Living together for 10 years and start fighting today

coremms

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I have two cats who living together for almost 10 years without any major fights. They are both neutered male, one is 10 years old and the other is 11. Both should be healthy since I just get their senior screening done last month and everything's normal. They usually eat together, play together and sleep together.

Today all of a sudden the younger cat (very shy) start chasing the older guy(social King) and beat him down really hard - they hiss at each other, yell badly and fur flies everywhere. I separated them but after a while they start to fight again. It's been at least 5 rounds this afternoon. Now the older cat is hiding at the corner under the bed and the other is just waiting there. Both of them refused me touch them or pet them(usually they are sweet boys and just purr ). Anything I need to worry about? Do I need to reintroduce them after living together for 10 years :-? I tried to feed them some treat they crazy about but both don't come to me now.
 

abyeb

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Has anything changed in your home environment lately? Cats are sensitive to their surroundings, so small changes can stress them out. Another thing to consider is the possibility of re-directed aggression: are there any outdoor cats in your neighborhood that your cats could see through the window? This happened to another cat owner I know; her cats started attacking each other because there were new outdoor cats running around the neighborhood. She ended up blocking the view with curtains, and the issues between the cats resolved.

This article talks more about re-directed aggression: Re-directed Aggression In Cats – TheCatSite Articles

I don’t have a ton of experience in this area, because I have a single cat household myself, but some other posters will likely come by with some more ideas.
 

eva21513

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Can you separate them? Cats don’t forget - each fight they have now is worsening the situation. This really has to come first - whatever is causing this, we can’t let it get worse. Get the boys in separate rooms, each with his own food, water, litter box, and toys. Leave them both alone - don’t try to give treats, call the frightened one out, etc. Just let them be.

There are lots of potential causes. I know they had a checkup last month, but sick cats smell different to other cats - your older cat could be developing a UTI or who knows what else, and smelled sick to the younger one, who became aggressive. I’d call your vet and see if they can do a quick check on the older cat - unfortunate since he’s already stressed, but really necessary and it’s better to do it now while they’re going to be separated. (When one cat goes to the vet and the other stays home, there’s sometimes non-recognition aggression - but that won’t matter since you’ll be keeping them apart.)

If the vet says he’s healthy, then look for other causes - stress in the household? A change in routine? A guest? Construction nearby? A neighborhood cat, seen through a window or smelled?

I know this is an awful and difficult situation to find yourself in :( I do think they’ll be back to sleeping, playing, and eating together - just have to stop the damage and figure out whatever’s happening that they can’t tell you about in words!
 

stoorworm

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Had a similar problem a year back. My cats are basically two peas in a pod, sleep together, play together etc.
One day I came back home to a toppled over spice rack, one kitty cowering behind a curtain and the other all puffed up screaming bloody murder.
Probably one (or both) of them knocked over the spice rack, got spooked and it all escalated from there.
I’m talking about a pee trail to the curtain sort of fear. That’s how I was able to find her.
I had never seen Potato (the aggressor) caterwauling and being aggressive before then and he’s never done it since.

What I did was immediately separate them and give them time to calm down without seeing the other.
Once they both seemed somewhat calmer (hours later) I tried to reintroduce them by leaving only a single door between them.
Once they got used to the presence of the other on the other side of the door I slightly opened the door and immediate swatting and growling ensued.
So I kept them separated for the night with individual litter trays and water.

In the morning I got them on each side of a door again and fed them on either side where they could smell the other but not see. When they seemed relaxed enough I distracted the aggressor with a toy and opened the door again. They both froze and stared at each other and the aggressor puffed up so I calmly closed the door before it escalated but there was significantly less hostility than the day before.

Did the same feeding method in the evening, distracted the aggressor and opened the door and this time there was wary staring but no christmas tree tails.
Slept on it again, breakfast next day, same thing and this time the victim entered the room the aggressor was in. They even sniffed at each other and the moment I felt the tension was rising I separated them again.
Dinner, same thing, sniffing and some wariness but a lot better.
I think by the third morning, after a lengthy reciprocated sniffing session they started bonding again and we’ve had no other problems since then.
 
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coremms

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Has anything changed in your home environment lately? Cats are sensitive to their surroundings, so small changes can stress them out. Another thing to consider is the possibility of re-directed aggression: are there any outdoor cats in your neighborhood that your cats could see through the window? This happened to another cat owner I know; her cats started attacking each other because there were new outdoor cats running around the neighborhood. She ended up blocking the view with curtains, and the issues between the cats resolved.

