My male cat is attacking my female cat; female so scared she urinates herself
My wife and I are at our wits end with two of our cats and want to see what advice people have for us. Here's the problem:
Larry, a male, stalks and attacks Curly Sue, a female. In the past, we have witnessed fights between them starting and were able to break them up: usually they start with Larry "looking at Curly Sue funny" - almost like he is stalking her - and Curly Sue hissing and growling at Larry. This causes Larry to get more agitated, his tail poofs, and he goes into full-on stalking mode. If not stopped, he starts attacking Curly Sue.
Obviously we try and stop this whenever we can, but sometimes the cats are in another part of the house or we are asleep and we don't hear the commotion until it's too late.
If we are not around to stop Larry's stalking and Larry attacks Curly Sue, Curly Sue lets out a blood-curdling series of screams. During the commotion, Curly Sue urinates all over herself, Larry, and whatever else is nearby.
Obviously I feel terrible for Curly Sue - she is so scared that it's causing her to urinate herself. But this is also causing a lot of stress on my wife and I, and a lot of property/furniture damage from the cat urine. The other day this happened in the middle of the night under the bed and ruined our box spring. Dealing with Curly Sue soiling herself and Larry, the box spring, and moving and cleaning under the bed was not fun.
We have gone through a separation and re-introduction process several times in the past, but inevitably Larry's violence toward Curly Sue always rekindles. This happened several years ago in our old home, and we ended up keeping Curly Sue locked up with food, water, and a litterbox in our spare bedroom when we were not home. Although I didn't like making our spare bedroom a "cat room", it solved the problem and Larry never attacked Curly Sue while we were home. We had not had any issues in our new home until recently. In contrast with the situation in our old home, Larry now attacks Curly Sue while we are home and awake! It's gotten so bad that I am not going to let them intermingle at all; one cat is going to stay in the spare bedroom until we can figure something out.
To clarify, neither cat has a problem using the litterbox. Curly Sue will only let off a "urine grenade" when Larry attacks her like this.
I cannot think of any changes in our home that would have triggered this behavior. Also, we have tried Feliway products in our home, but they have not affected this behavior.
We are thinking of asking our vet to put one or both of them on a psychotropic drug to calm them down. Short of putting one of them up for adoption, I do not know what else to do.
Both cats are normally very sweet and gentle. This behavior is so strange.
We will need a little more info about the cats to help you. Could you please answer the following: Have you spayed and neutered the cats? If yes, how long ago? How old are the cats? When and where did you get the cats? How long ago? Did you get one cat before the other? If yes, how long before? Do you have tall cat trees with levels or other high places for the cats?
Yes, both cats are spayed and neutered - it was done when they were very young. Larry and Curly Sue are litter-mates and are about nine years old. We got them from a rescue. We also have another cat, Moe, who is about six years old and was also neutered when young. Moe showed up on our back doorstep as a kitten, hungry and cold, and he's been ours ever since. I mention Moe, but I do not think he is a factor in the attacks because he's often in the other room sleeping when it happens. We do have a multi-level cat tree in our family room, and of course kitchen counters that they frequent.
Yes, we are alternating between Larry being locked up, and Curly Sue being locked up.
@FrankLesniak That's good. I would put the male in the room more than the female. That way she can start feeling more comfortable in her home. In your description, it seems like you're saying this started about 3 years ago, off and on. Is this correct?
Probably more like four years ago. We mitigated the problem in our old home by keeping Curly Sue locked up when we were not home. In our new home the problem first occurred about 4 months ago, but it has escalated to the point that it happened three days in a row (the third time was the last time that the cats have been allowed to intermingle without me directly watching over them). I like your point about keeping Larry locked up more often than Curly Sue. I also stopped by my vet this evening and left a message asking for a doctor to give me a call. We'll see what they say!
I am very sorry to hear about your kitty problems. Given the description you've given, it seems like a very complex problem. You've done the right things, trying the reintroduction process and having plenty of vertical space for the cats.
I would definitely get your vet involved. It almost seems like your male cat may have something medical going on, rather than behavioral. Pain can make a cat lash out at another cat.
If it does turn out to be behavioral, have you tried daily play sessions with each cat? The play sessions would now need to be separated. They idea is that you play with each cat until they are finished playing. Be sure to use something on the end of a pole and string, like a feather or something with stuffing they can get their teeth and claws into. Be sure to buy two, so each cat can have their own toy. You don't want your male's toy to smell like the female. Also, be sure to put up the toys when done with your play session. This will help your cats look forward to the play sessions each day because it's the only time they get to play with that particular fun toy. And be sure not to use a laser pointer because this frustrates many cats.
For the male, the play sessions should help him take out aggression on the toy and release any pent up energy. For the female, the play sessions should help her gain confidence. Then, after a while of separation, hopefully you can get to the point where they can come together again. However, the play sessions should not go away.
During this time of separation (while you are trying to figure out what to do), make sure both cats still get plenty of attention from you.
We may never find out why your male kitty is lashing out at his sibling. It could have been something that happened 4 years ago. Also, it may not have had anything to do with the female cat. She may have just been standing near him when it happened.
In any case, I hope you find the solution. I wish you and your kitties the best.
Also try mixing their scents with a towel while seperating, they should smell each others scents on themselves to be more calm about each other, it may make them more stressed for the first few days especialy for the female but they should get used to it after a while and feel it as home.
Did you declaw both cats? Declawing (toe amputation) can cause behavior problems after surgery even years down the road. Go to http://citythekitty.com and http://thepawproject.org for more information. Vets promote this for money, and it's not healthy for the cat either.