Welcome to The Cat Site
your cat community
Interact with our community

Post Vet Cat Agression Going On For A Week

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by Lisannez, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Lisannez

    Lisannez Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    85
    64
    Aug 1, 2018
    We have two spayed female cats, one is a 13 year old Ragdoll and the other is a 12 year old tuxedo cat. The Ragdoll cat has always been very skittish and the more moody of the two cats. The tuxedo generally has a very easy going disposition with her only downfall being she loves to eat. A little over a week ago, tuxedo cat had surgery and a teeth cleaning. The surgery was minor to remove a cyst. She was initially in a cone but now we have her wearing a baby onesie which seems to be working welll to keep her from scratching and licking the wound. She's a little off, more cuddly and tired but otherwise is doing well in her recovery. The problem is her sister the ragdoll. She hisses and growls at her incessantly. She cannot even walk by without her being growled at. She has not attacked her, I think she's afraid but poor tuxie is feeling bad already and does not need this. Tuxie does not respond in kind, and even when she's not injured she usually just ignores her sister. Ragdoll is usually like this maybe for a day or so after a vet visit, but NEVER this long. It does not matter if we take them together or not it still happens. We cannot bathe the tuxie due to the wound. We have tried the cat calming sprays, the cat calming plugs, putting the household smell on the tuxie, reintroducing them slowly, every single suggestion and are at our wits end. We live in a very small condo where the only two rooms that we could close her in are the bathroom or the closet. But they both share a little box (which they are using fine) and it would be hard short of getting two different ones (they don't like that) to keep them a part. But the ragdoll is becoming so aggressive and stressed that we are considering putting her in the closet when we are not at home, to protect the tuxie or sending her to stay with a friend. How can we fix this? Normally these cats get along really well, with a spat here and there, but they have been together since they were six months old. Ragdoll is acting like a little b word. She will hiss at us, and at her water bowl.
     

  2. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

    10,246
    14,439
    Nov 25, 2013
    Canada
    I'm guessing either the smell from the vet/healing surgical site, or maybe the look of the onesie is bothering the Ragdoll. How long before the onesie can come off?

    One suggestion is to try dabbing a drop of pure vanilla on each cat, so that they smell the same. Here's a TCS thread that mentions it: Ode to vanilla extract

    Hopefully things will get back to normal soon. :crossfingers:
     

  3. Lisannez

    Lisannez Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    85
    64
    Aug 1, 2018
    Thanks. I am going to try the vanilla extract thing and hope it works. She had to have the wound covered by something until she gets the stitches out which is still another week! That wanted her to wear the cone but that was even worse. She’s seen her sister in a sweater quite frequently and never had an issue. The rag doll is really acting up. This morning she opened all the kitchen cabinets at her height level and started knocking things out. She knocked over two small trash cans and pulled clothes off hangers. This is VERY uncharacteristic of her. Do you think she’s looking for attention?
     

  4. Jem

    Jem TCS Member Top Cat

    1,693
    2,518
    Aug 6, 2018
    I wouldn't say she's looking for attention it's more that she's trying to tell you she's bothered by something.
    You could give her a teaspoon of cooled chamomile tea (from the tea bags, NOT loose leaf) a few times a day, it has calming properties without being a sedative. It may help take the edge off.
    As for why this is going on longer, is the tuxedo on any medications? She can still smell different because of the meds she's on, so unless and until those are out of her system, it may continue. We dealt with redirected aggression between two of our cats for about a month one time because of that.
    And as much as it's hard, please understand that the ragdoll is not simply being an a-hole, she is frightened and stressed. Try to play with her more, give her a few treats and praise when she seems to "tolerate" the tuxedos presence, give her a safe space that she might like to hang out in to chill...anything that makes her world a little less different and keep to her schedule as much as possible. And if you don't have a schedule for her, considering she does have a history of stress, creating one and staying consistent is a good start to easing chronic stress.
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  5. Lisannez

