Help! My older cat went to the vet and had teeth pulled, now the younger cat attacks her

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steph66

TCS Member
Kitten
I have two cats, Shadow (10 years old) and Sylvester (5 years old).  Shadow has a gum disease and I took her to the vet last Friday, she had to have 6 teeth pulled.  I brought her in the house and put her down on the ground and Sylvester attacked her, ripped off her bandage, her collar and had tuffs of her fur under his claws.  Everytime I am not supervising them Sylvester attacks her.  Shadow is still on antibiotics and pain meds, she urinates or has diareaha everytime he attacks her.

The cats have lived together for 5 years with mild fighting, more playful type of fighting.  I have to now put him in a cage when I am not at home and feel awful.  The cage is really big and has water, litter, food, beds and toys but it still is hard.  I am trying Phermone collars and diffusers.  The vet has prescribed anxiety pills for Sylvester.  Sylvester can be aggressive, so giving him to someone else isn't really an option.  Any advice that could get them back to being able to be together would greatly help me.
 

Draco

NOT Malfoy!
Veteran
Sylvester picks up the vet's scent on Shadow, and does not recognize him anymore. Sylvester sees him as an entirely new cat.

This advice worked for me: Put baby powder on your hands, and wipe them both down (head, neck, back, entire body), to make them smell the same. It may take a bit.

If that doesn't work, try re-introducing them as if it's their first time meeting.
 

johnson-bennett

TCS Member
Young Cat
Aggression after a veterinary visit is, unfortunately, relatively common in a multicat household. For the cat who remained at home, the scents associated with the clinic are very threatening (since the vet clinic is NOT one of a cat's favorite places) and so having a companion cat come home carrying those scents easily triggers fear and aggression. Cats use scent for recognition above everything else so from the cat's point of view, the one who went to the vet smells totally foreign and threatening.

You'll have to separate the cats and reintroduce them as if they never met, but I would wait until your one cat is totally healed and off meds. They also need time to chill out and regain their sense of security within the home individually. After Shadow has healed you can start the reintro. They have to start forming a positive association with each other again and that can't be done when they see each other and it keeps triggering hostility. Have them together only for brief training sessions where they get treats or a portion of their meal.

Here's an article on introducing cats (reintroductions are the same)

Here's an article on aggression following a vet visit (too late for you at this point but it'll help for next time)

And here's a little trick I use for cat introductions that involves a sock

Hope Shadow feels better soon.

Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC

www.catbehaviorassociates.com
 
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steph66

TCS Member
Kitten
So next year when Shadow has her teeth done again, is it better for him to get his shots and stuff at the same time so they both have the smells on them?  Normally I take them to the vet on the same days and have never had a problem.
 
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