Sisters Getting Along Better...but..

Matt M PA

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After what we assume was mis-directed aggression about a month ago, we have made some good progress. We kept them separated with one being "loose" at a time. This lasted about 2 weeks, and they were getting along better. So for about 2 weeks, they're sitting in the same window, eating her each other, etc.

We have had one or the other hiss, but this doesn't seem to escalate.

I know this will take some time, but I'm concerned that they still seem to have the need to (for want of a better term) to get away from each other. For example, Aggie spent most of the day with me in the office while Allie slept in the cat tree. At one point, Aggie was on a chair and Allie on top of the file cabinet just a couple feet away with no problems. Either is talkative, etc on their own. I also notice they aren't eating as much.

I assume that this will take some time and that they really need to work it out on their own. They are almost 8 and have been together all their lives.

I aslo realize that I am likely impatient with all this and just need to calm down...but it's disconcerning to see them not "normal"...
 

rubysmama

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Sorry you're still dealing with this. Unfortunately, I have no experience with cats not getting along, so can't offer much more than the usual advice, which I know you already know. Hopefully it won't go on much longer, and your 2 cats will be friends again soon.
 

Mamanyt1953

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You were right the first time! It does take time. You're doing fine. And...as sad as it may be, sometimes we have to get used to a "new normal." We have no idea yet if this is so, in another week or two or three, they may be just like they were before. HOWEVER...if they are not, so long as they are contented and happy as they are, you will ALL be fine!
 

catlover73

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If you are only seeing a little bit of hissing and it is not escalating like it was before than it just a form of communication between the cats. I have two cats that have lived together for years. My twelve year old sometimes hisses at my eight year old. She does not swat him and he does not swat her. He does not even hiss back. It seems to happen when she feels like he is invading her space. Most of the time he just moves away from her a little bit. They both sleep with us. He likes to come groom my face before he goes to sleep. She likes to groom me too. Sometimes he just gets to close to her when he is grooming me and she hisses at him. Sometimes she will move away from him other times she just hisses once and then ignores him. Her hissing is just communicating that she wants more space. I can actually pet her right after she has hissed at him and she has never re-directed any aggression at me.
 
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Matt M PA

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Thanks for the responses.....gives me some peace of mind.

We played together for awhile and one went into the bay window. The other looked up into the window (I assume) trying to decide if she should go up or not. They both wound up growling at each other but no-one moved. I finally heard enough and put a piece of cardboard between them. The sister in the window did some more low growling. The other is on the floor 6 feet away.

I should add that it all blows over quickly. Within an hour, they are within 6 feet from each other showing no aggression, so I assume we're having some progress.

Should I just be ignoring this growling, etc...or should I be using a squirt bottle or noise maker of some sort?
 
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catlover73

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I would not use a squirt bottle in this situation at all. I think this would cause more fear between them. To me this growling seems like a type of communication if it is not escalating past that. If there are no attacks or swats with the growling then I would just stay close and observe. If there are no signs of actual aggression then I would just watch and be prepared to step in if needed. If one of them is backing off and is not being chased then I do not see this is aggression. If they are chasing each other around growling then I would be more worried that it was going to become more aggressive. I am going to post an article on how to break-up cat fights in case you need it. I am also going to post articles on cat communication and growling that may give you more insight into what is happening now between your babies.

How To Safely Break Up A Cat Fight
Cat Sounds - Feline Vocal Communication
Why Is My Cat Growling?
 
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Matt M PA

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Thank you! I just read those...and will review again. Very helpful.

This AM...ate said by side. Waited to be fed side by side. For some reason, it seems that nighttime is most often when anything negative happens...

It also seems to begin with looking-staring at each other.

Again, thanks for the all the help. I've never dealt with anything like this and it's distressing...
 

catlover73

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The waiting to be fed side by side is great news.

Cats tend to be a little more active at night so this could be why you are seeing the change in behavior then.

Have you tried to get them to play to break the staring behavior? I am not sure if this would work but if you have any wand toys perhaps it could be used to try to engage play time to break the staring pattern. This may be a long shot but it just popped into my head so I figured I would put it out there.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Should I just be ignoring this growling, etc...or should I be using a squirt bottle or noise maker of some sort?
Ignore it unless it escalates to a REAL attack. A swat doesn't count. Remember, sometimes a cat's gotta say what a cat's gotta say.

The waiting to be fed side by side is great news.
OH MY YES, it is!

