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Need help - cats who used to get along are fighting

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
2 cats - both the same age (about 2.5 years old), but we adopted Cat1 as a kitten, and Cat2 at about a year old.

Cat 1 is a large strong male (15-20 pound range), neuteured.
Cat 2 is a tiny female (under 10 pounds), spayed.

So for the last 1.5 years, these 2 cats have lived together and we have had almost no problems. They get along well, play together, share a litterbox, share food/water bowls, etc, etc. Occasionally they would tussle and chase, but it always seemed very playful.

A couple of weeks ago we came home to find a bunch of fur all over the floor - clear evidence of a fight. Since then it has happened frequently and we caught them in the act a few times.

Now, in the last 2 days, it has turned very bad. The big guy has no fear and he constantly tries to go near the little one - I don't think he's explicitly being aggressive at this point. The little one cowers and hisses or growls and stares him down whenever he gets near her. He then takes this as a sign of aggression and attacks her. He's twice her size and she typically tries to get away but can't. Last night we had to physically separate them into two different rooms.

So that is where we are at today - they are actually both sleeping in the same room right now - the big guy on the couch with me, the little one over on the nearby love seat. But they have not been awake and near each other without trying to fight in the last 24 hours.

Nothing has changed in their environment in months.

So - anybody have any insight or ideas? What would cause this sudden change in behavior? How do we put an end to it? Everything I'm reading online is about introducing new cats - these guys are well acquainted and past that point though.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
post #2 of 8
I might be on thinn ice here but I will tell you would I would do if it was my cats. I would not leave them alone together. When I am with them I would interfear when he attack her. I would first tell him by growling at him. If I don't get his attention I would stair at him and lift my open hand as if I were about to slap him. If more is needed I would take him in the skinn of the neck and palce him in front of me and repeat the behavior. When he back off I would reward him with a spending some extra time with just him.
The risk is that he actualy turn his angre to you so if you don't have a solid relationship with your cat you'ld better use a safer method.
The reson for this change of behavior can be difficult to find.
You might want to take the female to a vet and check her since cats sometimes reacts with aggression towards an ill cat. Ill cats smell of fear and pain and that can trigger aggression.
post #3 of 8
Have they been seen by the vet lately? Sometimes there is a change but it is so subtle you don't even realize it or it could just be something you wouldn't think would disrupt them. Smells are one thing. When a cat gets ill, even if you don't know it yet, the cat smells different. That is always a possibility for a sudden change in behavior, since it is still going on I would think it could be something like an illness or something. Do you let them outside at all? Cats can pick things up outside and you wouldn't know right away.

Not to scare you but has anything changed with you? Like an illness or (I don't know if you are a man or woman I don't think you said) are you pregnant? This would make you smell different and the cats may be just taking it out on each other.

There could be a male cat spraying outside a window or somewhere and they can smell it. That could disrupt a whole housefull of once best friend cats. They are big on smell and any little chance can set them off.

Are you burning something in the house like candles or something differnet, an air freshner? Check the vents in the rooms where the fights are happening, could there be unusual smells coming in from the basement or from outside or something?

I would have an illness ruled out by the vet first. The cat who is being attacked the most should be seen. There may be a good reason the bigger cat is attacking the younger one.

Buy some Feliway plug ins. They cover a lot of ground but I would put them in the rooms frequented the most by the cats or the rooms where the fights have been occurring.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input so far - greatly appreciated!

To follow up on some questions:

- both cats are indoor only
- The little one actual just had her annual checkup a week or two before all this started happening. Everything was perfect. The big one has an appointment in a week or so.
- no illness with myself or my wife - we're both young and in good health. Wife not pregnant, we have no kids.
- I don't think we've even lit a candle in the last month. I'm racking my brain, but can't think of anything scent-wise that would be different from inside the house.

Your comment about animals outside may be onto something. The other day there was another cat in the backyard, one that I have never seen before. Both of my cats did not like it and were pawing at the glass back door. I didn't quite put 2+2 together because they had already been fighting by this point, but it is possible that this cat has been coming around on and off for the last couple of weeks now.

So let's say for a minute that the problem is being caused by this cat coming around frequently (and possibly spraying). What is my solution at this point? I don't know who owns that other cat, but even if I found out, it seems kind of rude to tell the neighbor to keep its cat locked up because it's upsetting my cats. You mention that Feliway plug-in - I'd never even heard of that until my research earlier today - would that have a good chance of fixing the problem? Anything else I could possibly do? Is there anything I could put in the yard to keep the other cat away?

At this point I have them separated - the little one is happily enjoying some alone time at the moment. But she's too social to want to stay away by herself forever.
post #5 of 8
I would keep them separate and slowly re-introduce them, as if they are meeting for the first time. Also covering up the windows where they can see the intruder cat might help, along with the feliway.
post #6 of 8
I can totally understand. Ducky and Tino, who are 3 year old litter mates recently got into a fur flying nasty cat fight.

And it literally, as the other posters mentioned, could be from anything. I would completely separate them, also. And start reintroducing them like they are totally unknown to each other.

There are many threads on here for introducing cats, I would just do a search on here and then follow those guidelines.

Good Luck !
post #7 of 8
Feliway is supposed to work well. My mom uses it and it works wonderfully for her cats who are finicky and pee around the house. A lot of people use it.

About the annual checkup, that wouldn't cover a screening for an illness. But that could be an expensive thing to figure out. I would cover up the windows where your cats were spotting the intruder cat. Also try Feliway in that area and there is a spray you can get also to spray on their blankets or something. The plug in works best I think though just realize you will not smell anything, but the cats will.
post #8 of 8
I have three cats and they've had their "moments" too. I swear by the Feliway diffusers and have them plugged in all the time. Check out www.petguys.com for great prices.
The outdoor cat can cause "displaced aggression" which is when the indooor cat(s) get so worked up about the intruder and adopt an aggressive stance towards other animals in the house and you've got WWIII! Definitely block the view to the outside, if you can, to prevent the fireworks from going off.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
Feliway is supposed to work well. My mom uses it and it works wonderfully for her cats who are finicky and pee around the house. A lot of people use it.

About the annual checkup, that wouldn't cover a screening for an illness. But that could be an expensive thing to figure out. I would cover up the windows where your cats were spotting the intruder cat. Also try Feliway in that area and there is a spray you can get also to spray on their blankets or something. The plug in works best I think though just realize you will not smell anything, but the cats will.
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