Dear VetBabble: Help! My Cats Used to Get Along, but Now They’re Fighting!
Dear VetBabble, my two cats have been getting along just fine for the past three years. However, one day, one cat suddenly panicked and attacked the other. Now, they can’t even be in the same room without howling, hissing, and getting defensive. What can I do to resolve this issue and restore peace in our household?
1. Understanding Your Cats’ Behavior
It’s not uncommon for cats that have previously coexisted peacefully to suddenly start fighting. There could be a variety of reasons initiating this behavior, such as an external stressor, changes in the household, or underlying medical issues. To determine the best solution, it is essential to observe their behavior closely and evaluate any changes in their environment or health.
2. Strategies to Re-Introduce Your Cats
Once you’ve examined their behavior, it’s time to help your cats re-establish their bond. Some patience and a few effective strategies can be helpful:
- Separate the Cats: Temporarily separate them to give them space and time to cool down. This also helps prevent serious injuries.
- Gradual Reintroduction: Slowly reintroduce your cats, following suggestions from VetBabble in Introducing a New Cat to Your Existing Cat. This may involve keeping them in separate rooms and gradually increasing their exposure to each other, first through scent and then gradually allowing visual contact.
- Use Feliway: Feliway, a synthetic pheromone, can help reduce stress and create a calming environment. Find out more about it in VetBabble’s Feliway for Cats: A Pet Parent’s Guide.
- Introduce New Pets Properly: If you’ve recently added a new pet to the household, ensure a smooth introduction with VetBabble’s tips on Introducing A New Pet To Your Furry Family.
3. Consult with a Professional
If the aggression persists or becomes worse despite your best efforts, it’s time to consult a professional. This might involve:
- Consulting Your Veterinarian: They can assess your cats’ health and discuss potential medical causes for the behavioral change. Based on their assessment, they may recommend medications like Prozac or Trazodone to help with anxiety or aggression.
- Hiring a Behaviorist: A professional can evaluate your cats’ interactions and recommend tailored techniques to help them to get along.
- Implementing VetBabble’s Recommendations: In some cases, managing a multicat household can be a challenge. Follow the advice from VetBabble in How can I stop my cats fighting in a multicat household? to create an environment that promotes peaceful cohabitation.
Remember, it’s important to keep a close eye on your cats’ behavior and interactions. With time, patience, and some tailored strategies, it is possible to restore peace and harmony in your multicat household. Good luck!