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5 years old cat new aggressive behaviour

sandyrivers
April 9th, 2012, 07:57 AM
Hi everyone,

My cat Tonali has agressive behaviour issues.

Just to give you a short history of Tonali...
Tonali will be 5 years old in June.
She sees the vet twice a year because she has a 'class 1 heart murmur'.
She is in good health and is not on any medication.
Because of her heart murmur, she is the only cat I have who is not spayed.
All my other cats are spayed/neutered.
Tonali and all my other cats are indoor cats only and never go outside, it goes without saying that none of them are de-clawed and will NEVER be!
Her last visit to the vet was in February, and she got a clean bill of health.
She weighs 8 1/2 pounds and is a small frame cat with long hair.
She eats just as she use to, no change in diet.
She pees and poops the same way she use to and dosnt have problems pooping or urinating, as I was told to ''listen'' when she pees, in case she would have trouble doing so, but it's a ''clear and steady flow'', with no change in color, smell, and no blood present.
At the time of our vet visit, Tonali did not have these problems, so I did not mention it to the vet.


This is the problem...
Tonali is constantly growling, hissing and attaking my other cats for no reason at all.
This started to be a problem about a week ago.
When ever she is in the presence of any other cat, she growls and hisses at the cat.
She also charges at the cat and chases him/her away, runnnin after and making the most unpleasent sounds.
If she is on my bed an a cat hops on, she will pounce on him/her and violently chase him/her away, the chase often ending in the kitchen with one of the cats hidden behind the stove or fridge.
I arrange for her a place in my office where she can be quiet, the office has a screen door that separates it from the rest of the house. If another cat goes to the screen door, Tonali will hiss and growl and ''attack'' the screen door, making all sorts of vocal sounds that mean she is not happy.

Tonali has never been the most social cat there is, prefering to stay on her own, or enjoy time with me alone, in which case she is cuddly, sleeps on my chest. She also enjoys playing with me, chasing a lazer beam or a fake mouse on a string, or tossing balls, crumpled papers and a ''beanie baby''around.
Tonali was never too friendly with any of my other cats.
I take special time with her each day to play and have our moments, two sessions of 20 minutes each.
I also feed her her soft food after each of our alone time, as she is reluctant to eat when I feed everyone the soft food twice daily.
My cats have acess to dry food at will (Oven Baked Tradition).
She will eat some dry food when she feels like it between her wet food feedings.

She is the only cat of the 'tribe' who refuses to groom or be groomed by the other cats, or to cuddle together with another cat...
I have a total of 8 cats, and have an apartment of 1200sq feet, so space is not the problem.
I have 8 litter boxes and many feeding/watering stations ( I have two water fountains and 6 bowls of water to cater to every cat's liking), as well as cat trees, scratching posts and window perches, located here and there so the cats can have their privacy and time alone if they so wish.
I pretty much organised my place for the cats! They are my babies!

Worst is, after she has her ''tantrum'' against the other cats, she goes to hide behind the stove or fridge, dressers or other furniture, in my office, laundry room, or under one of the beds and refuses to come out!
She will hiss and growl at any cats trying to ''go see her'' when she is hiding in these spots.
The other cats do not provoke her or harass her, they are actually trying to be friendly and nice to her!
But should one of them simply walk by her or hop on my bed when she is there...it becomes out of control; hissing growling and chasing eachother in the house.
Even if the other cat simply wants to lay down on the opposite side of the bed, she will chase him/her away in the meanest of ways...
Tonali did in the past have issues with my other cats, especially in spring, but this year it is much more serious...

I love Tonali vey much, and try to accomodate her the best I can.
I keep her in my office and I sleep with her in the spare bedrooms, so it is only me and her and no other cat, but this situation is getting out of control!
I don't think keeping her a part from the other cats is a solution, as she meows and scratches the door to be let out of my office or spare bedrooms she is in,even with me there with her, but if I let her out, she right away goes after the other cats!
If another cat is on the other side of the door, she will sit by the door and growl at him/her, even if it;s just me and her in the room.
Not to mention that the meowing and scratching could upset the neighbors as it also happens at night...
I have 8 cats, and really don't want any problems concerning that, in my borough, one has no animal limit, as long as they are spay/neutered, and ''do not disturb anyone''.

