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Feline Non-recognition Aggression

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RJH2018RJH2018 Forumite
11 posts
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Hello all, just looking for some advice. I have two 5 month old kittens who are brother and sister. The little lady went for her spaying yesterday and came back with a small cone around her head. Hey brother saw her very briefly and hissed at her before we put her separately for the night.  

I thought it would all calm down quickly once the little lady had recovered from her sedation but today has been terrible. We've tried to let them interact under supervision and the boy won't have it, hissing and attacking her. We plan on keeping them separate for a few days, swapping their rooms everyday so he can get used to their scent. And let them interact under supervision. 

Is there anything else we should be doing? It's really heartbreaking because little lady still loves her brother so much and can't understand why he hates her. 

Replies

  • KxMxKxMx Forumite
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    I can't offer any advice apart from give it time, she probably came home smelling strange to him and he's not happy.

    If no improvement with time you may have to just let them settle it between themselves, hard as it is to stand by and see that kind of behaviour. 

    I do remember your other thread and I'm so glad you were able to get one of them neutered. 
  • RJH2018RJH2018 Forumite
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    Yes, it was a massive relief that we got one of them neutered. The vets finally agreed it was urgent surgery and did a microchip for her at the same time. 

    We're going to keep swapping their rooms and hope the boy gets used to her smell eventually. I think he is also freaked out by the cone so, if she is healing well after 5 days, we might remove it. 

    Trying really hard not to get angry at him but he is so vicious and it upsets her so much. I've ordered some "Felaway Friends" in desperation! 
  • donnac2558donnac2558 Forumite
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    That has happened to me over the years.  As you said in your post.  The cat coming back from the vet smells like the vets and that makes the cat who at home think something not right.   It will settle down. 

  • RJH2018RJH2018 Forumite
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    First Post
    Progress update- after 3 nights apart, we decided to take little lady's cone off (under supervision) and let her groom herself a bit. Then we let her into the same room as boy kitten. He gave her a good sniff, then hissed at her. We decided to give it a little longer because he didn"t actively attack her. Over the course of an hour, he hissed at her quite a few times and took some swipes (but claws retracted). Little lady took some  swipes back, which stopped him a bit. 

    They managed to play very close to each other until suddenly boy kitten became obsessed with sniffing her and hissing until they started properly fighting. We immediately separated them in case little lady's stitches got damaged. 

    So, some progress made. Both are sleeping in separate rooms at the moment but we might try some more interaction once they wake up. 
  • Mrs_ZMrs_Z Forumite
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    We get this occasionally with our pair, also a brother and a sister, although they are 5 years old.  It seems to be smell related.  When our male cat started going out (they are rescues which were indoor cats in their previous home), the female hissed at him every time he came in. But I left them to it and they settled it between them - usually after the female managed to smell her brother and ascertain it wasn't a stranger who came in!  I felt so sorry for him, poor lad didnt know what he'd done wrong!  But as the time went on, the hissing became less and didn't last as long.
    How about meal times?  Both of ours have good appetite and that's one occasion when they seem to be too busy (eating) and it's like a distracting activity.  Also they get the good opportunity to smell each other as they are fed together, eating side by side.  Might be worth a try.
  • edited 16 May at 8:01PM
    KiKiKiKi Forumite
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    edited 16 May at 8:01PM
    Ah, I've had this problem twice between a mummy and son, where mummy has turned on her son!  Took me three months to fully reintegrate, but yours don't sound as aggressive as mine were.  

    You're doing the right things - keep them separate, and integrate slowly.  Find something they both like, that will bring them together, like Dreamies or similar treats, where they are distracted by that, and will not focus on each other.  Bring them together a few times a day with those treats (for eg).  Provide distractions when they are together.  Play with feather sticks or their favourite toys - anything that means they are not focused on each other; too much intense 1:1 is likely to lead to fights.

    Feliway Friends is also a good idea.  However, one of the best things you can do is scent swap.  Get a couple of flannels / muslin cloths / similar.  Wipe one from the boy's scent glands on his face down to his tail glands.  Ie, wipe him from just under the cheek all the way to the base of his tail a couple of times.  Then wipe that cloth onto girl cat's body.  Then do the same the other way round - wipe girl cat with a different cloth, from just under the cheek to her tail base, and transfer that onto boy cat's body.  It's also probably a good idea to use a third cloth to wipe girl cat in the same way, then transfer it to key points in the room / house where boy cat tends to sniff.  Door frames, edges of walls, table legs etc are good places.  He can then smell her scent around the house and get more familiar with it.  Do those three transfers (boy to girl; girl to boy; girl to house) twice a day.

    If you do put them in the same room, have things on the floor in between them, like boxes, chairs - anything that means there isn't a direct line from one to the other.  It diffuses tension. 

    It will get better - it just takes time with cats.  Regular meetings, lots of scent swapping, lots of distraction so they are focusing on an activity rather than each other.  As they are so young it will fix itself - however, I strongly advocate you managing it not leaving them to sort it out.  That can lead to serious aggression where a cat ends up hurt, and a complete breakdown in the relationship.  Manage it if you can.  Good luck!
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
  • RJH2018RJH2018 Forumite
    11 posts
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    Thank you all. We seem to have had a major breakthrough this evening. Both kittens were asleep in their separate rooms so we opened the door to see what would happen. Boy kitten walked in and had a sniff of little lady before falling asleep in the basket next to her. When they woke, they batted at each other a bit, then walked around separately for a while before play fighting and even some grooming of each other! There are still awkward staring matches and the play fighting seems a bit rougher but no claws are out, no growling and no hissing. We are keeping them separate at night still so we can make sure boy kitten doesn't get aggressive when we are asleep and rip her stitches. But I am much more confident that the scent exchanges and removal of the cone are working. 
  • KiKiKiKi Forumite
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    Brilliant news! 
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
  • tealadytealady Forumite
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    Lovely to hear things are getting better.
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  • RJH2018RJH2018 Forumite
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    They are all better now. Thanks to everyone for reassuring me. At least I know what to do next time One of them has an Op at the vet! 
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