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Mature Cats Fighting

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have had two cats for a little over two years now. I live in a rural area, but the cats are NOT "barn cats". Both are all black, were strays at one point (we adopted them from a shelter) and both have been a dream. They are indoor-outdoor, always been sweet (but can hold there own with the other neighborhood cats AND dogs). Both are normal sized, but one is SLIGHTLY smaller than the other. The cats had a few weeks of "getting to know you" pains when we introduced them (we got them only a few weeks apart), but have never really had much problems with one another. In fact, they have always been very close (both females), preening each other, hunting and displaying the catch together, even eating together.

Unfortunately, in the past 3 months, the larger cat (Nephthis) has become increasingly aggressive towards the slightly smaller one (Isis). She actually has been attacking, something that never happened outside of play time before. Some of the attacks hurt Isis, and she comes away with significant patches of fur missing. Many of the attacks and subsequent battles take place during the normal night hyper-activity when we close all of the doors and make them stay inside.

I am very concerned because of the increasing violence of the fights. Both cats are significantly vicious when needed (dogs come onto our property, people they do not know come into our home, we joke that they are our "attack cats"), which is fine because we live where a cat's survival traits are indeed important. That ability to defend themselves has turned into a weapon used by the larger on the smaller. My wife and i have never had problems with them before, they have never attacked either of us, and are both extremely affectionate towards us. What could be the problem, and how do i stop them from fighting with each other short of constraining either cat?
post #2 of 7
Are they spayed and how old are they? Do you have other stray cats lurking around the home?
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
They are both spayed and were once strays as kittens, picked up by a shelter, and we adopted them. They are both between three and five years old, we have had them for a little longer than two. There are not many strays in the area, but there are other pet cats who sometimes wander onto our property,and plenty of raccoons (all shots are up to date :-)). Mostly, my cats go on the warpath when ANY animal comes around, cat or not. I should note that outside, we have not noticed any problems between them, only inside when they cannot go outside.

Do you suppose a man could be coming between them, even tho they are spayed?
post #4 of 7
not necessarily a "man" but other animals, especially cats round the property can cause a lot of stress sometimes and aggressive behavior, even if they are indoor only. I would try a diffuser, Feliway is recommended by many here. I have never used it, but heres one link to it with uses and description......
Good luck!
post #5 of 7
Firstly, go to a vet and get both checked out for any latent medical issues. From past experience, often a healthy cat will attack a cat becoming ill long before symptoms present themselves. This could be due to a change in scent undetectable to humans.

Secondly, given that the fights occur indoors, there could be a shift in the social order of things. You may need to provide something for the cats to sit high on. Generally the top cat will claim that spot. Can calm things down a bit.

Given the wild animals and surrounds, consider giving both a bath, (watch out for the claws and be prepared for the howling!), so that they both smell relatively the same. Isis may have come in contact with something that smells offensive to Nephthis.

And given that the fights are especially nasty, supervise their time together. If it nears a complete breakdown, consider re-introducing them as you would two stranger cats.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
thanks guys! I will try all of that.

My wife asked if perhaps the cats are competing for OUR attention? She has noticed that the larger has many times chased the smaller form our bedroom, from our bed, or from our presence when we are watching television/reading/etc, all times and places very much associated with us petting and scratching them.

I am sorry if i am asking elementary questions: This all comes as a surprise to me, as growing up, my family always owned dogs. Our cats have never been very "cat-like" and more like dogs (other than the various rodents we find placed upon our pillows and dining room table, something dogs NEVER did :-))
post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by a_loveless_gem View Post
consider giving both a bath, (watch out for the claws and be prepared for the howling!), so that they both smell relatively the same.
Alternatively you can put a drop or two of vanilla extract on the base of their tails. Or rub both of them with corn starch. Or rub one, then the other, with a towel. Any or all of these approaches will help to make the cats smell close to the same to each other, without the stress (on them and you) of a bath.
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