It is becoming to the point where I am thinking of re-homing her to a place where she would be the only cat. This would take a lot of time, effort, and money, as I would have to select the people myself, and make sure they are good candidates, as I would never let her go to people I have not personally met and investigated to the widest extend.
Not to mention that it would completely break my heart to give her up, since I had her since she is 3 weeks old, but I really want what is best for her...no matter how hard it is for me...I don't think she is very happy right now, and all I want is for her to be happy, so this is really heartbreaking!

So I am at the end of my rope and running out of options...
My last options before considering re-homing are these products that are suppose to calm cats down...
There are many on the market, and I looked up the following ones, which seem to be the most popular.
If anyone of you has experience with these products, or with a cat who had Tonali's issues, I would greatly appreciate your help and sugestions.

If any one can help Tonali with this, it would be greatly appreciated!

Ps, could this behavior be because she is not spayed? Could she be territorial? She dosn't spray or do marking.
Spaying her would involve some risks, and my regular vet would not do it himself, If I would decide to spay her, I was told she would have to be spayed by a specialist at the Medical institute in St Hyacinthe.


sandyrivers

Products I looked up

SentryHC Good Behavior Calming Collar for Cats

http://www.petco.com/product/109457/SentryHC-Good-Behavior-Calming-Pheromone-Cat-Collar.aspx

Product description

Sustained release calming pheromones that go anywhere your cat does for up to 30 days--including vet visits, groomers and more.

Effective for both at home and on the go, this collar uses synthetic feline facial pheromones to help cats in fearful or stressful situations (separation anxiety, visitors, other household cats, loud noises, new baby, vet visits, traveling). This collar provides a convenient alternative to diffusers which are limited for use in the confines of a designated room.

Features:

Breakaway design allows your cat to free herself if the collar gets caught on something, reducing the likelihood of choking.
Has a Lavender Chamomile fragrance.
Lasts for up to 30 days.
For cats & kitten - up to 15" neck.
How does it work?
The pheromone collar mimics the pheromone that the mother cat produces to calm and reassure her kittens. Cats recognize these pheromones throughout life. It mimics the natural way to help cats cope with new and fearful situations.

Directions for Use:
Place collar around pet's neck, adjust to fit. The collar must be worn loosely to allow for growth of the pet and to permit the collar to move about the neck. Generally, a properly fitted collar is one that when fastened, will snugly slide over your pet's head. Leave 2 or 3 inches for extra adjustment. Cut off the excess portion of the collar. The collar is designed to release powder when applied, which will activate the pheromones. Wash hands after placing the collar on your pet. The effects of one collar last up to 30 days. Seal collar in plastic bag when not in use to prolong the effect.

I AM CONCERNED ABOUT THE ''WASH HANDS AFTER SUTTING IT ON''.... If I need to wash my hands, should it be on my cat?????


costs 12.99$

Has good reviews

=================


http://www.calmingcollars.com/aboutus.html

They hand make collars for cats using natural herbs.

Product description

Calm Me Down Calming Collars help with separation anxiety, thunderphobia (fear of thunderstorms) and other bad weather, fireworks or other loud noises, and in most stressful situations like a trip to the groomer or to the vet. They have also been effective in controlling excessive barking and have helped relax hyper-active dogs and puppies.

This was the first blend of herbs we developed. They were mixed to help the wearer overcome stress and anxiety and just be a bit more relaxed. They can be effective all day long. You can clip one on your pet when you leave the house in the morning, and not worry if it will be still working late in the afternoon - long after any medicine would have worn off. Or your dog or cat can just wear one for a few hours to reduce anxiety, during a storm or for a stress free vet visit. Cut down on your cat and dog anxiety!

In January of 2011, we were issued a US patent on our design. The standard width is about 2 inches wide and has a center seam to help distribute the herbs and help the fabric lay flat against the neck. If you'd prefer, we can do the smaller sizes with a single channel or the larger ones with 4 channels. The plastic clasp allows you to adjust the fabric length for a custom fit. Shipping weight is 4 ounces.

