Cat siblings not getting along after a move

Renfieldscat

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Hello! I'm hoping someone here can lend some advice to a very stressful situation.

Almost two months ago my wife and I moved with our two year old cats across the country, and from an apartment into a house. Everything went as smooth as possible, but a few weeks later we heard crashing sounds as the cats careened around the house, one of them screaming. The boy, Basil, has always played rougher than his sister, Summers, but after a quick cooldown everything would reset and bygones would be bygones. This time was different. We had to separate them immediately, and Summers would hiss whenever she even smelled Basil. She wasn't hurt. We kept them separate for a few days, then slowly began the re-intrdouction process which went smoothly. Fast-forward to almost a month later and we're at a stand-still. They can eat together and be in the same room for a time, but she inevably decides that she's had enough him and hisses in his face or swats him. He's a very cuddly idiot, and he doesn't understand these signs. He just wants to play with his sister. She has no patience to play with him, and if he tries she gets mad and resorts to growling, hissing, and running, which only gets him going.

I would be very grateful for any advice anyone had. We've been trying feliway diffusers and sprays but nothing really seems to be working. Is it just more time? It's been very stressful to live this way.
 

FeebysOwner

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More time may be needed. It doesn't sound bad, given there is no hair flying and no blood drawn, but it is probably good to let them be together only when supervised for now. Playing with both of them at the same time is another tactic to use. Distracting him is another option, something like tossing kickeroo toys his way so that he can attack them rather than her.

She may just not be adapting as well as he has, or it could actually be the opposite in that he is extra-hyper due to the move. You might also have to consider giving him time-outs when he attacks her and she responds negatively - by picking him up, hissing or saying 'no' in his face, and placing him in another room for just a minute or two.

If this is not a new home, it is possible that scents/smells from previous pets could have set off the whole new dynamic. It is also possible you have outside 'critters' that roam about and have triggered an ongoing reaction. Just things to consider.
 

Alldara

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Did you start them in a small room of the house or just a full house?

They could be overwhelmed with all the new space as well.

I'd also try some hormones (feliway or something), and some cat calming music (any streaming platform has it with purring!).

A month is not long to a cat to establish territory. She's likely still nervous and off-kilter. Have you made a "base camp" for them?
 

di and bob

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I agree with the above, a month is not long at all in a cat's world, they are both on edge yet and overwhelmed, the female more than the male. This is most likely due to their personalities, his laid back, and hers, well, more "female'. meaning she wants complete control and manners in her life (Like all females) and now everything is different and out of her control. There are smells, and maybe another cat coming around the house at night, nothing is familiar anymore and that is what cats thrive on, routine and familiarity. She will continue to be on edge fro a few more months, and just as we are when we are worried or scared, we snap back, get mad at things that are out of our control. Things that used to bring us comfort and that we still love, we just need time to adjust. She needs a little more calming attention, a few more pets and kind words, and for him to be distracted and kept from trying to engage her. Get a kickeroo on amazon and throw it towards him when he is focusing on her, distract him any way you can. She is trying to tell him she needs time to focus on all the new stuff and for him to leave her alone. She is doing this with completely normal hisses, screams and swatting. She eventually will get some confidence and feel more secure and hold her ground instead of running, which excites him and urges him on. I have had females act like this to the boys when they get a little older and try to establish their 'queendom'. They just don't tolerate the boy's bad manners anymore.
Everything you are describing is normal after a move and will resolve in time. Just one day at a time........
 

KittenAppliance

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I've moved quite a few times with my 2 sibling cats, and usually they quarrel for a while over their new haunts within the house....basically establishing whose haunt it is. The male cat tends to be territorial over "his" spots for a while and if his sister sits in one of them, if he notices, he will go over to her and basically sit on her or edge her out. Sometimes escalating into swatting or hissing. It has always tended to happen a lot the first few months and then fade out.
 

danteshuman

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Maybe more scent soakers, calming products & trying to make your front/back yard univiting for community cats can help your stressed out kitty? I would check around your house and door with a black light to make sure other cats are not marking your house/door. If they are, I would use an enzyme cleaner on whatever glows & buy a motion activated sprinkler. You would need to train the community cats that your house/yard (her territory) is no longer for their use. Cats can hear and smell incredibly well..... so just becuase a door or wall separates them does not mean she is unaware of intruders!

Depending on how stressed she is, you may want to give her some pharmacological help calming down. Like CBD oil or a light sedative from the vet for a couple of weeks.
 

lollie

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Another vote for redirecting whenever possible. Does she have plenty of UP places to get away from him?
 
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