Several months ago, I brought home a 4-month-old female tortoiseshell cat. After several days in our care, I perceived her to be somewhat feral. We adopted our tortie to be company for our other cat, a 2-year-old male tabby. They can be angelic, but the tortie often chases and attacks the tabby. This causes retaliation by the tabby, and they both end up chewing and clawing with screams to follow. This happens at least once a day, mostly after 4 a.m. I've tried several remedies such as playing with the tortie before bedtime, spraying water on the instigator and separating the cats. All have failed. Any suggestions?
B.S., Gaithersburg, Md Feb 14, 2012
A 4 a.m. catfight wake-up is not good for anyone's constitution. My guess is that the young cat has not yet learned the art of gentle play, but I'm confident the two cats will work things out eventually. This can take several weeks. The screaming is a signal for the termination of roughhousing, especially when neither cat has significant bite wounds or deep scratches. The less you interfere, the better -- although you can put the attacking cat in a separate room for the night if you want. The peace-making pheromone Feliway may work well to subdue your cats. Feliway is available from your veterinarian, and it's about 50 percent effective. In instances where one cat just plays too rough for his or her feline companion, getting a third cat gives the group a new dynamic. With another companion, the picked-on cat has a buddy, or gets picked on less because the new cat and the bully become the best of friends.
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