Author Topic: Cat Behavior Help Needed  (Read 696 times)

Offline Storyseeker

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Cat Behavior Help Needed
« on: August 07, 2011, 07:18:25 PM »
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!

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Cat Behavior Help Needed
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2011, 10:38:30 PM »
First off, if she tried all of that stuff in a week, she didn't give it nearly long enough to work.  The pheromones are not an instant fix, and can take time to work.    Tell her to look into Rescue Remedy for cats.  Make sure it's the one for cats, as the one for dogs can be fatal to cats.   It's usually found in health food stores.  It's an herbal med that may be more likely to get a quicker response.

It's odd that the cat who went to the vet was the aggressor.  Usually it's the other way around.  Of course, it's hard to tell what cats are thinking.  Has she looked up possibly side effects for the steroids that Tessie is on?  Is aggression or anxiety one of the potentials?  If so, that may be what she's dealing with, and it'll go away when the meds are done.  Sometimes the best way to find out side effects like that would be to look up the human version of the med, and see if it's listed as a side effect there.

Our cats have finally calmed down quite a lot after a couple years of beating on each other.  In our case, it seems to be that Murphy was reacting badly to Beaker because Beaker's thyroid was slowly going on the blink.  When his levels are normalized, he doesn't seem to bother Murphy as much...  Cats are funny critters.

Offline nakedrats

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Re: Cat Behavior Help Needed
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2011, 09:48:52 PM »

They could also talk to a vet about meds to calm them down.  Or meds to calm the owner down...   :doh:

Are you sure this isn't an excuse, and they really just want to get rid of the cats for any reason?

Offline Storyseeker

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Re: Cat Behavior Help Needed
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2011, 10:45:30 AM »
I'm passing all of this on to her Marybelle.  Thank you for replying!   I'm with you in that i think the steroids have something to do with it.     

Nakedrats:   I'm betting meds will help...for whom is open to debate.  Haha, I think she would be the first to admit that.   I am not getting the vibe that it's an excuse to get rid of them in her case.   I think it's a case where in her mind she has no clue how to handle this and feels she has no choice.  Which is why I'm taking this route, rather than searching for homes for one of them.   She's been very upset at the idea of putting her daughters through losing one of their cats.   

 Obviously her philosophy on pet ownership is more mainstream than we have on this site, but she's trying.