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Old 03-02-2010, 02:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

Hi, I have two indoor cats, a male (cal) and a female(maggie), both spayed/neutered. We have had them for about 3 years now and up until now they have gotten along quite well. They aren't best friends or anything like that but they play and tolerate eachother quite well. The only issues we've had were when we first got cal (we already had Maggie) he would hiss at her and was scared of us for about a week then he came around quite nicely. and also one time he got out and was lost for 2 days, very traumatic for him and when he got back they were hissing at eachother for a couple days but then within a few days they were back to normal.

NOW... last week in the morning, Maggie was in the bathroom and my fiance was petting her and cal walked into the bathroom and she attacked him, it sounded like there was a racoon in the house they were so loud and there was some blood on the floor from cal, and there was enough fur on our floors to make a new cat! So we both had to go to work, so we put cal in the bedroom with food and water and left maggie out. now he is terrified of her. he wont come out to eat or use the litter box or anything, we have to bring the litter box in to him a few times a day and bring his food there. we tried leaving the food in the kitchen hoping it would coax him out but he just didnt eat for a couple of days. Maggie stalks him, she knows she shouldnt because she will only do it when we arent looking. I'm at my wits end and i need help.

This morning he came out of the room (finally!) and he was coming when i was getting their food and then maggie charged at him again. now hes back in the room scared and hissing...

I feel like we've tried everything, we even took them to my in-laws house where they have been many times, they have 2 cats and a dog there, and i thought some outside socialization would do them good. but as soon as they were back home they were being the same. and i tried using the lazer pointer to get them playing, but same thing they're in the same room and as soon as i stop she comes at him and he just growls and hisses like crazy.

PLEASE HELP! I dont know what to do and the thought of having to get rid of one of them kills me!
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

have you tried feliway or spirit essences yet?
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

Welcome and I'm sorry, I don't have much time right now to post.
Please do a Google search for Feline Redirected Aggression, especially 'a case study' article at the website LittleBigCat.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

Heidi will probably repost later with her answers for redirected aggression, but basically your female cat might have seen another cat outside the window or what not and turned her anger on the male.

I've never tired this trick, but other members have said they had success with separating them for a few days. Rubbing a small wash cloth over the aggressive cat, then over the other one and then back over the aggressor. Let the aggressor get use to their mingled smells before letting them see each other again. Then, drop a couple drops of vanilla extract on the back of the cat's neck before they meet, which will make them smell the same.

If that doesn't work, you might have to do a completely new re-introduction between the two starting from scratch.

Hopefully, someone else will pipe in with some more ideas.

'Chelle
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

i will definately try that and the story from that website you guys were talking about is very similar to my cats behaviour, except for one thing, my cats were in the bathroom with my fiance when this whole thing started, it was like maggie was jealous that callahan was coming into the bathroom and she just bolted at him. no other animals around.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

Redirected aggression is a funny thing. We won't always know what the trigger is. It can be sight, smell, sound and even a memory. Or, I suspect, a passing thought. Perhaps the one kitty was startled by the appearance of the other and it triggered her response. It could have also been a response triggered because bathroom smells (perfumes, soaps, hairsprays, deodorants) over-powered the cat smells that would have allowed her to 'recognize' her companion.

There is something else I wanted to add, but I need to go look for it. BRB.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

Ah, quicker than I thought! I had just posted this and wanted to copy/paste instead of re-type...

Feline Redirected Aggression
This is a response the cat has to a sight, sound, smell or memory that triggers this behavior.
They are acting instinctively and really cannot help their response. It is like a person afraid of mice, or spiders. They will become frightened and react, EVERY time; screaming, jumping, flailing and/or running to get away. They cannot NOT be afraid of the mouse or spider, they just ARE and will react.
It is similar for kitties experiencing redirected aggression:
The cat sees, hears, smells something that activates its' instinct for survival (fight/flight), but if he cannot reach the source of this trigger, he "redirects" it onto those around him; other pets and his people. The best way to handle a cat in the throes of a redirected aggression incident is to handle it as little as possible and/or try to get it into a small room to hang out and calm down by itself. The best way to prevent these incidents is to reduce and/or eliminate the triggers so it doesn't happen. You can use some products like a pheromone 'calming odor' in the form of a Feliway plug-in, it looks/works like an air-freshener but the odor/pheromone tells the cat "all-is-cool, be-mellow". You can also use other natural things, like Composure Liquid or Rescue Remedy to help keep him calm.

Maybe someone else will be able to give you better advice. I've only experienced Redirected Aggression once or twice, but neither episode was as bad as what you've described. I was attacked by a new cat when he smelled the outdoor tomcat on my hands. He yowled and leapt at me, I turned my face and upper body and he just scratched my shoulder badly. He did that because I smelled like the rival tomcat and his instincts took over.
Best of luck,
Heidi =^..^=

http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/aggression3.html
http://www.littlebigcat.com/?action=library
Redirected Aggression article from LBC: http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... acasestudy
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

I feel like I made some progress tonight, we were both very angry at maggie for her "stalking" but we've stopped that and are trying to give her more affection, its hard though because we feel so bad for callahan. but tonight i tried the cloth thing, and at first they both tried swatting at it and cal got upset at the smell but then i gave his some treats while rubbing the cloth on him and that seemed to work, i had them eating treats while i sat on the floor between them. but when my fiance came home he startled them and maggie lept at callahan scaring him again... slow progress i guess. then later she saw callahan come out of the bedroom and she bolted down the hallway at him. i was able to catch her before she caused any damage though...

thanks for all the info, you guys are so helpful
Salina
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

You are welcome. I like how you described what you'd been doing with the cloth and treats. That will be very helpful for others who are searching to learn how they can do things to help their kitties get along.
h
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why are my cats trying to kill eachother all of a sudden?

Thanks! More progress today... had callahan out in the living room and he was playing with the lazer pointer (his fave toy) and maggie was in there too and they were fine, then i walked away for one second to get some treats and she chased him into the bedroom and they were hissing and spitting at eachother again... its slow progress but i also tried the vanilla on the back of their necks, not sure how well it worked, but he's definately venturing out of the bedroom more lately, but when he gets into the living room maggie chases him back intot he bedroom... i'll keep working on it though.
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