DR. NICHOLAS DODMAN: FELINE NON-RECOGNITION AGGRESSION

101118_4177_dodman154.jpgI have already addressed inter-cat territorial aggression and feline redirected aggression in earlier blogs. Another type of aggression that cats can express is referred to as non-recognition aggression.

What happens in non-recognition aggression (so-called) is that a cat returning from a veterinarian’s office is attacked by another resident cat with whom it was formerly friendly. No one knows what the trigger for non-recognition aggression is, though it has been suggested that it is something odd about the appearance or smell of the returning cat — who may be mistakenly perceived as foreign by the incumbent.

One of the first cases I saw involved a cat who was savagely attacked by its housemate when it was brought home after being sedated and then bathed at the local vet’s office.

As soon as the carrier was opened on returning home, the stay-at-home cat launched itself at its housemate in a fierce attack. The man of the house tried to break up the fight but became subjected to ferocious redirected aggression as the cat turned its ire on to him!

The man fled upstairs and locked himself in the bathroom for his own protection as the cat threw itself at the door practically rattling the hinges and remained dangerous for hours. Eventually things settled down and the man, very cautiously, came downstairs.

The two cats were isolated from each other and were successfully reintroduced a few days later.

The bottom line is that if you have a cat that has, in the past, attacked another cat returning from the vet’s office, you must expect it to happen again and take necessary measures to prevent future catastrophes’.

Prevention of this troubling condition is better than cure, as this condition does tend to recur with each veterinary visit.

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