At my wit's end

klunick

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Something will need to be done with Gracie if I don't figure out how to solve a problem. She has been stalking Boone for a while now and I've tried everything I can think of to stop it. She will purposely walk towards him with her eyes fixed on him just to make him hiss. They will sometimes get into massive fights as well to the point where they need to be separated for days, weeks, or even months. I have tried the diffusers. I have gotten prescriptions from the vet for anxiety. I have had it with her at this point. Either she becomes a downstairs cat permanently or she goes somewhere else. Neither is an option I want but I can't live with the fear that at any moment, they will start tearing into each other.

Any suggestions of what else I can try.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. How old are these cats? I presume they are spayed/neutered (sorry, have to ask because one never knows)? Did you adopt them together? Did you do proper introductions to your home and with each other? And, has this gone on their entire time together? If this a 'newer' development, there could be many reasons for a change in behavior. Changes in your home, critters looming outside, etc. that is especially disturbing to Gracie and takes her anxiety out on him.

They are in that pic together, so it would seem at some point in time they got along, or at least tolerated one another.

Maybe you have more details you can provide that might help us to get a better picture of the situation.
 
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klunick

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Hi. How old are these cats? I presume they are spayed/neutered (sorry, have to ask because one never knows)? Did you adopt them together? Did you do proper introductions to your home and with each other? And, has this gone on their entire time together? If this a 'newer' development, there could be many reasons for a change in behavior. Changes in your home, critters looming outside, etc. that is especially disturbing to Gracie and takes her anxiety out on him.

They are in that pic together, so it would seem at some point in time they got along, or at least tolerated one another.

Maybe you have more details you can provide that might help us to get a better picture of the situation.
Going to turn 4 next month. Yes, spayed and neutered. Yes, adopted together at same time (siblings). Hasn't gone on the entire time. Just in the last year or so. First two years, they were fine. First fight happened because of a stray cat but that cat is deceased now. The rest happened right in front of us and there was no cause for it. No changes in the house. Our house can't get any more peaceful/quiet than it currently is.

Not sure what other detail I can give. Obviously the first fight had a "cause" but the rest have not. Gracie almost stalks Boone in a way or at least give the impression of that when she purposely walks towards him with her eyes locked like she knows what will happen next. Boone has started hissing at her whenever he sees her because he now knows what will happen next. But other times, everything is totally fine with them. Sleep together. Eat together. Lick each other. Play together nicely. It's like 50% of the time, they love each other and the other 50%, Gracie wants Boone dead.
 

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Thanks for the extra info. I still say something is causing it, or it would be more consistent and constant. It is just not obvious enough for you to pick up on without scrutinizing the heck out of everything that goes on.

The other thing to consider is time-outs. Each time Gracie goes after Boone, you pick her up, hiss or say "No" in her face (pick one and stick with it), and close her off in another room for no more than 1-2 minutes. For this to be effective, it has to be done EACH AND EVERY TIME. Consistency is the key here. It could take days, weeks or even months, but it generally will work - IF there is not a source of the reaction, and if there is, the source needs to be identified and removed.

The problem with both of these potential solutions is that people have very little patience and fortitude to follow through. And, follow through is absolutely needed in either case.
 
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klunick

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Thanks for the extra info. I still say something is causing it, or it would be more consistent and constant. It is just not obvious enough for you to pick up on without scrutinizing the heck out of everything that goes on.

The other thing to consider is time-outs. Each time Gracie goes after Boone, you pick her up, hiss or say "No" in her face (pick one and stick with it), and close her off in another room for no more than 1-2 minutes. For this to be effective, it has to be done EACH AND EVERY TIME. Consistency is the key here. It could take days, weeks or even months, but it generally will work - IF there is not a source of the reaction, and if there is, the source needs to be identified and removed.

The problem with both of these potential solutions is that people have very little patience and fortitude to follow through. And, follow through is absolutely needed in either case.
The problem with that is Boone hasn't calmed down by then. Gracie is fine after getting separated. Boone is not. He will hiss (even if Gracie is no longer around) for hours afterwards. Days afterwards. Gracie has completely forgotten about it and looks at him like she has no idea why he is hissing at her. He will even hiss at her through the basement door if he even suspects she is near it.