This article talks more about re-directed aggression: Re-directed Aggression In Cats – TheCatSite Articles

I don’t have a ton of experience in this area, because I have a single cat household myself, but some other posters will likely come by with some more ideas.
Thanks for reminding the changes in my home environment...The only thing has changed probably their food...I used to feed them wellness but switch to fancy feast because the older cat didn't like wellness...but seems like the younger cat doesn't like ff...maybe that's the reason:-?
 
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coremms

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Can you separate them? Cats don’t forget - each fight they have now is worsening the situation. This really has to come first - whatever is causing this, we can’t let it get worse. Get the boys in separate rooms, each with his own food, water, litter box, and toys. Leave them both alone - don’t try to give treats, call the frightened one out, etc. Just let them be.

There are lots of potential causes. I know they had a checkup last month, but sick cats smell different to other cats - your older cat could be developing a UTI or who knows what else, and smelled sick to the younger one, who became aggressive. I’d call your vet and see if they can do a quick check on the older cat - unfortunate since he’s already stressed, but really necessary and it’s better to do it now while they’re going to be separated. (When one cat goes to the vet and the other stays home, there’s sometimes non-recognition aggression - but that won’t matter since you’ll be keeping them apart.)

If the vet says he’s healthy, then look for other causes - stress in the household? A change in routine? A guest? Construction nearby? A neighborhood cat, seen through a window or smelled?

I know this is an awful and difficult situation to find yourself in :( I do think they’ll be back to sleeping, playing, and eating together - just have to stop the damage and figure out whatever’s happening that they can’t tell you about in words!
You're right..cat don't forgot. I tried to introduce them again but it caused another fight and things get worse. I am making an appointment with the vet to do a quick checkup, hopefully nothing goes wrong. I have kept them in the separate room for three days now, hopefully I don't have to do this for the rest of their life:(
 
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coremms

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Had a similar problem a year back. My cats are basically two peas in a pod, sleep together, play together etc.
One day I came back home to a toppled over spice rack, one kitty cowering behind a curtain and the other all puffed up screaming bloody murder.
Probably one (or both) of them knocked over the spice rack, got spooked and it all escalated from there.
I’m talking about a pee trail to the curtain sort of fear. That’s how I was able to find her.
I had never seen Potato (the aggressor) caterwauling and being aggressive before then and he’s never done it since.

What I did was immediately separate them and give them time to calm down without seeing the other.
Once they both seemed somewhat calmer (hours later) I tried to reintroduce them by leaving only a single door between them.
Once they got used to the presence of the other on the other side of the door I slightly opened the door and immediate swatting and growling ensued.
So I kept them separated for the night with individual litter trays and water.

In the morning I got them on each side of a door again and fed them on either side where they could smell the other but not see. When they seemed relaxed enough I distracted the aggressor with a toy and opened the door again. They both froze and stared at each other and the aggressor puffed up so I calmly closed the door before it escalated but there was significantly less hostility than the day before.

Did the same feeding method in the evening, distracted the aggressor and opened the door and this time there was wary staring but no christmas tree tails.
Slept on it again, breakfast next day, same thing and this time the victim entered the room the aggressor was in. They even sniffed at each other and the moment I felt the tension was rising I separated them again.
Dinner, same thing, sniffing and some wariness but a lot better.
I think by the third morning, after a lengthy reciprocated sniffing session they started bonding again and we’ve had no other problems since then.
Thanks for sharing your experience, I feel much relieved to know that your cats get along again! I'll try what you did, hope that works:) Now the aggressor is just waiting outside of the room that victim stay. I'm kind of worried if the aggressor wants to be dominator cat in the house from now on? Coz he is younger and stronger, but the older guy has been the boss at home for the past 10 years.
 

ArtNJ

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Yep, separation. Sometimes hours, sometimes days, sometimes if you are unlucky and they were really fighting (which they were) you might need to make into a kind of reintroduction process that lasts even longer than that, like put up baby gates so they can't get to each other but can see each other. You definitely made some minor mistakes putting them together too soon but shouldn't be any permanent harm done.

Sometimes, we can't always figure out what happened. Could be a stray nail caused pain while playing, a loud noise when they were close to each other, a cat they saw through the window, coming back from the vet or groomer smelling different, or a whole bunch of things. So you treat the symptoms with a separation and hope it doesn't reoccur. If it does maybe you get more info and can figure it out.

Good luck!
 
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