Behavior Study Seeks to Improve Aggression Between Housemate Cats

aggression_between_cats

Do peace and harmony reign in your multicat household, or do your cats barely tolerate each other, or even get into fights? As many of you with more than one cat know, feline housemates don’t always get along. Aggression may include fighting but often occurs as passive blocking and staring. Feline victims may hide, flee or scream.

Now there is new hope for peace and harmony. Your cats may be eligible to participate in a clinical behavior trial on the management and resolution of aggression between familiar housemate cats with a new pheromone formulation. Theresa DePorter, BS, DVM, DECAWBM, DACVB, a veterinarian at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in Bloomfield Hills, MI, is conducting a behavioral clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of pheromones to promote amicable interactions.

Pheromones are used by cats to mark objects, places and humans by rubbing the side of their faces against these surfaces. Cats also produce pheromones from their paws and tails. Since these pheromones can also communicate fear and distress, leaving these signals in the environment likely perpetuates the feline hostilities. Cats naturally are socially independent and lack the inherent skills to reconcile once hostilities have tainted feline friendships. Dr. Porter hopes to demonstrate that a new pheromone formulation can aid in management and resolution of aggression between housemate cats.

Your cats may be eligible to participate in the trial if they meet these criteria:

• Cats have been fighting for at least two weeks
• Minor or major aggressive encounters occur four times during the last two weeks
• Households of 2 to 5 indoor cats
• Cats must all be more than 6 months old
• Male cats must be neutered
• All cats should be healthy
• Cats that are separated are not eligible
• Cats given behavior drugs or pheromones are not eligible

Households that meet prequalification screening will be invited to attend one enrollment meeting in either Ann Arbor or Bloomfield Hills. The cats do not attend the meeting.

During this meeting, Dr. DePorter will explain feline aggression and inter-cat communication. Participants will also learn what to do and what not to do when their cats are being aggressive, and they will receive study materials and test pheromones. During the study, participants will keep a daily diary of aggressive events for seven weeks, and submit survey of behavior assessments once a week. Participants will also complete a brief phone interview every two weeks.

Upon completion of the study, participants receive an American Express Gift Card for $50 and a voucher for the new pheromone product.

For more information about the study, please contact Dr. DePorter via email.

Image: dreamstime.com

20 Comments on Behavior Study Seeks to Improve Aggression Between Housemate Cats

  1. dani
    March 29, 2016 at 7:37 pm (2 years ago)

    My cats are Sidnee and Tara. Sidnee’s the boy, dominant cat but what’s strange is they have a tendency to fight kinda rough but Sidnee’s the one who has all the war wounds. From what I can tell he likes it. He has really bad scabs and scrapes where his skin has been bitten into by Tara. When he goes after Tara she cries but if Tara is on his neck he’s quiet. Sometimes his neck has suck large scabs I’m afraid Tara’s going to do serious damage to Sidnee. Help!! They’ve been together since they were kittens. They are the same age. It sstarts out as playing then gets rougher.

    Reply
  2. michelle cantor
    November 20, 2015 at 9:20 am (2 years ago)

    I have 2 litter mates, torti, Mia and male orange tabby Max. They are 5 months old and the best of friends. I also have an 18 year old fixed male tabby, Jerry. I took Max to be neutered, when we returned , Mia started hissing & grauling. She will not play with Max. It is heartbreaking as she has never been like this before. How do I get my sweet kitty back? It has only been a day but a long day. She is nice to Jerry? And me….Help

    Reply
  3. jamie
    November 3, 2014 at 10:54 am (3 years ago)

    What product is it? I’m at the point where somebody might have to go, he’s a very masculine 1 yr old and won’t leave the 8 yr old male alone. It actually seems like sexual aggression. But the other pheromones I have don’t do much. They are both neutered, I love them both but he’s all scratched and bit up and very stressed, which brings on uti’s.

