Sibling rivalry - can we make them friends again?

Megan JonesMegan Jones Member Posts: 1
edited 23 June, 2015 in Behavior & Training
We have three sibling cats, adopted at 6 months old (now they are just over 2 years) and they were always very clingy and happy together, up until about two months ago, when one sister started having spats with the other sister. Their brother doesn't get involved, and is fine with both of them. We don't know of anything which happened to cause a problem, and we have always tried to give them all equal attention, is there any advice on how to get them back together?


  • Ilse DevrieseIlse Devriese OsloMember Posts: 3
    edited 23 June, 2015
    The best way to figure it out is to find out what caused it. What changed in the house at the time? Think of things like a new baby, new furniture, moving to a new house, new neighbourhood cats, one cat coming home from a vet stay and being re-introduced to the other cats before they had a chance to wash, physical illness, repeated redirected aggression from watching birds outside the window or something else that frustrated them, change in the amount of territory available,... If you can pin-point the cause, you can address the root. And the sooner, the better, as this will become a permanent association with each other otherwise. In and of itself, this doesnt have to be a bad thing, if they have the room and the willingness to just avoid each other - just like you would do with people you don't like, either - and the aggression doesn't go over the top. Still, it would be more optimal to encourage them to enjoy each others company. As for general treatment options: - 10 minutes of playtime a day each, with a wand/fishing rod toy to blow off any steam - Bribing. Pick a treat they're both absolutely mad about and *ONLY* feed it to them when they are near each other so they'll re-create some good associations with each other - Plug in a feliway while you're trying to rectify this, to help simmer everyone down - If the altercations are too frequent or vicious, you may consider only letting them see each other when they're supervised so you can keep things from escalating (and bad associations from piling up) - One of the more radical, but effective techniques is re-introduction. This can be a lengthy process, as those negative associations do need to die out first, so you'll have to go at their pace. Basically, you use the guidelines of this article: Keep in mind that the longer they've been at odds and the stronger the reaction to each other, the longer it will take. Some cats need to be separated a month, even several, before they can be re-introduced. Without seeing the interaction between them though, I cannot say what it will likely be in your case. Re-setting standard problem behaviour takes about 2-3 weeks though. Ultimately, it's the cats that determine the pace. Going too fast will only set you back more. And, you cannot force them to like each other and sometimes rehoming does seem to be the only option. Lastly, finding out the trigger that caused this would be highly beneficial, if only to make sure it is no longer a factor now. Coz if it is, and you do not address it, the therapy is just going to treat the symptoms and will be pointless in the end. If you cannot figure this out yourself - and you shouldn't feel bad if you can't, it can be a tricky situation - consider contacting a cat behaviourist to help you out, rather than letting this drag on, as it will only make it that much harder to keep the behaviour from escalating, other problem behaviour might surface ( spraying, peeing in the house, etc), and the dislike will be that much harder to undo in the end. Good luck :)
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