Cat Behavior/Hormones still hasn’t changed.

amarshall0919

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On July 21st I made a post in this group about a sudden and bizarre behavior change in my 1 year old cat female cat, Smoothie. She viciously attacked our other cat and refused to stop. She then turned on me and my husband. People advised that she be took to the vet to see what’s wrong. The vet found nothing wrong with her except they said that her hormones are very unbalanced and that spaying her should fix the problem. Before she was spayed, she attacked me two more times. We were afraid to do anything around her.

She was spayed on September 21st so we are coming up on a month of the spay. The vet said that by a month, she should be able to be reintroduced to our other cat. Everything was looking good and I noticed that it seemed like she had calmed down a little. She didn’t try to attack me or my husband. However, that all changed a few minutes ago.

After brushing her some, I went into the other room and brushed Midnight, our other cat. I came back into the room, and was petting on Smoothie. Smoothie kept sniffing my shirt incredibly hard, but didn’t show any sign of aggression. She just wanted to smell it. My husband is playing his video games. In one of the games, he got mad and raised his voice at the computer. She stops smelling my shirt and hisses at him. She jumps down like she’s going to attack him. Her behavior was just like it was before she was spayed.

I am now worried that the spaying did not fix the problem. I am due with our baby on December 8th. We can’t have her attack the baby like how she has attacked me and our other cat. Everything we have tried has not worked. Our apartment is too small to continue to keep two cats separated.
 

daftcat75

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Smoothie was sniffing your shirt because she smells the other cat. That's normal whether she was spayed or not.

Cats don't like loud noises. I don't blame her that she hissed at your husband for yelling at the computer.

The question I have is that after she hissed at your husband, did she show any signs of aggression towards him or you?

I am not an expert at all at multi-cat homes and introductions. But if you aren't already, I would feed Smoothie and Midnight together but on opposite sides of the door. This lets them experience good feelings while being in each other's presence while also remaining safely separated.

The other recommendation I have is to make sure both Smoothie and Midnight, but especially Smoothie, have vertical spaces they can retreat to and call their own. Cat fights often happen in shared spaces, usually on furniture or the ground, where territorial claims are dubious. But if you use this separation time to make certain that Smoothie has a tree or a cat shelf that she can call her own and feel safe and secure, then there may be fewer fights when they're allowed to occupy the same space again. She may give Midnight a whack or two if s/he tries to come into her favorite perch. But Midnight will learn. Make sure Midnight has his/her own tree or perch, and they can (hopefully) work out an understanding of the territory claims.
 
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amarshall0919

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Smoothie was sniffing your shirt because she smells the other cat. That's normal whether she was spayed or not.

Cats don't like loud noises. I don't blame her that she hissed at your husband for yelling at the computer.

The question I have is that after she hissed at your husband, did she show any signs of aggression towards him or you?

I am not an expert at all at multi-cat homes and introductions. But if you aren't already, I would feed Smoothie and Midnight together but on opposite sides of the door. This lets them experience good feelings while being in each other's presence while also remaining safely separated.

The other recommendation I have is to make sure both Smoothie and Midnight, but especially Smoothie, have vertical spaces they can retreat to and call their own. Cat fights often happen in shared spaces, usually on furniture or the ground, where territorial claims are dubious. But if you use this separation time to make certain that Smoothie has a tree or a cat shelf that she can call her own and feel safe and secure, then there may be fewer fights when they're allowed to occupy the same space again. She may give Midnight a whack or two if s/he tries to come into her favorite perch. But Midnight will learn. Make sure Midnight has his/her own tree or perch, and they can (hopefully) work out an understanding of the territory claims.
Yes she showed aggression to both him and me after she hissed. I have been around dogs/cats all my life, and when someone has yelled or raised their voice, none of the animals ever reacted. She is the first pet of mine that has ever turned against me. If she can’t handle someone talking loudly, how is she going to react to a screaming baby??

Midnight and Smoothie have separate trees and have ever since she was introduced to him. She was 3 months old when she first met Midnight. He turned 5 years old today.

We do feed them together. We even will let them see each other. There hasn’t been any aggression until now.
 

sanfran_kitty_lady_21

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I don't have an answer for you but I possibly a recommendation. YouTube has some full episodes and a ton of clips from My Cat from Hell and a lot of people on that show have similar challenges you do. Or watch Jackson Galley's (the cat expert in that show) videos where he has a lot of really helpful tips. A few take aways I have from watching his content:
-make sure you have vertical space. Sure, it's not specific to this specific instance, but Jackson always talks about increasing your cat's confidence which leads to better behavior.
-if you have 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes, without covers. Basically, cats should feel confident no one is going to attack them while they are taking a leak. Again, building your cat's confidence so she doesn't feel the need to be aggressive.
-your cats shouldn't have to share anything. You should have 2 cat trees, 2 cat beds, etc. Cats are territorial so they should have clear things that are their's versus the other cat's.
-Is Midnight spayed? Unspayed cats around a spayed cat can increase their stress level.

