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I have a 10 year old calico and a 5 yr old black/ female.

Customer Question
Hello, JA: Hi. What is your...
Hello,
JA: Hi. What is your issue regarding?
Customer: I have a 10 year old calico and a 5 yr old black/white female. The 10 yr old constantly jumps on the 5 yr old. Has her so cowered she stays in the back part of the house all day. The 10 yr old was "raised
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What sort of animal are we talking about?
Customer: both cats
JA: OK. What is the cat's name?
Customer: one is 10 yrs old---Jolly; the other is a 5yr old named Star both females
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Star?
Customer: Star is a very sweet, loving cat. I brought her into the house when Jolly was 5 yrs old. Jolly is constantly jumping on Star....growling, fighting to the point of hair flying and going for the jugular.
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 4 hours by:
10/31/2016
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 1 year ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 31,800
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. I have advanced training in feline behavior and am pleased to discuss Jolly's and Star's behavior with you. It's classified as feline aggression within an existing household.

Aggression may occur between two or more cats already present in the household where there had been little or no previous history of aggression. Relationships may change as cats mature and age. In addition, increased conflicts may arise when there has been a change in the social group (people or animals becoming a part of the household or leaving the household), or when there have been major changes to the environment like moving house, or more subtle changes such as where the cats sleep, eat, perch, or eliminate. Medical problems could lead to pain or irritable-induced aggression, or may alter the way the cat interacts with other cats in the household. Any event leading to redirected aggression* could also lead to a change in the way that cats interact with other cats in the home. It's also not unusual for aggression to arise when a cat has been out of the home and then returns (e.g., from a groomer or veterinary hospital stay). This may be due to pheromonal alterations (pheromones are chemicals that cats secrete in order to communicate with other cats), anxiety or discomfort of the returning cat, or the response of one or more cats that remained in the home to some alteration in the way the cat looks, acts, or smells upon its return. There may also be territorial and status issues that need to be re-established, even if the departure has been relatively short. Many of these problems are mild and will resolve themselves over time, particularly if there is enough space, perches, and hiding places for the cat to avoid interactions while they again "recognize" each other and re-establish a compatible relationship. This may take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks for some cats, while on rare occasions the problem may be sufficiently intense to require a formal reintroduction program of desensitization and counterconditioning in much the same way as a new cat is introduced into the household. It may be prudent to sequester one or both of your cats in a dim and quiet area until their level of arousal abates. Many owners will then “test" their cat(s) every day or so and continue sequestering them if necessary.

*Redirected aggression is diagnosed when the target of Holly's aggression (Star) 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 her. 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 Jolly's 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 Jollywhen 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 weeks to months.

You can't force the issue. You can't make a cat like another cat. Formal reconditioning involves playing with, feeding, and rewarding Jolly with treats at the same time your other cats are present. This is best done while she's leashed for their protection and it involves more than person. It's time consuming, can take weeks and months, and isn't always effective. The most expedient manner in which to address such aggression within a household is often by restricting cats to certain sections of your home. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 1 year ago
Hi,

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

Dr. Michael Salkin
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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 31,800
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Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.

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