Reuniting Sisters

embem28

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Suggestions on what to do please. Sorry for the long post!

We have two cats, Tondi and Etta. They were born in the same litter and we adopted them together. They have been together all their lives. About a week ago, while my husband and I were away visiting family and we had a cat sitter coming to the house, Etta disappeared. I found her just yesterday under the house floorboards (and area of dirt, pipes, and possibly rats). We gave Etta a bath. Since we found Etta, Tondi has not recognised her. At first Tondi would full on attack and chase Etta through the house. I tried to spread Tondi's scent onto Etta with a towel but I think it was too long between towel and seeing Tondi because it didn't do much. Since then we had kept them in separate rooms and purchased a Feliway hormone diffuser thing specifically for Feline Friends and some pet remedy spray (as suggested by the vet).
Day 2 Tondi has now regressed to just hissing, staring, and somewhat avoiding Etta. Etta started literally climbing the wood doors this morning (she had the run of the living room, bathroom and our bedroom as they are connected). Etta is quite active and needs the whole house to run about in. So we have let them both out. We both work from home and usually the 2 cats would both sit in the office with us. This morning has been me calmly talking to Tondi to sooth her while Etta was in the room. Tondi hisses at her but has not attacked. Tondi seems fine when she can't see Etta even when they're in the same room (I've sprayed the Pet Remedy heavily in the room/house so maybe she can't smell her as easily?).

I feel bad for both of them. Tondi has been alone with us for about 3 days before Etta returned so she's used to having the house and us to herself - so I don't like locking her in a room. Etta needs love, since I think she has some kitty PTSD from being stuck under there and now her sister is angry with her.
Does anyone have suggestions on how to deal with this? Any tricks to get Tondi to recognise Etta?
 
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embem28

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Etta is now starting to hiss back. :( Should we try to just keep them locked up for a while and hope the doors can handle the claw marks?
 

vince

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I think your cats have non-recognition aggression. Etta picked up the smell of the space under the floor, then you washed her. Now she doesn't smell the same to Tondi. It will likely pass, but you can help it along by rubbing one with a towel (dirty ones work better) and then rubbing the other, then vice versa. Some have put a dab of vanilla extract behind the ear of both cats to give them both a common odor.

My cats have the same issue, but to a lesser degree than yours. I have used the towel method with success; haven't tried the vanilla extract though.
 
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