Help! My cat got outside and now hates the other boy cats in the house!

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julienne2012

TCS Member
Kitten
We have 2 spayed females and 3 neutered males. The little boy cat, Gray Baby, is about 3 years old - the rest are about 2 years old. They all got along very well - Gray Baby would play and cuddle with all the others. He was a sweet and affectionate cat. The rest of the kitties are as well.

BUT, he got out one night a couple months ago. We found him the next morning. I couldn't see any injuries on him, but he suddenly got in ferocious fights with the other boy cats. He would growl and hiss; they would come up to him, curious as to what on earth was going on, and he would attack. I finally ended up putting him in the garage because of the incredible fights. Bear in mind the boy cats do not attack him or corner him - Gray Baby just goes crazy hissing, spitting and growling when he sees one. The girl cats will go in the garage to check him out, and he does not fight with them. I can still pet him, pick him up and cuddle him - in the garage.

He's been living in the garage for a couple months now. I hate it, but I don't know what to do. I thought he would get over it eventually, but it doesn't seem to be easing up. When I carry him into the house he starts hissing and fighting me, especially if the boy cats are around.

Is there any medication the vet could prescribe? I think it would take a lot of time, work and behavioral training on my part to get him better - if it would work at all.

thanks for any advice!
 

johnson-bennett

TCS Member
Young Cat
Cats recognize each other by scent before anything else. That's why a cat who returns home from a veterinary visit may be greeted with hostility by the resident cats who remained at home. In your cat's case, he smelled like the outdoors and probably smelled like unfamiliar cats or other animals he probably encountered. Add to that, the fact that he probably re-entered the home with a different body language due to the trauma of being outside.

From the other cats' point of view, the kitty who was outdoors is not a threat. What then happens with this territorial aggression is that it starts a cycle where one cat acts defensively because of the attack and then that triggers the other cat to re-ignite the aggression.

At this point you have to treat the cat in the garage as a brand new addition to the home and do a very gradual, positive introduction. Use food and other forms of "bribery" to help everyone see that good things happen when the cats are together. Feed them at a safe distance from each other but only put a small amount of food in there.

Here's an article from our website on how to introduce a new cat. The technique will apply to your situation as well.

Whether you need to put one or more cats on medication to ease stress will be a decision that your veterinarian should make.

Good luck.

Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC

www.catbehaviorassociates.com
 
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julienne2012

TCS Member
Kitten
Thank you so much! This is very helpful.  I read about the sock/scent method in the link. Should I rub a sock on the other male cats and introduce them back to Gray Baby?
 
 
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