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Cats not getting on together

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by thequietplace, Jun 4, 2018.


  1. thequietplace

    thequietplace PetForums Newbie

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    My 2 cats (brother and sister) aren't getting along anymore. Everytime Charlie goes near Amber she growls and hisses at him. I have had them for about 6 months and they are just over a year old. They were fine for the first 3 or 4 months, sleeping next to each other, play fighting, etc. But it seems to have started since I had a cat flap fitted, when Charlie had been out and returned, it's as if Amber didn't recognise him and thought he was an intruder cat. To start with, she eventually would come around, but over the last week or so she cannot stand to be around him - Charlie seems a little baffled by it all. Anyone else had a similar problem?
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @thequietplace and welcome :)

    I assume both cats are neutered? If they are not, hormones may be playing a part.

    With cats a major part of their ability to recognise other cats is based on scent. When Charlie goes out he is returning home smelling of the places where he has been. Perhaps he goes further afield than Amber does, so she has not come across the smell and therefore it is 'foreign' to her when she smells it on Charlie. He may have on his paws or his fur the scents of other cats, foxes, dogs, etc, any of which Amber could find frightening. The fear of the unknown is instinctive.

    The same thing can happen sometimes if one cat is taken to the vet. The cat who stays at home doesn't recognise their housemate/pal when they return because the cat smells strange, different. It can result in the stay at home rejecting the other cat and lead to fighting. The closer the two cats are normally to each other, the greater the problem it seems to cause.

    Usually with the example I've given of the vet visit, a short spell of the cats being separated from each other in the house, perhaps over night, and plenty of scent swapping and they are OK with each other again.

    By 'scent swapping' I mean you taking a soft cloth and wiping it around the cheeks and neck of one cat, and then transferring the scent by wiping it around the neck and cheeks of the other cat, back and forth a few times, whilst keeping the cats in separate parts of the home. There are scent glands in the cheeks and neck, and the mixing of their scents will enable them to smell of each other again and should hopefully stop Amber being suspicious of Charlie. You may need to keep doing this every time Charlie comes home from his outings.

    Is it possible Charlie has been going into a neighbour's house? This does sometimes seem to be a major cause of problems scent-wise with cats, as the away cat will smell very 'foreign' if he's been handled by unknown humans or even possibly eaten food he is not fed at home.

    Does Charlie tend to go out for long periods of time ? Does Amber mostly stay indoors or in the garden?
     
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  3. thequietplace

    thequietplace PetForums Newbie

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    Many thanks for your detailed response Chillminx, it sounds as if you may have hit the nail on the head. Yes, they are both neutered. Over the last week Charlie has been disappearing for hours, and the last couple of days he goes out as I am getting up, and then doesn't return until I call him when I get home from work. Amber doesn't seem to venture too far and only stays out for short periods. There's a possibility that Charlie is going to a neighbours house, but they are both quite shy and frightened around 'new' humans. I will try the scent swapping, sounds like a good place to start. Thanks again Chillminx :)
     
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  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    If he is going in a neighbour's house it is possible the neighbour doesn't know (i.e. Charlie could be getting through a cat flap while the neighbour is out). The magnet could possibly be dry food left out all day in the neighbour's house for their own cat. Dry food is very strong smelling and a cat with its fine sense of smell will smell the scent from outside the door.

    This is not going to be something you want Charlie doing - eating food elsewhere, food of unknown quality or quantity. He could soon start putting on weight, or not bothering to come home for meals at all.

    The more time he spends away from home the more Amber is going to react negatively to him when he returns. Can you talk to your neighbours and try and find out where Charlie is going all day? It would best to nip it in the bud if possible. A microchip cat flap should sort it out if the neighbour can be persuaded to buy one - or perhaps you could share the cost with them. :)
     
  5. SuboJvR

    SuboJvR Joey’s Mummy

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    Perhaps Charlie is even meeting another kitty friend when out - maybe he is in another cat’s house - so when he returns he doesn’t smell like him anymore but perhaps even another cat!

    I wonder if Feliway Friends would help
     
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