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Cat has been hissing at her sister since she came home from the vets.

(13 Posts)
VenusInFauxFurs Sat 09-Apr-16 19:03:42

I recently (6 weeks ago) adopted two 13 year old cats, Ella and Bunty*. They are sisters from the same litter and have always lived together. They usually get on very well and will cuddle up together. They occasionally fight but in a playful "getting one's evening exercise by chasing each other round the house" way.

I've had to take both of them to the vet this week for follow-up checks following the initial health checks that were carried out by Cats Protection.

I took Ella in on Monday so she could have her liver checked out following slightly high result on her blood test. She was a bit a woozy from the general anaesthetic but seemed OK by the evening. I took Bunty in yesterday to have her teeth checked out. General anaesthetic again. All good. No extractions.

However, since Bunty came home yesterday afternoon, Ella has been really hostile towards her. Whenever Bunty comes close, Ella bares her teeth and hisses at her. There's been no fighting. Bunty generally backs away and hides under my bed.

A bit of googling suggests that this is not uncommon (I haven't come across this with previous cats). I think Ella could smell the vet smell on Bunty and - still being freaked out by her own visit - is perceiving Bunty as a "threat".

I was advised by the vet not to give Bunty any dry food for a day or so following teeth descaling. So instead of biscuit for breakfast (and available all day) and wet food in the evening, I have been just giving them wet food. Because of the situation, I've been putting one cat food bowl in the kitchen and one in the living room so that they don't have to interact.

Basically, is there anything else I can do to diffuse the situation? I am guessing Ella will get over it. They are both indoor cats (raised that way, never been outdoors, both de-clawed sad) so it's not easy for them to have distance from one another.

Have used Feliway in the past for previous cats. Do you think that might be helpful here? Or any other advice? I moved the cat bowl in the kitchen so that Bunty wouldn't be in a vulnerable position. I am giving them both LOTS of affection as I recognise that the vet visits have been stressful for both of them. (Ella is currently next to me purring her head off so she doesn't seem that stressed, just being really hostile to her sister.)

* I have name-changed my cats. I am not entirely sure why. (Possibly I think they go on the internet when I'm out the house and I would hate for them to recognise themselves.)

Watto1 Sat 09-Apr-16 19:12:24

Busty probably does smell odd to Ella. I'm sure it's just a matter of time until they get along as normal. Feliway certainly wont do any harm so worth a try (although it costs an arm and a leg!).

Watto1 Sat 09-Apr-16 19:13:01

Bunty not busty! Autocorrect gets worse!

lljkk Sat 09-Apr-16 19:19:56

lol on NCing cats.
Cats can live together peacefully & still not like each other. Hissing isn't so bad. Wait for blood before you worry.

cozietoesie Sat 09-Apr-16 19:23:34

I've 'heard' that the tiniest drop of - is it vanilla extract ? ** - on the back neck fur of each will normalise the smell of each to the other and quicken the reacclimitisation. (Or eg on a small pad rubbed on the neck fur.)

I've never tried this and I have no idea of the truth of it but I've always wondered whether it worked and whether it was safe? Does anyone know?

Miloarmadillo1 Sat 09-Apr-16 19:25:06

Yes, Feliway might help. You can try a cheat version by rubbing a clean cloth on one cat, trying to pick up the facial pheromones from their cheeks, then use it to rub the other cat - transferring 'home' and 'happy pheromones' from one to the other. Providing plenty of resources ( food and water bowls, litter trays, comfy beds) until they settle down again might reduce the hissing.

cozietoesie Sat 09-Apr-16 19:25:21

(I have no idea where those two asterisks came from - just ignore them. smile)

CauliflowerBalti Sat 09-Apr-16 19:28:36

My cats have to live separately since the male went to the vets for a week. His sister tries to kill him. It's horrible. I have no reassuring words as I tried feliway, crate socialisation, scent swapping - nope. She's a little savage.

VenusInFauxFurs Sat 09-Apr-16 19:35:07

Thanks, Watto1. Feliway is fucking expensive so I am avoiding it if this is likely to be very short-term.

The girls are mostly ignoring one another at the moment. Which is, to be fair, what they usually do. The problem seems to be if Bunty approaches Ella. Then Ella is all flat-ears, teeth bared, hissy noises.

I am still getting to know them but I think Ella is the more dominant one. Even prior to the recent situation, if Bunty was sitting somewhere Ella wanted to be, Ella would swiftly hoof her off and sit there instead.

I am worrying about the vet/stress situation a bit. Cats were rehomed directly from their previous owners. This was done on the same day as their initial checks/injections at the vet. So they were picked up from their previous home, taken to the vets and then brought round to my house. It must have been a very weird day for them. (But they settled in and made themselves at home very quickly.)

I worried when I took them for their second lot of injections that they'd be very stressed due to associating it with the previous time. But once we were all home, they seemed to get back to normal very quickly. A week later I had to take Ella back in. Then yesterday, Bunty. They seem to be getting more stressed each time. Ella has another appointment in a month to check her liver is still OK.

I'm just babbling now, sorry. OBVIOUSLY even the nicest of vet visits are HORRIBLE to a cat. As far as they're concerned you're just fucking up their daily routines and making all kinds of horrible things happen.

kimlo Sat 09-Apr-16 19:41:06

Ive no idea what you can do, but both my kittens went to the vets this week for an operation and when they came back they smelt very strongly of vets. I didnt like it so I can see why her sister doesnt.

VenusInFauxFurs Sat 09-Apr-16 19:48:37

Cauliflower, that isn't reassuring at all. sad I really hope it doesn't come to that. Hope the situation improves for your cats.

Milo, I am going to try your suggestion. Ella loves rubbing up against stuff. I am going to try to get her to rub up against a cloth and then rub it on Bunty. Alternatively, I may just try rubbing Bunty all over with my phone. Every time I'm texting/MN-ing on my mobile, Ella sits on my lap and "kisses" it all over. My phone must totally smell of Ella pheromones.

RubbishMantra Sat 09-Apr-16 20:21:01

MCat behaved this way towards Little Monsieur, on his return from his castration from the vet. I think it was partly to do with the drugs the vet gave him, instead of making him drowsy, he was like a little maniac. I think the smell of the vet's surgery freaks them out too.

You can get Feliway much cheaper on Amazon, and other online shops.

Ffffffftttttttt Sat 09-Apr-16 21:10:19

Is Bunty amenable to a bath? If not...Get an old tea towel and hold Ella in it. Rub along her cheeks in particular. Then rub all over Bunty. Then do the other way round. Keep doing that. My vet advises always to have a Feliway on the go in multi cat households. One of my cats is more high strung than the other and much more so when the Feliway runs out. You can get a Feliway spray as well so can spray their blankets and bed. Agree you can buy it much cheaper online. Another thing I would do is take both cats to the vets together so they smell the same and it helps keep them bonded. The vet may agree to them staying there together, mine is good like that. Ensure they have lots of resources (trays, water, toys) and places to escape from the other. Hopefully return to normal soon.

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