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I'm new and concerned!!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi, cat people! I'm new here, and I found this forum because I have a strange question about strange behavior displayed by one of my cats. We have two cats, from the same litter, and they're about 6 months old. Sometimes, not very often, we bathe our cats. I've always been kinda allergic to cat dander, and we try to keep it down to a minimum by giving them a bath. Well, here's the goofy thing. All of you who have more than one cat know how much fun they have together. Well, tonight we gave one of the cats a bath. She's all soft and cuddly, and she smells good, too. But the other cat, who didn't get a bath, totally freaked out!! Hissing at her, claws out, growling, not wanting to be around her at all. We're convinced that it's because she's not used to the new smell. Does this kind of thing happen often? Are we off base on this? Can anyone tell me if they've seen this happen before? Thanks in advance. We're not sure what a cat is capable of if they get mad enough, and I don't want my kids geting their eyes scratched out. Any insight would be helpful. Thanks again
post #2 of 16
Moving this to Behavior for you.
post #3 of 16
I think you are pretty on target. Cats go on there scent alot and since the other kitty smells funny now, they are reacting like it is a whole new cat. If both cats do not mind baths I would try bathing them around the same time.
post #4 of 16
You can either bathe all the cats in the same pet shampoo so they smell alike, or you can take vanilla extract and put some under their chins, between their shoulder blades and on the base of their tail so they all smell the same. Cats are scent-driven, and go by their nose, more than their eyes.
post #5 of 16
Actually, your problem sounds just about right. Cats recognize each other by smell, so by bathing only one cat it appears to the other cat that there is a whole new cat in his house!

If possible, separate the cats completely from each other for the moment. It may work to just bathe the other cat so that they smell the same again, or you may need to re-introduce them entirely. You can also take a bit of vanilla and rub a tiny bit on each cat under the chin and on their backs at the base of the tail.

If you do need to reintroduce them try this article: I'd Like You To Meet

Also, as long as the cat isn't showing signs of redirected aggression, and only showing aggression toward the other cat, you shouldn't have a problem with the cat interacting with you or kids. Although I would definitely suggest that you give the cat his space. He is upset right now. Don't force yourself on him.
post #6 of 16
Ok, when it comes to bathing cats, it's best to bathe all at the same time or use the vanilla essnece trick that hissy recommended.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Wow!! That was fast!! Thank you all very much. We'll try the vanilla thing first, and see what happens.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK, now she won't come near any of us, and when we get near her, she hisses and growls at us,too, not just the other cat. This is becoming a bit frightening. I would love to go to bed, but I don't know what to do with these two. They seem to be able to get over, through, or around any barriers I set up, and I don't want either of them to be deprived of their litter box. If I just let them go, there may be an awful result. What in the world is wrong with this cat all of a sudden? I mean, this just happened with no warning at all. I tried the vanilla, but she's not buying it. It's like she hates all of us now.
post #9 of 16
It looks like she is REALLY upset. If you can, place her in a time-out room with her own litterbox, toys, water and food. She must calm down first.
If tomorrow she is still aggressive specially towards you and the family, you may have to call the vet and have her checked.
Hopefully though, it's only that she dislikes the smell of vanilla.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Is it possible for a cat's temperament to just drastically change in an instant? I have to admit that I was never much of a cat person, so my knowledge is limited. Plus, we lived in an apartment for eight years, (no pets), and the house before that allowed no pets. Naturally, when we bought our house, the first thing we did was get pets!! So my wife and kids are turning me into a cat person, but now the little bugger is turning into something evil!! She's sleeping now, so I'm gonna try to do the same. Thank you all for your help, and I'll keep ya posted.
post #11 of 16
I think in the future I would bathe them one right after another. Maybe start with the angry one first.
post #12 of 16
Originally posted by edkilp Is it possible for a cat's temperament to just drastically change in an instant
You'd be suprised what stress can cause. It's possible the cat is only upset with the other cat because it smells different and upset with you two because you smell like that cat. If it still acts like this you should take it to the vet for a check up because it could be sick.
post #13 of 16
It sounds like the kitten that didn't get a bath is very stressed out. And there's a long lis of what kittens and cats do when stressed including lashing out, peeing/pooping in inappropriate places, not eating/drinking.

What was the scent of the shampoo that you used? Was it citrus scented at all? Cats do not like the smell of citrus. The reason why your second kitten is now hissing at you as well as the kitten that got washed is that you all now smell different and unfamiliar. Even if there are members of the household that didn't wash the kitten, simply by handling the kitten after the wash is enough to transfer the scent of the shampoo. Cats also have a keen sense of smell.

How is she doing today?
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies on this. She seems to be getting re-accustomed to her sister now. We tried the vanilla, and then we gave Izzie (stressed cat) a bath. Zoe (non-stressed cat) just can't figure out what she did wrong! She keeps going around Izzie, and getting hissed at. Today it's a bit less with the hissing. They were laying on the window seat together looking outside. They're still not playing like they used to. You folks with multiple kitties know how funny it is to watch them ambush each other, and they sleep all tangled together. I think we'll really miss that if it doesn't get back to normal. We've considered the vet, but there just doesn't appear to be anything physically wrong with her. We're taking it a day at a time, and things are gradually getting back to normal. I'll keep you posted.

post #15 of 16

I am relieved that there doesn't seem to be anything physcially wrong, but I would keep my eye out just in case and look for any off behavior, besides hissing. *Sometimes* when a cat is coming down ill, the other cats in the house will start to hiss at the sick one, because the smell the sick one is extruding is not a normal smell, but a sickly one. Right now, my orange cat Bailey is ill, he has a UTI and he is getting hissed at and chased by Kabota and Kahuna. It was this behavior that keyed me that something is amiss and so I watched and saw Bailey having problems eliminating, so now he is on antibiotics (which also make him smell funny) He is getting hissed at, but at least not chased now.
post #16 of 16
Is it possible for the cat to be acting out because it doesnt want a bath also? I know every time i have given Sam a bath I need raingear and a dozen bandaids not to mention plenty of sucking up time to get him to even look at me again. I dont know if cats carry that big of a grudge or not, but I was curious?
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