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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28935
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Neighborhood stray cat came to back screen door while our

Customer Question

Neighborhood stray cat came to back screen door while our siiamese cat went to the screen door and they fought between the door. Our Siamese has now been freaking out with our other cat which showed up at the time of the fight . Our Siamese has not stopped screaming at our other cat, almost as though she sees the stray instead of what is really there, does our cat need Prozac now? It was only last night, might she calm down soon?
Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Hi - Kiki is demonstrating redirected aggression toward your other cat. This occurs when the target of Kiki's aggression (your other cat) is not the stimulus that triggered the state of aggressive arousal (the stray). Territorial, fear-induced and defensive aggression are the types of behaviors that are likely to be redirected by her. Stimuli that can cause an aggressive state of arousal include the sight or sound of another cat - the case here (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 - which is just what's occurring. 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 - not in this case! Medication can be beneficial for reducing Kiki's response to environmental stimuli - psychoactive drugs such as Prozac have been used - but it's much too early to be considering such drugs. The most important thing that I can impart to you is to be careful around Kiki when she 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 months. For now it would be prudent sequestering Kiki in a quiet and dimly lit room until her level of arousal abates. You can "test" her behavior periodically to see if she can safely commingle with your other cat. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin