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Old August 3rd, 2010, 03:00 AM
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Question Cat Behaviour Question

A very odd thing happened between my boys tonight. Another cat came into our backyard and came up to the screen door where my boys were. Our boys freaked out, scared the other kitty away and have been growling at each other ever since. Zeus has been particularly stand offish with hissing and growling. Ukko has made attempts to approach Zeus and Zeus just hisses and growls. Ukko is fine with me, cuddling and rubbing but Zeus is very freaked out. These two boys love each other and constantly cuddle and clean each other. It's strange to see Zeus so aggressive towards Ukko. I mean they have their moments but nothing like this.

Any suggestions as to what I can do? Did the other cat just scare Zeus so much that he's scared of his own brother now? Will this behaviour subside on its own or will an intervention of some sorts be necessary?
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 05:54 AM
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It's called redirected aggression. In a situation where cats come across something/someone that they perceive as being threatening it is usually the nearest living being that suffers. In this case - the other kitty.
The best thing to do if it continues today or any other time is to separate your cats. Treat them as if they are brand new at being introduced to each other. Do is slowly over a period of time. It may take a while to get back to the peace you had before but it is important the steps be followed. The most important thing you have to do is to make sure they can not be put in that situation again. Is there a way to block the screen door so they can't see another cat come near it?
Hare is an article that explains what RA is and how to deal with it. Good luck!
http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/aggression3.html
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 11:41 AM
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I figured it has something to do with that other cat on our property. Zeus is just terrified of Ukko. He'll be fine until he sees him. Ukko just stuck to my side all night while Zeus was left alone. Which is upsetting in itself. Ukko sticks to me for comfort and then when Zeus comes searching for it, he finds Ukko there.

Thanks for the website. I'll do the steps recommended. I'm just worried it won't go back to how it was before. I'm finding this incredibly upsetting.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 09:49 PM
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So the cats have been separated for most of the day. This is the thing, when they're with us alone, they're fine. Not scared. Just their regular selves, just a wee bit jumpy. But when they see each other, the hissing and growling starts. I got them playing with same cat tail toy but then Zeus would growl at Ukko from behind the door. Also, it's tough to tell who is the aggressor. They both posture and growl at each other when they see each. Sometimes it seems like Zeus is the aggressor and at times it appears to be Ukko. I don't know. I just want them to be back to normal.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 09:57 PM
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It's going to take a while for things to "go back to normal". You may need to keep them separated for quite some time. It really is each other that they don't like right now.
You could try rubbing some baby powder into your palms and then rubbing it on them so they smell the same. Especially in the areas where cats check scent. That would be the base of the tail and the cheek area. Do that daily for a while. It may help. Time is what it is going to take. Patience.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 04:59 AM
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Unhappy

Thanks for the advice. I know I need to be patient. I just feel bad locking Ukko away. It's become clear that he's the main aggressor. I only hope that the bond these two shared hasn't been completely destroyed. That would break my heart.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 11:06 AM
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I think you should be able to build back the bond that Ukko and Zeus shared. If you play with them together, with something like a "teaser toy", ostrich plume or a cord going from one to the other, they should concentrate on the play and forget they are having a spat. Also I would let them play in the same room, separated a bit, with cat toys/mice that are well rubbbed with catnip. You can try to get them to stop focusing on each other. Try and get them to focus on you, by calling them to come to you and give them treats. Don't allow one to steal away the other's treats though! Praise them when they are behaving well with each other by not growling or hissing at each other, but do disagree verbally with any growling or issing with a "No", and call the cat to you. If it breaks off hissing/growling and comes, do give it a treat. Hope you can get these boys straightened around. It may take a while, so just be patient. Always end your play with them on a positive note. Don't try to do too much, it's proabably going to take baby steps.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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I think one of Chico2's cats has RA...I'll pm her and see if she can add anything.

It must break your heart to see them going at each other after getting along for so long

Hope they are back on track soon.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 11:51 AM
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Thanks everyone. Ukko has been separated in a different room from Zeus all night. And it seems to be calming Zeus down quite a bit. There has been a little progress. Yesterday Zeus wouldn't go near the door where Ukko was and today he's been trying to play with him underneath the door. A little hissing on Zeus's part but at least he's not running away.

