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So upset! Need advice!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have a big problem and I need some advice. One of my cats has started attacking the other one. They got along fine until today. They would wrestle and sometimes get a little rough, but they were fine.

Today, my s/o and I were visiting our downstairs neighbors. We left our door open, and their door was open onto our common entryway. One of their cats snuck by me and ran upstairs. Faile (my crazy black cat) was at the top of the stairs, Molly (the mellow one) was at the bottom. The other cat's owner and I ran upstairs to stop her cat, we didn't want any fur flying. The strange cat was very relaxed, and just snooping. In the confusion, Faile attacked Molly.

She has attacked Molly 2 more times. Molly didn't do anything, she didn't puff up or make any aggressive move. Faile just went after her. I don't know what to do. I have Faile locked in the living room/computer room with food and a litter box. Molly has the rest of the house. How can I get them to get along again? Why would the fact that a strange cat was in my house for less than 2 minutes cause such trauma? Help, Dan is talking about finding another home for Faile already, although he is willing to work with her. He said he would buy a large dog crate, but would that help? I've never had to deal with this before. I hope I can get these 2 living peacefully together again.
post #2 of 21
Bren Mate I am so sorry to hear this has happened. I think that what might be going on is that the scent of the strange cat has unsettled Faile and as she seems to be the dominant one she is trying to reclaim her position and her territory, she seems to be attacking Molly so as to re establish her position. I suggest a good vacuum and then a deodoriser (Cat friendly) and then stroke both Faile and molly to mix in their smells again. I know that you will get much better advise soon form our more learned members and I have my fingers crossed that it works out.
post #3 of 21
Brenda let me put this in Behavior Forum for ya
post #4 of 21
We had this same type of thing happen several years ago when we had two cats. There was a stray cat hanging around our yard one winter, and when the wind chill got down to 60 degrees below zero, we let the stray into our enclosed entryway. Once the stray was inside the entryway, our two cats, Snowball and our now deceased cat Midnight, started hissing and growling, they couldn't get to the stray so they started directing their aggesssion toward each other. Once the stray had been taken to a no-kill shelter they were fine again.

The problem with your cats may have also been redirected aggression. Others who are more knowledgeable may have a better answer.
post #5 of 21
hmm... I will use this as a loose and poor example, but perhaps it can simplify things. Along with what others have already said.

It's kind of like they have to figure out what is going on again, figure out who's place is where, defending their territory, like with dogs and they eshtablish pack order when a new dog (adopted, or visitor) enters the house, cats have to reeshtablish territory sometimes.

The scent of the other cat has cramped it's style so to speak. And the offended cat will go back around claiming everything for his own again and making his place, be it you, marking, "fighting" with another cat/animal, discructive, stop eating..etc etc. This also comes back to Lorie's mention of redirected aggression.

Some cats, specially the more mental cases or crazy ones get more noticably disturbed by this.
Like my Asim... has a freak out, over any new animal (mostly cats and dogs) for quiet a while and takes it out in many visual ways. But my other 2 perminate cats are pretty quick to recooperate.

Most cats, will get over it and things will go back to normal, but it can take time, and some change a little every time. Asim, I know with every animal that has ever been brought into this house, or that he has met, his personality has changed. But then again, Asim is very emotional.
post #6 of 21
When the new cat came in and ran upstairs, it left it's scent on your stairs (cats have scent pads on their feet) You should clean those stairs as best you can, and follow the route the cat took while it was there.

Take some of your perfume and spray it in the air, then stick your hands into the spray and rub them together. Call your two kitties, and rub them down with your hands to give them a "neutral" smell.

Good luck- at least the tresspasser didn't spray!
post #7 of 21
Long story, but here goes:

