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Dr L Simmon
Dr L Simmon, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7625
Experience:  Veterinarian MVB MRCVS
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My outdoor cat refuses to spent time indoors after my 2

Customer Question

My outdoor cat refuses to spent time indoors after my 2 other cats went through anesthesia
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Can you tell me a little more about the cat's situation? How long has this been a concern?
Customer: It started about a month ago. My oldest cat wasn't very keen about the new additions to the house. We had our middle one about a year ago and they became friends eventually. 2 month ago we got the younger one and everything seemed fine. Then both had to go under anesthetic for different reasons in the course of a week. Since then my oldest one only comes home a few times to eat but doesn't spend any time in the house anymore
JA: And what's the cat's name and age?
Customer: Oldest one, male, Arcat, 5 years old. Middle one, male, Parsley, 2 years old. Youngest one, female, Luna, 8 months old
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know about Oldest?
Customer: He used to be a stray before coming to leave with us 3 years ago. He likes to go outside a lot but normally he would come back home every few hours and spent some time inside. All cats are spayed. Arcat has a gps tracker on his collar so we know he hasn't found another home
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 14 days ago.

Hi there, this is Dr Linda, a UK based vet.

I'm sorry to hear this and understand your concern for Arcat,

The vast majority of cats are 'lone rangers' and dislike sharing their territory.

This is especially true of those who are not used to sharing their home.

It is not surprising he is choosing to spend time away, as he is actively avoiding any conflict. He is doing what most cats would do in his position and there is nothing 'wrong', though I understand you may want him to be home more.

It is also the case that the weather has improved so he is likely taking advantage of the warmer weather.

The smells from the vet and the fact that the cats would have been smelling and acting differently on return from the clinic may have unnerved Arcat.

Things that may help include:

  • A feliway friends plug in
  • Calming supplements such as Zylkene
  • Ensuring al cats have their own resources including water bowls, scratching posts, cat tress, beds, toys etc.
  • Providing a separate 'safe space' that each cat can go but the others cannot
  • Having 5 litter trays (the rule of thumb is 1.5/cat)
  • Giving him time and allowing him to come and go as he chooses; trying to keep in him will likely worsen things and could result in the cats fighting

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I feel like feliway plug inns never worked. We used them when we moved house and when we got the second cat in. We are giving him some calming supplements atm. He has been with us for over 3 years but he never used a litter box inside or played with toys, he is a bit of a loaner. All 3 used to eat together and we had no problems before. Since he stopped coming home we separated them and we are closing the other 2 cats in a separate room every time he comes home to eat.
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 14 days ago.

Feliway 'Friends' is a newer one that is specifically aimed at multi cat households. It is by no means a 'miracle cure' but it helps a little, alongside the other things discussed.

I'd continue with the calming supplements, which should be helping to take the edge off and will work towards minimising conflict.

It's sensible to have the option of a litter tray if you can; especially with so many cats, in case there is something preventing them from going outside (such as fireworks or a bully cat). If we don't, episodes of cystitis and constipation can occur more commonly.

If it is needed, I'd continue with the separation, with the aiming of slowly re-introducing if tolerated. The aim is for content co-existence rather than friends (which is much harder to achieve and is not always possible depending on the personality types in the mix).

Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 14 days ago.

I do hope this has been useful and please let me know if there is anything else,

Take care,

Linda.