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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28935
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I have 2 cats, they have lived together years. The oldest

Customer Question

I have 2 cats, they have lived together for 6 years. The oldest is 10, was a rescue kitty, she was 4 then. The other I got as a baby. Both female. The oldest Mitzi, just had to have a small surgery, was gone for a couple of nights. The younger one, Maggie, missed her very much, but when I brought her home it has been terrible. I expected her to hiss at her because of the smells and all, but she has been vicious towards her. Attacking her, want let her come out of any room without chasing and attacking her. It's getting a little better. They are at least in the same room right now and I've tried playing with them both to try and bring them back together but it's just not happening. These are two that always slept together in the same chair, washed each others heads, now it's like they hate each other. Will it pass?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
It will. It most always does. It does seem silly, doesn't it? But it's not unusual. Aggression can arise when a cat has been out of the home and then returns (e.g. from a groomer or veterinary hospital stay). This may be due to pheromonal alterations (pheromones are chemicals that transmit information between members of the same species), anxiety or discomfort of the returning cat, or the response of one or more cats that remained in the home to some alteration in how the cat looks, acts, or smells upon its return. There may also be territorial and status issues that need to be re-established, even if the departure has been relatively short. Many of these problems are mild and will resolve themselves over time, particularly if there is enough space, perches, and hiding places for the cats to avoid interactions while they again "recognize" each other and re-establish a compatible relationship. This may take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks for some cats, while on rare occasions the problem may be sufficiently intense to require a formal reintroduction program of desensitization and counterconditioning in much the same way as a new cat is introduced into the household. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok, thanks. I'm glad to know that in time it can resolve itself. I'll stop worrying so much about them and see what happens.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Sounds good. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.