Be sure to check out our wide selection of Fabrics.

costs 32$'

no reviews avail
===============


Propet Cat Calming Collar

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Propet-Cat-Calming-Collar/14651882

product description

The Pro-Pet Anti Stress Calming Collar is a great way to calm down cats safely and effectively during stressful situations. This cat calming collar features an advanced multi-function formula that includes natural herbal extracts to help control destructive behavior like scratching, hissing, and urine marking. The pheromones and herbal extracts that are molded into the collar last for 30 days. You can use this pet calming collar during car rides, boarding, bringing a new pet home or while traveling to new destinations.

Pro-Pet Anti Stress Calming Collar:
Molded with herbal extracts and pheromones
De-stresses the cat
Calms the cat in stressful situations

sold at walmart 9$

no reviews avail
============

Comfort Zone with Feliway Plug-In and Refills

http://www.feliway.com/gb/Potential-issues-with-your-cat/My-cats-don-t-get-on

Product description

Uses synthetic feline facial pheromones to end urine marking and scratching and to comfort cats in stressful situations.

Feliway Comfort Zone Plug-In uses synthetic feline facial pheromones to end urine marking and scratching and to comfort cats in stressful situations such as being alone in the house, visitors to the home, new pet or family member, moving to a new home, visits to the veterinarian, adjusting to a new environment, or multiple cat households. Feliway is a natural substance, odorless to humans, that mimics a cat's facial pheromones to calm cats in stressful environments.

How It Works
You've seen your cat contently rub her face on the furniture, corners of the room, bottom of curtains - and even you. She's marking her surroundings with special facial pheromones. These pheromones reassure her that all is well in her little world. However, if something stressful disturbs your cat's environment she may begin urine marking, scratching or may even stop eating and interacting. Used where the cat spends most of her time, Comfort Zone with Feliway will soon calm and reassure her once again, greatly reducing or completely stopping the stress-related behavior.

Simply add Feliway liquid and plug into electrical outlet. Odorless and non-toxic to humans. Contains one plug-in and one 48 ml bottle of Feliway. Active in areas of 500-650 sq ft. One vial lasts approximately four weeks.

Refill Ingredients: Analogue of feline facial pheromone 2%, excipients to 100 g.

Directions for Use:

Remove the bottle cap.
Screw diffuser onto the bottle and gently tighten.
Plug into an electrical outlet.
Continue use for 4 weeks to ensure no relapse in marking behavior.
To stop urine marking or scratching use the Comfort Zone Plug-In with Feliway in the room where marking has taken place. If the cat marks several rooms (with a total surface area of more than 650 sq ft), place another plug-in in one of the other rooms that have been marked. If your cat exhibits a loss of appetite or reduced desire to interact and play use the Comfort Zone Plug-In with Feliway in the room most used by the cat.

costs 38$ to start

has good reviews

============

Spirit Essences
http://www.spiritessences.com/products/Peacemaker.html

''Peacemaker''

Product Description

This product is formulated for all animals.

To reduce or eliminate aggression or jealousy between animals. Peacemaker is our primary remedy (and long-time bestseller) for conflicts between animals. It helps soften the edges and reduce tension and territorial "attitude." Also ideal for the re-introduction process where animals have had to be separated due to discord.

Product Ingredients

This remedy contains Eldorado Natural Spring Water, Ethanol (as a preservative), Essence of Full Color Spectrum, Reiki Energy, and the following essences:

From Flower Essence Society Healing Herbs (Bach Flower Equivalent): Agrimony, Beech, Holly, Impatiens, Walnut, Willow

From Flower Essence Society: Canyon Dudleya, Mallow, Oregon Grape, Poison Oak, Sweet Pea, Tiger Lily

From AUM Himalaya: Golden Rod Flower

From Rocky Mountain Essences: Bluebells, Silvery Lupine

From Watersong Sanctuary: Columbine, Mule Deer, Prairie Dog, Prickly Pear Cactus

From Green Hope Farm: Lantana Involucrata, Mary Queen of Scots Rose, Sorrel Vine

From Kaua’i Starmen: Haha

From Pacific Essences: Coral

Costs 19$

Has good reviews

Hazmat
April 9th, 2012, 10:49 AM
Normally I would say go to the specialist and get her spay. But you have had her 5 years and this behavior just started so it doesn't seem like a not-spay problem.
I'm thinking that she is in pain.
Perhaps you should take her to a cat heart specialist for a complete work up.

sandyrivers
April 12th, 2012, 08:50 PM
Hi,

I took Tonali to the vet yesterday, and according to him, there is nothing physically wrong with her.
Her heart condition has not worsen, the blood tests were normal.

