Unspayed Cat Suddenly Aggressive

zoomango

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I have 5 cats:
  • 2 neutered males (brothers) approximately 5 years old: Bob & Jimmy
  • 1 unspayed female approximately 2 years old, Nala, who is a mother to:
    • 2 unspayed female kittens, Mary & Kelly, exactly 1 year old (they turned 1 about 10 days ago)
First off, the unspayed cats are all going to be spayed in about 1 month. They have their appointment booked. I had initially held off due to some major personal health/life issues, but even when I wanted to book it, their vet had no availability. I made the appointment in January and their first availability was in May! But it's finally approaching, and I'm counting the days :) All 3 of the unspayed cats will be spayed in May.

Now for the issues. Everything was going great until the kittens turned 1 years old. Everyone was getting long well. I'd say they still all get along pretty well, except the unspayed mother, Nala, seems to have a major problem with one of the neutered males, Bob. But she's also been a bit bothered by her kittens.

Nala was super duper active before, even moreso than her kittens, but now she is more like the neutered adults, sleeping most of the day. She also seems to play less, though she still is playful in general, just not like before. She's stopped going into heat for a few months now. I'm not sure if this is normal for an unspayed cat.

But I do understand the issue with her kittens. I have been reading and it seems around this age she will be pushing them away naturally. She doesn't hate her kittens, she sometimes hisses at them when they're trying to play with her or going near her to nurse (they were nursing for almost 11 months). But other times she will still groom them. They still sleep and cuddle together.

The big issue is with Nala and Bob, one of the neutered males. Nala and Bob were never 'best friends' but very early on when I first got Nala (as a stray) she seemed more friendly with Bob. But something happened I guess over time and they drifted apart. Nala became closer with Jimmy. It seems overall Jimmy became almost best friends with Nala and her kittens. They hang out, cuddle, groom, comfort, play with each other, etc. It doesn't matter whether they're in heat or not in heat, Jimmy is just their best friend.

I don't know what happened but it seems each day Nala is more and more afraid/frustrated with Bob. Whenever Bob approaches even a few feet away from her, she begins to growl and hiss at him. Last night I was downstairs in the kitchen and they were upstairs, and I heard Nala shrieking as if there was a major fight happening. Bob chased after Nala, and later in the evening when I went upstairs I found blood splattered on the litter boxes and wall! I have no idea which one of them got hurt, but I checked both of them thoroughly and couldn't figure out who was injured. Both are acting normally, and for whatever reason Nala still hangs around Bob, but if Bob approaches her she goes nuts. I don't think he's doing anything wrong, but for whatever reason she just hates him.

I've been thinking of applying vanilla scent to Bob and Nala, but wonder if I should apply it to all of them. Or if I should wait a month until the females are all spayed to do that. I'm just worried Nala and Bob will kill each other (not literally that worried yet but the worry is increasing). It's really difficult to separate them as they all like to hang out in the same spots, though I have tried to separate them occasionally before/after meals when it seems the 'frustration' levels are very high.

Any other ideas/suggestions? Anyone experience anything like this?
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. First and foremost is to get past the spays and see what happens thereafter. Then beyond that if Nala still has a reaction to Bob, you might want to get him in for a full vet exam. There are some cats who react to another cat that is ill in some way - that might be what Nala is doing with Bob.
 
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zoomango

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Very interesting, thanks for sharing that. That seems like it could actually be the case because Kelly (one of the kittens) is also a bit hostile towards Bob, but generally she growls at him only right after her mom gets in an argument with Bob. It seems like she is defending her mom, which is adorable. The other kitten Mary does also seem to come to her mom's defense but doesn't seem bothered by Bob at all.
 

Mamanyt1953

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It is not normal at all for an unspayed female to quit going into heat. At all. Something else is going on. Give your vet a call back, tell him that she is not going into heat anymore, and for how long. He may be able to move at least her appointment up as possibly urgent. There are some more simple reasons that this could happen, but there are also some very serious ones, and without a vet, we just don't know which it might be.

If there is some illness, especially with pain (and remember, cats are masters at hiding pain), that could account for the changes in behavior.
 
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zoomango

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It is not normal at all for an unspayed female to quit going into heat. At all. Something else is going on. Give your vet a call back, tell him that she is not going into heat anymore, and for how long. He may be able to move at least her appointment up as possibly urgent. There are some more simple reasons that this could happen, but there are also some very serious ones, and without a vet, we just don't know which it might be.

If there is some illness, especially with pain (and remember, cats are masters at hiding pain), that could account for the changes in behavior.
Thanks for bringing attention to the fact that she may not be well due to not going into heat. I had no idea. I really wish I'd been able to spay sooner, as it adds extra uncertainty/risk with every issue they may experience.

Actually from reading on the forums and elsewhere I've realized maybe she is having a false pregnancy? The oddest part besides her aggression is that she's a lot more hungry, but unlike everything I've read about cancer and pyometra, etc. she is actually gaining weight. She's generally a smaller cat weighing around 7.4-7.6lb over the past year, but in the last month her weight has gone up to a little over 8lbs. She's not constantly hungry, she seems satisfied after meals, but she's eating a lot more at meals.

The other thing that makes me think false pregnancy is how she's acting. She's acting a lot like she did before her actual pregnancy last year. The only difference is she trusts me a lot more now and her behavior around the other cats, which wasn't a factor last year because I'd been keeping her isolated from the other cats.

Today I isolated her from the other cats for half the day, and she was so playful and relaxed. It seems the only cat she doesn't hiss or growl at is Jimmy and I wonder if she 'mated' with him, because after her last heat cycle she was exceptionally close with him, almost like she was still in heat but without the meowing or spraying everywhere.

I've also been more cautious, and now I realize Bob is actually doing something wrong. When Nala stares and growls at him, he gets very aggressive too and fights back hard. He does the same thing with the kitten Kelly. Bob is the strongest/biggest of the cats, and if I didn't get in between them he could really do serious damage. But he only does this when Nala is around. When around Jimmy and the kittens they all get along. I don't think the blood marks on the litter are from fighting though, they almost appeared to be imprinted blood marks from Nala's vagina, because of the shape of the marks.

I will definitely be calling the vet first thing Monday morning to try and get a checkup as soon as possible. In the meantime keeping Nala separated as much as possible.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Please do let us know how the vet visit went. We're invested now, and in some small way, Nala has become "our" cat, as well as yours.
 
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