    Lisannez Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    85
    64
    Aug 1, 2018
    A month, oh my goodness that's so long! We have some chamomile tea bags at home so that would be easy to do. I thought about asking the vet for some anti anxiety medication to tide her over. I understand she's just not trying to be a jerk, and I feel bad that she's so stressed and we cannot do anything to fix it. My fiance and I both work full time jobs, and we really cannot stay home with the cats all day until this goes away, even though I would love to do that. She has several safe spaces, a little cat house only she can fit in, under the bed, and a myraid of high areas that she can jump up to (her sister cannot get up that high). But the way our home is there is really no seperate room for her. The tuxie was on pain meds but yesterday was her last day, so maybe being off them will help. Tried playing with her more, cuddling her more, giving her more treats, no dice. She's just as mad at us, as she is at her sister to be honest. She's saying get rid of this imposter, but that's not an option. We have a very consistent schedule for both of them, and like I said for the most part they are both fine.
     

  6. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

    10,246
    14,439
    Nov 25, 2013
    Canada

  7. Jem

    Jem TCS Member Top Cat

    1,693
    2,518
    Aug 6, 2018
    Hopefully when the meds are out of her system, you'll start to see a difference and those articles that @rubysmama posted will give you some tips also.

    Give it a couple of days and maybe start scent swapping again and feeding closer and closer together. I like to use a face cloth or fabric cat toy over a blanket or towel as it's less scary to them on approach for the rubbing. And keep towels and blankets on their preferred sleeping areas and switch them out every day.

    Good luck with everything!
     
    PushPurrCatPaws and rubysmama purraised this.

  8. vince

    vince TCS Member Alpha Cat

    303
    465
    Jul 23, 2017
    metro Detroit
    This happened with my little one after her spay. Never had that much trouble after a vet visit--some hissing, and it was usually over in about 45 minutes. It was over a week for the post-spay aggression to die down.

    I finally did the rub-and-swap with a dirty towel and that took care of it.
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  9. lollie

    lollie TCS Member Young Cat

    60
    79
    Apr 28, 2018
    I would say it’s the scent. Give your tuxedo a bit of time each day to groom herself. Mine was in a cone recently, and was naturally unable to do this with it on. Just sit beside her and redirect her head every time she goes for the wound area. I also gave her a mini bath, with just a wet rag and some fragrance free kitty shampoo occasionally. My kitty actually stopped shedding until her wound was healed. It’s important to brush them anyway however, to redistribute oils, remove dead skin, etcetera.
     
    PushPurrCatPaws and rubysmama purraised this.

  10. Lisannez

    Lisannez Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    85
    64
    Aug 1, 2018
    How long did it take from the time you rubbed her with the towel? I have tried every single suggestion from yesterday and nothing has changed. The ragdoll won't even tolerate her being in the same room without hissing and now she's stopped eating. We live in a small place there is no way to seperate them. I think we may need to ask the vet for something to calm her down.
     

  11. Lisannez

    Lisannez Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    85
    64
    Aug 1, 2018
    thanks this is one that we have not tried yet. I doubt it will work but I will try it. The only thing that would seem to appease ragdoll is if we got rid of this cat, that she clearly does not believe as her sister!
     

  12. vince

    vince TCS Member Alpha Cat

    303
    465
    Jul 23, 2017
    metro Detroit
    I did the towel scent swap about five days after she returned from the humane society where the spay was done. It took another two or three before the non-recognition behavior began to subside.

    Mine never quit eating, however. Sounds like your situation is much worse.
     