When she was first diagnosed with her heart murmur, I took her to the hospital in St-Hyacinthe to get the whole array of tests done, and this info was shared to her regular vet of course.

It just seems at this point that she dosn't tolerate the presence of my other cats, tho she does put up with Elphin and Katla without attacking them.
Elphin is the oldest male, and Katla is the little female with who she eats her soft food, as they are fed separately from the others, since they like to ''take their time'' to eat, and otherwise, the other cats would eat their food.

I really hope this situation gets better!

As for the calming aids for cats, I am thinking of going with the collar, as it greatly helped a friend of mine with introducing a new foster cat in their house.
I will be getting it for her this weekend.

sandyrivers

14+kitties
April 12th, 2012, 11:48 PM
As I see it you face a few issues with this cat. You can't/won't fix because of a heart murmer, you have a cat that will continue to go into heat, you have a cat that has been with you since 3 weeks old which means the cat never learned the socialization needed to get along with other cats from its' mother. (I'm assuming that the mom was not in the picture when you got this cat at 3 weeks?)

I understand your quandary with not wanting to fix your cat. I have in the past had to make that decision as well but with a dog and because of seizures. But along with making the decision not to fix the cat you now have to find a way to accommodate the estrus cycles when she is going through them. It is probable that part of her behaviour is due to hormonal changes. Some of the calming meds you listed may work for her but you will have to experiment with them to find the right one.

Do you live in a home or an apartment? If an apartment is the apartment on the ground floor or in an area where other cats can roam close to your windows and/or doors? Is it possible during these times that she "attacks" that there is an intact male nearby? Now by nearby I mean within a block or so. Cats have very keen senses of smell. She may also be reacting to a female cat roaming the area who is in heat as well. You may want to do some walking around your neighbourhood to see if that is a possibility.

A few things you may want to try:
Completely separate Tonali from your other cats as you would when bringing home a new cat. That is keep her in a room away from the others, allow no contact at all for the first few days. In her case I would be tempted to go for a week or more. Slowly start reintroducing the cats by rubbing the cats with a towel and then rubbing Tonali with the same towel. Repeat, repeat, repeat. All without allowing physical contact. If Tonali reacts to the towel in a negative way (hissing, spitting, etc) then start over. No contact, complete separation, etc, until you can get to the point where you can rub her with the other cats' scents without her reacting. This may take some time. That's ok. You want her to react in a positive way. She may never get to the point where she wants to be around the cats and allow mutual grooming, etc but it would be wonderful for them to be able to share a home without fighting.

If you do not want to do the complete separation/reintroduction process you need to immediately put Tonali in another room on her own when she initiates fights. She needs to be separated and allowed to calm down. Don't allow it to get to the point where she is attacking. By this time you should be able to recognize her warning signals. All cats give them off. That is when you need to divert her attention away from the others and place her in a quiet room on her own.

Please do some research on socializing orphan kittens and follow the steps. Tonali missed out on some important stages if she was taken away from her mother at such a young age. The mother would have taught her by hissing, smacking lightly (please don't), mewing, etc when she did something she was not supposed to do.

It is also very important when Tonali is reacting in a negative way that you do not tense up. She will feel that tenseness and react. Stay as calm as possible, do not raise your voice, pick her up quietly and gently, and remove her from the situation.

I know that is a lot of information to go through and think about. Hopefully you will find something that will help her and your other cats.

sandyrivers
April 19th, 2012, 10:34 AM
Hi,

I just wanted to update you about Tonali.

