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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Cat Behavior Help Needed

I have never owned cats so know little about them, but I was hoping for advice on behalf of a friend who is considering getting rid of a cat over what I think is probably a fixable behavioral issue.


Situation, what I know of it:

Two 4 year old cats who are siblings from the same litter. One male "Wheezer", one female "Tess"; both fixed. They were adopted as kittens and have spent their entire lives together.

In the last week they apparently started fighting with each other.

In the owner's words as posted on Facebook:

-----Day 4 "Ever since we brought Tessie home from the vet on Monday afternoon August 1st, she and Wheezer have been growling, hissing and chasing and fighting each other. It's quite distressing!

She was treated for her asthma, and put on steroids. She was treated & we brought her home. At 1:30 that morning she opened a can of "Whup-cat" on her brother & littermate, Wheezer. We've got water bottles in every room and pretty much listen for disturbances. When they get going, it sounds like a herd of buffalo running through the house.

On day 3 Tessie seemed like she wanted to make up, but Wheezer's still held a grudge. We've mostly seen her chasing him, but he started the hissing on Monday night."

-----Day 5 "We rubbed catnip on both of them from head to tail. Now their just having a staring contest... Not close enough to smell each other. They're just looking at each other...menacingly.

----Day 6"in case anyone's still interested... our cats are still fighting each other... On Monday it will have been one week since the Cat War started. Sadly, now there is a discussion of permanently getting rid of one of them. The girls are in tears. So please pray this stops SOON! (and yes... we've tried everything...talked to 2 vets, kitty pheromones, calming collars & spraying water bottles).

They are indoor cats, but this morning... in an effort to establish some sort of equal footing... we threw them both out the back door and into the fenced yard. There was a moment...just a moment... of a united front when they were both looking at one another, like..."What do we do." Then, it's like... "Oh yeah... I remember, I hate you." And the hissing and growling commenced again..."

---"So far, no damage to each other, but lots of noise...and it affects the stability of my nervous system... Every time they fight my heart races & I feel ill. Joe - the vet advised against 'forced' confrontations."



So...I'll take any and all advice! My goal is to calm the owner down, give her practical tools for working with her kitties, and hopefully save her from making a rash decision she will regret.

Thanks bunches!


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 08:10 PM
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They threw two indoor cats outside. That will only make things worse. Two indoor cats tossed outside will just cause more stress.

Spraying them is only making things worse. The cats are stressed out, adding stress will not make things better.

What started as a normal aversion from the cat who stayed home to the cat who went to the vet an came home smelling like a stranger has been escalated to this point by their mishandling.

Separate the cats. Stop forcing them to be together, when it is obvious that they are upset.

Install feliway plug in diffusers.

Keep the cats separate and treat the whole thing like a new cat introduction/integration.

This means, keep one cat in one room while the other cat has the run of the house. The next day, put the other cat in the one room and let the other cat have the house.

Do this for a week or so. Keep feliway going. Make sure there are enough elevated spaces for both cats. Cats like being up high, they feel safer that way.

During the week the cats are kept separated do a smell exchange. Rub something familiar smelling to them both, on them both. Like t shirts their humans have slept in.

Put a couple drops of vanilla (cooking vanilla, not perfume) on both shirts. Rub one on one cat, then the other and put it under the cat's food dishes, and do the same thing for the other cat. This blends smells and helps the cats associate the other cat's smell with good things.

Then have an introduction. Put vanilla on each cat, on the nose, chin and root of tail. Be careful to avoid the eyes.

In a room where there is enough elevated space for both cats, allow them to be in the room together. See how it goes. Don't spray them if they hiss at each other, just let them get used to one another all over again. If they get too upset, put one back in the separate room and try again the next day. And the next.

"getting rid" of one of the cats really should not be an option. There are children in this family? They will be teaching the children that when there is a problem with a family member, the one causing the problem will be gotten rid of. They will also be teaching the children that animals are disposable objects.

Declawing: please read this first
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for this somebody. I'm sending it to her. She doesn't want to get rid of one of the cats, but because she didn't know what to do, she didn't feel like she had another option. She's a gorgeous person, just not as knowledgeable on cat care as she could be. She's been freely asking for different advice so is willing to change as she learns.

If anyone has anything else to add, please share! I'm crossing my fingers that she can get this situation resolved.


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 09:57 PM
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I hope with all my heart they can work it out. Remind her it may take time, patience always being the most necessary thing for cats (or any animals)

If they can all stay calm about it for a few weeks, I think there is a good chance of getting peace back in the household.

Declawing: please read this first
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 12:39 PM
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poor kitties :/ I hope it works out and she keeps them
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 02:23 AM
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Hope that changes in their behavior doesn't caused by health issues. I agree to keep them apart for a while...

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