We got Fluffy in January of '98 & Cinnamon in July '98. It was the 2 and they had run of the house.
In 2000, We decided we wanted to get a bengal kitten, so we bought Tigger, who is a female; she was 14 weeks @ the time we got her. We brought her home, and AT the time, we didnt properly introduce her to the others. I can remember how terrified Cinnamon was. She was in our master bath, sititng on hubby's side of the sink, shaking in her boots. Fluffy growled, hissed, blah, blah. We worked nights, and we didnt lock Tigger up in a bedroom at night. So, we'd come home, and find her hiding behind my desk. We assume (and know now) that it was Cinnamon stalking her & chasing her. A few months later, while Tigger was snoozing, Cinnamon bit her in the tail, enough to where I had to take her to the vet. So, we came up with genius idea of putting Fluffy and Cinnamon in our bedroom w/ litterbox and food/water. This went on. In March, 2001, we got Gizmo, our male bengal. In July 2001, we got Scooter, a bengal. Fluffy and Cinnamon were still in our bedroom. Tigger would be petrified of Cinnamon. I mean hissing, cowering, running under the bed type of behavior.
So, last year (2002) we decided, enough. It was not fair for Fluffy or Cinnamon to be locked up. They could never tolerate the boys because they'd mess with them. So, we'd open the door gradually. Cinammon was the brave one, coming out, and when she wanted to go back in the bedroom, she'd go back in. Fluffy, on the other hand, was the scardey cat. She'd twitch so bad, it would take almost an hour for her to calm down. So, we eventually started to close the door. Around Thanksgiving, we started to leave the door open all day. Cinnamon proudly and happily walked around the front room, claiming one of the chairs. Fluffy started to get a lot better. Well now, we CAN keep the door open all day. Fluffy DOES come out, and does not twitch. She goes into the kitchen, family/dining area and sometimes the other parts of the house. If they dont want to come out, they will stay in the bedroom. The boys really leave them alone now, with the occasional 'i'm going to pick on you' mood.

We never thought that Fluffy and Cinnamon would have been able to have the door open. We dont keep it open when we are gone or asleep. We did a test when we left the house to get something to eat, and they were all fine. I think eventually we will be able to, but for now, I am happier with all of them co-existing. It took them about 2 years, but it's getting better, IMO, as the days go on.

So , my suggestion, is to maybe seperate and work from there. Don't force it, because that won't work. Try to get them to eat together, too.

We've also decided if Scooter or Gizmo decide to pick on Cinnamon, we let them ... We break it up w/ Fluffy since she is a bit more sensitive, but Cinnamon, she can stand her ground. I think it's just a dominant thing going on now. And, yes, CInnamon still gets the deranged look on her face with Tigger; yes, she will chase Tigger out, but Tigger has gotten A LOT of confidence where she can walk in front of her. But, if we see Cinnamon w/ that look, we just tell her to stop and she will.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. I put some carpet deodorizer down on Leslie's suggestion, and will hit the stairs next. I could tell the smell had Faile freaked out, cause she was stalking around the room in an odd manner. She is the dominant cat for sure.

I am going to keep her in my computer room which connects to the kitty toilet area (a small storage room) for the time being. She will still see me as I am on the computer alot. Sometimes too much! She also will have windows to looks out and comfy places to lay. I hope she and Molly will start playing under the doors as they sometimes do and work things out that way.

The funny thing is, our neighbor's dog comes up sometimes. Aside from puffing up and hissing at her, Faile is fine. She doesn't get upset with Molly, so with her it must be just cats that set her off.

Thanks for all your advice. I'll keep you posted on happenings. To quote Dan, my s/o, when I told him what you all said: The Cat Site is great!
post #9 of 21
We just had this exact problem when we brought Spooky into the house. Lazlo and Shelly were attacking each other. We simply let them, unless it gets to the point of ears back, ridge of hair on back, tail puffed up - then there's danger of someone actually getting hurt.

The perfume works great. What we did, however, was use vanilla.

I took a bowl, put warm water in it. Mixed in a bunch of vanilla (basically I'm just not using full-strength vanilla, but getting a good strong dose).

I dipped a paper towel in it and wrung it out and wiped down a cat (including the butt). Did that for each cat.

It worked like a charm. It did take a couple of hours. The next morning, I was worried they would have cleaned themselves of the vanilla, so I did it again.

Hope this or the perfume works for you too!

Keep us posted? Please? THanks!
post #10 of 21
BTW - dogs or any other animal wouldn't cause this. It is a dominance issue between cats.
post #11 of 21
LOL. True, unless you have a cat that's insane with jealousy! lolol.

But that's another matter, hehe.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've been petting both cats and trying to mix their scents. I also left a t-shirt with Molly's scent on it in the room with Faile last night. I actually laid out a sleeping bag to sleep on the floor until I saw Faile was pretty comfortable on her own. (Another crazy cat lady here.

Tomorrow, I think I will try to put them together. I put down pet deodorizer last night, so I hope the other cat's scent will be gone. Molly is pretty much back to normal, Faile is fine, too. She was just laying on my lap, and is playing with a ring from a milk jug right now.

I think I will put Molly in the cat carrier to see how Faile reacts. Neither cat is afraid of it. I used to leave it open on the floor, and Faile would go in on her own. I just want to be able to get Molly away with minimum fussing if necessary.

