It didn’t make sense—in fact, it seemed almost inhumane—when my secretary Ronni’s young, neutered male cat kept attacking her much older, blind female cat. It wasn’t the usual territorial or fear-based aggression in which two cats in a home just can’t stand each other. In this case, both of them got on well most of the time—but then, out of the blue, his nibs would chase and pounce upon the elderly female and bite her in the neck. Fur-flying and screaming ensued. After the seemingly hostile encounter, the two cats would gingerly approach each other once more and resume a relatively friendly relationship. I wondered what was going on ... and then I realized.
The behavior that the young male was demonstrating had all the characteristics of feline sexual aggression, in which a courting male will chase and bite (yes, bite) the chosen female in the neck, as he pins her and tries his luck. Let’s face it: The sexual behavior of cats doesn't appear to be that romantic. But the male was neutered, I hear you say, and that is true. But a neutered male is not an “it” and often retains aspects of typical male behavior.
That being the case, how could I deter those unwelcome advances and allow the blind female cat to live in peace without risk of sudden attacks by this Zorro wannabe? How could I retrain him to respect the lady's personal space? The solution came in the form of pheromones (male pheromones) which I had Ronni apply to the female cat’s rump daily for several weeks. After that, when the male grew a pair of horns and ran off in search of the female, he would suddenly stop mid-stride as he approached her and walk away, seemingly muttering, “Please excuse me, Sir. I seem to have you confused with someone else.
All aggression ceased immediately, and peace reigned once more in Ronni’s home. It’s amazing how a little dab’ll do ya! Of course, it has to be the right dab.