Q: We have two male cats. The two cats have been together for two years and are playful during daylight. There are times during the day that you can find them grooming one another. A problem has started in the past month or so. In the middle of the night, they howl, cry and fight and then their fur starts flying everywhere. If I put them in different rooms, they howl and cry. What is going on? Right now they are sleeping next to one another. Any advice?
— L.N., Tallmadge
A: This is a peculiar problem. It just goes to illustrate again how mysterious cats can be in their behaviors.
Are both cats neutered? Two boy cats in the house can definitely conflict, especially at night, if they are aware of a girl in the neighborhood. Neutering also helps curb unwanted behaviors, such as urine spraying in both male and female cats.
Once that’s taken care of (or in your case assuming it already is), I’d want to know more about where and when these squabbles take place. Cats are very prone to “redirected” aggression — which means if something spooks or angers them and they can’t get to it, they’ll attack whatever is close by.
Is there a roaming cat outside peering in that gets your two worked up and ready to fight? If these late-night battles take place near a window or door, that would be my first guess.
Cats can also fight over resources, so if there is a prime spot to eat or sleep in the area they fight in, I would look into that as well. Offering several places to eat, scratch, sleep and use the bathroom can help stop these conflicts, and is a great way to keep the peace in any multiple cat household.
If the reason isn’t readily apparent, in our new high-tech world, you might try setting up a video camera to find out what sets these altercations off.
Since they get along so well most of the time, it makes sense that there is some instigating circumstance to blame. If you can discover what it is, you might be able to adjust their environment so that everyone gets a better night’s sleep.
— Dr. Meg Geldhof
PetFix Northeast Ohio
Mobile spay and neuter clinic
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