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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Cousin, sibling or enemy?

Thursday, December 13, 2018
                   

Today Annie allowed young Jack onto her bed while she was in it. They are not quite touching, although Jack has taken possession of Annie's tail. Annie regards him as a bit of a pest but about the equivalent of a cousin.

If she accepted him as a little brother she would allow him to cuddle up much closer and maybe even groom him. Perhaps it'll come to that over the next few weeks - or perhaps not.... After all they've only known each other for 10 days.

She plays with him but spends most of the day watching he doesn't come any closer. He is tolerated.

At home my daughter's tabby, Isabella, affectionately known as Fizzy Izzy by her staff, regards him with open hostility. He cowers when he sees her and she thinks nothing of giving him a good swipe to keep him in his place. It'll be many months, if ever, before she tolerates him in the same room.

We hope that Isabella won't show signs of anxiety. In the past she has over-groomed and urinated on the curtains when she has been unhappy. If she does we will plug in a Feliway diffuser or put some Zylkene natural calming supplement in her food.


Choosing a kitten from a breeder

Thursday, November 17, 2016

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                 A kitten will spend the next 16-20 years with you so it is important to select your new friend with care. A visit to the breeder's quarters will greatly enhance your chances of selecting an outgoing, emotionally stable and well-socialised kitten.

Kittens prime socialisation period is before 7 weeks, which means that you rely heavily on the breeder of your kitten to socialise your kitten. When you visit see if the kittens are encountering the sort of things they would in your home. They must have negotiated with other cats in a non-threatening way. If you have a dog they should have met a dog. They also benefit from gentle, brief handling by a variety of men, women and responsible children.

A good breeder will have gently examined their paws, mouths and ears in a friendly, non-threatening environment for a short time each day. This gets them used to the handling that they will have to tolerate for interaction with humans and for preventative health measures like worming and flea treatments.

If possible meet both the mother and the father of the kittens. A bold outgoing tomcat is the greatest influence on breeding resilient kittens with less problems with stress and anxiety as adults. The mother has more control over raising and training kittens.  Kittens hand-raised by humans often have unique behavioural problems as adults because they have not had a mother's firm paw as youngsters.

Introducing a new cat or kitten to your household

Thursday, September 01, 2016

 

Spring and summer are the peak times for bringing a new kitten or cat home. Kittens are generally better accepted by the existing cat or cats but some established cats don't like any newcomers on principle. Patience is key--the transition can take several weeks but planning ahead can reduce the stress, allow for an easier transition, and build a positive relationship between your feline companions.

Isolate your new cat in a separate room with its own food, water, litter box, bedding and toys for the first few days. Bring familiar items from the adoption centre in order to make it smell comforting and "homey" for them. Keep the carrier open so the cat has a place to hide. Isolation allows both cats to get used to the scent and sounds of the other cat without risk of confrontation. Be sure to spend a lot of time with each cat or group of cats.

Once all cats in the home seem relaxed, gradually move the food dishes closer to the door that separates them. If you notice any signs of stress, go back to the step where they were comfortable and work more slowly. You can also use a toy for them to play with under the door when they are calm and curious. If the cats are calm, take a cloth/blanket and wipe one cat and then put that cloth in the room with the other cats. Do the same for new and existing cats, so that they both can smell each other in their own areas. If this is comfortable to all cats, mix the scents on one cloth, wiping first one cat, then the other. Reward all calm behaviors with treats and praise in a soft voice.

When the cats are comfortable with the above, try a brief interaction. Crack the door open an inch so that both cats can see but not touch each other. If one cat hisses or tries to attack, close the door and back up the process, and restart more gradually. Sometimes it can be helpful to distract the cats with food. An eye and hook latch or doorstops on each side of the door might help.

When all is going well, place the new cat inside the carrier and allow the other cat(s) to see and smell the new cat more closely in a safe environment. Continue to reward calm behaviors with treats and praise in a soft voice.

If the cats seem comfortable in this environment the next step is to try placing them in the same room with direct supervision. Start introductions for brief periods making it more likely that the experiences will be positive. Remember to be patient and go back a few steps if necessary and gradually re-introduce.

Even when the cats are successfully introduced, remember that each cat needs their own resources ie food, water, bedding and litter boxes, preferably in different locations.

Are your cats friends - or foes?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ever wondered if your cats are #FelineFriends? In a recent survey, almost half of owners with two or more cats are...

Posted by Cats Protection on Monday, September 21, 2015

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