Non recognition aggression support group

D_H

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
70
Purraise
152
Hi all!
So glad I've found the forum :)

As the title suggests, we're dealing with non recognition aggression between our two sisters Jean and Torti.
We've read everything the internet has to offer about the subject, and we're doing our best here.. we've been through it once before, but this time it's different.

I'm writing because we're lost, stressed out and on edge; it's been a tough week as it is, with our jobs and studies, financial issues and more.
And now this.

How do you deal with it?
My spouse and I haven't slept together in the same bed for over a week now, both of us missed meals because, well, we're too damn depressed or stressed to eat. Our biggest fear is that it will last for months, or worse that we will have to give up on one or both of them.

None of the friends and family can understand, I hope you will..
Thanks
Doron
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
22,230
Purraise
53,103
Location
Canada
Hello and welcome to TCS. Sorry though for the reason that's brought you here.

About the non-recognition aggression, do you know if something triggered it? Like one cat went to the vet and came back smelling different. How To Deal With Non-recognition Aggression In Cats – TheCatSite Articles

Or is it more like Re-directed Aggression In Cats – TheCatSite Articles where something startled one cat and they blamed the other.

If it's definitely non-recognition aggression, the vanilla extract trick might help.
Ode to vanilla extract

Either way, if they are actually fighting, the only solution may be to separate them, and do a re-introduction, as if they were meeting for the first time.

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles

Sorry you're going through this, but rest assured that unlike your family and friends, members here are TCS totally understand how stressful this can be to cat parents. Hopefully things get back to normal between your feline sisters soon.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

D_H

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
70
Purraise
152
Thank you,
I have read these articles - and we be reading them again.

It happened after we took Torti to an animal hospitals (it was a false alarm). When we came back Jean was rather agitated, and I guess we've made a mistake or two that evening (room swapping..) that scared her even more.

Just bought vanilla extract - and before I use it I just want to be sure - we're talking about the same extract we use in cakes & cookies?

Again, thank you
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
22,230
Purraise
53,103
Location
Canada
I've never done the vanilla trick myself, but yes, it's the kind you bake with. Not sure if it needs to be pure vanilla extract, or if the artificial will work. But the general idea is getting both cats to smell the same, so I would think a few dabs of either would be fine.
 

cleoandsuki87

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
39
Purraise
32
I just posted about this issue. It is extremely distressing, so I completely understand! I grew up with cats, but we were always a 1 cat household, and my first "on my own" cat was an only too. The two sisters I have now are the first time I've ever had two cats. I purposefully got bonded litter mates so I'd know they got along. I loved the idea of them having a buddy to play with while I'm at work and especially when I go out of town. I've been extolling the virtues of getting a bonded pair ever since. Now I'm definitely rethinking that! The only cat was certainly less stressful!

When I have them separated, I can't relax because the one who is "locked up" (being kept in the separate room) is whining to get out/distressed that they're being locked up. When I have them both out, I can't relax because I need to be hyper vigilant to make sure any growling/hissing doesn't turn into real fighting, and to try to keep the "vet cat" distracted so she'll quit trying to approach the "home cat." And friends/family definitely do not get it! I hear, "Oh yeah, my cats do that after the vet but they get over it." Well, mine aren't getting over it. Or, "just put them together and let them work it out." Like that works for cats!
 

cleoandsuki87

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
39
Purraise
32
ETA: (if there is an "edit" button that I can't find, can someone point it out to me). Please let me know if you try the vanilla and if it works. I'm hesitant.
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
22,230
Purraise
53,103
Location
Canada
Something that's been suggested before, which you might want to keep in mind for future vet visits, and probably more like after Covid is over than right now, is if your vet will let you, bring both cats to the vet when one needs to go. That way both come home smelling the same.

On the same idea, when non-recognition aggression is occurring, I've seen other members suggest taking both cats out for a drive, or to a friend/family members home, so that they both come back smelling the same. Even the the car ride could create a bond. I don't know if this would work for either you, D_H D_H or you, C cleoandsuki87 , but it's something to consider if things don't improve.

And about editing messages, C cleoandsuki87 , once you've been a member for 5 days, and have 20 messages, you'll be able to edit your posts for 120 minutes after submission. Promotions and Benefits
Welcome to TCS, btw.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8

D_H

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
70
Purraise
152
Used vanilla extract, there were no hissing or tail twitching - Jean actually went ahead and started her usual butt sniffing ritual.

Played with both of them, gave treats and lots of good words. During that hour Jean smacked Torti once or twice, but not aggressively as she'd done the past week.
It seems that both of them are still "suspicious" and not 100% calm, but they are in the same room.

I will update :)
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

D_H

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
70
Purraise
152
Welp... so they slept for a while in the same room but when they woke up... hissing & slapping again.

Separate them again :(
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
22,230
Purraise
53,103
Location
Canada
Guess it was too good to be true that the vanilla trick would work that quickly. :sigh:
Keep them separated for a bit, and do some of the tips suggested in the introduction articles, and hopefully they'll be friends again soon.
 
  • Love
Reactions: D_H
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11

D_H

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
70
Purraise
152
Will do, thanks
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

D_H

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
70
Purraise
152
Seriously though, how do you deal with it?
Emotionally, it's hard on us;
I feel imprisoned in my own house (by a cat!) as most of the time I'm locked in the same room with Torti.

At times I get mad with Jean, for not being able to get over it and I know I shouldn't, she doesn't do anything wrong - it's just her nature.
Other times I snap at Torti, for her constant crying - and again, I know it's not fair - she doesn't understand why suddenly she can't leave the room..

