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hissing all of a sudden

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I am new to this site with a question I am hoping that someone can help me with. I have two Burmese cats. A boy, Nelson, who has just turned 5 and a little girl, Zoe who just turned 3. They are indoor cats who never go out. We also have 2 outside dogs (this is the background to my problem)

These two love us and each other to death and we rarely have any problems with them. We have had both since they were tiny and if anything Zoe usually seems to prefer Nelson’s company to ours.

This morning though, something strange was going on. When I got up I noticed that Zoe was hissing and growling and spitting at Nelson. She only usually hisses at the dogs from the safety of the back screen door. Nelson was very freaked out by this – as was I, I have never seen her do this before? I picked her up to check if she was sore anywhere and she hissed and spat at me, she seemed Ok though. My husband has recently started working night shift and so when he came home he noticed the same behaviour and rang me at work to say she was still hissing. She was winding around his legs and being friendly to him but whenever Nelson would appear she would act strangely and hiss at him again. Apparently now things have settled down and she is not hissing at him anymore.

I just wanted to know if anyone has any ideas on what is going on as this has never happened before.

post #2 of 14
Has Nelson been to the vet recently? This type of reaction is common when cats get together after one has gone to TED. (the evil doctor)

If not, somehow Nelson has a strange smell about him. Is he possibly sick? Acting off in any way? Not eating, or using his litter pan? Drinking more than his share of water?

Are they spayed and neutered? Those are the first questions I would ask you and then welcome you to a really nice place!
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Hissy

Thanks for the quick reply and your warm welcome!!

Both cats are desexed and neither has been doing anything odd until this morning’s episode… When they go to the Vet, they go together and aren’t due to get their shots until April this year.

Nelson seems fine apart from being freaked out by Zoe’s behaviour. Once she settled down the first thing he did is seek out my hubby for a cuddle and purred and purred – I think he was glad that Zoe had stopped being so weird.

I was wondering if it had anything to do with my hubby being on night shift (as this is a new occurrence) – although if he wasn’t at work we would both be asleep and so the cats might not have realised. When we sleep we shut our bedroom door and give them both the run of the house.

Thanks again
post #4 of 14
Both my explainations lead to a trip to the vet. The first is that she may not be feeling well. When they don't feel well, they sometimes act out as a sign that they are tough and nothing os wrong. The second is that something happened to her and Nelson was right there when it happened. Now, she's associating him with whatever scared her, or upset her. Sometimes if you seperate them, the re introduction can be worse, but it may give her a chance to calm down and realize that everything is okay. The other option if the behavior continues, is to try talking to the vet about some valium or something similar to get her back on track.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I just spoke to the Vet who told me to keep an eye on her – that she might just be reaching maturity and that if so, she and Nelson might need to readjust their relationship. My hubby says that she is now just sitting in our laundry looking most peeved (she never hangs out in there usually). Any opinions on the maturing theory??

He is about to go to bed and so when I get home from work – I will check that they are OK. Check the litter, see if she will eat – try to check her again for any trauma. If things aren’t looking good, the first thing that I will do is take her off to the Vet – maybe take them both in case there is something wrong with Nelson that she can sense that I don’t know about. I hate it when there is something wrong with one of my cats – they can’t ask me for help and I am worried that I am missing something here.
post #6 of 14
I am not so sure about the maturing theory. Usually the only time hormones affect behavior is if they sexually mature, in which case both your kitty's are altered.
Always, the first thing is to rule out medical. Once that's done and all is okay, then you look at behavioral. I know it can be exausting, I have seen it first hand. It's really hard to put all the in's and out's of cat behavior into a post, especially not being able to see what the cat is doing. The most common problem I see is a cat reacting to something. I have seen the most loving kitty's in the world in 20 minutes turn into Cujo. Cats are so sensitive to change, that sometimes even things we wouldn't dream of will upset thier perception. Keep and eye on her, and go with your gut.
post #7 of 14
I've seen several cases in which the cat being hissed at is the one who is sick. The cat hissing is detecting a change in the scent of the other cat due to the illness. In each case there was a mild infection and the hissing went away as soon as the infection cleared up. So, it could be that Nelson is a little sick and Zoe is hissing in response to his sick smell.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well I took Zoe to the Vet last night and there is nothing physically wrong with her – but she is still hissing and spitting whenever she sees Nelson – which still has him totally freaked out.

Up until yesterday they were inseparable and spent ALL there time together. I don’t know what can have happened and I am just really hoping that it will settle down.

Has anyone got any suggestions on how to proceed from here??

Maybe lotsocats is right and Nelly is the one who is not well – but he looks fine and is not acting at all strangely unless Zoe is hissing at him.

Thanks for all of your replies!!
post #9 of 14
Without going the RX route. I would try getting some of the Dr Bachs rescue remedy and putting it in her water. It takes some time to kick in, but it helps to relax them.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks Sandie - do you know if Dr Bachs rescue remedy is available in Australia - or if there is a similar product available here??
post #11 of 14
Could this be misdirected rage reaction? Sometimes when a kitty sees or smells something that upsets them, they take it out on whatever is near, in this case the other cat who was probably sitting right next to her.

Here's a thread that may help. At least you can see if there is something helpful in this one and the links posted in the thread.

Rage Reaction
post #12 of 14
I am not sure about a replacement. I know the Dr Bachs is pretty unique. I would start with the health stores. If not, I would try online.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for your help - I am pleased to announce that Zoe seems to have got over her fright and all is well again!!

Last night they were being semi normal when I got home - they were both sitting on the same couch - but not together. Nelson was super wary of Zoe and was keeping out of her way still - I think that he had had enough of being hissed at!!

Then Nelson was asleep on the couch and Zoe was asleep on the chair, so I picked Zoe up and put her on Nelson who promptly licked her and then she licked him and they were friends again - well almost. They licked each other for a little while - then had a big fight (no hissing just a normal rumble) and now all is normal again. When I got up this morning they were snuggled together in their usual yin and yang position - YAY. Who knows what happened but I have my fingers crossed that it won't happen again!!

I really appreciate everyone who offered suggestions and help - thankyou!! I will take a pic of my furry friends and post it up here on Monday if any of you would like to see what they look like.
post #14 of 14
Thanks for sharing the good news! I'm glad life is back to normal in hour household.
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