Owning a pet isn’t all cuddles and insta-perfect moments – it can be challenging, confusing and downright frustrating at times. To help you navigate pet-parenthood and all that it brings, we have launched Dear StyleTails – think of it as your really cute four-legged agony aunt! Every month our team of pet experts, including trainers, behaviourists, vets, nutritionists and holistic pet therapists, will answer a burning question from our community. Got something you want to ask? Submit your question here.
Q: How can I help my cats get along?
My dear Keith, a 7-month old Scottish Fold has a little brother of the same breed who is two months old, called Sam. So far they haven’t met because the older one isn’t happy! I bought Feliway which helped Keith start eating and drinking again, but he’s scared and frightened by the small one. What can I do to improve their relationship?”
Carla, from Portugal
A: Anita Kelsey (BA Hons, MCFBA, CIDBT) from Cat Behaviourist
Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a master cat groomer, specialising in working with aggressive or timid and phobic cats. Her debut book Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer is out now published by John Blake.
Thank you for your letter Carla. How cats respond to one another is very much down to whether, a) they are ok with other cats in general and, b) if they have been introduced in the correct way. It also depends on space. Cats see territory as their most important place for resources, which they do not like sharing with other cats. It’s all linked to survival at the end of the day. Keith is obviously not happy to share his territory and is seeing the new addition Sam as an intruder. So, I’m afraid it’s back to square one.
Cats see territory as their most important place for resources, which they do not like sharing with other cats. It’s all linked to survival at the end of the day.
Start with scent swapping and allowing the kittens to enjoy various parts of the home whilst separated. Then start feeding the kittens on opposite sides of a covered gate so they can smell one another and are getting a positive association with food. If this goes well, start to lift the cover on the gate. Gradually you can start feeding them with the gate open but at opposite ends of the room. Play sessions can be controlled, so again they are getting a positive association with one another. Hopefully, with time and patience, your two little fluffs will be able to share space.
Make sure the home has plenty of resources too. Two litter trays, two large climbers, two feeding stations, scratch posts and plenty of toys. If you are still struggling and things are not going well after you have tried the above then ask a cat behaviourist to visit your home to guide you further in the process.
SUBMIT A QUESTION
Got a burning question about your pet? Submit it below and each month one question will be chosen to be answered by our team of pet experts, including trainers and behaviourists, vets, nutritionists and holistic pet therapists.
Only questions chosen for publication can be answered. Thanks for your submission!