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How long does "displaced aggression" last?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hello all... It has been a while since I've seeked council with you, but for the first time in 5 years since my original plea, our 2 cats Bolo (15 yrs) & Boots (5 yrs) seem to again be brawling viciously for the last 2 days... This time however, I believe I know the cause:

First off, our cats are strictly indoor cats. Our next door neighbor has seemed it fit to set up two cat beds on his front stoop and continuously feed 2 or 3 stray cats that frequent his house. All our houses are really close together, so his front stoop is a mere 15 feet from ours. Well, since it is getting warmer, more humid and muggy out, the smell of cat urine or possibly even cat spraying is pretty thick in the air. I am not sure if that smell is getting through our walls enough to stir our cats up, but if someone thinks so, please let me know...

Our basement is in actuality an apartment, but we have made it a master bedroom. When we go to work during the day, the cats stay in that basment/master bedroom and when we come home, we let them up & they roam all throughout the house; its been like that for the past 5 years... Anyway, yesterday getting ready for work in the basement bathroom as I always do, I heard Boots (the youngest) growling on the window sill (I note the bathroom window as this window is at ground level to the outside.) As I parted the curtain, I noticed one of the neighbors strays on the other side of it, simply sitting in front of it, but being that they were face to face, it was obviously ticking off Boots. Once Bolo got wind of the sounds, he jumped onto the window sill and also began growling... I did not think too much of it, when suddenly both Boots & Bolo flew off the window sill attacking each other. Being no stranger to this, as this is exactly what I faced this 5 years ago when we first introduced them to each other, I separated them and their litter boxes & food/water for the duration of the day & went to work. When I returned, my wife & I opened the door separating them & aside from an initial "you're too close" hiss from Bolo, it was as if nothing happened; they even slept next to each other & us on the couch... This morning, we all woke up, they ate their breakfast together like they always do, and everything seemed normal, until this afternoon when I came home from lunch... Going downstairs to check on them, I noticed a patch of cat poop at the entrance to the same bathroom... Bolo comes out from under the bed, Boots from the bathroom window sill.. Once they saw each other, the screeching and tackling started again, and once again I separated them. My guess is that something along the same lines as yesterday happened again where one of the strays came to the window and antagonized one of our cats and the fighting started after I left for work, they kept their distance from each other, and when I came home, my presence drew them out and it was Round 2 ( or 3, or 4.. who knows...) I arrived home from work later this evening thinking that after the "time out" I gave them earlier that it would be seemless like the night before, but they went at it once again. Currently they are separated.

This is extremely troubling to my wife and I because we have an 11 month old in the house and our biggest fear is that one of these tussles start from out of nowhere and spills into the living room where he might be playing and (God forbid) he gets hurt in the crossfire... If they ever finally calm down and can be integrated once again, I plan to try & block the outside view of the window with posterboard or something to see if this behavior disappears. I know that this type of behavior is called displaced aggression and is because in their frustration of not being able to get to the outside cat they turn on each other, but how long does this aggression last? Was the "time out" not long enough? Could this be a turning point where due to their age difference they are starting to hate each other and will have to continue on separate?

Thank you in advance for reading this looong backstory & for any advice you can provide.
post #2 of 5
I have the same issue with one of my boys Molasses, he happens to be the Alpha cat here so he always stays by the windows looking for strays. These guys are complete indoor cats. But when one of my other cats are around him and he spots a stray or any kind of cat he goes crazy, he will tear into the cat that is closest to him, the other cats run away and don't come out until he's calm. One of my other boys, goes after Mo because he won't take that from Mo. But eventually, it all calms down, I don't usually separate them. They seem to work it out on their own. I also use a Feliway diffuser I think that helps a little bit too. I think your problems will stop once you block off the window. He is also smelling the urine outside, since they are marking their territory, your boy doesn't like that either. If its on your property you could spray around the area with an enzyme spray like Natures Miracle or Urine Gone. Once he doesn't see the other cats he should calm down. I also hope that the strays next door are spay/neutered. Good luck.
post #3 of 5
Your last question was about age difference, I don't think that really plays into it. Mo is 11 years old and Charlie the one that goes back at him is 3 years old, and while after that episode they aren't very close they aren't enemies either. They pretty much co-exist with any problems. Things should really start to improve between them if he doesn't see the other cats anymore.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the insight! For the entire day today, Bolo & Boots have been separated. In the morning I plan to go & buy some Feliway refills and plug them in for a while before I let them see each other again... I just know my luck & even though they're probably ok by now, I really dont want any setbacks especially with the baby in the house.

In case they haven't gotten over it, I'll most likely resort to what I did 5 yrs ago & buy a cheap screen door and install it between the doorway separating them... It worked like a charm way back then, so I hope it does so again...
post #5 of 5
I agree that it would help greatly to do what you can to clean up the urine from the other cats. If they are not spay/neutered this will also play a part.

It will take a good urine cleaning enzymatic product to get rid of the smell from a cats perspective. They have a much better sense of smell than we do. I have used www.weecleaner.com and www.nokout.com with good results. Some have mixed hydrogen peroxide, a few drops of liquid soap and a spoon of baking soda to clean urine. I am not sure of exact proportions.

Wishing everyone peace.
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