I'm all open to suggestions. I just want these guys back to the loving brothers they were once before.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 12:39 PM
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Kanis,my Rocky a couple of years back,reacted the same way to strange cats outside,but it was me he attacked,like a totally crazed animal.
It happened 3 or 4 times,so badly I had to go to the hospital each time.
It was actually the reason I joined this Forum.

I honestly believe separating the 2,locking one up,is not the best way to go about it,in that his aggression will remain.
The more normalcy,cuddles etc..you can give him is IMO the best way.
My Rocky would calm down after a 1/2 hour or so.

We always also check for other cats in our backyard,if there is any we shoo them away,of course if it looks like a stray in trouble we won't do that,but try to help.

Rocky no longer shows any aggression,but he's also no longer healthy,was diagnosed with Hyper-Thyroidism 3yrs ago.
Good luck with your boy,I am certain he'll be back to normal very soon.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 02:10 PM
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Thanks for sharing your story Chico2. Personally I would love to just have them together to play and cuddle, but after Ukko charged at Zeus last night, I don't think that's the best thing to do. Zeus is just afraid of him. All the sites I read state that this could take months. Does that mean Ukko has to be essentially quarantined for that time period? That'll be difficult to do as he is such a love pig and needs a lot of attention (which he used to get from his brother!).

A moment ago, we had some minor exposure with each other. Ukko was playing in his crate and I opened the door a crack. Zeus peeked inside to see what was going on. They simply looked at each other for a moment and then I took Zeus out. So for a moment, there wasn't any posturing, hissing or growling.

And yes, my heart is breaking. Typically Ukko and Zeus go everywhere and do everything together - eat, cuddle, clean etc.... Now they just want to attack each other.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 04:02 PM
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You are right Kanis,your story is different from mine.
I just hope you don't have to keep them apart for too long
I also used Feli-Way plug-ins for quiet a while to calm Rocky down,but it might not help with your problem.
They look beautiful in your Avatar
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Old August 4th, 2010, 04:24 PM
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It sounds like you are making progress slowly. This may take a while. In order to have the peaceful existance you want it is essential the reintroductions are done the right way. If you can get them to the point where they are in a room for a few minutes without posturing then try catlover's ideas of playing with toys together or having catnip together. Although IME catnip is sometimes the catalyst for fights.
You're doing a good job. I know it hurts.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 12:24 AM
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Slow, slow progress but it's still progress. According to one site, they suggested switching the cats up as to who is sequestered. This apparently will help them get accustomed to each other's scent again. We did this this evening. Ukko is sitting at the door waiting for Zeus to come out. He's rolling in front of it, sticking his paws under the door, trying to get Zeus's attention.

It appears that Ukko misses Zeus. Strange since Ukko is the one who has been attacking Zeus viciously. Is it possible that Zeus lets off a fear scent and that leads Ukko to attack? I don't know. It's very confusing. I have contacted a cat behaviourist. I've sent her the information and she'll be getting back to me tomorrow with some steps to take. I discovered her while doing an online search. An article was printed about her in my local newspaper. Cat Advisor
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Old August 5th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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You are probably right about the fear scent.
I know my vet told me,to try to keep calm,take a deep breath,if Rocky would show any signs of aggression again.
Switching them around in the room is probably a good idea
Could we see a bigger pic,they look beautiful
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Old August 5th, 2010, 10:26 AM
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More progress! We've been feeding them next to each other - with the door between them. Yesterday Zeus refused to eat until he was a good distance away. Today they were able 2 feet (and a door) apart. Plus, we opened up the door a crack so that they could see each other. No hissing! In fact both started to roll on their backs and tried to play with one another's paws. Hopefully by tonight we'll be able to have a longer exposure. We're not pushing it. We want this to go right. But we're definitely making progress.

