Ask Dr Claire

I have 2 cats (8 months difference in age). They have been getting along fine for months, but last night they have suddenly turned on each other

Sudden aggression between household cats is not an uncommon behavioural problem.

In this case, we really need to find the cause of the aggression so that we can reach the best treatment plan for your cats.

Some of the underlying causes of sudden inter-cat aggression might be:

  • Medical problem in one or both the cats (pain or illness would make either of them more irritable and could cause changes in behaviour)
  • An event that has changed the relationship between your cats. Even a single event for some cats can lead to a major change in how they interact.
    • A change in the house
    • A change in their environment

If you’d like to chat in person, you can book a live video call or start a chat to discuss in more detail, as soon as possible.

When a cat’s fear response is intense, it can actually take a few days for the reactivity to settle. Once we know why, we can help prevent recurrence of the behaviour, and treat them appropriately.

Initially, they need to be separated to avoid further incidents. Every time they turn on each other, will make it harder to rebuild a good relationship. Eventually, we can try a very gradual reintroduction of the cats.

Providing more places to hide, climb, perch and escape routes, more food bowls, scratching posts and cat litter can also reduce competition and allow for increased avoidance. A Feliway diffuser (feline pheromone diffuser) can be calming and might help for both cats.

A hands-on examination of both cats from your local vet would be a great place to start, to help rule out physical issues. Prescription medication may also be required.

If you’d like to chat in person, you can book a live video call or start a chat to discuss in more detail, as soon as possible.

We’re here to help!

Chat soon,

Dr Claire

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