I would have let them go, but Faile's tail was really puffed up and she was yowling. She went very quickly in the other direction once I used the water bottle on her, though.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have Molly in the cat carrier right now. Faile hissed when I first brought her in, but I petted her and talked soothingly. Molly hissed a little as well, no doubt remembering the attacks of yesterday. I opened the door of the carrier and petted her, too. Now, they are looking at each other, very calm. Faile even ate a little of her food. I haven't let Molly out of the carrier, I want them to readjust to seeing each other. Am I doing this right? I really want them to get along again. I'll probably stay in here with them for a few more minutes, then take Molly out and keep Faile in the room.

I tried the perfume suggestion and rubbed both cats before I brought Molly in.
post #14 of 21
Letting them get readjusted slowly is never a bad idea. Same type of logic when people have their dogs meet, ON LEASH.

Have they showed any signs of playing with eachother yet, like paws under the door? Have you tried taking out toys and playing with them both at the same time, give them something better to do and remember what FUN is.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
One more thing, Dan is talking about buying a large dog crate for Faile if her behavior continues. I am totally opposed to this idea. I know some cats get comfort from a home base like that, but I think it would make her act worse. I feel bad enough keeping her locked in one room. Tonight, I am going to open the door to the living room, and let her stay in the combined living/computer room. ANd I am going to sleep on the futon in the living room. Again, crazy cat lady strikes again.

They are still just looking at each other. Faile appears more curous than anything, and Molly is a little defensive. I keep petting both of them so they feel secure. Tomorrow I will do the same thing with the carrier for a longer period of time.
post #16 of 21
Well, if you have the feeling that this will stress your cat out more, being put in a carrier, chances are that it probably will. But that's not garunteed.

I have known people who have done that. But I've only personally seen bad results from it.

If your going to confide a cat for a long period of time, I would say its better to do it in a big dog crate (where it could have water/litter box/toys, as apposed to a small cat carrier where if it stress's too much and pee's on itself, can make the poor thing feel even worse.

Have you tried offering them VERY taste treats, and giving it to them... while they sit close to eachother, not side by side, but maybe a foot or 2 apart. And make sure they both get a treat at the same time.
Sometimes I use cat nip to break the ice, but some cats respond differently to that.

Also, about Dan's concern of this behavoir lasting... I doubt highly that it will continue to this extreme for ever. For some cats it might take longer to return to normal, and you might even have tiff's between the two now and then for the rest of their lives, but keeping one cat confinded to a dog creat forever shouldn't be an issue.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
I think the dog crate was Dan's knee jerk reaction, he was very upset by the whole thing. In part, it's because Molly is his favorite. She is more mellow and affectionate. Faile is really sweet with me, she is nice to Dan, but she is more my cat. She has a wild streak in her that I really like. It probably comes from being on her own, as far as we know, as a kitten.

I mentioned to Dan that we are going to take this very slowly, and I don't mind shutting off a few rooms in the house for a few weeks if we have to. He didn't mention the crate again, so I hope that is a dead issue. I will protest, and since Faile is my cat, I won't give in. I can be stubborn when needed.

I fed them both treats after having them in the same room earlier, tomorrow I will feed them at the same time.
post #18 of 21
I would get the cat used to the crate. Put it in an accessible place, make sure your washed it and dry it first, even brand new, it can give off an unsettling scent. Feed inside it (keep the door propped open) and feed only wet food inside it. Take a package of pipe cleaners and some light toys. Wrap a toy around one end and then wrap the other end around the slits in the box. Do that until all the slits have toys dangling from them. Put a small amt of catnip inside the box and just set her inside and let nature take it's course.
post #19 of 21
Hehe, very good idea. If the crate becomes something facinating or fun for the cats, if they have to be put in there, it won't be such a hard thing for them to deal with.

I used to have to Transport Isha a lot. So I just left her crate out all the time with food/toys let them do whatever they wanted with it basically. So when I would place the crate of the floor to send her away for a bit she'd run right in and be like "Ok, I'm ready!"
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Good news! I came home from school, and both the cats are out. They appear a little wary of each other, but they are not hissing, just looking. Hurray!! I guess they just needed some time to work things out. Thanks everyone for holding by hand through this. I might have lost my mind if it weren't for all of you.
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Dan didn't have to work yesterday, so he put Molly in the carrier and took her into the room with Faile. He played with them both for about an hour until Molly felt comfortable enough to come out. What a guy! He is very proud of himself. He said they both were a little edgy, and they still are, but he petted them and reassured them. Peace in our house at last.
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