Friday, April 09, 2010

A Problem

THE BIG THING:  I'm taking over the blog for right now.  I have to mention a problem from the past week.  I was trying to avoid it, but I need any advice I can get. 

Ayla and Iza get along fine in the house.  They both nap on my lap sometimes together.  They sleep with me on the bed at night.  They eat in the same room.  They wrassle friendly often.  But Iza is a bit of a bully sometimes.  Ayla can hop up high when she needs to, so that isn't a major problem.

The problem is when they are outside.  Ayla likes to go over the fence into the wilder woods when she is allowed outside.  That's been "OK", she usually returns at night. 

But then Iza started waiting at the door and threatened Ayla when she wanted to come inside.  I had to protect Ayla as she came in.  It got worse last week.

As Ayla went outside, Iza followed.  The instant Ayla pranced toward the fence, Iza lit out after her like she was an intruder kitty.  Ayla ran over the fence easily and Iza could not follow her.  When Ayla returned later, Iza chased her into the house and made some fur fly.  I had to separate them for an hour, but after that, they were fine again.

The last time, Iza jumped on Ayla while still on the deck!  Ayla jumped off (10' to the lawn) and Iza chased her out of the yard.  And screamed at her while halfway up the fence.  Iza has never climbed halfway up the fence before, nor has she screamed at Ayla before.

Ayla would NOT return to the yard for 4 days!  I saw her around often.  She was wandering near the fence all the time.  She would sit ON the fence frequently.  But she would not come in the yard.  It did not matter whether Iza was out or in.  If I approached her quietly and alone, she would hop off the fence and stay outside.  I was feeling sick and worried.

If Iza was outside in the yard, I could always tell where Ayla was because Iza was right opposite inside the fence warding her away.  No screams, just "I dare you to come back over the fence".  I should mention that Ayla is 5.5 pounds and Iza is 11.5 pounds.

Finally, at the end of the 4th day, Ayla showed up at the deck door.  I grabbed Iza and held her high and opened the door.  Ayla hesitated but came inside.  I closed the door fast.  Then I closed Iza in the bedroom and attended to Ayla.  She was so loving and happy, so at least I know it wasn't me she was trying to escape from.  I gave her canned food in small amounts over 2 hours and water.  She curled right up on my lap and purred .

So it is something between her and Iza.  Yet, when I opened the bedroom door and let Iza out, they got along fine, sniffing and grooming. 

I first thought that it was because Iza is very possessive of me (you would think she was on a 2' leash attached to my ankle).  But, inside, they are (mostly) fine.

It's outside that is the problem.  Outside, Iza treats Ayla like an intruder or even prey for the past 2 months.  I don't understand it.  If Ayla just sits on the deck, she is generally safe, but if she moves toward the fence, Iza attacks her.  The last time Iza just wnt insane attacking at Ayla.

Idea 1.  Iza suddenly treats anything that moves away from her as prey.

Idea 2.  Iza wants to be an only cat but only thinks she can drive Ayla away when she is outside.

Idea 3.  Iza is going crazy because Ayla keeps going into heat (Ayla has been spayed twice, but it hasn't worked).

Idea 4. Something else.

If any kitties or Beins have any advice or suggestions, I could sure use it.  I give them both a lot of separate attention.  I try to give them both attention when they are being friendly to each other.  I don't favor either of them.  I am wondering if a third cat, male, might bring some calmness to the house, probably an adult one (having a larger friendly cat than Iza might settle her aggressive habits).  Or that might make things worse. 

Please help us...


Niko and Cloud said...

Mom has two ideas:

1- calming collars or feliway for everyone.

2- Iza gets put into some sort of enclosure or room for a few hours when Ayla gets to roam. If Ayla usually comes back around sunset, maybe you could set up some sort of enclosed play area for Iza that you would stick Iza in shortly around dinner time and then not let her out until Ayla is back in the house.

Ayla and Iza, said...

Ooh, I should have mentioned I have a regular Feliway dispenser in the house.

The other ideas are good.

