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Need advice - sudden hostility between cats

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I just signed up here because I need some advice! I have 2 cats. Cat #1: female, 7-8 years old, got her as a rescue in 2003; she was already spayed. Cat # 2: male, born April 2006, I got him when he was 4 months or so, he was neutered that November (7 months old).

The short version: these two cats have been living together just fine for about 2 years since getting their first introduction settled, now she acts like he's a cat she's never seen before, and she has to chase him out of her territory!

The long version:

It took a LONG time - like 3 months, I think - before Cat #1 seemed to fully accept Cat # 2, but it had (seemed to) happened. Just yesterday I gave them an evening treat together, after earlier feeding them their dinner together, as I always do (well, did until today ). At one point they were laying on the floor just about a foot apart, as I scritched each of them in turn, as I often do. Later while I was watching TV, they were playing - kind of aggressively, but not hostilely - as they often do / did.

But at 1:59 AM this morning (yes I looked at the clock) I was awakened by the most gawdawful noise of them fighting and chasing - and in no sense playful. I went downstairs to see what the heck was up - I was wondering if somehow a wild animal had gotten in the house! But it was my two kitties who were formerly, if not "best of", at least play buddies!

Cat # 2 followed me down stairs and tried to approach Cat #1 very submissively, crawling on his belly and with his tail dragging, but she was having none of it - growled, hissed and then went after him. Poor Cat #2 skeddadled up the stairs to the bedroom again and I just closed the door and tried to comfort him. Perhaps I should mention that this little guy - less than 8 pounds - is the sweetest little "kitten" I've ever known. He seemed genuinely hurt and confused by Cat #1's rejection. Of course I have NO idea what started the fracas. I assumed he was a little too forward in trying to play with her, and that she might get over it by morning. So I went downstairs and tried to calm her down a bit too, then I went back to bed. (With Cat #2 in the bedroom and the door tightly closed).

This morning he was anxious to go downstairs, so I decided to see what would happen. Well I noticed that he spent some time sniffing at the base of the stairs, and I realized that one of them had apparently sprayed a bit there - I assume it was him, because isn't that a male behavior? - but he has NEVER done that before, and he was sniffing all around that area as if not sure what to make of it. Could it be that she did it? Or that he did it out of fear as he was being chased up the stairs?

Anyway, then instead of going to the food dish for breakfast as he normally would, he went looking for Cat #1. He found her and tried the submissive thing again, with the same results. So I made sure he had food, water, and litterbox access and went off to work with him locked in the bedroom.

Tonight I tried the long distance approach - I held him in my arms and approached her to about 15 feet, but she started hissing and growling so I took him back upstairs. I played with him a bit and then went down to make up with Cat #1, but she was by then hiding behind the entertainment center.

So, that's a long story and I don't know if it's clear enough for anyone to suggest what might have happened. Or what to do about it?

Should I have just let them go at it last night, and settle the dominance issue? Should I now keep the little guy isolated for a while and try to re-introduce them?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! I love both these kitties and it's heartbreaking to see them fight and have to keep them separated.
post #2 of 5
Have there been any strange cats outside the windows.
In 2005 a cat and a pitbull tried to attack my cats through the window at our old place.
Stormy my rainbow bridge cat was handing by her back paw tangled in the blinds screaming when we got back.
Coco and Meeko were having a huge fight and Coco was hurt also.
She could not walk on her front paw.
After that Coco became very angrey and would attack all my cats if they went near her.
It took a while but her and Meeko are very good friends again.
Even if my cats were not in that room Coco would hiss if I tried to bring her in the room.
She was ok with the room after 2.5 years.
She was friends with my other cats again after 6 months.
That orange cat never did stop bothering my cats until they got evicted.
Maybe your cat got hurt or something and takes it out on the other cats.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the idea, mews2much.

Both cats were fine and normal to each other at 10 pm or so when I went up to bed, but at 2 AM they were at each other's throats. I guess something could have happened outside a window that scared the female. But I am afraid that the male just got too aggressive with her, or something. (Even though she outweighs him by about 3 pounds.) They've played rough before, and sometimes he starts it and sometimes she let him know it wasn't cool. But this reaction is so far beyond that, I don't know what to make of it.

I wonder if it is possible that he did spray and that's what has her so out of sorts? She did have the house to herself until this "interloper" showed up. (Although she had seemed to have started to enjoy having the company.) Maybe he's gotten too big for his britches and she decided she's had enough?
post #4 of 5
Hard to say.
I hope they stop fighting soon.
post #5 of 5
Huh. This is kinda like what's going on with my kitties right now...they used to be friends, and now the older one's beating up on the younger one for no apparent reason.

Hope your kitties stop fighting, keep updating on how they're doing
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