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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28949
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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We have three cats, one went to the vet and shots

Customer Question

we have three cats, one went to the vet for checkup and shots last week. when he returned he was attacked by the younger cat to the point of now fearing the younger cat.
the vet cat now acts out in its bathroom habits and will not go near the younger one.
the younger cat still attacks the vet cat.
what can we do to get them back together?
both males, by the way
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
You need only be patient. It does seem silly to see this behavior 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.For now it would be prudent to sequester the aggressor - the younger cat - in a quiet and dimly lit room and "test" his level of arousal every day. There will be a day when he realizes who the returnee is and he'll be able to commingle once again without the aggression you're currently seeing. The inappropriate eliminative behavior that has arisen in the returnee should correct itself when peace reigns once again. It isn't prudent to intiate behavioral reconditioning for that problem until the redirected aggression abates. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** been helpful.
I will be
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin