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Sudden Sibling Rivalry

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have two cats from the same litter. I adopted them from the animal shelter just over a year ago. I couldn't bear to separate them. They are about two years old now, one male, Reggae, and one female, Tikki. Everything was fine until today. They have always played with each other, chased each other, slept together (on me) and been friendly. The male cat, Reggae, has always been a little more dominant than the female, Tikki. So I get home today, and Reggae doesn't greet me as normal. Tikki is in the living room, but no sign of Reggae. So I go on the hunt. I find him under the bed. Usually when I call either one of them they come to me. I could not get him out from under the bed for anything. I realize something has happened because he is staring at the bedroom door. I finally lure him out and try to hold him, which he usually allows and loves, but he struggles and jumps out of my arms, still staring at the door. Tikki comes past the door and he starts growling at her and hissing, jumps off the bed and back under he goes. I thought this was very unusual.
A little later I am talking on the phone, he hears my voice I guess, and ventures into the hallway. Tikki puffs up and takes off after him and chases him back under the bed. Now I know something has happened between the two because they have never been this aggressive to each other. I try to lure him out with soft food, he comes out gobbles a couple of mouthfuls and back under the bed he goes. I can't even get him to play with me or chase anything. He is ALWAYS playful and bringing me toys.
So I go back into the bedroom and try to lure him out again. This is all over the course of 5 hours. As I am on the floor looking under the bed, Tikki comes in and sticks her head under the bed and they both start growling and hissing at each other. Tikki leaves. I reach under and get Reggae out from under the bed and try to calm him down. He is still growling and hissing, and then he pees on me. I let him go, and back under the bed he is.
Tikki ventures into the bedroom occasionally and just sits at the doorway staring at the bed. I don't know what happened today. It is totally sudden, and like I said before, Reggae is usually the more aggressive one, so I don't know why he is hiding under the bed. Can someone please give me some advice??? Thanks!!
post #2 of 11
When behaviors change that drastically and that suddenly, it tells me that something weird happened today. My bet is that something happened to Reggae that either scared him or hurt him and Tikki happened to be around when it happened. Reggae is relating whatever bad experience that happened to him with Tikki. Once a cat responds negatively, it can typically drag the other to respond the same in turn.

Take a look at the stickies on how to introduce a new cat to the household thread. You might just need to give the 2 of them time apart to forget whatever happened today and start introducing them all over again.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
I know when I came home that the garbage can had been knocked over. I know the dog didn't do it, because it is gated off and only the cats can get in the kitchen. The dog really likes to get in the trash whenever he has a chance. Reggae is my love, and I can't get him out from under the bed. I just went in there again, and he and Tikki started growling and hissing again. How long do I let this go on before I take action? What would I do anyway? I am so upset about this!!
post #4 of 11
Close the door (with you and Reggae inside) and spent as much time as you can just talking to him, not trying to force him out, but allowing him to feel safe (closed door) and loved (you). It can take a while, and maybe a couple of sessions or days will be needed to get him out altogether, and maybe Tikki needs some time out in another room, but they'll come around once he feels safer and she's forgotten to be mad all the time.
post #5 of 11
Just a thought: have you given him a litter tray in the bedroom? He's obviously frightened to come out, and may be getting very uncomfortable if he can't go to the loo!

Also, have you considered that there may be something wrong with him? Occasionally animals turn on the weak/ill one because they smell funny and would be threat to the pack. It might be worth a quick check-up at the vet.

Just my thoughts - keep us posted!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yes, they do have separate litter boxes. I have always had two anyway. Reggae came out and slept on me last night. After the door was closed for a while, he realized that Tikki couldn't get him and he came out. He was watching for her for a while though. They saw each other this morning, and the hissing continued. I still have them in separate rooms.
Reggae seems fine. After he came out, he doesn't act sick or anything. Playful and loving as always. Tikki has been camped out outside the bedroom door just waiting to catch a glimpse and growl.
It makes me very sad to see my kitties hating each other. The one thing that always made me happy about adopting both of them is that they played together all the time.
I will keep posted on what happens. Any comments are welcome. Thanks!!

post #7 of 11
I have also heard that cats become socially mature at around 2 years old so that's basically when the last of the we're friends because we're kittens wears off.

I wouldn't expect that to happen so suddenly though but maybe it's been bubbling up under the surface without you noticing. I'm not sure though.

My cat is an only cat so I don't have much first hand information on two cats getting a long to be honest.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

So today things were a little bit better AND a little bit worse. When I got home, I got both cats into the bedroom. They growled and puffed up at the sight of each other. I tried to calm Reggae and pet him, and my husband did the same to Tikki. I showed them both attention, and played with toys with them and got them closer and closer. After a little over an hour, they were tolerating each other and almost playing. Almost. Still a little tense. So I really thought we were making progress. Then I left them alone, expecting them to come out of the bedroom, and a while later walked in there to see Reggae back under the bed, and Tikki stalking him.
I separate them AGAIN and then get them both into the living room. Not growling anymore, but Tikki was still being stalkish. After dinner, they both follow me into the kitchen.... I am thinking things are going great and maybe I should give them some soft food, so I set out two plates on opposite sides of the kitchen. While I was getting the food ready, they were actually rubbing up against each other and my legs.
I guess I left them in the kitchen by themselves too long, because then I hear these mountain lion roars and two blurs running after each other through the house. I am after them with a water gun trying to get them to stop. That was two hours ago, and again Reggae is under the bed.
Maybe things will be better tomorrow.
post #9 of 11
I have a similar situation and it has not changed, and I don't know that it will!
I had 3 cats--2 females, 1 male. One of the females was a feral who became our pet. Right before I took her in to get spayed she got pregnant. All 3 got along just fine. She had 3 kittens and I was worried that our big male would hate them. He was fine. The other female took to hissing and avoiding them. Then she began hissing at the male too. This was last year. Fast forward...
Female still hissing at all the other cats (we kept one kitten-all are spayed/nuetered). Mom cat now hissing at her baby (he is 9 months old). Older male doesn't care much, he gets along with everyone. Older female hates everyone. Mom hates the kid!!
Since it is only the FEMALES having attitude problems, I am just assuming it is some form of cat PMS!
post #10 of 11
In the introducing new cats thread, there is a trick where you put a dab of vanilla extract on their forehead, chin, behind the neck and at the base of the tail. This makes them smell the same and it often calms them down. If you haven't read that sticky yet, I suggest that you do so.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, over the past couple of days, things have gotten better... not perfect, but better. Last night they were both laying in my lap and Tiki started licking Reggae's head while he was sleeping. They are getting along better, however I don't think that they trust each other yet. Occassionally, one of them will move too fast, and freak the other one out, and then they both start hissing. Maybe like was said earlier, Reggae just got freaked out while Tikki was around, and he still doesn't trust her. i am just glad things are beginning to get back to normal. Thanks for all of the advice!!
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