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My 2.5 y/o male cats have turned on each other and will not stop fighting (violently)

August 15th, 2009, 05:16 PM
Hello everyone. Any and all input on this would really help me out. I'm stressed out to the max over this situation and don't know what to do.

I have two 2.5 y/o male tabbys (Brady & Bailey). They are litter mates and I have had them since they were 8 weeks old. Since the day I took them home they have been the best of friends. They almost always sleep side by side, snuggling and cleaning each other. Once and awhile they fight but never violently. They are both neutered.

I made a HUGE mistake and brought home a female cat yesterday. She was stranded at the airport for the night as she'd missed her flight. My plan was to sneak her in, give her some food and water and bring her back to the airport a few hours later. My cats ran to the front door as soon as they heard me sneak in and saw the cat. They each took a turn hissing at her and then turned on each other! They were making the most awful screeching and yowling noises as they chased each other around my apartment. There was fur flying everywhere. Finally Brady ran under the bed. I still couldn't separate them as I was afraid of getting mauled as Bailey sat at the edge of the bed and they growled and hissed at each other. Finally I was able to chase Bailey out of the bedroom and shut the door. Brady stayed under the bed for another 4 hours under my bf finally dragged him out. At that point he saw Bailey out in the hall and ran at him and attacked him. We decided it was best to let them cool down so we kept them apart for the night. This morning both cats were back to being their normal selves towards us, affectionate and sweet so we thought they were over it. Wrong! As soon as they saw each other they were back to clawing at each other's faces and making the same awful noises.

Up until a few hours ago everytime Brady saw me he would hiss and growl at me (but never scratched or bitt). Now he is fine with me, rubbing againt my legs and giving me kisses but he keeps looking around corners as he follows me at hisses at nothing. Bailey was back to his normal self, laid back and affectionate within minutes of being separated from his brother

I spoke to my vet who suggested we bring them in tomorrow morning to get checked over for any cuts or abrasions (I can't find any) and to get an anti-anxiety pill to calm them down. I also spoke to a friend who is a tech at a nearby animal hospital. She said that they are fighting over who is the alpha male and once they establish that they will be fine. She suggested we put them in separate kennels facing each other for 5-10 minutes then let them out to fight it out. We put them in kennels but they were both trying to get at each other so bad that one of them actually flipped his kennel over. I couldn't bear to watch them fight so I chickened out and separated them again.

Obviously I can't keep them apart forever. I'm so torn up over this because I'm used to them being best friends and now they can't even see each other without seemingly wanting to kill one another. What would you folks suggest? Do I really have to let them claw each other's eyes out? Should I take them to get the anti-anxiety meds or is that just a cash grab by the vet? Any help would be much appreciated.

August 15th, 2009, 05:31 PM
Did you keep the female in your place all night? Was she fixed? If not they could be smelling her. She could have been in heat which would have been enough to set them off.
You are going to have to get rid of any smell she may have left behind. Urine, dirty litter, even fur. See if she sprayed anywhere. That is probably what they are reacting to. I know if my guys get wiff of an unfixed female they don't fight. They spray. :yuck: Thankfully they are in their sanctuary so I don't have to deal with it.
Take them into the vet so they can be checked. Have them put on meds temporarily to calm them down. In this case I don't think it can be considered a cash grab. Hopefully once the memory of the "intruder" has gone along with any scent she may have left behind they will have calmed down enough to be taken off the meds.
When cleaning the area the female was in use a cleaner that doesn't just cover the smell. It has to get rid of it. Try 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water. :thumbs up
Good luck and welcome. Let us know what the vet says.

Must say I can't understand a vet tech telling someone to let two cats at it to "fight it out".

August 15th, 2009, 06:43 PM

I was wondering if it could be mis directed aggression.

It normally can happen when an indoor cat sees another cat outside. Because it can't get at that cat it will go after another cat who lives in the same house or even the owner.

I sure hope your 2 will calm down and get back to their normal selves.

14+ I didn't know that neutered males would still react to a unspayed female cat. I learn soemthing new in here every day.


August 15th, 2009, 06:52 PM
14+ I didn't know that neutered males would still react to a unspayed female cat. I learn soemthing new in here every day.


A lot depends on what age the males are when they were neutered.

August 15th, 2009, 07:30 PM
Thank you to everyone for your replies :)

The female cat was not here over night. Only for about 3 hours. I kept her in our spare bedroom by herself. She didn't explore much. She hid in our tv unit and laid on top of my bf's playstation most of the time. I don't think she used the litter but I changed it just in case. I have cleaned off the area but will make sure to use the solution you recommended 14+.

Thank you again :)

August 15th, 2009, 08:51 PM
this same type of scenario happened to my parents' Siamese Cats a few years back. Except instead of fighting over a female cat, they were fighting over a mouse that they found in the garage. In an instant they went from being best friends to worst enemies. The one cat that seemed to be the aggressor was brought to the vet, and was prescribed some anti-anxiety pills, but my parents couldn't get her to ingest them! So they just kept them separated and waited it out, I think it took about a week or so until they were back to normal. So strange, it's like a switch goes off.
Good luck and keep us updated. :goodvibes: I definitely wouldn't just "let them go at it" as the vet tech suggested :frustrated:

August 15th, 2009, 09:11 PM
I also spoke to a friend who is a tech at a nearby animal hospital. She said that they are fighting over who is the alpha male and once they establish that they will be fine. She suggested we put them in separate kennels facing each other for 5-10 minutes then let them out to fight it out.

Yikes! Your friend clearly knows very little about cats and should not be giving out this kind of dangerous advice. Tundra_Queen is right, this is a case of re-directed aggression, NOT who is fighting to be "alpha". The way to help heal their relationship is to work at re-introducing them to each other. Please keep them completely separated for several days and very slowly get them reacquainted with each other's scent. Here is some info to help:

August 17th, 2009, 06:31 PM
We had the same thing happen with Ruffy and Tuffy in 2005 -they snapped at each other after seeing an outside cat and the fur flew. The vet said to try Feelaway, I think that is how it is spelt, it is cat pheromones and you can buy it at most pet stores. It plugs into the wall. We found it helped but it also took a few weeks of keeping them apart and then monitoring their behaviour. I can't say they had the same relationship they had before this happened unfortunately.

August 19th, 2009, 10:55 PM
Thank you again for all your help! I thought I would let everyone know the outcome. We had to keep my cats separated Friday and Saturday. We took them to the vet on Sunday where they confirmed that they're suffering from re-directed agression. They were given some anti-anxiety meds and some great literature about it (Thanks as well to sugarcatmom: the links you posted were invaluable). We took the cats to my parent's house, which is in the country so they have lots of room to play and aren't in such close quarters like at our apartment. After much "kitty therapy" that night they were able to be near each other without wanting to draw blood, but they still seemed indifferent towards one another. By Monday afternoon they were cuddled up on the floor cleaning and kissing each other. I was SO relieved!!
As an aside, we brought them back to our apartment on Tuesday and as soon as they were out of their kennels they turned on each other once again. I was so upset. After all that hard work we were back to square one! We realized that our apartment clearly isn't a happy place for them anymore and took them right back to my parents to stay until we move. Thank God we're moving in our new house in 2 weeks and they can (hopefully) start fresh!
Thanks again everyone for your kind help and encouragement!