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Thread: Redirected aggression hope!

  1. #1

    Redirected aggression hope!

    New to this forum and just thought I'd share my story of redirected aggression so as to maybe help cat owners who may suffer from this in the future.
    My cats Hannah and Nova were best friends- no aggression to be seen. One day, a stray walks into sight and Hannah FLIPS out on poor Nova- screaming and swatting at her like she was fighting for her life. Nova escaped unscathed luckily, but Hannah would not calm down for literally 7 hours. No one could even walk past her, let alone touch her without her lunging. We separated Nova and finally lured Hannah into her crate and we brought her to the vet that day. She was prescribed amytriptyline (Elavil) and some behavioral modifications including separating Hannah for a bit and slowly reintroducing the two. After a nightmarish time of trying to pill Hannah and eventually spending a ridiculous amount of money on a transdermal compound and all sorts of essences (Safe Space, Feliway, etc.) to no avail, we consulted a different vet who suggested that Prozac tends to work much better for aggressive behavior ( and it's cheaper!). Willing to try anything to get our old Hannah back, we picked up the prescription only to find a bottle of pills- my boyfriend and I were so dismayed, Hannah is literally IMPOSSIBLE to pill...even the vet said so- they said she clamps down her jaw like they've never seen! We tried hiding it in food, treats, tuna juice, etc, but Hannah just wants to eat her dry food- even as a kitten, she never really liked wet food or treats. I almost cried- did I mention we were also in the process of moving into a house undergoing renovation...noisy, scary renovations? Not a good move for my scaredy cat.
    Long story short, we finally were able to pill our finicky cat- we crushed the pill, put it in some cream cheese (or sauce from wet food as the consistency will hold the pill better), and schmeared it on her front paw. She was confused but immediately began licking it off- effectively consuming the medicine. We almost cried. We've been pilling her this way twice a day for over a month now. She hates the taste (it's VERY bitter) but she's so much happier these days.
    Prozac has been a lifesaver for Hannah (and us)- she no longer growls or gets the aggressive look and after months of separation with no effective reintroduction, our fur babies are back together- and Hannah actually cuddled with me today, which is something she exclusively does with my boyfriend! I think the move away from the crime scene helped in the end, but I'm so grateful for Prozac- there was even a stray in our yard today and Hannah looked a bit spooked but didn't touch Nova (who actually got screechy herself). They were easily separated for a half hour to prevent any fighting from Nova and all is calm now. Such a miracle.
    I know when we were first going through this, I searched the internet endlessly for answers- I hope this helps someone!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
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    37,377
    Aww, glad you found a solution after all that! What a relief! And thank you for sharing.
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3

    Thank you, this gives me hope...

    We've been having a really similar problem. We have a brother and sister (same litter) who we've had since they were 16 weeks old. They're about 2 now. A couple of months ago the girl cat (jinx) started taking swipes and hissing at her brother, Domino. Sometimes there's growling from her side too.

    We can't figure out what's wrong at all. But yesterday I realised that when we open the back door for them to go out in the morning, Jinx is really hesitant to go out. Almost fearful in her body language, we hadn't noticed this until yesterday because we tend to go about our morning business before leaving for work but I wanted to see if another cat was coming into the garden. It turns out a really bold fox came into the garden and started to walk towards our open back door. I think he may even have been coming in and we didn't realise because we were upstairs getting ready for work.

    I chased him off and sprayed him with water, hoping that this will make him more wary of our garden. But now Jinx is behaving as if she's fearful of me. I may have made some noise when I chased the fox out of the garden.

    It's really upsetting, I've had a really close bond with Jinx all this time and she's very timid with me, aggressive and swiping at Domino (who doesn't react at all, just sidles off mostly).

    On reading your post, I think we need to take her to the vet and see if we can get something to try and calm her down and perhaps also do a reintroduction with Domino. What do you think? She's eating well, drinking and she does still play with us too when Domino isn't around. She slept on my legs last night for the first time in a long time too so perhaps I'm on the way to mending some bridges with her. Any tips or thoughts would be very gratefully received. Oh and we have Feliway plugged in too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freckles22 View Post
    It turns out a really bold fox came into the garden and started to walk towards our open back door. I think he may even have been coming in and we didn't realise because we were upstairs getting ready for work.

    I chased him off and sprayed him with water, hoping that this will make him more wary of our garden. But now Jinx is behaving as if she's fearful of me. I may have made some noise when I chased the fox out of the garden.
    Oh, goodness, I am sure this has triggered her fear and aggression - her world has been invaded! I would see what else you can do to safely deter the fox, and then work on making her more secure again! And for now, bribe her with treats f you need to - but I bet she can still smell that fox and its presence!
    I've Been Frosted

  5. #5

    Thank you!

    Jinx sat on my lap this morning after extensive food bribing and we seem to have resumed normal service again. She's still hissy with her brother but we interrupt any aggression with distractions when we see it happening, my local vet also offered advice on transferring her scent to him each day and that really seemed to make her less anxious yesterday and a bit less hissy.

    She's such a sweetheart (aside from being a complete princess!) and this morning felt like she was calmer. The door is firmly shut in the mornings if she doesnt want to go outside and she seems to appreciate being indoors if Domino is outdoors. Maybe they just need to timeshare the space a bit better. We had some quiet focussed laptime before I left for work.

    Any safe, harmless fox/cat deterrent suggestions would be great. Also, it seems our neighbour's cat was sitting by our back door this morning too. My partner 'encouraged' him back through the fence in as gentle a way as possible without stressing him out or Jinx.

    Any more advice/thoughts on this much appreciated. I think we're getting to the bottom of it though....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
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    37,377
    Quote Originally Posted by Freckles22 View Post
    Any safe, harmless fox/cat deterrent suggestions would be great. Also, it seems our neighbour's cat was sitting by our back door this morning too. My partner 'encouraged' him back through the fence in as gentle a way as possible without stressing him out or Jinx.

    Any more advice/thoughts on this much appreciated. I think we're getting to the bottom of it though....
    Whew, sounds like progress!

    The only thing that will prevent a cat is fencing, sadly. They do make little motion-detector-activated spray things that might help, though!
    I've Been Frosted

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