Fighting cats, after 3 years...

by Ashley
(Penryn, CA, USA)

My cats have recently started fighting. They are 4 year old brothers and I have had them for 3 1/2 years (adopted from a rescue shelter so they are both fixed). They are strictly indoor cats. Since I have had them they have been great together, playing with each other, sleeping cuddled up, etc... Maybe once or twice a slight hiss, but I can't actually remember a time that it happened. Then a month ago I went away for a couple of days (someone came and checked on them) and when I got back they were hissing at each other as I walked in the door. And since have been hissing, growling, and fighting. I took them to the vet to check for any medical issues (there didn't seem to be any) and now I am not sure what to do or what happened to my loving cats. One is definitely more the aggressor, but both are really nervous around each other and rarely play anymore, even by themselves. They will still sleep on the bed with me, but other than that are now avoiding each other. They will only be in the same room together when I am home. I am really disturbed by this because neither one is acting like himself (they used to come to the door to greet me and beg for attention when I got home in the evening). I have put out a second food dish since they were sharing before. Both of them are eating out of both dishes. I am trying to pet and hold both of them as much as possible so neither feels jealous. Any suggestions or thoughts?


Thanks,
Ashley

Reply
Hi Ashley

Well i have two brother cats who are now 2 years old. during their life they have loved each other, then hated each other, then loved each other again. Although as they have got older they are less cuddly with each other as they were when they were babies. Their play fights now can look rather nasty sometimes but hey i suppose they are so called teenagers now.

Any way with your situation it may be also a case of what is known as aggression truama. this is an odd but common situation where by something frightens the cats and they take out their fear on each other. Your going away may have been the trigger for this and now they have lost confidence with each other.

You need to help them rebuild their confidence again with each other and this is normally done by re introducing them using the safe method i.e with no fear of attack. It does take time and effort but does help the cats to trust each other again. i have written a whole page about this on my site here

cat-aggression-trauma.html

Hopefully as time goes on they will settle down again with each other. Don't let your anxiety show too much though as this in itself can be picked up by the cats and make them feel anxious too.

If the behavior continues there are some calming spays etc which can be used to help the cats relax again in the home environment. There is more information about this here

scared-cat.html

best wishes kate

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