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C2006-02

Dear Christopher Cat

My friend has two cats, an 8-year-old brother and sister, both neutered. Sometimes the male chases and attacks his sister. She yowls, hisses and growls, but he is not deterred.

Squirting the male with water doesn’t work, and the apartment’s layout doesn’t permit separation of the cats. Any suggestions?

Christopher Responds

I confess that I used to chase my younger sister Claire, until Mom gave me medicine that decreased my urge.

Your friend may need to do the same, but before she consults a veterinary behaviorist, she can try the following:

·  Despite the apartment’s layout, your friend should try isolating the cats. One cat can live in the bedroom, the other in the bathroom. After a week, gradually reintroduce them.

·  Provide multiple food and water bowls to minimize competition.

·  Put a bell on the male so he can’t ambush the female.

·  Using interactive toys, play with the cats two or three times daily in five- to ten-minute sessions. Provide the male with toys he can chase, pounce on and bite. Change the toys regularly to maintain the cats’ interest.

·  Buy a Feliway diffuser to release a relaxing pheromone into the air.

·  Rub both cats with a common towel to transfer their scents to each other.If these suggestions fail, a veterinary behaviorist can help.

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