(Sorry if I've posted it in the wrong section..)
 

cleoandsuki87

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
39
Purraise
32
I had the exact same experience. Last night, they were fine being in the same space. Not interacting with each other, but each snoozing in their respective favorite spots, probably about 8 feet from each other, not bothered by the other one. I was so happy, thinking they were on an upward trajectory. This morning, as soon as they saw each other the hissing/growling began and didn't stop. I finally put the vanilla on them in desperation. Literally a minute later, one falls asleep in the living room and the other is voluntarily upstairs in a totally different room. So I have no idea if it worked because they're not near each other. And I don't want to just keep putting it on! I know if I go upstairs the one in the living room will follow me, but I also don't want to ruin a moment of peace, even if it is just because they're voluntarily in their own spaces.
 

cleoandsuki87

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
39
Purraise
32
Well, the vanilla definitely did not work. As soon as they woke up from their naps, they were back to hissing/growling. It seems to be visual-based to me. They can be within feet of each other, not bothered at all IF they're not looking at the other cat. As soon as they look at each other, game over. Immediate hissing/growling/barring teeth- every time. I just don't see how this is ever going to end.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15

D_H

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
70
Purraise
152
Sorry to hear that, it's basically the same story here :(
We've went back to square one, separate rooms, no more feeding next to the door, and lots of lots of playing.

Hope for the best..
 

cleoandsuki87

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
39
Purraise
32
Mine were meowing at each other today rather than hissing, which I thought was great improvement. Then Cleo decided to jump into Suki's hiding spot, and of course Suki freaked out. So there went that progress :mad:. Separated them immediately for right now. At this point, it almost seems like Cleo is very curious/sort of wants to play with Suki, but Suki is afraid of her. Given her nature and how timid she is, I'm afraid of how long it will take her to get over that, or if she ever will.

D_H, if you don't mind me asking, I noticed you said you've been through this before. With the same cats? Was it the same type of incident that triggered it this time/did you try any mitigation strategies that didn't work? Just being nosy- if I can get them to get over this, I definitely don't want it to happen again, so trying to be prepared for next time a vet visit is needed. I had the thought of just taking them both, even if only one needs treatment, but I read that sometimes doesn't even help because they're still freaked out by the "new" smell even if they both smell like it (and if only one needs treatment, only one will be getting handled by the people at the vet's office, possibly have blood drawn or be given meds, etc.) I thought about looking for a vet that makes house calls too. I'm sure it's insanely expensive but if it would prevent this from happening, I'll pay for it. Or if that's not possible, not letting the "home cat" anywhere near the "vet cat" for like 3 days to make SURE the vet smell is gone before they ever see them. But will they forget the other cat after the 3 days even if they don't smell strange? Ugh, this is so stressful!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17

D_H

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
70
Purraise
152
It is stressful, that's exactly why I've added "support group" to the title:hithere:

Jean and Torti are probably littermates, and were rescued together from the street by a friend. We've adopted them when they were 3-4 months old, and so the first time we encountered the situation was when we took one of them to get spayed.

We've read everything online and tried to do it by the book. It took us five long days and nights, and when it was over it was a complete surprise!
It was in the evening of day 5, one of them managed to escape her room and... both of them seemed fine.

Second time was when we took the other to get spayed, and this time we knew it was going to happen so we've planned things in advanced. It lasted 3-4 days.

This time around, it's almost two weeks, and to be honest I don't know how much longer we can cope.
 

klunick

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
4,008
Purraise
10,997
Location
Solomons Island, MD
I think I am dealing with this right now. Yesterday was horrible and scary. Boone and Gracie were fine all morning and then had a horrible fight. We figured it was the stray cat outside that likes to come around and antagonize Gracie. Sometimes she takes it out on Boone but never to this extent.

I thought they were going to kill each other. Boone was so upset that he sprayed in my room which he has never done. He growled and hissed at me. I ended up shutting my bedroom door to let him calm down and I shut Gracie downstairs. Boone eventually calmed down and Gracie seemed confused as to what was going on.

After the second attack, they were kept separated for about 6 hours. Once they saw each other again, they went right back into attack mode. Gracie was once again locked downstairs and spent the entire night down there and will probably spend today down there as well.

I am at a loss. I don't want an upstairs cat and a downstairs cat as I rarely go downstairs so Gracie won't get as much time and attention as Boone until at night when my husband gets home and hangs out there for the rest of the night. I even took today off to try to fix things between the two but I have no idea how to fix it.

Since the fighting has nothing to do with one smelling different, there is no point in trying to make them smell the same. I have blocked the sliding glass door so Gracie can't see the stray cat should he stop by. I am hoping that Boone and Gracie not seeing each other for 24 hours will help and reset things between them.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19

D_H

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Messages
70
Purraise
152
I don't want an upstairs cat and a downstairs cat
Take solace in the fact that there's a whole floor that separate them; I live in a two bedroom apartment, and only one of the bedrooms doors can be locked :)

Sorry to hear about your situation, hope it'll get better soon
 

klunick

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
4,008
Purraise
10,997
Location
Solomons Island, MD
Take solace in the fact that there's a whole floor that separate them; I live in a two bedroom apartment, and only one of the bedrooms doors can be locked :)

Sorry to hear about your situation, hope it'll get better soon
Yes but it hurts my heart knowing that Gracie is downstairs all by herself. Boone is where we spend the majority of our time. I am trying to make an effort today to come down and spend time with her. I went to the vet and got two Feliway diffusers so hopefully that helps. Boone is so terrified that even hearing Gracie cry at the door sent him running into my room and under my comforter.
 
Top