    Reply
      • jamie
        November 3, 2014 at 11:08 am (3 years ago)

        I figured, just hopeful lol. Thank you for the quick reply. I will check that out. They used to be friends, he turned one and it’s been downhill for 3 months and he is 17 lbs of fur and fury. At the size, he can some damage, I hope he is done growing!!

        Reply
  4. Wendy
    July 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm (3 years ago)

    I am in Australia,so I can’t participate, in this study,but I really look forward to hearing about th outcome (my clan.just recently lost their ‘Alpha Male’ cat & it has caused upset within th group (more so,at times,than when it was just Nu.1 & Nu.2 fighting for top spot.)
    Now they all try to b Nu.1.
    I have tried Feliway,with some success,but wld welcome an improved ‘formula’ that cld make more of a difference. Looking forward to the results. Thankyou 🙂

    Reply
  5. Glogirly and Katie
    July 15, 2014 at 11:51 pm (3 years ago)

    This is SO interesting!!!
    If I lived closer, I’d definitely try to do it.
    Katie and Waffles get along better as time goes on, but there are still some fights. No one is getting hurt, but if there were a way to add a little more peace and harmony I’d be all over it!

    : ) GG

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 16, 2014 at 5:59 am (3 years ago)

      I’m glad things are better between Katie and Waffles. I think you’ll continue to see things settle down even more as Waffles matures.

      Reply
  6. Fur Everywhere
    July 15, 2014 at 6:19 pm (3 years ago)

    I hope this new formulation proves successful!

    Reply
  7. The Island Cats
    July 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm (3 years ago)

    I consulted with Dr. DePorter to help with the situation between Zoey and Wally (they do not get along). Dr. DePorter provided some helpful advice as well as prescribing medication. We’ve also tried the new pheromone product. The situation between Zoey and Wally is still not good, but we’ve learned to live with it.

    Because we’ve already treated with Dr. DePorter, we can’t take part in this study.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm (3 years ago)

      I’m sorry Zoey and Wally still don’t get along. It’s such a frustrating situation for both cats and humans.

      Reply
  8. angela
    July 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm (3 years ago)

    I wish I could do this but I live in Ohio. My 8 year old male cat has begun “sexually assaulting” my 6 year old female cat ever since my 24 year old male cat passed away last summer and I don’t know what to do about it. They are both spayed/neutered, no one is on meds and it’s horrifying. I feel so terrible for my female and I wish I could do something. No vets have been able to help. 🙁

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm (3 years ago)

      I’m so sorry, Angela – I know this is distressing. Have you considered working with a feline behaviorist?

      Reply
      • angela
        July 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm (3 years ago)

        I have. Having some health issues of my own, once they are resolved I’ll def do so. I did try feliway plug ins but crazy enough, they seemed to make it worse so I got rid of them. W the Feliway the episodes became more frequent and more aggressive.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          July 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm (3 years ago)

          Have you tried Spirit Essences Peacemaker and Stress Stopper? Some of my clients have had really good results with this combination.

          Reply
  9. Vanessa King
    July 15, 2014 at 11:34 am (3 years ago)

    How on earth can you improve on a natural God-given characteristic for survival?

    Reply
  10. Louise Miller
    July 15, 2014 at 11:09 am (3 years ago)

    Would love to participate but live in NM. If there is a way to participate at a distance, please let me know.

    Reply
  11. Eastside Cats
    July 15, 2014 at 9:38 am (3 years ago)

    How interesting! I was referred to Dr. DePorter when we could not figure out why Chucky stopped using the litterbox. The Bloomfield Hills location is a bit of a drive for me, but I was ready to make the appointment when we had one of those ‘light-bulb-going-off’ moments, and we now know how to handle his constipation. It wasn’t a behavioral problem at all. My two litter-mate cats are not the best of friends, but they don’t bother each other (unless they start to ‘fight’ just to draw attention to the empty food bowls) so we won’t apply for this study. I hope some good stuff comes from this!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 15, 2014 at 10:55 am (3 years ago)

      I’m glad you were able to solve Chucky’s problem, Vicky!

      Reply

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