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cats fighting at night

November 7th, 2005, 09:30 AM
i have two two-year-old cats, sisters, named bubleon and strelka. they have undergone several fairly large upheavals in their short life. i got them as small kittens and they lived as indoor cats in an apartment. they were feisty and active like all kittens but close to each other and overall good cats - very friendly, never had litter problems, etc.

after they were a year old, i was forced to "board" them (due to various upheavals in my own life) in an excellent, but very different, environment. they moved to a house with five other cats and a large yard. i was not living there but saw them often and they seemed to be doing fine, if a little more independent of each other. despite my requests otherwise, they began spending increasing amounts of time outside and obviously got used to that lifestyle. they lived there for a year.

now i'm finally in a place where i can have them again, so i've moved them back into an apartment with me about a month ago. they seemed to be doing great for the first three weeks, even better than i'd expected given the drastic shift in environment. however, a week ago bubleon's attitude changed suddenly and drastically to seeming very anxious and cooped up. they'll both be fine during the day (what i see of them - i work 9-5) and for some time past lights out, but in the middle of the night she begins antagonizing strelka - chasing her around, fighting loudly, crying, etc. i'm worried about this for their own sake and, i have to be honest here, because it's consistently keeping me from getting a good night's sleep. i'm also nervous that even if i bust out the earplugs, the downstairs neighbors will begin to get frustrated. i have never seen them act like this during the daytime. if anything, it's almost like they're on a reversed schedule - they do a lot of lounging when i'm up and about and just stare at me lethargically when i try to play with them (whereas at night they rustle around in plastic bags and bat anything they can find frantically across the floor).

i've thought about trying to set some kind of routine with them, whether if it's with feeding or an attempt at organized exercise or whatever. the main problem with this is that once in a while i spend the night at my boyfriend's apartment, which would be a guaranteed interruption in schedule. the neighborhood i live in would not be good for them to go out in. there's tons of traffic and i don't have my own yard. any ideas of something i could do in the moment to calm them down, or just before bed to guarantee that they'll make it through the night? they did something like this when they were little too - a few hours before i was ready to wake up they'd often come "visit" me in bed and pounce around. that was considerably more charming though - the fighting and what seems to be nervous pent-up energy is somewhat disturbing to me.

i know that they've potentially undergone a lot of trauma by making these moves, so please don't lecture me on that. i feel awful about it and definitely would have done it differently if i'd had the chance. i love these cats dearly and hope that there's some way i can make the best of the situation we're in.

thanks in advance,

Lucky Rescue
November 7th, 2005, 09:48 AM
Hi Dyani and welcome to the board!:)

I won't lecture you - most of the people we deal with dump their cats at the slightest provocation, and I'm glad you want to work through this!

Yes, your cats have had a lot of stress and often they react to this with "redirected aggression". They are stressed, they cannot run away, so they relieve the stress by attacking whatever is closest - in this case, your other cat!

Can you separate them at night? Sometimes this works, and after a few nights you can see if they still fight. If they do, lock the other one up for a few nights.

You can also get Rescue Remedy. I dont' where you live, but some grocery stores and health food stores have it. This is a soothing natural substance that will not harm your cats. You can also get a Feliway diffuser, which spreads calming pheromones around.

When you're home in the evening, try and get them to play. Get some catnip toys (also relaxing) or a laser light to get them to run around and use up their energy. Try feeding them beef canned catfood before bed. This tends to make them sleepy. If you can, leave a radio softly playing and a light on.

I know this is very frustrating for you, and hard on your cats too. I hope some of these suggestions will help.

November 7th, 2005, 10:03 AM
thank you so much for the quick response! i've heard of rescue remedy before but didn't know it could be used for cats. would this be found in the vitamin section of a natural grocery store? are there different kinds and if so is there one you recommend?

November 7th, 2005, 11:01 AM
welcome and hi! it sounds to me like your kitties also (on top of the moving and whatnot) got back on a nocturnal schedule while they were being boarded. You mentioned them not being interested in playing during the daylight hours you're home, but don't give up. By continuing to play with them and get them more active during the non-sleep time hours, you'll be able to shift their schedules gradually. My meezer used to pounce on my face at 3am, had to really work with her for a few months till she realized it was nicer to cuddle than have mom wake up screaming and thrashing about :) good luck and keep us posted - rescue remedy is a dream too btw :)

November 7th, 2005, 04:53 PM
All the cats I've been around love the laser pointers. They like them even better if there is carpet on the floor (better traction that wood or tile). And even the old barn cat my parents have, who has never really been a playful soul will chase the little red light for many minutes.