Have you tried to get them to play to break the staring behavior? I am not sure if this would work but if you have any wand toys perhaps it could be used to try to engage play time to break the staring pattern. This may be a long shot but it just popped into my head so I figured I would put it out there.
That's a bit of a genius idea, actually. A positive distraction at the right time is far, far better than a negative one!
 
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Matt M PA

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Thanks again for the thoughts and advice.

I was out for hours today, and upon return Aggie wanted to be petted and then wanted different food. I went into the office where there is a smaller litter pan for the last couple weeks. One went in...and the other waited her turn.
 
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Matt M PA

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Yet another update....tonight around 8 they were growling at each other. My wife heard what was going on, but I wasn't home.

When I got home, I fed them and Allie wasn't in a rush to be close to Aggie, but Aggie seemed OK. Allie retreated to the master bedroom.

Well, I found a week or so ago, that they both have an interest in watching slot cars. I set up a small track on the floor and they both come to watch. I figure it's something positive they both can see together. The next thing I know, they are inches from each other looking at something on the floor. It's all so odd.

..and since folks like pics...here are our girls a few months ago. Allie's in front. IMG_5858.JPG
 

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I have dealt with a redirected aggression issue with my brother and sister pair. Once they "got back together" there was a new normal. Whereas before the two spent most of their time together in the family room, after, the female claimed a new room as her own. They spend some time together, sleeping together on the loveseat in his (family) room or looking out the window in her room but they also spend time apart in their preferred rooms. Before the incident, they were never apart. They do not hiss or growl at each other; they just are not as closely bonded.
 
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Matt M PA

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Thank you rubysmama!

As has become the norm, Allie went upstairs and Aggie slept into tree. At feeding time this AM...Allie came downstairs and someone hissed at someone else. (Don;t know who started it) What I do know is that Allie seemed to be the aggressor for the next few minutes. I fed them separately....and later thy were within inches of each other with no responses.
 
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Matt M PA

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I'm really starting to get discouraged. I feel like I need to be with them at all times to avoid issues.

Came into the house after being outside with some chores. Allie was at the front screen door, so I visited with her...and found Aggie wandering around in the den. I got out the petting glove they like. Aggie was enjoying it...Allie came in for her turn and and while petting her...Aggie approached. Allie growled. Aggie backed into a dead end under the desk. Growling, etc continued with neither backing off.

Since I have to leave the house for a bit, I thought I'd sequester Allie in the bedroom. When I took a bowl of food to her...she wanted out already. Very talkative, etc. So, I carried her to where her sister was....and they went their own ways.

Perhaps I'm really thick...but am I better to just let them growl, etc unless it goes further? Neither seemed to want to back off...

Maybe it's time for a vet visit and some sort of medication? Longer separation?
 
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Hellenww

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Since it's just growling try backing off and let them work it out some. Even feeding them move to the doorway or other room if you want to keep an eye on them. Even a happy hovering Papa can cause some nerves.

What's your weather like? My boys like each other best when they are cold. Put on a sweater and crank-up the air. They are so near in the photo maybe if they need each other for warmth it will put them over the line.
 
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Matt M PA

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Thanks all!

It is getting warm here, but we open the doors so they can look out the screen doors in the morning. The air is on now...but I'll drop it a few degrees. That pic is from a new months ago.

We had two of the Feliway things going, and perhaps they played a role...but in a split level house we'd need them all over. We weren't seeing a difference after a few weeks and took them back. I can get some more if needed.

We did get some special treats at the vet, that are supposed to help but only one cat will eat them.

It's crazy because at times they will sit together, wash each other, etc....
 

Mamanyt1953

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Well, I found a week or so ago, that they both have an interest in watching slot cars. I set up a small track on the floor and they both come to watch. I figure it's something positive they both can see together. The next thing I know, they are inches from each other looking at something on the floor. It's all so odd
Well, THAT's a genius idea! And yes, anything positive that they do together is nothing but good! Oh...that last sentence? That's life with cats in a nutshell!

Perhaps I'm really thick...but am I better to just let them growl, etc unless it goes further? Neither seemed to want to back off...
Yes. Let them growl and intervene ONLY if a real attack occures (blood on the floor, shrieking squalls, fur in the air). The bottom line is, the more you intervene, the longer it will take them to figure out this new normal. And, honestly, sometimes a cat's gotta say what a cat's gotta say. They're allowed to grumble and argue, just no physical fighting. Swats, btw, do not count as "physical fighting." Those are just exclamation points.
 
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