Cats fighting

mamie12

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I am hoping you all can help me deal with my aggressive cat.  I have 4 cats and the situation is happening between my female cat, Ellie who is 7  and my male cat Truman who is 4. Of course, they are both neutered.  Ellie has always been the boss and in the past has put Truman in his place when he needs it.  Truman is very affectionate to me and before all this has gotten along with the other cats.

Earlier this summer, I noticed that Truman was guarding the cat door that comes into the house and bats at whoever is coming into the house. Before I could address this, we had  a stray cat hanging around our house and Ellie was injured by either the stray cat or Truman.  She has recovered now, but Truman will only let her into the kitchen without attacking her.Ellie will run and urinates out of fear. I have tried to take her into the living room when Truman is not there, but she won't stay more than a few seconds .

Ellie is living in my kitchen with her bed on the counter and since she goes outside, she does her bathroom duties there. I started Feliway diffusers and have been using Jackson Galaxy's sprays- I have Self Esteem, Bully Remedy and Safe Space for cats.  I have discussed the problem with our vet and they think it is a case of redirected aggression from the feral cat in the yard.   I am determined to help them work this out. What I don't understand is that they will eat dinner in the kitchen within a foot of each other, but he won't allow her into the rest of the house. 

I feel so bad for my Ellie girl and am hoping you all can tell me how to fix this situation.

Thanks!!
 

calicosrspecial

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It does sound like redirected anger. I have a bad feeling the feral might have come into the house or tried to at some point. 

It is great that they eat together in the kitchen. That is a positive and given that I think this is fixable.

Here is what I would do.

I would really work on building the confidence of Truman. I want him to feel more confident and that he owns the place. I would try to get him to play as much as possible in the living room and in the kitchen. After play feed either treats or a meal. Do you have a cat tree or trees in the living room? Or anything he can go high in? I would like him to be up in the world as much as possible. Also I would like for you to give him as much love as possible (without being scratched or hurt in any way). It can range from eye kisses, to sitting by him and talking softly and lovingly to him to petting him. If you can get him to purr that would be great.

We also need to build the confidence of Ellie. Play, food, height and love if possible. Try to play with Ellie in the kitchen as much as possible then feed either treats or a meal. Then after maybe a week I would like it if you could slowly use play and/or food to get Ellie closer to the living room and eventually in it. If someone else could be distracting Truman while she is in there that would be great (distract with food or play). If we can get her in there without Truman intimidating her then she can build her confidence and feel more comfortable.

I would also like you to get a few old shirts and rub them on Ellie and get her scent on them and place them were Truman is (at first under your supervision) and let's see how he reacts. Give him treats or food when you have that shirt with you. Let's see how he reacts. Then maybe when you are giving him love have that shirt right there. We want to associate her scent with good things (like food, play or love). I want to see how he reacts to her scent. If it is positive then I would get the other shirts with her scent on and place it where he hangs out or sleeps. Anything positive. But I want to make sure it is only her scent on her (and therefore the shirts) and not that of a feral. 

I would try this and let's see what happens. I think this is a situation that can be fixed and I think the above can help achieve that.

Please feel free to ask any questions and I am happy to help you through the process. 
 
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mamie12

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Thank you so much for your advice!!  I have been trying to spend extra time with each cat separately each day.  I do have a cat tree in the living room, so Truman does have the ability to go high and I have bought him some new catnip toys. They are slowly doing better. I gave them a special treat in the living room together and they ate it with no problem.  Ellie didn't stay in the living room any longer than

she had to, but Truman wasn't upset that she was there.  I just think it is a matter of rebuilding Ellie's trust.  When she came in from being outside last night, they touched noses which is very encouraging. 

I have been using the scent swapping and Spirit Essences in their water.   I will continue to work and hopefully soon, we will get past this.

Again, thank so much for your help.  I will keep you updated.
 

calicosrspecial

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You are welcome.

GREAT. It sounds like you are doing exactly the right things and it is helping. You are exactly right, it is about rebuilding trust for both. Food works wonders. Keep up the great work.

I think you will get through this, a lot of positives in your recent post.

I am happy to help as long as you have questions. I'll be here for you anytime. Feel free to ask anything.Keep up the great work.
 
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mamie12

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Hi-  I am still having problems with my cats getting along.  I have been trying to get Ellie more comfortable in the house, but she still will not go into the living room.  I purchased a baby gate so she is now in the office where she can be comfortable and have access to the litter box.  It is Truman who is my problem.  They get along ok in the house, even though Ellie hisses whenever he is too close.  They will eat right next to each other and she lets him sniff her and vice versa,  but he is still going after her when they are outside.  How can I help with this outside aggression?  I will rotate their outside time for now, but I want to fix whatever is causing the problem- they have gotten along for 4 years with no problems.    Should I segregate Truman in the office and let Ellie have free reign of the house- even though she won't leave the kitchen?  What a mess!!!

Thanks for your help!!

Deb Stone
 

calicosrspecial

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How does she act outside? Is she walking tall and confident or more low to the ground etc?

It could be that he is redirecting his anger to her because he smells the scent of ferals outside.

Great that they are eating together and sniffing each other. Keep trying to get them to eat together as it helps them associate each other with good things (food). 

The fact she is still not going into the living room tells me her confidence is not yet where it needs to be. I would really try to get her into the living room. Use food and/or play. Do you have any cat trees in there that she can go high? Also if you can do so without being at risk I would give her love in the living room. I would try to distract Truman so that she is not at risk of being attacked in the living room. Distract with food or play in another room if possible. I typically do not like to block off access via door closed etc.

So I would continue building her confidence if possible using play and food and height and love not only in the living room but all over the house. The more confident she is the less likely she will be attacked.

I would also build Truman's confidence via play and food and height and love. The more confident and secure he is the less likely he will attack her.

I don't like taking territory away from a cat so I would try not to segregate Truman if at all possible.

Please feel free to ask any questions and I am happy to help as long as needed. I hope we can get them to get along soon.
 
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mamie12

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Wouldn't you know as soon as I ask for help, we have a big break through!! I have been putting Ellie in the office that is gated. She can rest and relax, but still see what's going on.  She sleeps there at night

and in order to get breakfast, she has to pass through the living room.  I always make sure Truman is outside before I open the gate to the office.  The past several days, she has sat in the living room looking around for a few seconds before dashing to the kitchen.  On  Sunday, I was not feeling well and had out one of the furry blankets she loves and she came from the kitchen into the living room and let me place her on the blanket.  She stayed there for around 20 minutes. I was so happy!!!  There is hope and I will continue to work with them both to get through this!! 

She is much more confident outside as long as Truman is not around.  She takes off and hides in the basement window wells and Truman has attacked her while she is hiding there. I think you are right about the redirected aggression from the feral cats in our neighborhood.  I saw one in our yard just last week. I have started going out with her when she goes outside to make sure Truman is not in the same area and will continue to work with both cats to build their confidence.

Your advise is so helpful and I will keep you updated.

Thanks again-

Deb
 

calicosrspecial

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You are welcome.

Great that she was in the living room for 20 minutes. Keep trying to associate the living room and Truman (and vice versa) with good things. Food works wonders as does play. And furry blankets!!

There is a lot of hope and I think things will normalize. We have to build their confidence and to associate each of them with good things.

Anytime they are seeing each other or together without incident it is a positive.

If Truman does start getting funny try to distract with food or play. Breaking that focus is a big step toward normalization.

Please feel free to ask anything. I hope we can get them back to where they were before. I think the ferals are causing some or most of the issues. Building Truman's confidence will help him feel more secure territorially. 

I'll be here for you throughout the process. Good luck.
 
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