Since I don't talk about them much, these are the actors:
George - doesn't he look sweet? and innocent? Ha!
Bailey - my gatekeeper, guard cat, and maintainer of standards
I don't know what set him off, but I came home Friday night to George attacking Bailey. Not playfully, not a game, but a serious attack. Bailey was so completely taken by surprise she forgot that she's 15 pounds to his 10 and ran. He cornered her in my closet, where she lost bladder control.
After a few tries, it became apparent I couldn't let them near each other, so I ended up dividing the house and putting Bailey in the master suite (it's her favorite room) and leaving George in the living room. Bailey was terrified, it took me about two hours to calm her down. I originally thought she hadn't been hurt, but later on, I found blood on the shelf she was hiding on. (Torn claw; it hurts, but she'll be fine.)
Then there was cleanup, since she had peed in several places. I wiped and vacuumed and put down pet odor powder, but ended up borrowing my mother's rug shampooer and triple washing the bedroom and closet carpets. It no longer smells like the vet's office.
I took them to the vet, where they told me that aggression is very common in cats. George (who is now 4 years old) may have been trying to be the dominant alpha male. Or he could have been startled by a loud noise and needed to take it out on someone. It's hard to tell. But he has calmed down, and putting him in isolation every time he was aggressive towards Bailey worked very well. (He loves attention; being ignored is about as horrible a punishment as you could give him.)
My most brilliant move was getting him a collar with a bell. It occurred to me that one of the big stressors for Bailey was that she couldn't tell where he was and she was afraid he'd ambush her. Now she can hear him coming, and it has made a world of difference in her behavior. She's much more relaxed; even lying on her back in front of the fireplace last night.
It took a week of supervised visits, but they are now (mostly) getting along. George is not allowed to sleep next to Bailey yet (she hasn't forgiven him - her foot still hurts) and she still growls when he gets too close, but we are headed back to normal.
How was your week?