leopards hissing and fighting

Amusements, Separation before Reconciliation

Question:
I have two cats that aren’t getting along. One is my husband’s and the other one is mine. We moved in together 7 months ago and they still can’t be together. We keep them separated and have been only successful a couple of times in the same room for a few minutes on leashes. My cat jumps over and they start hissing at each other. We have had 2 big fights. Aurora (my cat) is on fluoxetine.

Dr. Nichol:
Kids these days got no respect. All they do is bicker. Never mind the wedded bliss of their people; kitties who missed-out on communal feline life as adolescents or young adults are highly unlikely to welcome interlopers. With Aurora and her adversary having declared war they default immediately to hostility at the mere sight of each other.

It is troubling when the cats we love hate one another’s guts. Scolding, spanking, and putting them to bed without their smart phones would only intensify their mutual enmity and potentially damage your bond with them. Everybody should just chillax.

Your kitties need a feline-specific environment inside their house. Give the gift of vertical real estate – lots of tall climbing structures and an abundance of hide boxes at various heights so your cats can get small and fly below each other’s radar. Locate floor-to-ceiling cat trees against windows in different rooms. Stick bird houses or feeders on the outsides of the windows. Go to my website, drjeffnichol.com, for a good list of Feline Environmental Enrichments. Promote a more social emotional state for these sworn enemies by adding Feliway Multi Cat pheromone diffusers.

Reaching détente won’t be easy. Hidden in each of your cat’s sock drawer is a doll that looks just like your other kitty. Every night these effigies are methodically stabbed with pins. Aurora and her nemesis should never see each other –at least for a few months. Very gradual exposures, over 1-2 years, may bridge the divide. You are welcome to contact my office for a consultation although, this being an election year, reconciling major political differences will be especially challenging. Keep the TV turned off.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.