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RE: Aggressive behavior

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Posted by: PHCurious at Sun Jun 20 23:37:03 2004  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by PHCurious ]  

Hi Gwen,

Welcome to CatHobbyist. Sorry you're not hear for more fun reasons, but hopefully we can help.

It's VERY common for cats to behave aggressively towards each other after one has been to the vet. In cases like this, I recommend keeping them separated for a few days and/or bathing the vetted cat (if possible) to remove the "vet stink." If the two cats are together during the time that one "smells like vet," the hissing can persist even after the stink goes away. (Of course you can't smell what I refer to as "vet stink," but your cats can.) In the future, I would plan on keeping them separated for a minimum 3 days after either one has been to the vet. During that separation, rub each one with a towel daily, and then rub the same towel on the other cat so they get used to the new smell.

As for your current situation, I'm not exactly clear how things are going right now. Are they together all day but stay in different rooms or on different sides of the room? If they are separated, are you separating them or are they separating themselves? Was your vet able to get a good medical workup?

If your vet hasn't been able to do a thorough exam on both of them, I would start there. If one cat is sick and feeling poorly, physical discomfort could cause aggression. Likewise, if one cat is sick, the other can sometimes sense this and consequently behave aggressively towards the sick cat. Therefore it's important in your case to have both cats checked on.

While you're awaiting this, I have a few tips. Try getting the Comfort Zone/Feliway plug-in. This emits a scent, undetactable to humans, that calms many cats. Also, you mentioned that you've tried screaming. I assume this means you yell while they're in the middle of a knock-down drag-out battle, and that you're yelling to startle them out of their fight. However, I encourage you stop this. I don't want your voice in any way associated with their aggression. Instead, to break up their fight, try clapping your hands loudly or stomping your feet to make that loud, startling noise.

Remember to reward all positive behavior. Pay close attention when it seems like nothing is going on. Every time they walk near each other, give them praise if they don't hiss. Don't reprimand hissing, because that's still giving them attention. Ignore hissing. But be sure to praise them when they're not hissing. Catch 'em being good. Also, provide them with rewards when they're in the same room. For example, if they eat from separate bowls, move the two bowls a little closer to each other and throw in an extra yummy and smelly treat (a dab or tuna or cheese, for example) so that they'll run right to it. The goal is to get them focused on something positive while being in each other's presence.

Unfortunately, all of the scenerios you mentioned could cause aggression in cats, and I have no way of knowing from here if any one of them or something else might be causing it. I'd like to rule out any physical problems before starting you on a full behavioral program though. Let me know more about what the vet said.

Good luck. And try not to worry too much. We'll get this problem licked. In the meantime, I'd ask guests to not pet the kitty who lashed out at your friend. Wait until we have a better grasp on what's happening.

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