Re-directed aggression between cats case history update II

Hi everyone.  I thought it was time for another update on the redirected aggression case I’ve been following.  I think we can call it a success now without worrying too much about regression.  The last update left off at day 50.  Click HERE to go back to previous update or HERE to start from the beginning.

Today would be day 76 since the incident that started the issue.  There are only a few stages in the case to report between now and then.

Day 52 – the female was taken to the veterinarian for another check to make sure that there were no lingering physical problems that might be keeping her on edge.  The female was declared fine by the vet, however the clients report that this set off a slight reversal of roles in the aggression saga, bringing out more aggression from the male, presumably as a result of the vet odors brought in by the female.

Day 54 – The client reports mild aggression from the female last night.  The male is obviously sulking and is still hissing at her.

Day 55 – Update from the client: “We have been leaving the door open more today.  He initiates hissing now, so it causes her to back off, which actually gives us more of a sense of peace. All in all, I’d rather have him hissing at her since it staves her off before she has a chance to start growling, which can easily escalate.  Seeing you tolerating the hissing that goes on in your home is teaching me a new kind of patience. A patience to let them talk to each other without stepping in every time. You have to war with yourself about jumping in too early when there might not be an incident at all. It’s a challenge to decide is this just a: Hisss (don’t get near me) an hisssss (okay, I’ll move on in a sec), or something more serious?  It’s a constant battle but we’ll get there eventually, one way or another!”

Day 62 – Client reports: ” The cats are still in the same holding pattern with good moments and bad moments.  Sometimes nights are screen door free, some nights not.”

Day 64 – “Lately (past couple of days) we’ve been able to sleep with the door open to the bedroom. They still have their confrontations, but we’re letting them talk it out unless she gets particularly bad, but in those instances, he’s learned to quickly back off.  Even when they’re growling at each other, we just hang close and let them ‘discuss their differences.’  She has her bad moments particularly when she sees him up on the cat run where we think the initial incident happened and, at those times we need to immediately get involved.  But today has been a good day.  Just one “discussion” and now his head is wet from them bathing each other.”

The clients says that they now leave the door open when they go out with no problems–so far. The male remains very cautious around her. He looks at her like, “Are you Jekyll or Hyde right now?”  Once they figure it out, then they approach or separate.

Day 67 – The clients now leave a night light on at night and have blocked off the cat run for the time being and report that the aggression at night has lessened.  The bad moments are getting fewer and the separations post-bad moments are becoming more brief.

Day 76 – Below is the extensive report I was very pleased to receive today.  I’m sure this will be ongoing but at this point in time, barring any further incidents, etc.  I think we can call this case a success.  I also received two beautiful photos of the two cats laying comfortably together:

“We currently have peace. She’s on my lap at the moment, and he walked in from outside (cat-safe patio) without her making any fuss or looking too nervous. That in itself is a big accomplishment. The past few days have been pretty good. Very minor hissing moments. We haven’t had to separate them for nearly a week.

We keep a light on in the living room at night, for my peace of mind. They continue to sniff each other, but no more real hissing after the sniffing.  We have open playing again. You can tell how he really missed her by his teasing.  He sits in front of her, then rears up, bats at her lightly and with a prrrump! tries to lead her off on a merry chase. Sometimes she joins, but mostly she just watches him race off.  At least it doesn’t prompt hissing and growling anymore.  They’re both playing openly in front of each other without tension.  We now leave home without thought of having to separate them. There is a return to a new normalcy that is quite satisfying to all parties. This is something we can be happy with.  Maybe one day, we’ll be able to open access to the cat run, but for now, this should be good, even though the male really misses it.

Whenever she catches a glimpse of him from another room, she no longer has a fit, but if in doubt, she will get up and meet him to check him out.  He has been a dream in these instances. He takes on a non threatening pose so as not to exacerbate the issue. Sometimes, he just hisses at her, and it seems that he does it to stave her off from starting an issue, and she just backs off.  It’s quite interesting when it happens.  I actually prefer when he hisses, because she just acquiesces to his rebuke.

As you can see in the photos, they are socializing more. They can sleep close by each other without issue. She’s taken to sleeping on the tower with him, something that they really didn’t do before.

I know that I haven’t given you much news lately, but it’s only because it was the same situation for so long. Intermittent hissing and growling moments with more and more brief separations until the marked improvement of this week.

She still watches out for him. Sometimes, we wonder if she’s got bad eyesight, but then she can pinpoint him across the whole apartment just to prove us wrong. She’s a very watchful kitty, keeping an eye on him until she knows he’s safe.  Like right now. (She’s no longer on my lap by now.) She was in the living room on the back of the recliner and was watching the boy avidly as he was at the front window about 35 feet away. He finally moved so she jumped down to meet him and he raced past her playfully. It’s like they meet each other for the first time all over again. many times every day.

Well, I guess that’s it for now. If the case changes, I’ll be sure to let you know. But for now, we’re happy. They’re looking happier. And that, in my book, is a win.”

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12 responses to “Re-directed aggression between cats case history update II

  1. Pingback: Redirected aggression between cats case history update | Mythicbells Persian Cats & Kittens

  2. Molly –

    i’m so happy for you – I would feel a massive sense of relief – for my clients, the cats, and myself! I can only imagine you feel the same. 🙂

    i am really impressed with how you hung in there for them – it’s something I’d expect from you, but I know how much effort it is and you i feel you deserve commendation.

  3. Echo completely what Polly said to Molly, so jolly well. Bobin.

  4. Polly, thanks for expressing yourself so well. I didn’t know how to say it. I am so glad that things are slowly working themselves out.
    Now we know why Molly takes such care in choosing her clients.

    i

  5. Thanks for updating us Molly, I have been wondering how the situation has been progressing. I’m so pleased that all seems to be well now and it’s certainly what I would call ‘ just rewards’ for you and your clients.

  6. Ditto what everyone else already said…

  7. Sweet Purrfections

    Wow! It’s nice to hear that things are starting to calm down.

  8. Thank you so very much for posting this case. You mentioned that you wanted to write about this to provide more information for those in this same situation — desperately seeking more knowledge and a sense of a timeline — and you have found two very grateful readers here! We have just entered day 2 of what we now understand will be a long and difficult journey. Our two littermate brothers, one year old and until this point only knowing love and happiness, are in this terrible and distressful situation now. We are scared and heavy hearted, but thanks to you and your clients, also inspired and determined. We will get through this. All of the best to you, your clients and the kitties.

    • Thank you so much for your note! I had hoped that writing about this might help people in similar situations. My heart goes out to you. I know how frightening and stressful this is. I sincerely hope (and believe) that you will get through this with your beloved kitties.

      Take care,

      Molly

      • I believe it too. In the meantime I’m going to be re-reading this site probably daily as our road map! Thank you again!

    • I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this. We feel the anguish you are going through. Our kitties (the topic of the blog) are doing MUCH better now. There were a couple of months where there were no incidents whatsoever. Recently they had a relapse, but we let them discuss their differences without human intervention as they just hiss and growl mildly. Feel free to ask any questions whatsoever. Anything to help you get through this.

  9. Thank you Blue Cat Eyes! I’m so happy and encouraged to know that your kitties are doing so well – and able to talk out their differences. I will definitely keep your generous offer to ask questions in mind as we make our way through this.

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