Basically, I think Jackson Galley's take is that you have on unconfident cat who is stressed out and therefore really reactive. You need to focus on rising their confidence.
 

sunny578

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Have you tried pheromones? I notice my animals can act a little weird when I'm pregnant, but you're right, this is extreme. Wondering if your vet has discussed the possibility of antidepressants or calming meds.

You could try getting a behaviorist in there to see if they have more specific advice. I know dogs can have behavioral changes that develop when they are past their puppy stage.

This must be really stressful on you since you are getting close to your due date.

It sounds like in this last instance, she didn't go into full on attack mode, which might be an encouraging sign. Perhaps there will be some left over aggression as the cats get reacquainted with one another, but maybe it will level out in time for the babies arrival?

I also want to say that there's no shame in rehoming if, as you get closer to your due date, your home doesn't feel safe for a baby.

Good luck.
 
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amarshall0919

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I am happy that the aggression only lasted for about a minute, but it was a scary minute. She is constantly around us during the day since she is the the one locked up at night. She is used to loud noises so it’s strange that she reacted to a loud noise.

Midnight is neutered. Before July, there was absolutely no aggression. When she was brought into the apartment at 3 months old, Midnight was 4. They got along immediately. They played with each other, groomed each other, and slept next to each other. They were best friends which is why it was such a shocker when she randomly had this change in behavior.

I will try watching those YouTube videos and see if they help. I am desperate to find an answer since we’re going on 4 months of having to keep the cats separated in our tiny apartment. I really do not want to rehome her because I have had her since she was 3 weeks old, and she is the daughter of the outside cat I used to have. This makes it a very stressful situation because I know that I will not be able to handle her aggression and a newborn baby. My due date is in 7 weeks. We have that much time (or less) to find a solution.
 

noani

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I second the pheromones, have you tried feliway friends or optimum for example? They recently introduced feliway optimum as a combination of the classic and friends, so it should help with confidence and anxiety in your cat (classic) as well as tension and aggression (friends). Since trying the optimum I don't think I'll ever be going back to either of the singular ones.

I know for some people they don't really seem to work, but I absolutely swear by them. Absolute life changers for me and my cat(s), also in a very small space. If I forget to replace the diffuser bottle, I will really notice it in their behaviour and realize the feliway is out.
 
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amarshall0919

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I am yet again making another post about my year old female cat, Smoothie. Back in July, she randomly and viciously attacked our 5 year old male cat, Midnight. She went after him two more times after that, and also has attacked me several times. It got to the point that I became afraid of her because she came after me so strong. We have not been able to have Midnight and Smoothie in the same room since. They have had to stay

We went to the vet and she has a clean bill of health, and so does Midnight. The vet told us that her hormones were completely out of whack, and that the only way to help her go back to normal was to get her spayed. We got her spayed September 21st. The vet told us that her hormones should be back to normal a month after the spay, possibly two months. Well, we are going on two months after the spay, and I have noticed good changes but also some things haven’t changed.

A few weeks ago, she smelt Midnight on me and would not stop sniffing me. My husband spoke loudly at his video game, and she immediately hissed, jumped up, and was about to attack him. After being by herself for a few minutes, she went right back to her normal self.

Today, just a few moments ago, I switched her and Midnight out and sat down. Smoothie came over to me, and I was petting on her. She started sniffing my pants leg hard where Midnight had been laying on me. I moved her off of my pants to get her to stop sniffing, and she hissed at me. I stood up and she hissed at me again. She then jumps off the chair, and looks at me like she’s about to attack. I distract her with her toy, even though she was barely interested, and was able to get out of the room before she attacked.

How are we ever supposed to get them in same room again? We have been working with them, letting them see each other through the door, feeding them at the same time, and just when it seems we might be getting somewhere, she goes back to her other self.

I need some serious advice. I am 36 weeks pregnant in 2 days. For a large majority of my pregnancy, Midnight and Smoothie have not been able to be together. I bottle fed Smoothie when she was just 3 weeks old. It is very obvious that she enjoys being around me. She follows me to every room. She lays with me constantly. I do not want to get rid of her because I love her so much. We cannot continue this game of not knowing if she’s going to attack or not. We cannot continue this game of keeping one cat locked up during the day, and then one cat locked up during night. It’s stressful for us, and it is stressful for them. Money is also very tight right now, and we are not able to afford those feliway dispensers. I feel completely lost.

