Old litter mates suddenly fighting

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April 14th, 2010 11:44
Idaho
Hermitcrab
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I have a male and a female cat who are litter mates. They are 7 years old and have lived together peacefully and lovingly all their lives. They are up to date on all shots and were just recently to the vet for their annual check-up. The only issue the vet had was that they are overweight so they have been on a diet for the past couple of months. A few days ago, I heard the commotion of an angry cat. When I went to investigate, the male was behind the washer growling and hissing at his sister. She seemed curious but not upset. The behavior continued and he seemed to get more and more upset. I finally separated them. The female is unhappy about the separation but the male seems very content. Each time I try to put them back together, he goes ballistic. I have petted, poked, prodded and felt both cats all over. Neither has a problem with that and they don't show any signs of illness or discomfort. They don't mind the four-year-old hugging them or anything. The only thing my vet's office had to offer was, "some cats just get cranky when they get older." When I asked what I could DO about it, they had no help to offer. I really don't want to keep them separated for the rest of their lives. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has had experience with a similar problem and if there is any advice about how to get them back together. I am going to try a pheromone spray that a friend lent me today but, after reading the box, I'm not too hopeful that it is meant to help my specific problem.
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April 17th, 2010 10:48
Massachusetts
dcorm63
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Hello, I have a male female litter-mate combo as well. They are 6 years old, and though I haven't experienced the same issue, they have "had their moments". In my case it's the female that has asserted herself as the dominant kitty. I also believe it started a couple of years back when I went away on a business trip and my daughter was charged with their care. There were a couple of days when they didn't get fed on their normal schedule, and the female started growling and hissing at the male around the food dish. Being the timid runt that he is, the male backed off and for the longest time he would wait for her to finish eating before approaching the feeding area (no matter how hungry he appeared to be). Since then he's found a routine that works for him. As long as he gets to his dish first they'll eat at the same time. If she gets there first, he waits. So, it's become a joke watching him run to the dish each feeding. She has asserted herself as the dominant (alpha), a he goes along with it. Could it be the changes you've made to their diet? Has one been more dominant than the other before this started happening? It may just be they're trying to work out their roles within the household, and if the fighting isn't drawing blood you might consider letting them work it out. Just a suggestion, but only if they don't hurt each other. Good luck! :-Dave
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April 20th, 2010 11:40
Idaho
Hermitcrab
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Thanks for the input Dave. I've been away for a few days so that's why I haven't replied before now. I was trying the "just let them work it out" idea but the male cat was getting soooo upset and it was getting really loud and then I read somewhere that, because of the way cats' brains work, you shouldn't let fighting cats just work it out because it will only get worse. I've been trying to find that quote again but I am having trouble locating it. For now, they are still in separate rooms. I will probably take the male in to the vet and have them check for things that they don't worry about in the regular check-up, like urinary probs, etc. I've noticed that, lately, he isn't eating as much as I think he should. He still seems healthy and doesn't seem to be sick but I also know that, with cats, that doesn't necessarily mean nothing's wrong.
   
Thanks again!
   
Michelle
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