By Daniel Quagliozzi
A trip to the vet can be a stressful situation for some cats, leaving behind everything and everyone they know for a strange and unfamiliar place, full of sights, sounds and smells. Then, if the vet visit wasn't unpleasant enough, the cat that was left at home is greeting your poor sickly kitty with hissing, growling and in some extremes... aggressive attacks, leaving you standing there wondering why it seems like they are strangers to one another other. Why do cats fail to recognize each other when they return from the vet?
Non-recognition aggression is actually quite common. A sudden change in routine, a new or unfamiliar scent or a stressful addition to a cat's environment can set them off on a chain of aggression that could last days or even weeks if someone (that's you!) doesn't intervene. Sometimes, even cats need a referee!
How do you get your cat's to take the boxing gloves off and appreciate each other once again? It's a slow process that takes patience and a little understanding, but ultimately... it's worth the sacrifice to your daily routine of couch potato-ing.
Separate the cats!
Give everyone, including yourself, some time to breathe and relax.
Start some positive reinforcement!
While your cats are confined away from each other, try feeding them on the outside of the same door. Hopefully they will associate the pleasure of eating and the scent of each other together.
Crack open the door!
If the cats are eating in harmony, crack the door and let them see, sniff and interact. If they growl or hiss, close the door and start again later.
Get your cat's playing with each other to ease the tension. It's amazing how fast they will remember they were buddies over the slaying of their favorite toy.
Try Feliway to diffuse the situation!
A pheromone spray like Feliway ( http://www.feliway.com/) can make cats feel more at ease in their territory as it mimics facial pheromones that they normally interpret as calming or positive. It might be good to spray some Feliway around before and after a visit to the vet.
By following some these simple guide lines and doing a little preparation before you cat goes off the the vet, you can make the experience a pleasant one for all parties. Now, if we can make going to the dentists office a delight, we would be all set.