Cats don't get along anymore - I've tried everything

jimbobfeenyApril 1, 2012

We have 3 cats - a mother cat and her two kittens. (The kittens are grown up, actually) We had the mother cat fixed shortly after she had a batch of kittens, and kept two from the litter, a male and a female. They used to get along fine, sleeping together and playing together. However, a few days ago, we took the kittens in to get fixed. The mother cat was calling for them the whole time, and couldn't figure out where they had gone. When we brought the kittens home, the mother cat growled, hissed, and hit them on the head. We kept them separate then for a few days, and tried reintroducing them, with no avail. Now, the mother sits at the food bowl growling, while the kittens cower in the corner. The two kittens still get along fine, but they are petrified of their mother. We tried the scent-swapping thing, and it didn't seem to work. The mother cat doesn't even bother to take a sniff; she just takes one look at them and repeats the head-bopping thing. What can I do? Nothing seems to be working.

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It's probably the vet visit and surgery. They smell different to the one who remained home. One of my cats had dental surgery earlier this year. Our other cat, who normally grooms the other, and is protective of her, hissed and growled at her for a longer period of time than I'd have expected. Probably the fact that the cat who had had the surgery came home with stitches in her mouth caused her to continue to smell different for days after she returned home. We went through something similar when one of our previous cats had major surgery to remove a fibrosarcoma. Until her fur started to grow back in after she was shaved for a very long incision down her back, our other cat would have nothing to do with her besides hissing and growling at her.

Give it time, and things should return to normal on its own.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Take a towel and rub all three cats with it repeatedly. Do this for several days without washing the towel. That'll swap scents ON THEIR COATS and help the mother cat get over the "you smell different" aggression.

As cat_mom said, it'll just take some time for the kittens to turn back into "her" kittens. Right now, they are "injured", and they smell funny, both of which can cause a queen to reject her kittens. Head-bopping and growling are only mildly aggressive actions. The queen will accept them again once they smell "normal" to her.

In the meantime, act as normal as you can toward all three of them. Don't overreact to the queen's behavior.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 10:48AM
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I had a similar problem with my cats. They are both indoor cats and the best of friends. I brought my one cat in for a routine vet visit. We weren't gone for more than a couple of hours. When we returned, the one that was home didn't recongnize her! There was a lot of aggression (hissing and growling). It's amazing how much they rely on scent. It took my cat 3 days to recognize the other. They are on different shot schedules but next time one goes in, the other is coming for the ride!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 11:18AM
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