My 7 year old cat is being picked on by my 3 other cats

My 7 year old cat is being picked on by my 3 other cats. This started back in November after my 13 year old female cat passed away. They were buddies and used to always hang out together. My 7 year old other male did not bother him at all until my female passed away. Now my 8 + 9 month old kittens are also picking on him. I have put him upstairs away from the other cats, but that doesn't help either. When I'm upstairs I let the other cats in and they still pick on him. He has his food, water and litter box up there, but he still makes on the bed. He's a really sweet boy and had a rough start in life, my husband rescued him from his downtown trucking yard. I don't want to get rid of any of my cats. I would just like to know if something can be done for him. He was doing great for at least 6 years before my female died and then began getting picked on. Just to give you a time frame of certain events that recently happened:
June 2010 we took in 2 kittens (they were sick and had to be quarantined for 1 month in my bathroom away from the other cats)
July: one of my female cats got sick and had to be put to sleep, she was 14
October: my other female had to be put to sleep (this is the one that Simba got along with)
December: my 12 year old dog had to be put to sleep.
So now I have 2 adult neutered males and 1 female 9 mos. old kitten, and 1 8 mos. old male, both fixed. Thanks!

First, I would like to say that I’m very sorry for your recent loss. It sounds as though all of your cats are still adjusting to their new family dynamics, as well.

Without knowing the details of how he is being “picked on,” it is harder to give recommendations of how to help. Regardless, though, it sounds as though your cats are reestablishing their hierarchy. The hierarchy in a cat household can change suddenly without us having any idea why, but any time there is a change in the household, such as a pet dying, the hierarchy in the cat family can shift. Your cats may very well be trying to establish the new dominance structure without your female being in the home anymore.

For this issue, you may want to consider using Feliway products in your home. Feliway is a product that mimics the pheromones produced naturally by cats, helping to create a less stressful environment for all of your kitties. It could help lessen the tension between all of the cats in your home as they are all adjusting to the new dynamics. I would recommend putting the diffusers in several main rooms throughout the house and possibly using the spray or wipes as additional reinforcement in areas like where your kitties sleep.

There are many more important steps you should take to help your kitties get along better, all of which are addressed here in the answer I wrote to another visitor about fighting cats in his household. There are many important additional pointers there and additional home remedies you can try.

I would also like to note that your kittens are probably just being kittens. They're probably playing with him more than they are picking on him. Your energy will likely need to be focused more on helping your two 7-year-old males get along better again.

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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