What's causing it is Gracie!! Like I said, she stalks him and gives him the stink eye and then attacks. Boone rarely sees it coming unless he happens to see her coming and by then, it's too late. Trust me, I have been patient and follow through. She will be fine for months and then BOOM! Out of the blue she attacks and will continually attack until she is once again down in the basement for a month or so. Then she is fine again. Wash.. rinse.. repeat.
 

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She will be fine for months and then BOOM! Out of the blue she attacks and will continually attack until she is once again down in the basement for a month or so. Then she is fine again. Wash.. rinse.. repeat.
So, that just leads me to believe that whatever provokes her isn't something that impacts the basement. You'd have to be present to do it, but I wonder what would happen if Boone and Gracie both spent some time together during each day, or several times a week, in the basement under your supervision? It would have to be tested when Boone is no longer upset over the last incident. If they do OK down there, then it would point back to something going on in other places of the house and not the basement. If she still attacks him down there it doesn't exclude there something going on that even affects her in the basement - it could merely be that she doesn't have Boone to take out her frustrations on when she is down there alone.

Maybe he farts, burps, etc. and the smell/sound sets her off? Maybe she has seizures that haven't been identified and that causes her to be aggressive to Boone? Maybe there are noises in or outside the house that you take for granted that she reacts to? This list of possibilities go on and on.

I know you are likely frustrated by my comments/suggestions, so I will stop after this. But, I genuinely believe there is a trigger - one that isn't constant - that causes Gracie to re-direct her reaction to the trigger toward Boone.
 
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klunick

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So, that just leads me to believe that whatever provokes her isn't something that impacts the basement. You'd have to be present to do it, but I wonder what would happen if Boone and Gracie both spent some time together during each day, or several times a week, in the basement under your supervision? It would have to be tested when Boone is no longer upset over the last incident. If they do OK down there, then it would point back to something going on in other places of the house and not the basement. If she still attacks him down there it doesn't exclude there something going on that even affects her in the basement - it could merely be that she doesn't have Boone to take out her frustrations on when she is down there alone.

Maybe he farts, burps, etc. and the smell/sound sets her off? Maybe she has seizures that haven't been identified and that causes her to be aggressive to Boone? Maybe there are noises in or outside the house that you take for granted that she reacts to? This list of possibilities go on and on.

I know you are likely frustrated by my comments/suggestions, so I will stop after this. But, I genuinely believe there is a trigger - one that isn't constant - that causes Gracie to re-direct her reaction to the trigger toward Boone.
I appreciate all your comments and suggestions. Just frustrated with the situation because it happens infrequently and is so traumatic to watch.
 

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Is there any way to intercept Gracie when she's in the stalk mode but before she "attacks" Boone? Loud noise, toss something or unpopular here, but spray of water, that could snap her out of that and try to prevent?
 

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Have you discussed this with your vet with the question of whether or not Gracie has a neurological problem? Do you have video of her face when she goes into stalk mode? Could this be a form of epilepsy? I realize it isn't grand mal or petti mal, but perhaps focal seizure or something similar.

Our cat has focal epilepsy which for her means she gets very, very still, then when it passes she attacks my arm. No damage, but the grab and pound on my arm with her closed teeth. Then it's like it never happened in her world. The stuff I've read said they are aware of their surroundings during the seizure. Our cat was 11 the first time it happened.

Not saying this is what's going on with Gracie, but it is something to consider and ask a vet specialist about.
 

maggie101

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At 4 yrs old Maggie was still hyper. Peaches hisses now even if she sees her. Part of the reason is territory. Or Maggie needs a distraction(didnt mean for this to be bold) or i use my clicker and say "Maggie come!" If it's distraction it's usually before it's time for their meal.
 

iPappy

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I'd vote for getting Boone a very thorough exam and work up. For awhile, the cats at work were all ganging up on Eva, and it turns out she had a UTI brewing that no one was aware of yet. Once it cleared up, the stalking stopped. Little things like that can change their scent and behavior that we don't pick up on, but the cats do.
 