Chico2, here is a link to an old thread of photos of my boys. They've both darkened quite a bit since these photos were take. Ukko especially has darkened up. Photos of my Tonks
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Old August 5th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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Loads of beautiful pics,thank's..I don't know how I missed them,I was here in 2008.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 05:58 PM
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So a big step forward and a little step back. We had them together for about 30mins without any hostility. They were definitely on edge with each other but Ukko lay in front of Zeus and groomed him. Nervousness? Zeus did lick Ukko a couple of times too. But then Ukko was playing with a paper ball and Zeus approached Ukko, started to stare at him and the growling began. So Zeus is in isolation again. So we did make some headway. Next we'll try feeding them with the door open.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 07:51 AM
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Kanis,although my cats don't fight each other,one of them(Chico)mostly hisses if he want to be left alone.
However,if we notice a stare at each other thing,we usually break it up,or distract them with a toy or something.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 08:08 AM
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Many years ago, Puddles got a plastic bag handle stuck around her neck. She went tearing through the house with it, scaring Snowball to bits. Snowball did not recognize Puddles as his best friend, but something scary. For days after, Snowball would hiss and growl every time he saw Puddles (sans the bag of course ). Snowball would sneak around the house like there was a monster and Puddles didn't understand what was wrong. After a couple of days, Snowball settled down and they were back to normal. I did not isolate them as I knew it would take time and if Snowball went without seeing Puddles, he wouldn't get used to her.

I think cats live for the moment and can't reason like humans and events stick in their heads and what they saw at the moment of the event takes time to get over. I am sure in time, your kitties will be best friends. I also think that going on as if nothing happened because if you are tense when Zeus sees Ukko, he will pick up on those feelings and will be tense too.

Sending some
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Old August 6th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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Update on the Tonk Front

Last night we made major progress. They ate together with no problems and starting grooming themselves as well. Then Zeus, who seems to be the major aggressor here, started play fighting with Ukko. They goofed around a little and then sat down giving each other winky, peaceful eyes. That was great!

This morning, while Ukko was still eating, Zeus got a little jumpy and hissed. But progress is progress! I hope that by the end of the weekend, they'll be playing down on the main floor again. The main floor seems to be a bit of a trigger for Zeus as that's where everything first happened.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 10:53 AM
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Glad tohear Zeus and Ukko are making progress. Whenever you see them near each other behaving well, tell them "good boys!" but if one starts to stare or look aggressive, say the name (Zeus, Pssssst! No!). That's a warning from you that you don't approve of his aggressive stare at Ukko. If he looks at you, compliment him with a "Good boy" or call him for a treat (gotta have treats in your pocket for that instant reward). If he ignores you walk in front of him, give him a hard stare and say "no". Stand there until he walks away or looks away. There's always an "alpha" in every pack, even with cats. I remember having a torbie Manx girl in my pack that played "policeman" and whenever a couple of cats would get into a growling or hissing squabble....she'd get right into it and box everyone's ears! She was the alpha and 'pack leader' and she liked a harmonious environment. When there's only 2 cats, you've got to be the alpha.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 03:50 PM
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Kanis,I am glad there has been some progress,I am sure it won't be long before they will be best buddies again.
Try to learn their body-language when they are looking outside,you'll soon know if there is another cat there,that makes them upset,you don't want this to happen again.
BTW,it's not abnormal for them to get excited with a strange cat around.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 08:26 PM
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So, it's been took a long and stressful 6 days but things are close to normal again. Ukko and Zeus have been able to walk around without any major incidents. I would say things are 90% back to the way they were. Zeus still is hesitant at times but he's getting better. His stare downs end with him licking Ukko rather than hissing. The cat behaviourist was incredibly helpful. She recommended altering the feel of the main floor which is where the stranger intrusion occurred - smell (got a Feliway diffuser), sight (closed off some entry ways), touch (put a mat near the door where the strange cat came to the screen), and sound (put on a white noise machine).

Thank you for all your support!

We took this picture last night. Ukko and Zeus were relaxing on my lap while we were watching tv.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 07:17 AM
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Aaawww, buddies again. Great! hope it stays that way.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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Awwww,that's sweet,so glad they have almost forgotten the bad incident.
Still,watch for strange cats at your patio-door,so it does not happen again.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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We've got the door to the backyard blocked off with some cardboard for now. I've only ever seen that cat once and that was the day of the incident. So hopefully it doesn't come back!

Here's a photo I took this morning of the boys. I was so worried that there would be no more Tonk piles. This made my heart smile.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanis View Post
We've got the door to the backyard blocked off with some cardboard for now. I've only ever seen that cat once and that was the day of the incident. So hopefully it doesn't come back!

Here's a photo I took this morning of the boys. I was so worried that there would be no more Tonk piles. This made my heart smile.
Awwwwww, to you.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 12:19 AM
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Adorable Tonk Pile

Happy to read things are much improved between the boys, there are no more incidents
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