One of our readers needs help with their cats. Their kitties were friendly, but now suddenly are not getting along.
If you can offer any input or advice on how to deal with aggressive behavior in cats, please do so in the comments below.
If you have dealt with this problem before and resolved it (or not!), we'd love to hear from you.
I'll compile the best ideas to help both these cats and future readers as well. Thanks so much for your input!
Here's the question (from Facebook)...
My initial thoughts:*
Why did this happen?
The short answer is that something probably triggered an association of fear/aggression in the cats. Now they associate fear/aggression with each other.
Something happened and at the same time one of the cats went into fear/aggression mode. It could have been a loud noise, or something fell on or near the cats, or someone startled them... but something triggered it.
I know certain elements of cat behavior can be a mystery, but the question is...
How do you fix it?
We need to break that association of fear/aggression and start with a clean slate. Then, reintroduce the cats.
The way to fix it is to start by separating the cats and allowing each cat to control it's own part of the house. In order for cats to get along, each cat has to be confident. Confidence comes from being in control, spreading scent, and having a territory to call their own.
I call this "mending fences by using fences."
In order to get them to get along again, you have to help them remove the association.
A) separating them so that they can't see each other, and
B) re-introducing them, just like they've never met before.
Slowly... by scent first, and then by sight, using distracting, enjoyable activities and experiences (play, food).
Note: A number of other readers have had cat aggression problems or questions. A number of readers have suggested getting the cats vet checked, which is always on the table. If the cats aren't healthy, behavior modification becomes that much more difficult.