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klunick

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Is there any way to intercept Gracie when she's in the stalk mode but before she "attacks" Boone? Loud noise, toss something or unpopular here, but spray of water, that could snap her out of that and try to prevent?
Always try to intercept it. However a lot of the attacks come out of the blue. She acts normal and then snaps.
 
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klunick

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Have you discussed this with your vet with the question of whether or not Gracie has a neurological problem? Do you have video of her face when she goes into stalk mode? Could this be a form of epilepsy? I realize it isn't grand mal or petti mal, but perhaps focal seizure or something similar.

Our cat has focal epilepsy which for her means she gets very, very still, then when it passes she attacks my arm. No damage, but the grab and pound on my arm with her closed teeth. Then it's like it never happened in her world. The stuff I've read said they are aware of their surroundings during the seizure. Our cat was 11 the first time it happened.

Not saying this is what's going on with Gracie, but it is something to consider and ask a vet specialist about.
Both Boone and Gracie have been to the vet for a complete work up. Nothing detected. Both have been on anxiety medication. Did nothing.
 

FeebysOwner

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Both Boone and Gracie have been to the vet for a complete work up. Nothing detected. Both have been on anxiety medication. Did nothing.
Ok, I already broke my promise to shut up, but please recognize that anxiety meds would likely do nothing if there is a neurological disorder, or other trigger, going on with Gracie, nor would it stop Boone from being scared and intimidated by Gracie's attacks.

And even if you could stop the fight ahead of time, it is still not resolving what is causing it in the first place. It is too random, so something is prompting it. Think about it, she does this out of the blue as far as you can tell, it isn't daily or frequently, as you said, so it is a trigger of some sort that you have not yet been able to put your finger on. Gracie just doesn't decide - "Hey, today is a day I want to freak out Boone". She is not making an intentional choice to do this.

You're barking up the wrong tree(s). Now, I swear I won't remark anymore.
 

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If my cats want to get away from Maggie they jump head of the couch,bureau,or table then she leaves
 
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niki-nicole

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I saw it on an episode of Jackson Galaxy and have found it to be true with my cats--are there any strays outside? I live in an area where a few feral strays will come to our house and the scent of the ferals marking or seeing them from the window makes a few of them really anxious. They can't control this so they lash out more. Is this a possibility? Otherwise, would increasing play time and tiring the cat out work?

Another thing we had to do was a second introduction. We put a screen door on the living room doorway that separated it from the rest of the cats. The cat with the issues went on one side and the others on the other. Knowing that both sides are safe, everybody can relax. Then you start feeding them on each side of the door until you think they are ready to be together again. I think this took at least a year for us.
 

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Maybe it's time to see a behaviorist at veterinary research hospital.
 

iPappy

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If a behaviorist isn't out of the question, I'd consider it. It's a HUGE shot in the dark, but there are situations where the attack-ee is actually instigating things in a very subtle way we don't see. I'm not blaming Boone at all, but it would be interesting to see if the behaviorist notices anything.
Other than that, I've had my girls get into a knock down drag out fight due to re-direction over seeing a rabbit outside. Sarah was so mad about this, Lila was near, and she attacked her. I broke it up, and within moments Sarah had Lila pinned in a corner and was going in for the attack again. Lila was scared out of her wits and was tip toeing around which seemed to make Sarah on edge, so I separated them. They did get past it, but I wouldn't write this possibility off completely. When Lila stopped acting insecure, Sarah left her alone.
 
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klunick

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I upped the Feliway diffusers from one on each floor to three on each floor. Gracie still stays in the basement when I am not home and over night but can roam free otherwise.

I also had no idea that you need to replace the entire Feliway diffuser every six month so more than likely, the two we had were no longer working.

Things are getting better between the two and are currently in my bedroom together with no tension between them. Fingers crossed that this set up is the key to peace.
 
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klunick

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Another good day yesterday. When Gracie was let up, Boone ran over to her and licked her. Unlike the day before, Gracie didn't try to find out where Boone was constantly so Boone was more relaxed and went about his business. Gracie was too busy going from window to window because I opened a bunch when I got home because it was in the 70's. She also went downstairs voluntarily for a bit to sit on her cat tree. I would randomly walk around the house to see where everyone was because it was too peaceful. They both pretty much ignored each other which is good.
 
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