Simple Solution: Spay and Neuter ASAP

A kitten's heat cycles can trigger aggressive behavior in another cat.

By J. Veronika Kiklevich, DVM | Posted: Fri Mar 25 00:00:00 PST 2005

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Q. We have two 3½-year-old female cats from the same litter. Recently, two new kittens adopted us. A month later, our alpha cat died. The kittens were with the other cat for about two weeks and then one of the kittens came into heat. The cat started going after the female kitten. The kitten went out of heat and my stressed cat finally relaxed.

When the kitten went into heat again, our cat became extremely mean. The other day my husband was with the cat and kittens (including the kitten in heat) all day and the cat did nothing to the kitten, until I came home.

Is the cat acting this way because she is now the alpha cat and doesn't know where her sissy went? Is it because the kitten is in heat? Is she jealous of me?

A. You actually have much insight into what is going on and the answer is probably "all of the above." Behavioral problems like this often have a complicated etiology. First, get the kittens spayed as soon as possible. Your older cat is clearly attempting to assume the alpha position and having a female in heat in the same household triggers her aggressive behavior. The longer you allow this to persist, the more likely the behavior will become ingrained, and you may not be able to reverse it.

In addition, you seem to be a trigger for this behavior. To stop the behavior in your presence, create a situation where the kittens are not in the same space as you and the other cat. Provide places where the kittens can hide from your older cat. Perhaps you can call your husband before arriving home so he can separate the cats before you enter the house. Use a behavior-modification application, either on your hands or on the kittens to help calm your older cat. However, the ultimate resolution is to fix all your pets as soon as possible.

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Reader Comments

Vendetta    McMinnville, TN

11/9/2012 11:40:13 AM

This could be a solution to cats that turn on each other after one of them go to the vet.
Take the blanket of the one that is going to the vet and rub it on this cat when it gets home to put back the scent on it. When a cat has gone to a vet especially over a day, they get new scents which are not familiar to the other cat. This scares the cat who thinks this cat smells different. This has worked for me.

janet    bethlehem, PA

11/9/2012 2:46:58 AM

good article, thank you

Mom    Marshall, MI

3/24/2012 7:09:05 PM

I like this.

Vera    Crownpoint, NM

1/9/2012 7:51:09 PM

I am looking for an answer, but this article does not answer my question about a mama cat and her two male kittens which are now bigger than she is, and I am not sure what is going on. Can they mate or is it impossible because they can smell each other and know that the mama cat gave them birth. These are house cats and are not allowed to go outside the house. Dogs around here kill cats.

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