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Hello everybody! I am brand new to this forum, but I'm hoping that someone could give me some advice.

So my four year old Shiba, Ripley, has lived with my eight year old cat, Envy, for his entire life. They have always gotten along and have been good friends. The two of them often cuddle in his dog bed, on my bed, etc. and he has always been very tolerant of her and sweet with her. However, last year, he was attacked by two different cats on two separate occasions, and since then he has been having these "triggered" aggressive episodes. It has only happened twice, but he will be laying on the bed in the middle of the night and "deep sleeping", where he is talking in his sleep and his toes will wiggle etc, and then Envy will jump up on the bed and startle him awake. He will chase after her, barking like he's insane, and then in the morning everything is normal again.

Yesterday though, it suddenly got worse. He was sitting next to me at the table while I was on my computer. Envy was on the other side, on the floor, just lounging. Ripley went to pass beneath the table and he somehow got himself caught on my laptop wire, ripping it out of the wall. I guess because he was focusing on Envy at the time that he got caught in the wire, he associated the two? But he immediately went berserk and tried to attack her. Luckily, I separated them quickly and Envy got away and she is fine. However, this is the first time that he's actually caught her, and so now she is traumatized and afraid, and I feel horrible! I thought that the "nightmares" that he was having were isolated incidents, but I'm afraid that it might become something worse.

This morning, I kept a very close eye on them and Ripley seemed fine. He actually didn't bother Envy at all and gave her her space, and he was happy to just lay in his dog bed. I could tell that Envy was still very cautious and nervous, but I didn't think anything of it, as she was keeping her distance. However, she took me by surprise when she suddenly approached Ripley, hissing with her back arched and staring him down, which ultimately triggered another fight. I was right there, luckily, keeping an eye on them, so I was able to pull him back before he could do anything to her, but now I know that there is no way that they'll be able to live together unsupervised, because this is just going to keep getting worse. Envy is afraid and in defense mode, which is putting Ripley on edge too. They are fueling each other at this point.

I have called my vet to book an appointment for bloodwork etc, and maybe we will consider putting him on prozac or something to help calm his nerves. I've also emailed a behavioral specialist and am just waiting to get an appointment. In the meantime though, I just don't know what to do! I am keeping them separated, but it is difficult and stressful. Anyone have any advice in the meantime? :(

TLDR; my shiba inu is attacking my cat after living peacefully with her for four years. Advice?
 

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It sounds like Ripley is redirecting his fear onto Envy. You've made the right decision in contacting a behaviorist, as this is a complex issue. I think you're going to get the best advice on how to proceed from the behaviorist. I don't think I would attempt any further training until I got that opinion from my vet and behaviorist in fear of making it worse.

In the meantime, you should keep them physically separated at all times and do your very best to prevent any additional negative encounters. Both are obviously very much on edge and they need time to decompress and come back to a more neutral state. When the behaviorist gets back to you, make sure to ask her what you can be doing (or not doing) while you wait for your appointment.
 
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