Also, I should note that when we crack the doors, they touch noses and are completely fine. She doesn’t react at all. She sees him with her own two eyes. Why is it that she reacts so strongly to his scent, but doesn’t when she sees him? When she sees him and touches his nose, she obviously has to smell him then too. What is the difference???
 
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sunny578

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Hello!

I'm not sure that this will be very helpful, but I'm wondering if it has something to do with your pregnancy. I'm on my second pregnancy, and am a dog walker, and one of my dogs has become more unpredictable/attacky with other dogs. With my first pregnancy, this happened with two other dogs in my group--they became unpredictable and aggressive with other dogs. I know dogs are not cats, but it seems plausible that whatever hormones/pheromones we are releasing is causing some kind of reaction in the animals we are around.

It sounds like this all started with your pregnancy? Wondering if other people have experienced this and if there is hope that it might change once the baby is home. Wondering if maybe you could create a safe environment until then, and then maybe through the first few months of new baby time to see how Smoothie's behavior evolves. I know it must be so hard. Wondering if you have any extra help to get you through this time--a cat friendly relative or a pet sitter to come over and spend extra time with Smoothie while you are busy with the baby.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this. Cat attacks are really scary:( Scarier than dog attacks IMO.
 
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amarshall0919

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Hello!

I'm not sure that this will be very helpful, but I'm wondering if it has something to do with your pregnancy. I'm on my second pregnancy, and am a dog walker, and one of my dogs has become more unpredictable/attacky with other dogs. With my first pregnancy, this happened with two other dogs in my group--they became unpredictable and aggressive with other dogs. I know dogs are not cats, but it seems plausible that whatever hormones/pheromones we are releasing is causing some kind of reaction in the animals we are around.

It sounds like this all started with your pregnancy? Wondering if other people have experienced this and if there is hope that it might change once the baby is home. Wondering if maybe you could create a safe environment until then, and then maybe through the first few months of new baby time to see how Smoothie's behavior evolves. I know it must be so hard. Wondering if you have any extra help to get you through this time--a cat friendly relative or a pet sitter to come over and spend extra time with Smoothie while you are busy with the baby.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this. Cat attacks are really scary:( Scarier than dog attacks IMO.
Thank you for the reply. I do wish we had extra help during this time, but everyone we know already has too much on their plates. My family and my husbands family did say they would help with the baby if I needed it, so that is good.

I wonder if it has to do with the pregnancy as well, but I was already about 17 weeks pregnant when her behavior changed. It was so sudden and bizarre, and nothing made sense as to why it happened. The curtains were closed, and nothing was on the tv so it couldn’t have been redirected aggression. Just minutes before the attack, her and Midnight were laying together and she was cleaning him. That is why the vet said it had to be her hormones, however, I don’t understand why she’s still hissing at his scent sometimes if her hormones should be back to normal by now.

I’m not sure if we’re going to be able to wait and see if she gets better after I give birth. My husband is at his wits end, and is very upset that the cats can’t be together. I try not to think about it, but it’s very possible that we will have to find a good home for her. It makes me sick even thinking about it. I feel guilty, and it’s not even my fault. I’m so mad and upset that this even happened.

I don’t want Midnight, myself, or my husband to be attacked again. It was absolutely awful, and I have scars on my legs and feet from it now. I’m terrified of her attacking our baby. If she was to go after her, I would feel like it’s my fault because we didn’t do something before hand. I don’t think I would be able to forgive myself if Smoothie attacked our baby.
 

sunny578

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I totally hear you.

I live in a city with a really good shelter. One option might be to contact your shelter or local rescue to see if they can help you find temporary housing for Smoothie or Midnight, and then bringing her back once things have settled down. I know our shelter offers that for people experiencing homelessness or domestic violence, so it might be worth a try.

I haven't read all your posts, so I'm not sure if you have tried medication for Smoothie. You could see it as a temporary solution for this difficult time.

I would guess that it is totally a possibility for Smoothie's behavior to go back to normal once things settle down, but it's also possible that it won't.

Wondering if you have consulted a neurologist? I worked with a cat once who had very strange and unpredictable aggressive episodes, and it turned out something was going on with his brain (it was maybe 20 years ago, so I don't remember what.) MRIs etc can be extremely expensive, but in my experience, you can get a lot of info from just an office visit with a neurologist, and here that is a little more expensive than a typical vet trip ($160 or $180.)
 
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sunny578

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Also wondering if they did a follow up blood test for her hormones, and if they postulated why they were so imbalanced?
 
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