The Big Thing

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

The mom speaks:

It's a tricky situation. I guess the strange outside smells clinging to Ayla, confuse Iza. Feliway is a good idea ~ it worked for my boys (Milo and Alfie).
I'd definitely make sure Ayla can come back in without to much aggro though ~ or she may begin to associate coming home with trouble. So the confining Iza at the expected coming home time seems like a great idea.

Good luck.

Goldie, Shade and Banshee said...

Our cousin cats are having similar problems and they are trying feliway. Their eldest cat is being aggressive to the people and he is peeing everywhere. They seem to think it is all the male cat pee outside being brought back inside and this might me a similar case here. Overwhelming smells?

We are going to post a question about our cousin issues next week on our blog so we are not much help.

Good Luck,

DesertRose said...

Have you talked to the vet about the situation? Your vet might have some insight.

I'm afraid I don't have a clue. I've never had cats behave like that on a consistent basis. Roxanne attacked Catarina one time when Catarina had been out on the porch, but that was just a one time thing, and we figured that Roxanne (who was a very sweet kitty but not too bright) briefly thought that Catarina was a stranger kitty.

Good luck.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

I'd also consider if there is a feline behaviorist in the area (I know it sounds weird, but they exist and sometimes you'll see their cards at your vet's office). I think this is a tricky problem so if you vet sees cats and dogs they might not have a good idea.

You may also want to consider the Bach Flowers rescue remedy in their water (although not all cats will drink that). Like Feliway it can be calming--however it's not cheap and because it's alcohol based even a drop may have too much flavor for the cats.

I would start with the Iza in her own room away from the back door when Ayla goes out to wander and see if just time works it out too. Also, make sure you talk to them and tell them what you are thinking--I know it sounds crazy--but sometimes it really works!

Alasandra said...

Does she only do it after Ayla goes over the fence. I am wondering if perhaps Ayla is getting into something and "smells" different. Scylla & Charybdis were inseparable then Scylla got a bad abscess on her back and had to go to the emergency vet. When we brought her home Charybdis attacked her hissed and growled. After Socks groomed Scylla (she didn't feel like grooming herself) Charybdis was her same sweet self with her sister. The only thing we could figure out was it had to be a "scent" thing.

Brian said...

I agree with Alasandra, something does not smell right when she comes back from over the fence.

Jacqueline said...

I think the outside smells might be the problem...You could also try the Sentry HC Good Behavior Pheromone Cat Collar available at for $12 or consult your vet who may have better ideas or even temporary meds. to calm aggressive behavior...It must have been terrible to have Ayla outside for 4 days; I know you were worried sick about her...Hope you can settle this problem quickly.

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Well, I can't give any advice really other than to recommend asking the vet. It sounds very strange to me, especially since the behavior has only been the last two months. Since my cats are indoor only, I don't really have a frame of reference other than when they go to the vet and come back smelling like vet, it does upset our female cat and she gets aggressive. If it is related to the fence jumping is there a way to keep Ayla from jumping the fence - maybe some sort of outdoor cat run she could stay in? That would be my only other suggestion.

Shaggy, Scooby and Scout said...

Some kind of jealousy? That one cat can go out to explore and the other can't?
I'd suggest maybe a dominance issue but since you say they are ok inside it doesn't seem to be that. But in the house they are on equal terms and outside it is unequal and maybe Iza resents that. Is there no way to keep Ayla in the yard? I worry about her roaming alone like that.
Maybe building a cat enclosure(I mean a big one with ledges and enough head room so you can go in) of some kind would put them on equal footing, so to speak.

Harry Spotter said...

We will be purring and praying that everyone calms down and gets along. Have a great weekend.

Derby, Ducky said...

Since they get along while they are inside, maybe they need to be inside only kitties!

Cat with a Garden said...

We are sorry to hear about these problems. Unfortunately we can't offer good advice. We think that Iza really is mistaking Ayla for an introoder, but we have no idea what to do about that. Exept for an outdoor exclosure to make them feel safe. Good luck, we're certainly crossing our paws for you!

Tammy said...

I know you said you have a feliaway..but how many do you have for your house? You may not have enough. I also keep the spray around in case of a situation. Also... umm... why do they go outside? Sorry..I believe they should be inside only. It is soo much safer that way.
Good luck.
Hope to hear that things get better soon.