WHAT IS REDIRECTED AGGRESSION?
Redirected aggression is when your cat is frightened or upset about something and then takes it on an innocent party. This commonly can happen if your cat sees another cat or animal outside a window and then gets upset and ready to fight. The other cat in the household just walks into the room, and the angry cat attacks him. This can set up a scenario that whenever the two cats see each other they fight, even though they were best friends before.
WHAT SHOULD THE OWNER DO?
Do not go near the upset cat. He can also become very aggressive with you and people have ended up in the emergency room when their cat attacks them. If two cats are fighting do not get your hands or feet near them. You can try throwing a blanket on them, or using a broom. Thick gloves may be needed to separate them. Use extreme caution. After an episode like this happens, sometimes the cats will continue to attack each other whenever they see each other.
HOW TO RESOLVE THIS ISSUE?
Keep the cats separate for a period of time, which could be days. Keep litter boxes and food dishes in the separate rooms with the cats. Slowly reintoduce them to each other. When they are calm, slowly try to reintroduce. Try giving treats to both under a door. Play with a toy under a door where they are in opposite rooms. Don’t rush it. You can then put one cat in a crate in a room with the other cat walking free. Put treats around the carrier. You can then switch the cats in the crate. Pheromone sprays from your vet at Westgate Pet Clinic may be helpful because they add an odor that is pleasant to the cats that they recognize. The idea is to have good things happen when the other cat is around and so the cat forgets about the original upsetting incident. If the problems persists, you may need to ask your veterinarian for sedatives for one or both of the cats.
You may need to keep low windows covered for a while to prevent another incident. You can try sticky tape on window sills or other deterrents to keep the cats away from the window. Stop turning on outdoor lights at night when other animals may be in the yard. You can also equip your yard with motion detector alarms or sprinklers to keep neighborhood cats or other animals aways from your windows.
Remember that this is redirected aggression. Your cat is not really mad at you or the other cat in the house, but a trigger has caused them to blame their fear and anger on others. This can be a minor thing, but it also can be serious. An aggressive cat can be very dangerous and you need to take this very seriously and be careful. Remember, it can be treated by gradually reintoducing the cats under more enjoyable circumstances without accidentally making the situation worse. If your cat have a serious problem with redirected aggression, please call your veterinarian and Westgate Pet Clinic and we will talk you through it.