  13. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

    10,246
    14,439
    Nov 25, 2013
    Canada

  14. Lisannez

    Lisannez Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    85
    64
    Aug 1, 2018
    Just an update, the rag doll has started eating again, yay, but the aggression continues. She is now even hissing and growling at places where her sister sat. They sleep okay at night, but during the waking hours the rag doll is very aggressive and now she’s started to get aggressive with my fiance and myself, unprovoked. The tuxie is becoming stressed and not wanting to eat (which is extremely rare) unless we take her to her food, because she’s I suppose tired of being hissed and swatted at. Rag doll bit my fiance the other day broke skin and today while I was on the floor petting the tuxie, rag doll walked by and swatted my arm with her claw out and gave me a big old scratch. She has NEVER done this to any person before, not even strangers. Tuxie took to defending me and swatting right back at her and she ran away. Tuxie also very rarely responds, she’s used to her sister being moody she ignores it. Another thing is that when we watch them on our nest camera during the day when we are not there, the rag doll does not growl, or hiss or do anything other than just sit there. Granted she’s not cuddling with her sister or playing with her (which they do sometimes) but she also seems fine. I am really starting to think this is a show for us that the rag doll is putting on. Neither cat has ever displayed any sort of jealously towards the other, but I wonder if it’s coming out now. We are not able to get an appointment with the vet until Friday, but I am afraid taking her to the vet will make things even worse, because she hates it there and gets mad at her sister whenever she goes like its her sisters fault. I have tried the feline spray, cat nip, rubbing the dirty towels, sharing the towels, keeping them in two rooms, playing with her, comforting her, there is nothing else to be done. Do you think calling the doc they will give us a script? Is this ever going to stop? Tuxie has to go back to the vet in another week to get her stitches out and I can only imagine this will start things all over again. Again as I mentioned we do not have any other room to separate them in and if we put one in the closet or the bathroom the other one scratches on the door or meows to get in. Plus with limited space we need the bathroom and closet.
     

  15. marmoset

    marmoset TCS Member Alpha Cat

    611
    924
    Apr 1, 2015
    NJ
    I think this situation is causing you and your fiancee a lot of stress. The most impactful thing I've learned about animals over the years is that they pick up on this stress and they react to it- from horses to gerbils and even reptiles. So if they find a situation stressful and you are stressed they get some positive reinforcement- that yes there is a reason for stress and anxiety and they react to your body's reaction to stress so making a conscious effort to reduce your anxiety has a direct impact on animals.

    I am not trying to make assumptions but I am wondering if you or your fiancee were anticipating difficulty when bringing home the Tuxedo cat from the vet based off of prior history of there being some stressors after vet visit- even a mild one? Were either one of you or both of you feeling stress about it- preparing yourselves mentally or guarding yourselves? I ask because you mentioned already using pheromone diffusers, wiping scents on the cats and reintroduction- though reintroduction would normally take some time. So I'm guessing that you were prepared and feeling armed and ready for bringing the tuxedo back home which is good because being prepared and ready is a beneficial thing but it could speak to anticipatory stress.

    If so, the problem could be in part due to the ragdoll picking up cues that you or your fiancee are stressed which would amplify her anxiety. If there was anything else going on in your lives- a busy time with family obligations, errands, projects looming over your head- anything that could compound the your stress it could effect the cats. Even something as simple as minor issues about getting dinner after having to pick up a cat from the vet after both of you got home from work or stress from driving in traffic can impact the cats because having one return smelling different coupled with a change in your stress level can absolutely amplify any existing stress in the animals- especially when one has a history of being reactive.

    As you understand there's nothing too abnormal about hissing and swatting after a vet visit and I find that after a surgical procedure it can sometimes last longer even in bonded cats and though the dental on the Tuxedo might seem like a minor procedure it's also possible that she's not feeling as well or recovering from pain and putting out different body language so that when she came back home the Ragdoll reacted as she typically would after the Tuxedo had a vet visit (because naturally a cat returning from the vet will alter body language very temporarily and will absolutely smell different add a onesie and a cone and you have visual intimidation added in as well) and was skittish and moody and instead of getting the body language that the Tux would give after a routine annual wellness check the Tuxedo cat acted injured/ out of it/ uncertain or submissive- that changed the dynamic. It's another source of the ragdoll getting feedback from others that her anxiety is warranted simply because there has been some change that she can not comprehend and it's reinforced.

