You sent your two gorgeous felines for grooming. Their fur looks fluffy and soft to touch. All is well until you reach home and release them from their cages. All hell broke loose. Once best friends who will lick each other, suddenly turn on each other and hiss ferociously.
It is World War III!
Although the cause of the aggressive nonrecognition is not completely clear. However, when a cat threatens its onetime friend. This is usually after having being separated for a time. It can be that the cat is confused by your other cat’s scent. When handling cats who hold the aggressive impulses. It is always a good idea to acquaint the returning cat slowly. Let it seem like they have never met.
Nonrecognition aggression happens when one cat is unusually aggressive towards a companion cat. This is often after some time of separation. For instance, after one feline returns home from a grooming visit in Singapore. The cat that remained at home gets aggressive towards the returning cat. It might even freeze, flee, or maybe fight back.
The origin of this form of aggression is not understood fully. However, some possible causes are:
- The returning feline is unrecognizable. Thus it is seen as a threat as he or she has a different scent.
- The returning feline is ill or could be behaving abnormally (for instance, after the anaesthetic procedure). The aggressive cat considers this to be a threat.
- The scent of disinfectant or alcohol on the returning cat from groomers. it could be reminding the aggressive feline of negative experiences.
- The returning feline might have discharged its anal sacs at the groomers office. It is thus emitting pheromones linked with stress. This can signal danger for the other cat. Thus causing her to act aggressively.
Affected Feline Breeds
All feline breeds seem to be equally given to this kind of inter-cat behaviour.
How To Deal With It
Below are several recommendations when you encounter this problem:
- Do not let your cats fight it out. Cats never resolve their problems by fighting.
- Interrupt aggression and fighting by loudly clapping your hands. You could also squirt the aggressive feline using a water gun. You could direct compressed air (with no noise) towards the aggressive feline. This may be more fruitful instead allowing your cats to fight directly with each another.
- You could herd the aggressor cat into a different room. This will allow him to calm down. (this might take some hours). even then it will help reduce the situation. When necessary, cover the aggressor using a large towel. This will help him calm as you handle or move him might reduce the risk of injury.
- Do not try soothing the cats soon after. Give them some time to calm down. Agitated cats might become aggressive towards any person or pet who gets close. When necessary, retain the aggressor cat confined overnight. Provide them with some water, food, and a litter box.
Symptoms and Identification
Aggression, in general, refers to attacks or threats. However, that is not always easy to spot when looking at inter-cat problems in general. Aggressive actions between cats will include growling, hissing, swatting, biting and chasing. It may come down to the subtle incidents of intimidation that are unrecognized by cat owners as aggression.
Below listed several rules applicable for the 2 kinds of cats. This is when it comes to the nonrecognition incidents.
Gestures by an Attacking Cat (remained at home)
- Facing the returning feline and seems ready to pounce
- Raised hair on their tail and shoulders
- Staring at the returning cat with small (constricted ) pupils
Gestures of a Defensive Feline (Returning feline)
- Arched back
- Dilated pupils: the iris of the eyes open thus the pupils become larger
- Their ears are pressed back against their head
- They face the aggressor cat sideways
- Raised hairs on their shoulders and tail
- Spitting, hissing, and growling
- They roll back ready to fight when there is no escape
It is suggested that cat owners reintroduce the two cats. But only after the aggressor is completely calm. A good way would be to reintroduce the cats slowly through a screen. You could do so through a gate or a cracked door. This is before you allowing them to access each other.
Have their food bowls opposite of the barrier. This will encourage closeness as they do something they both enjoy. Once they both appear relaxed. You can open the screen between the two little by little. When they remain relaxed, then they could be ready to meet again.
When they show some aggression (like hissing, growling, swatting, spitting,). Simply separate them and restart this process of reintroduction gradually. Two felines are likely to restore a relationship. They at least can tolerate one another other.
A change in your cat’s behaviour might also be an indication of some medical condition. When either cat’s mannerism in this situations does not get better. Seek further veterinary help. Contact a certified animal behaviourist or even a board-certified vet behaviourist in Singapore (DACVB comes after their last name), it is recommended when no biological causes of illness are identified.
These General Guidelines Can Help Reduce Aggression.
To aid in preventing nonrecognition aggression. You could take these measures after you have brought your cat home from the groomers. This is best done before they are reintroducing to another cat (s).
- Never let the felines fight it out. These tend to be long-lasting. Thus have a negative effect on the relationship.
- Scent swap by brushing the cats using the same brush. You could also swap beds and blankets from their carrier.
- Monitor and attempt to give each space from where they can observe each other.
- Reward them for getting along. Offer praises or offer them treats every time they are friendly to each other.
- Distract and engage the cats in play using toys.
- Prevent the aggressive behaviour from escalating. This is the best method of preventing it lasting longer.
- Be patient. This might take hours to days or sadly even weeks. Give it time to help decrease their aggression.
- Pheromones can be helpful. Feliway (product by Ceva Animal Health – St. Louis). It mimics the feline pheromones which can help reduce hostility between cats.
- Give additional cat-friendly areas (such as hiding spots). This will allow the cats space out as they prefer.
With patience, you can reintroduce your beloved pets to each other again. Another great suggestion is to have mobile grooming sessions in your home instead, that will reduce the change of environment, acquiring different scent and reducing the chances of aggressive feline behaviour.