I am happy to announce you that we are making progress, tho very slowly, but every little step counts!

Tonali is still alone in my office, but she no longer ''charges'' at my other cats through the screen door!
She does however still growl at some of my cats, mostly Filou and Airell, but the bouts of extreme anger and attacks seem to be over, at last!

I am taking things very slow with Tonali...
I offer her the blanket on which my other cats sleep on, and I also rub her face with a cloth that I previously rub on Filou and Airell, she accepts this with no problem, but as far even seeing them from her side of the screen door, she still shows signs of anger, but not as much as she did about one week ago.

I spend extensive periods of time with her alone and she really enjoys it.

So this is what I have achieved so far, it isn't much, but she is doing better than she was!
I will keep you updated of any new changes, of course.

sandyrivers

chico2
April 19th, 2012, 01:14 PM
14+ gave you great advice and believe me has a lot of experience with cats.
My own experience was with my cat Rocky getting extreemly agg ressive,not to my other cats,but me,if he would see strange cats outside,through the window.
I had Feli-Way plugins in the rooms he frequented most and they worked to keep him calmer,also to stop him from spraying when he was in that state.
Maybe you could have one plugged in,in the room she stays and see if it changes anything.

sandyrivers
April 22nd, 2012, 11:02 PM
Hi everyone,

Here is the recent update with Tonali...

Tho she is still in my office having her quiet time most of the time, Tonali was able to be with Airell (female) and Elphin (male), together, and without attacking them!!!

She pretty much just ignored the both of them! Going about her business of perching by the window and looking outside. She also ate some dry food and drank some water.

They spent about two hours in the family room together under my close supervision, (I had a blanket ready to pick up Tonali with in case there was a problem...), and everything went fine.

When I saw that Tonali was swaying her tail more than normal (read: I'm getting annoyed), I immediately took her back to my office and praised her a great deal, spent about an hour with her in quiet time, (which amounts to me sitting on the couch and her coming to sit on me, lay on me and petting sessions) !

I also sleep with her in my office 2 out of 3 days, just to make sure she dosn't feel left out.
It still hurts my heart that she can't be totally part of the household, and must stay in my office, tho there is a screen door, so she can see and hear the rest of us as we go by our daily life...
I miss the 'good old days'' when she would sleep on my bed with the other cats...
I really hope we can go back to this soon!

I am really hoping the progress will keep going in this positive way!

Thanks for all the advice and moral support! :thumbs up

sandyrivers

sandyrivers
May 3rd, 2012, 05:18 AM
Hi everyone,

Well, I am pleased to announce that Tonali is now back to normal!

Tonali is not spayed, and her recent aggressive behaviour preceded her heat period! Talk about PMS'ing!

While she was in heat, she was doing very fine and going around the house with all my other cats.
She was in heat very heavy for about 9 days, with a period of about 3 days before and 3 days after of being ''lightly in heat'', so it was more like 15 days...

She is now no longer in heat, and is back to her normal self.
Tho she is not the friendliest of cats with my other cats, she is now sleeping on my bed with 3 of them!
Peace has been restored!

I am sooooo relieved about this, finally, she can go around the house with all of us and take part in all the activities!
I felt so bad having her in my office all alone... Tho I did sleep with her most days, it was always a heartbreak to leave her there, secluded from the rest of us.

I really want to say a big thank you to all of you who suggested so many ideas for her, I tried them all and I'm sure it did help her, especially the rubbing of the face with a cloth on her and the other cats, I think this helped her keep contact with the rest of the tribe while she was segregated in my office.

I will know next time this happens that it's probably just a prelude to her heat period and not worry so much. But then again, I always worry about my furbabies!

Oh and btw, I did not get the collar for Tonali, as I was too reluctant to put something on her that could have caused allergic reactions, and also from further reading... I decided not to chance it, too many risks. There were some VERY bad stuff out there that I saw about these things...

But next time this happens, I will try Spirit Essences, as this seems to be the most holistic approach and totally chemical free way...I already placed my order to be ready for the next ''hormonal storm''!
I ordered the '''peacemaker''' and the '''grouch remedy'' for Tonali.

sandyrivers