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Home from Vet, Other Cat Hostile & Aggressive

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am grateful for finding this site! I have two cats. The first is about 12 years old and belonged to my husband, and is creatively named Cat. The second cat is almost three years old, named Loki. When Loki first joined us, he always wanted to play but Cat would give him the "go away, I'm older" and go his own way. Cat has always been timid by nature. Unfortunately, over the years most of his teeth have fallen out (yes, always goes to vet and is fed good food). In January, one of his back teeth absessed and had to be pulled.

Four weeks ago, I took both in to the vet for their annuals. The vet said that more of Cat's teeth needed to come out; two in back were barely hanging on and were wiggly loose! That Wednesday, three weeks from tomorrow, Cat went in and also ended up losing his front canine teeth (gums were infected, pocketed and absessing).

Upon returning home, Loki went from playful aggression to downright hostile complete with stalking, hissing and attacking. Poor Cat is cowering under the bed still. Following the vet's suggestion of using a light cologne did not help; did that for a week. I've used the Feliway spray for the past 8 days with no relief. Intermittently, Loki will still jump out and attack Cat on those rare moments he summons up the courage to leave our bedroom. Today, we've progressed to putting Loki on Valium to try to calm him down.

Any other ideas out there? I can't stand to see Cat reduced to living under our bed, too frightened to come out for food, water or litterbox. After my husband leaves in the morning, I've been providing room service to Cat and bringing him food and water. Then, he'll drink some water and eat a bit.

Thanks for any ideas you may have.
post #2 of 5
You might need to go through a reintroduction process to get things back to the way they were.

Try completely separating the two cats for about a week. Keep one locked in a room with food, water and litter box. Only let that cat out when the other is locked up.

During this time, rub the locked up cat with a slightly damp washcloth and then place that cloth under the food bowl of the other and vice versa. Do this at each feeding. This way the scent of the other cat is associated with pleasurable things (food).

After a week of complete, 100% separation, get a very yummy treat (tuna perhaps) and feed both cats this treat at the same time in the same room. (again, associating other cat with good thing) If there is no aggression, play or pet or do something else they both like with both cats at the same time. What you want to do is have something pleasurable happening every time the two cats are together.

For another week, keep the cats separated when you are not home and at night and keep doing pleasurable things with both whenever they are together.

This should help them get used to each other again.

Oh....try buying the plug-in Feliway. It may work better than the spray at helping to mellow the cats.

Good luck!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Just tonight I have put the older cat, Cat, into a separate room as you suggested. He is now residing in the guest room complete with food, water and litterbox. I also gave him a Purr pad (complete with a little catnip spray) and arranged for some gentle classical music background. I hope it helps.

I must say that I am beginning to think that he has simply given up and lost his will. Tonight, when I had to pull him out from underneath the bed, he never even tried to run. In fact, he just put his head down and nuzzled into me as rubbed him.

I have had pets before but somehow this experience is more painful than when I have to confront similar issues. I'm not sure if it is because I'm older now or because I am that much more stubborn now and keep wanting to "manage" it right.

Thanks again, and thanks for listening. I haven't explored the site enough to know if there's a spot for grieving, I can only hope I won't need it. The only good news is that the valium for my other cat, Loki, has returned him to his more happy disposition although it is sad to see him look for his roommate.
post #4 of 5
Do you think Cat is still in pain from having his teeth removed? Your description of him "giving up" in your last post almost made me cry. I feel so sad for him. I just think of people I have known who have had major dental work done and how long they were in pain, so I can't help but wonder whether that is part of the problem Cat is having.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the concern. At the risk of displaying my complete ignorance, that question didn't really hit home with me until yesterday when I moved him to private quarters. I think the general "pain" angle is probably quite true.

After a night alone, this morning found him having used his litterbox and nibbled at food. It is clear he does not like being alone but I am certain it is best for him. Before leaving for work this morning, I refreshed his water and measured out some more food for him. When I got home from work, I was pleased to see he had eaten a little more. Ironically, he doesn't seem to want to eat the soft food which I thought would be easier for him. Instead, he's nibbling at the dry food.

He's still a bit timid about coming out from underneath the guest bed (how I wish he would relax in the open space or on the bed!) but it was clear today that he seemed to feel a little better and be ever so slightly somewhat more confident. Probably because he can eat and use his litterbox without fear of attack.

I'm not giving the other cat his valium while they are physically separated since there is no threat of physical harm to Cat. The other cat has displayed great curiosity about the room but I have not seen him hiss, growl or otherwise react negatively. So, your recommended approach may have multiple dividends.

In retrospect, I just wish that 1) had found this site earlier (if not prior to Cat's teeth removal and 2) my vet had suggested an isolation period for his recovery. I don't "blame" my vet per se, since who is to say how cats that have otherwise co-existed would react. But, in my heart I just wish I had treated Cat more like a patient and less like a pet.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for listening.
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