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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20619
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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One of my cat's (3 of) normally placid has started to become

Resolved Question:

One of my cat's (3 of) normally placid has started to become aggressive to the other 2.
They are all 3&1/2 years old & have been together all this time.
They are all neutered & have been fine up till now, they are all Female.
Can you advise please.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Has there been any changes in the environment (ie new pets, new neighbor cats, changes in your routine, new people, anything that would constitute a change in the environment that could trigger stress for them)?

When is Tululla showing aggression to the other cats? Over food, when they approach her, etc?

How is she otherwise? Any changes to her appetite, thirst, general health or signs of discomfort/pain when you handle her?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

she is growling like a dog when they go near her and she is hissing at them she is also doing this when she has food in front of her . she is normally a very placid cat and will spend hours grooming the other two cats 'she has only started growling and spitting over the past two or three days*

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Varina,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, there are a variety of reasons cats can fall out with one another and start to show aggressive behavior despite having been friends before. This can be precipitated by stresses external to their relationship (if something has changed in the environment to set her on edge or has driven her to displace her frustration onto her housemates), stresses related to the relationship (because cats can have altercations, challenge one another, and fall out just as we humans can), and defensive behavior when a cat is feeling vulnerable or unwell.

In regards ***** *****'s signs, her behavior when approached (on her own and when by the limited resource of food), this does support a defensive behavior instead of an actual aggressive one. This means that she is feeling threatened or is perhaps sore/unwell and warming the other cats to keep away (since offence is the best defence in the cat mind). This makes issues like her trying to dominate them or showing true aggression less likely.

In this case, I'd advise that you do want to have a good feel and examination of Tululla to make sure there is nothing overtly wrong. Do take care not to get injured if she is sore and lashes out, but you just need to make sure that she isn't showing any belly pain, wounds, or even sore limbs. If that is all clear, you will want to monitor her closely to make sure she can eat, drink, urinate and pass feces as normal. While doing so, since she is feeling so vulnerable, do consider giving her own space. This can just be a spare room or bathroom but we want to give her a quiet place she can be on her own that contains her resources (ie cat bed, food, water, litter box). This safe haven will allow you to monitor her better and also give her some peace to settle her stress. As well, it will avoid unwanted altercations between cats that could actually damage their relationship (and make her getting back into their good graces more difficult).

As long as we can rule out health issues sparking her defensive/withdrawn behavior, we can then consider taking some steps to help reduce her overall stress and cope with what is upsetting her. In regards ***** ***** options, Feliway (also known as Comfort Zone in the US pet stores) would be a good place to start with Tululla . This is a synthetic cat pheromone that helps to relieve stress. This can be used as a spray or a plug-in diffuser. There is also a diet on the market called Calm by Royal Canin. This contains a number of supplements that have been found to provide stress relief to cats. As well, there are nutritional supplements like Kalmaid (LINK) or Zylkene , that we often use to soothe anxiety driving this behavior in cats Some people have even found treats like Composure (LINK) or Bach Flower Remedy (LINK) to be helpful for settling kitty tension. And as these are not 'drugs', you can use any of these together to help her cope with any external stress that you may not be picking up on.

Overall, Tululla's behavior is not suggestive of malicious aggression. Instead, her behavior is more of a "leave me alone" type behavior. She is telling the other cats that something is upsetting her and that she needs her space. Therefore, consider giving her a wee safe haven for the moment while you monitor her. Furthermore, if you can have a feel and rule out discomfort (if you found any, we'd of course want to address that for her), then de-stressing treatments could be helpful to soothe her anxiety and help her calm enough to rejoin the kitty group.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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