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major problem i need help

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
i have 2 cats both neutered males they are brother from the same litter. my mother owned nitwit and he lived with her while his brother bug lived with me until september when i moved in with my parents. the cats had the normal initial issues with each other but they worked it all out. yesterday nitwit started being very aggressive towards bug for no reason. bug has not visited the vet recently or been anywhere that he would smell differently. nitwit makes horrible growling noises like ive never heard before and attacks bug who does try and fight back.....who can blame him? nitwit is declawed bug is not. nitwit is a very outgoing cat while bug is very shy and timid.....but neither cat is aggressive towards people at any time. they are both normally very loving. they are approximately 2.5 years old. can someone please tell me why nitwit has suddenly turned so hostile towards bug????? could it just be spring fever or something else??
post #2 of 6
Intercat aggression can often be puzzling to determine a source. The first thing to do is to take Bug to the vets to see if he does have some sort of health issues - urinary tract infection, or something that is impacting his health. A common cause of intercat aggression between two previously friendly cats is when one develops a health issue and the other cat smells/senses/is aware of this. Health issues can change the familiar smell of a cat.

Second, it could be redirected aggression. This can happen if the territory of the cats was invaded by something that frightened them or hurt them or triggered their territorial responses, and for some reason they were not able to address the original cause, but redirected the anger/aggression/territoriality to someone else - in this case, the other cat. Redireted aggression can also happen towards people or objects- it means that the cat's instinctive behaviour was excited/engaged but because he couldn't find an appropriate outlet for it, chose a consequential outlet - ie., a stray cat invaded the backyard, the first cat saw it and couldn't get to it, the second cat walked by and the first cat attacked the second cat in reaction/frustration/instinct. If this is the case, you may never know what the initial trigger was, but the two cats are no loner friendly and basically you will need to go through a 're-introduction' as if they were meeting for the first time. You will want to have them meet under positive circumstances and be prepared to separate them without punishment when they show incipient aggression or body behaviour that indicates aggression is possible. If distracting them by interactive playing with a toy works, try that. It will take some time but it can happen.

One other consideration: at 2 1/2 years old they are now approaching social maturity (which is different than sexual maturity) and Nitwit has decided he will be the alpha male and is attacking Bug as the way of enforcing his superiority. It could be a combination of this as well.

Good luck in sorting this out. There are some excellent books out there that talk about intercat aggression. I would recommend 'Cat vs Cat' and "Twisted Whiskers". You can purchase both of them through Amazon.

post #3 of 6
Kathryn has once again given spot-on advice. My guess is Bug is sick and needs a vet-
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
now that you mention it i do know what is causing it but i had really forgotten about it. the other day they were playing as they normally are always doing and nitwit who likes to be in anything he can climb in got a plastic bag stuck on him and he was running around like a wild cat and it was of course following him.....it scared them both quite a bit. so i bet hes redirecting his aggression at bug because bug was with him when it happened. just hope it doesnt take them long to get back to normal its like they are fine for a few hours then boom hes growling and hissing like crazy and my poor buggie boy is such a calm gentle cat hes walking around like his heart is broken cause his best buddy is being so mean to him. he just sits looking at nitwit like pleaseeeeeee play with me dont be mean to me. lol cats definitely are funny little people. thanks for your help. will post some pics of them together soon......as im hoping this wont take long to resolve. thanks again.......
post #5 of 6
Yes, that is something that would be a realistic cause.

What you can do is practise good observation skills. Watch Bug and Nitwit closely, and if Nitwit starts 'posturing' like he is going to become aggressive (that includes staring, focused attention on Bug, the tip of the tail beginning to twitch, muscles tensing, stuff like that) or Bug starts showing 'defensive' behaviour before Nitwit starts being aggressive, at that time you need to interrupt the focus of their attentions. You can do this by throwing a toy their way, or breaking their eye contract or petting them, or picking up Nitwit - NOT Bug - and distracting him by cuddling or putting him in a different place, or putting yourself between the two of them, anything that will divert attention from each other, you will prevent another outbreak of aggression. You will need to be really vigilant because you don't want the aggressive moment to happen. The more it happens, the more difficult it will be to break it. You want to find ways to remind these two how good it feels being in each other's company. If you do pick up Nitwit, then after he is distracted, you can pick up and cuddle Bug, but if you pick up Bug first, Nitwit will view his being 'higher' as a threat and become more aggressive possibly.

Give them treats when they are beside each other behaving and try to reward them when they are good together. Be prepared to separate them and give them 'time outs' if they start getting 'posturey'. Pet them both together in each other's company and try to find ways to encourage positive interaction. Praise them when they play together, but don't yell or get angry if they do get huffy. Have a throw or a blanket handy that if you need to you can throw overtop of one of them or both as another way of interrupting aggression. It will then give you the means to effect separation without anyone getting hurt. Hopefully, after a few days of this positive reinforcement and distancing from the causative event, Bug and Nitwit will start to behave more like old buddies and less like competitive strangers.

I would still recommend getting either or both of those books. Good luck

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Good News!!!!! Bug And Nitwit Are Back To Their Normal Playing Wrestling Selves. They Seem To Have Worked It All Out Now And Are Back To Being Best Buddies. Makes Me Feel Much Better To See Them Loving Each Other Rather Than Fighting Nasty. Thanks For All Ur Help
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