    So this really could be a nuclear reaction to everyone's stress level and that is solvable. Try gradually working in group play with wand toys or laser pointers. Go back to basics. Feed them a little bit further apart and work your way back. Most importantly check your stress level- especially your physical stress level. You and your fiancee should order in your favorite take-out and put some nice mild show on. Laugh and be calm, meditate, sing to your favorite music or do whatever you do to escape from regular stress because physiologically that will change your reaction to your own anxiety over this and your ragdoll will pick up on that. Even just being aware of your own stress- taking time to breathe and center yourself makes a big difference with animals. Try it for a day or two (as long as both cats are eating something). Go slow.

    I'm guessing this is stress related and the above should work but if it doesn't then it's possible that your ragdoll is getting arthritic, developing a UTI or some other medical issue involving some pain and warrants a vet check. If you rule out environmental changes or personal changes then you should check medical changes for her. Like I said above and as you stated initial changes in dynamic are typical after one or even both cats go to the vet but this seems more severe this time so this is something to bring up with the vet- either when the Tuxedo goes back to have stitches removed this week or in a phone call to the vet earlier.
     

  16. Lisannez

    Lisannez Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    85
    64
    Aug 1, 2018
    Thank you for the time that you took to draft this very detailed post. We did all the things after we discovered that the ragdoll's normal post vet aggression would last as it did. She usually is like that for maybe a day, and not always it just depends. So I don't think there was any more anticipation than normal or stress on our part. I cannot think of anything that would be more stressful for us than normal or have us acting different, but lke you said there could be and maybe we just don't see it. What you described is what we do every night. Just sit at home after work watching a comedy and laughing. I am a very low anxiety person in general, my fiance is a bit higher but still nothing different than normal. I agree we will ask the vet when we take the tuxie back (if it does not stop by then) and will have her checked out for physical issues if need be. This is her normal post vet behavior times 100. But at this point I am getting frustrated and I suspect my fiance may be too, and it's making it worse. The hissing is waking us up in the middle of the night and to be honest as much as we love her the rag doll is driving us nuts. She took a swipe at me and tried to bite me again this morning. I have been told by many I have the patience of Job, but even mine is wearing out. I don't know how to control that. I am never mean to her, I don't yell (neither does h e) but my inner patience is looming and I suspect my lack of sympathy towards her. I know something is wrong, but we are just at the breaking point with the behavior. And poor tuxie who is never skiddish is clinging to my side.
     

  17. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

    10,246
    14,439
    Nov 25, 2013
    Canada
    Do you have 2 cat carriers? If so, maybe when Tuxie goes back to get her stitches out, take the Ragdoll too. That way they'll both come back smelling the same, and "maybe" the non-recognition aggression will stop.
     

  18. Lisannez

    Lisannez Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    85
    64
    Aug 1, 2018
    Yes we do have two carriers that they both are comfortable in, we will try that. I mean this ragdoll has traveled on a plane for five hours (several times), and drove across country with us and has never been like this. Somethings up. I will report back. Thanks again.
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  19. Jem

    Jem TCS Member Top Cat

    1,693
    2,518
    Aug 6, 2018
    This may have already been mentioned so forgive me if it has.
    But I wonder if just by coincidence your Ragdoll is not feeling well and she is in need of a vet visit. If she herself is ill or in pain for some reason she may be acting out because of this. It may explain why she is now also aggressive towards you too. Maybe have her checked out when you go back with the Tuxedo.
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  20. Lisannez

    Lisannez Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    85
    64
    Aug 1, 2018
    It is certainly worth checking on, but I truly don't think that's it. She has a history of behaving this way on return visits from the vet (It does not matter if they go together or solo) but usually just for a day or so at most then she's over it. So something is prolonging and intensifying the behavior. Like I said too, we have a Nest camera and when we watch them during the day from it, she does not hiss or swat or anything, they are peacefully tolerating each other, pretty much as normal. So I have to think it's not a physical issue unless she feels more brave when we are there?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.