Suggestions for fighting cats?

kyliesgrannySeptember 10, 2013

Everyone here was so helpful a couple years ago when I had taken in a couple kittens that wouldn't eat, so hoped maybe I could get help again.

I have 4 cats. Mom & her 3 boys. Mom is spayed & the boys are neutered. I don't know how old mom is, she is a neighborhood stray. The boys are 1 yr. 1 month old. Mom comes & goes, the boys have never been outside.

About 2 months ago, 2 of the boys started hissing & growling at each other. Within the past 3 weeks, that has progressed into actual fur flying fights. They have trouble just being in the same room with one another. They tiptoe past each other to get where they want to go in the house.

I have a comfort zone diffuser in the living room/dining room & one in their room. I keep a squirt bottle & a blanket handy at all times so I can separate them if things are getting too heated.

Last week one of them got a scratch on his eye that became seriously infected. He spent 5 days at the vet being treated & just came home today. The vet & I had both hoped that some time apart might help the situation. It has not. I've already had to close them up in separate rooms twice today.

I'm at a loss as to what to do. I love them both & the thought of having to give one up is heartbreaking. They can not continue to fight. Heck, I can't afford for them to continue to fight & hurt each other. And keeping them shut away in another room is no way for them to live.

I am open to Any & All suggestions!!!!



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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

I'm sorry to hear about the boys and their fighting.

The first thing I thought of was how many litter boxes do you have? I believe the current thinking is one more than you have cats, so you need to have four litter boxes hopefully in different areas of your house.

I wonder what caused this riff if they have been getting along before?

I hope you can find a solution. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 9:23AM
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I would first look at their living situation and try to determine if anything has changed over the last few months. Are there new people in the house, do the cats each have areas they can sleep in, separately? Have you had the other cat checked for any medical problems, including sight & hearing?

Otherwise, I'd try to change up their living spaces and introduce a second climbing tower, if you already have one, and see if that makes any difference in their attitude. It's definitely strange that their behavior has changed so suddenly.
Is there a way for the vet to check and make sure the neuter is complete? I recently heard that some vets are now doing vasectomies vs neutering so is it possible one or both cats could be producing hormones?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Thank you both for your responses.

I have 3 litter boxes & it's been that way all along. 2 are covered & 1 is open. I'm certainly not opposed to getting 1 or 2 more. Thank you, I will try that.

There have been no changes to the household. No new people or furniture. I do have a climbing tower with 2 perches for sleeping and a cubby for hiding but only 1 cat actually uses it & it's neither of the 2 that are fighting.

Of the fighting cats, 1 likes to sleep high (on top of the fridge or back of the couch) & the other likes to sleep low (the foot rest of my recliner or an end table beside the couch).

The 1 that was not injured has not been checked by the vet recently. The 1 with the eye infection has to go back in 5 days for a follow up on his eye. I'll call & see if I can bring them both. This is the vet that did the neuters so I'm sure he will tell me they were complete.

The vet has suggested that perhaps they are fighting over food or my affection but that doesn't seem to be an issue with either of them. There is dry food out all the time for them & everyone gets their own can of food every morning.

Thank you again for your suggestions! I will get a couple more litter boxes & maybe another tower in the hopes that something will work.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 1:28PM
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Displaced aggression can occur when cats are stressed by ANYTHING. One common source of such behavior is the appearance of another cat in the neighborhood. Have you seen any neighborhood cats or strays hanging around your property, or even within sight of your windows where your boys could have caught sight of them? If not other cats, perhaps dogs or even wildlife?


    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 5:19PM
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Laurie, thank you so much for your response! If that's the case, that might just be the problem.

I've been feeding neighborhood strays on my patio for a couple years. There are 4 that show up twice a day every day but in the past couple months a new cat has been showing up from time to time. And 3 weeks ago my next door neighbor got a new kitten that she lets outside every morning.

Now what can I do to make things better for my cats? I can't stop feeding the strays. I think the food 2 of them get at my house are the only meals they get.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 10:27PM
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What I suggest is that you move your feeding station to the very furthest edge of your property, as far away from your house as possible and out of the line of sight of any of your windows (if possible). Also, remove anything from your patio that might make it inviting to the strays (patio furniture, sandboxes, catnip plants, etc.). It may even be necessary to put a motion-activated sprinkler on your patio for a while to discourage the strays from coming up near the house and prompt them to spend their time at the new feeding station away from the house, instead. You could even move a couple of pieces of comfortable patio furniture, a child's sandbox, and a few catnip plants out to the new feeding station to make it a more inviting spot for the strays to lounge.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 10:50PM
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