Rejection from other cats within the home

by Leanne
(Kent England)


I need your help please. I have 9 cats they have all been done. I have one cat, Roland, that is being rejected by the other cats. So my poor Roland runs away and goes missing for a few weeks. When he does come back he is totally scared out of his life. One cat will lock his eyes with Roland and start growling, and you know it will end badly so I tell them “no” but they carry on.

Roland has gone off and I have not seen him for 11 weeks—the longest yet. I know I may not see him again, but if I do get him home, how do I get the others to accept Roland because he doesn't smell like them? Roland is my baby, he isn’t just a cat. He is so special I hope I get him back. Please help me—I am going to bits without him. When he used to come back I used to keep him in, but after 3 days he wants out.

Dear Leanne,

I am so sorry to hear that your precious Roland has been missing for so long, and that there has been such tension in your household. Unfortunately, because Roland does smell different from the other cats in the house, there isn’t an easy solution to your problem. If your Roland continues to go outside and wander off, your other cats are likely to always see him as an outsider. However, there are a few things you can try that may help with the tension between the cats in your home.

First, if Roland does come home, you may want to try 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 both Roland and your other kitties. It could help lessen the tension between all of the cats in your home, especially since Roland will smell foreign to them when he returns. It is available in a spray, a room diffuser, and as wipes.

Additionally, upon his return, you should consider making all of your cats indoor-only. This, again, will help reduce the tension since no one cat will seem like the outsider anymore.

Breaking Roland of the desire to go outside will take time, patience, and persistence. You could try offering catnip, more play time and attention, and special food treats, along with using Feliway in the house. Also, you can discourage him by squirting him quickly with a water sprayer or using compressed air (like you would use to dust a keyboard) in his vicinity any time he is near the door. Most importantly, though, you will need to ignore his requests for time outside, knowing that you are keeping him in for his own health, safety, and overall well-being.

If having Roland (or any of your other cats) indoors at all times is not possible, however, you might want to consider purchasing an outdoor cat enclosure. Outdoor cat enclosures help ensure that your kitties are safe at all times, preventing them from wandering off and from other cats or wild animals.

Best wishes for Roland’s safe return,
Dr. Neely

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