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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17255
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hi, my cat who is just over a year old had kittens over 3 months

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Hi, my cat who is just over a year old had kittens over 3 months ago. Her behaviour has changed quite a bit in the last 6 weeks or so. When she comes into the house she starts being aggressive, snarling and hissing and attacking the kittens. When they are all outside she seems to be fine with them most of the time and plays with them.
I pucked her up earlier and she became aggressive with me too. Is she jealous or is it territorial behaviour?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Skip is behaving aggressively toward her kittens.
Cats in the wild do not live together. They compete for food, safe resting places and mates. When kittens get old enough to eat on their own the queen will often chase them out of her territory. Some of this aggression is natural and beneficial as if males stayed with their mother mating could take place leading to a higher incidence of birth defects.
It is socially stressful for them to have to be confined together. That is likely why many cats stop "marking territory" once they are allowed to go outside. They are less socially stressed because the territory is larger, they have more room and get more exercise.
She may be more tolerant of them outdoors as they are not in her main territory where her food and resting places are found.
Her aggressive behavior with you was likely redirected aggression from the kittens being around. Please be very cautious around her when she is behaving aggressively with the kittens as you may suffer a redirected bite from her.
I do recommend a physical examination for her too, as none of us are at our best if we aren't feeling well. Though you aren't seeing anything there may be a low grade illness that is making her less patient.
Spaying her may help a little, as that takes away the competition for a mate, but I don't believe that it will be the whole answer.
I think having fewer kittens around will be more helpful. If you can rehome some that would be best. Try to determine the kittens she seems to fight with less and keep those.
To help ease social stress you can try using Feliway sprays or diffusors. These are synthetic pheromones which mimic those produced to mark areas as safe and many cats find them soothing. You can also use pheromone calming collars as well. See this link for some examples: http://www.amazon.com/Sentry-Behavior-Pheromone-Collar-Inches/dp/B0026JAKWG
If these measures aren't enough you can try a homeopathic calming oral medication called Bach's Rescue Remedy. See this link for further information: http://www.bachflower.com/Pets.htm
Best of luck with your kitties, please let me know if you have any further questions.
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