uncharacteristic aggression toward another cat

terribletulio

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 15, 2024
Messages
2
Purraise
2
this one’s a bit complicated. my cat Nel (9F) and I just moved back in with my parents after living out of state for six years. my family had two cats (D and S, 12M) when i adopted her as a kitten. she grew up with them and got along great with everyone for the three years we lived at home. after we moved, she had introductions with six other cats over the course of six years and has never had a problem. she’s itty bitty, only 7 pounds, and at most would hiss at newcomers who invaded her space, and has never been violent. she’s the most tolerant cat i know. i have always done slow introductions whenever possible but even during rushed introductions, she’s been consistent and adaptable.

cut to moving back home, with two cats she lived with for years and one she didn’t. i’ve been keeping her in my room, but recently i’ve been locking the other animals up so she can explore the house and get more comfortable. one of the cats, S, is indoor-outdoor (not my preference but ultimately not my responsibility which is :/ but whatever). the dog door he comes through was not sufficiently blocked and he came inside, startling Nel. usually, she’ll approach and sniff and then hiss and back off, but this time she ran right up to him, tail fully puffed, and started hissing and spitting at him, then swiped at him. he took off running (a 16 pound 12 year old male cat) and she chased after him to continue attacking him. i had to break them up. a few days later i let her explore again and he managed to squeeze through the door again and she did the same thing. the last time this happened, she slipped out the door while i was coming in and took off straight to the room he was in and the moment she saw him she started spitting. i managed to grab her before she reached him. while i dont expect her to remember him after so many years, i’m extremely confused and concerned as to what could have caused this sudden aggression in her. i’ve never seen her behave like this in the nine and a half years i’ve had her, and the several cats she’s been introduced to.

does anyone have any ideas or insight as to what could be contributing to this sudden aggression? she’s been perfectly normal in every other way. it’s been nearly two weeks and she’s desperate to be let into the rest of the house, but i’ve been putting off full introductions due to difficulty finding the right locations to do door separation/co-feeding, and now with this behavior i’m even more reticent to let her out. any insight would be appreciated, i’m at a complete loss
 

Stormy accepts you

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Oct 6, 2023
Messages
451
Purraise
767
Location
North Carolina
He scared the crap out of her. Cats do NOT like to feel cornered, trapped, or be surprised. My advice, but this is just me, I say, let them fight it out and get it over with. Things usually calm down after that.
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
23,229
Purraise
35,102
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
Hi and welcome TCS, despite what brought you here.

I hate to say it but it is going to be tough with the indoor/outdoor cat. He is continually bringing in new smells, and he is allowed to ‘accidently’ come in while she is exploring her new home. 2 weeks is nothing, so that unto itself is not enough time to let her get acclimated before she is introduced to a cat who goes outside.

He must be locked outside of the house when she is allowed to explore, or placed with the 'other animals'.. He must also be the last one to be introduced to her.

You don’t mention what is going on with the other cat and if they have been exposed to each other. You also don’t mention why there is a dog door, unless it is just because he is a large cat. You also mentioned that the ‘other animals’ are locked up while Nel explores – how many other animals are there?

This is merely a start to what you need to do, but more information is needed to help figure out a plan.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

terribletulio

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 15, 2024
Messages
2
Purraise
2
he hasn’t been “allowed” to come in, as it were. we’ve attempted to block the door every time we let Nel out, to keep him outside. what we used to block the door evidently wasnt heavy enough. since then, i figured out a reliable method of keeping it blocked and him outside. when he’s inside, he gets locked up with the indoor car. there is a dog door because my family has a dog.

my family has one dog, one outdoor cat, one indoor/outdoor, and one indoor. Nel spent three years cohabitating peacefully alongside the outdoor and indoor/outdoor cats.

i’m familiar with conducting slow introductions and i care a great deal about each cat’s stress levels and emotional wellbeing. my biggest concern is her aggressive response and how completely out of character it is. i’ve seen her startled before, i’ve had cats slip in before introductions were intended, and she has never behaved this way. she’s more likely to run away from an altercation or hide than to fight, and she had access to her safe room. the time she managed to slip out of the room as i was entering, she passed and completely ignored the indoor cat (f) before i caught up to her. she went straight for S with aggression, and that wasn’t because she was startled. she sought him out without getting distracted, into a room she hadn’t been allowed into yet, rather than being surprised by him. that’s moreso what i’m looking for insight into, if there’s any to be had.
 

Kris107

Cat mom, cat foster mom
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Mar 6, 2023
Messages
786
Purraise
1,559
Some people, just rub us the wrong way. Same can be for cats. I know we don't like our 99% of the time meek cat go wild, but she currently isn't a fan of the one cat yet.
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
23,229
Purraise
35,102
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
The insight is that there are reasons for slow introductions, and what you are experiencing is one of them. While there are certainly cats that don't require any introduction process, many do. I suspect that if you can get the separation process under control, a proper introduction might resolve the problem. I am sure that it is hard to manage everything with 4 cats, two of which go outside, and a dog. But, once you can get a routine gong that enables you to control the situation, things should progress positively, even if they might go slower than you'd like. When it comes to cat behavior, patience is the one virtue that we humans all need to embrace!!!

Sure, there is a possibility that these two cats will never be buddies, but I think it is too soon to know that yet. If nothing else, the introduction process should at least create tolerance.
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
6,024
Purraise
10,416
Location
Canada
T terribletulio
Im wondering if she's not ready to rexplore the home and needs more time in her base camp. Usually, I give only a small space off base camp at a time and dont let them explore past that. So for me, they do base camp in the office, next step is they get some hallway and the bathroom as well during gated intros. Then we add our bedroom and that's where the bit of site swap comes in.

The above method might also mean you dont need to block him outside, which is not ideal as he might be coming in as a need and not a want.

Cats experience kitten amnesia just like humans experience infant amnesia, so she might not remember living there very long, if at all.

The cat who she attacked, might need a vet visit as perhaps shes smelling an illness and doesnt want predators brought home.
 
Top