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Extremely Aggressive Behavior

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi, everyone:

We have 2 cats. Olivia is our newer one and she's 5,6,7 years old. The shelter didn't have much info on her b/c she was abandoned. Olivia has been with us since Jan 2008. CJ is our older cat and is 12. We've had CJ since kittenhood.

Olivia is EXTREMELY aggressive toward CJ to the point where we have to keep them separate all the time. Olivia stays with me in my home office and CJ has the run of the house. No amount of training or acclimation has helped. Olivia is always the aggressor.

Anyway, so Olivia is Prozac, which is an SSRI. And even THAT isn't working! The vet wants to switch her to Paxil, another drug in the same class. That makes no sense to me. I would rather try a different class of drugs like tricyclics, of which amitriptyline is one. The vet says he doesn't prescribe amitriptyline any more.

My question is: Does anyone have experience or suggestions for meds that will help Olivia acclimate to CJ? I'm hoping the med use will be temporary. TIA.

post #2 of 8
Amitrip. is a downer once the initial effect wears off (even if it's called Elavil) and that isn't something I recommend to anyone after many years in a med. office watching patients try it out. Your cat possibly needs a one-cat home, or at least one with no other females around. She obviously isn't getting better, or else the Paxil is making her worse (it happens), plus I just don't get giving cats strong psychol. meds made for people to take. You may have to make a choice between cats for everyone's sake - certainly your first didn't ask for what happened. Is it possible your house is such that you can keep them on different levels most of the time (better than a shelter anyhow) or not?
post #3 of 8
First you have a stray that was picked up off the streets. She's probably used to fighting other cats, etc. for food, shelter, etc.

Second, you have 2 females in the house. Females tend to be more territorial then males and resent newcomers. Perhaps your older cat reminds her of a rival female. Or prehaps your older cat might be sick or getting sick and you don't know it.

I'd have your senior cat checked out by a vet and do a complete blood workup to be sure she is in good healthy.

Have you tried putting cornstarch baby powder on both? or the vanilla on the nose/tail trick?
post #4 of 8
I've heard of Buspar (http://www.petplace.com/drug-library...par/page1.aspx) being given for fear, and apparent Clomipramine is sometimes used in cats (http://www.marvistavet.com/html/clomipramine.html). I would also consider restarting the introduction process. It sounds like you are already keeping them separated, but begin slowly introducing their scents to each other--rub a towel or blanket on one cat and then introduce it to the other cat. I've heard of letting a cat play on a blanket and then using that as a mat for the food of cat #2, so that there is a positive association with cat #1's smell. The introduction process should go very slowly until the cats signal that they are accepting that step and may be ready for the next.

There are a number of different strategies for introducing cats:
post #5 of 8
You had Olivia since January 2008, that is only about 3 months ago and she's on behavioral drugs already?
Please try the suggestions given by those above. It takes time and patience especially for difficult cats. My two old females - Joji (resident) and Skinny (newcomer) - were at each other's throat for almost a year before they learned to tolerate each other. Putting them on medication was never an option.
post #6 of 8
I tried Buspar (Wellbutrin) to quit smoking years ago, and ended up with a horrible case of hives that I needed immediate anti-allergic meds for. If a cat has a reaction, can they be given the same meds with the same response? For heaven's sakes people, stop visiting imperfect and serious people stuff on little animals who are just being themselves in our inappropriate world.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies. Olivia is on Prozac b/c of her exteme aggression toward our other cat, CJ. We are still in the process of trying to get them used to eachother. We do supervised encounters a couple of times a day.

Somebody asked: "Have you tried putting cornstarch baby powder on both?". I've never heard of this -- can I get some details on why and how?

Ultimately, I have to agree with Larke. So, I decided to try a homeopathic preparation I read about on the Internet. It's called "Rescue Remedy" and contains a number of different flower and/or botanical essences. You put 4 drops on the cat's food once per day. I can't see how that could hurt anything, and it's only been a couple of days and my husband swears Oivia is less aggressive. I'm hoping that if it really works, we can try weaning her off the Prozac. Other users swear by it. Wish me luck!
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by Jainagirl View Post

Somebody asked: "Have you tried putting cornstarch baby powder on both?". I've never heard of this -- can I get some details on why and how?
This is one of the ways to introducing cats to each other. Another is using vanilla extract. Do you see a pattern here? Scent is part of a cat's (and most other mammals) relation to his/her surroundings. Please read the stickies above.
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