keep them separate while you're not around until you're confident everyone seems to be OK. They will need some freedom to set up their own hierarchy and social group, so unless there's signs of aggression, I try to just treat them all equal and allow them to work out their social status on their own. In really tough cases I've also suggested using something a barrier that they can see through like a baby gate to separate them but allow them to see one another at meal times. It's helpful to always include something positive like food, treats, or a special toy with any sort of interaction they will have. You did great in trying the Feliway, and I would continue this as well. I suppose for a stubborn case of integration troubles you could consider talking to your vet about an anti-anxiety medication like fluoxetine for Molly. Honestly, if Molly is that upset by the whole thing and you're not seeing any sign of improvement after 1-2 weeks, I might reconsider whether she can handle a house mate. It's highly uncommon (but still possible) for cats to not be able to at least tolerate each other. Even in the most antagonistic roommate relationships there usually isn't any actual harm, but rather a lot of noise and posturing and silent bullying. Having said that, there's always a stray chance that Molly could hurt Mike, which I know you're doing a great job of trying to avoid. Feel free to reply with questions or requests for more information :)~Dr. Sara
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Dr Sara. I guess time will tell. Mike certainly does not seem upset in the slightest and in fact seems fascinated by Molly. Unfortunately we made the mistake of introducing them right away but are trying to confine Mike to the one room at the moment so that we can keep an eye on him and also so that Molly can have the run of the rest of the house to get away from him. However, he "escaped" last night and Molly trapped him under the kitchen cupboards. She was batting his head but her claws weren't out so I think (hope) she was simply trying to exert some authority. The Feliway does not appear to having an effect as yet but we have only had it for 3 days so it is still a bit early to say. I know it doesn't work for everyone but it is worth a try. Thanks again for help and for taking up my question.