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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 26902
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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I have 2 cats (brothers) When another cat is outside they

Customer Question

I have 2 cats (brothers) When another cat is outside they carry on screaming and going wide. Lately there does not have to be another cat around' they look at each other and for no reason at all, they sound like cats on a fence, screaming and going for each other. I have to send one to another room.
I am at a loss; they are 7 years old and lately, this has been going on. Any suggestions????
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I have advanced training in feline behavior and would identify their behavior as classic redirected aggression. This occurs when the target of their aggression (in this case each other) is not the stimulus that triggered the state of aggressive arousal. Territorial, fear-induced and defensive aggression are the types of behaviors that are likely to be redirected by them. Stimuli that can cause an aggressive state of arousal include the sight or sound of another cat (at times quite far away from the home), unusual noises, odors of other animals, unfamiliar people, and unfamiliar environments. A common situation is one in which the pet becomes aroused upon seeing or hearing another cat while sitting in a window. When the owner attempts to pet it, pick it up, or nudge it away from the window, it attacks. It may show aggression toward another pet when approached in similar situations. Redirected aggression is a common cause of the sudden appearance of aggression between cats in the same household that have been living together amicably for quite some time. This type of aggression is probably the most dangerous type of aggression cats exhibit due to the uninhibited nature of the bites. Treatment involves identifying triggers for arousal and then removing the pet's access to the stimuli. You may have to be quite the detective as stimuli can be imperceptible to owners. Medication can be beneficial for reducing their response to environmental stimuli - psychoactive drugs such as Prozac have been used. The most important thing that I can impart to you is to be careful around them when they is aroused. Too many of my owners have ended up in the hospital due to infected bite wounds. One encouraging fact is that many of our cats will habituate to the arousing stimuli and "self-cure" within days to weeks. Your sequestering them to a quiet and dimly lit room is just the ticket. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.