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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19114
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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I asked a question last night and have not yet gotten an

Customer Question

I asked a question last night and have not yet gotten an answer. I wondered if i did something wrong? Just in case my first request didn't go through --I am repeating my questions. My loving and super affectionate 2 yeaer old emale cat Ellie attacked my
cousin yesterday. And I mean "Attacked". First she wouldn't let her come in the front door and stood at the screen door hissing and growling and waving her paw. I had to walk in first and let me cousin in the door. Then she went at my cousin hissing and growling
and swiping at her face. I had to put her in another room. Now this is a cat who rarely leaves my side. She sits on my lap every time I sit down and cuddles, she sleeps with me every night -- either on my back or between my legs. She brings me presents (toys
mostly as she is an indoor cat) and loves to play peek a boo with me behind the shower curtain in the bathroom. I have never had such a good companion. I have two cats -- Ellie and her brother George. George is a sweetie too -- but not quite as attached to
me as Ellie. The cousin Ellie attacked has 9 cats of her own and cares for feral cats. Did Ellie smell all the other cats making her afraid and aggressive. What could have caused such a personality shift and what can I do to keep it from happening again? Thanks
so much!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 2 years ago.
My name is***** and I've been a veterinarian for 15 years. I'm sorry to hear about this drastic of a personality change with Ellie when your cousin came over. In a situation like this, I would be curious about an odor setting all this in motion. Could she have smelled the other cats on her and reacted in this aggressive manner? That has to be a suspicion. If she's never reacted like this to other individuals coming to your house, then I would be most suspicious of an odor situation. What could help to make these events less likely or to resolve them is to maybe have her bring over articles of clothing that have the odor of her cats on it to progressively desensitize her to it. Initially the clothes could be a shirt or pair of pants that gets left outside a door for a couple days, then they could be in a closet for a couple days, then they could be out in the main area for a couple days - basically progressively increasing the power of the odor and her ability to be more closely in contact with it. I would hope this would desensitize her to the odor. I would also consider initially having your cousin wash her hands well and maybe putting on a recently laundered outfit initially when coming over to reduce the odor till she's not as sensitive.
Some cats can be aggressive when stressed / set off by certain sounds or sites too. I would be alert to see if anything like this is around if the desensitization isn't working. A simple thing to also consider is a feline calming pheromone product called Feliway. It can be plugged into an outlet and it releases feline specific calming pheromones that can help reduce anxiety / stress and make future meetings go better.
I'm hoping things go well as it sounds like Ellie should be good friends with your cousin!