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It’s a war zone in my house right now.

Yesterday Nishka went to the vet to have her teeth cleaned.  Or to put it another way, yesterday Nishka went to the vet and I gave them a mortgage payment.  But I digress.  She’s been needing her teeth cleaned for years, and this year I had resolved to spend the money and get it done.  Any doctor, dentist, or vet will tell you that any inflammation is bad for the whole body, and she’s an elderly kitty – she needs all the help she can get.  On the advice of my regular vet, I scheduled the cleaning with the vet who is certified in extractions, so that he could just take care of whatever they found without having to subject her to a second anesthesia and me to a second mortgage payment.  It turned out that she had to have three teeth out, which is much better than I had expected, in all honesty.  Also, my vet runs a special on dental services in January, so I got a nice discount.  It all went very well, and apparently all of the staff is head over heels in love with her.  I believe that Dr. Ephron called her a “mush” and opined that as far as he could tell, she was just going to go forever.  The ride home was quiet and uneventful.

It didn’t all come off the rails until I got home.

I let her out of the carrier, took the bandage off her leg, and let her go.  Becket and Charlotte were immediately all over her, which she wasn’t real keen on.  That irritation was solved with a small amount of wet food.  The two of them ate – side by side as usual, and she roamed around a bit.  She was clearly looking for someplace to settle in and sulk, and he was following her around harvesting all the odd smells in her fur.  Eventually she headed downstairs to use the litterbox, and I didn’t notice that he followed her down.  Until the hissing started.  And the growling.  Followed by the yowling.  By the time I got to the top of the stairs, there were chunks of fur flying in the air – as far as I can tell, he went full bore after her in the litter box.  I chased them around the basement – she headed up the stairs, and we caught him and locked him in the little entry by the side door, it being the only first floor interior door that has a latch on it at the moment.

I swear every hair on his body was sticking straight out.  The only thing I can figure is that her urine smelled so wrong from the assorted drugs from the anesthesia and pain meds, that it completely freaked him out.

After giving him a while to calm down – an hour or so – we opened the door and let him out.  He eventually wound down, and was curled up on my lap while I was online reading about “nonrecognition aggression” in cats.  After a while she came down the stairs.  He came awake, out of my lap and on her in a blink.  I ended up separating them again, and realized this wasn’t going to work.  I got her pain pill into her (I’d forgotten about the drooling,) we set up a litter pan and a bowl of water in the upstairs bathroom, and locked her in the upstairs bedrooms for the evening. 

These two were sleeping together and grooming each other on Wednesday.  Last night you would have sworn they’d never seen each other before.

He howled all night.

This morning I pulled her out from under my bed, and brought her downstairs.  The reactions weren’t as bad.  He was arching and hissing, but his tail didn’t fluff up.  She was hissing and growling, but never put her ears back.  Mind you, I also never set her down.  I gave her the morning pill, wiped away the drool, and took her back upstairs.

So as it stands, she’s shut in the bedrooms.  She has our bed to sleep on, a litter pan, a bowl of water, the floor vent over the woodstove, and a nice sunbeam in the bathroom if the sun comes out at all.  He has the downstairs with all the usual accoutrements.  At lunch I’m going to run to Petco and pick up some Feliway.  Can’t hurt, might help.  I wish I could get some Rescue Remedy, but I’ve never been able to find anyplace that sells it in the store.  I called the vet this morning, and they also suggested that I rub Becket down with a towel and then rub her down to transfer some scent.  I’ll do that also.

Of course, in addition to strange scents, now they’re both pissed.  That doesn’t help.

So this weekend in addition to undecorating the house, I have to broker a peace deal.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
You know, I hate taking my dogs to the sitters for a similar reason. When they come home, their pecking order is all screwed up. Some won't eat at all. Others will only eat out of the other's bowls (this is a doggie dominance thing that only happens when they get around other dogs). They'll be away for 48 hours and revert to pack behaviour (can you imagine a wild pack of greyhounds? What do they do? Sleep fearfully?).

I have some Rescue Remedy. The main ingredient in it is Brandy. Maybe just give the kit some of the ol' Napoleon?
Jan. 13th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
Interesting, and it certainly makes leaving them a lot less attractive.

From what I read about non-recognition aggression, it's particular to cats, fairly common, and can get a lot worse. I read a bunch of instances where the aggression transferred to the humans trying to break things up - and even a small cat has impressive armaments.

A co-worker of mine has had similar issues, and tells me it should sort out in a day or two.
Jan. 13th, 2012 08:59 pm (UTC)
I fully admit I know nothing whatsoever about cats.
Jan. 13th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
We're even - almost everything I know about dogs I've learned from you. :-)
Jan. 13th, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
Well, if you can get the two of them on speaking terms, you should be able to sort out the Middle East in a couple of days :)

Good luck with them. I second Kass on the brandy -- a couple of drops from an eyedropper for each of them.
Jan. 13th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
If a hit of brandy is what it takes, that would explain why no one has sorted out the Middle East.

My co-worker who has had the same problem tells me they'll get back to normal in a few days. Now I know to anticipate this next time.
Jan. 14th, 2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
I wish there was a "like" button for your reply. :).
Jan. 14th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
oh my god it hurts to laugh that hard with a migraine.
Jan. 13th, 2012 10:38 pm (UTC)
:( Good luck.
Jan. 13th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
This is what happened to my two when they both got home from the teeth cleaning last year. They both freaked, and Cid went down into the basement and got between the drywall and the cement foundation. It took me about two days to get him out of there, and another day before they were comfortable around each other again.

Hang in there - it will get better.
Jan. 13th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
I remember when he got stuck in the wall - I was about to show up on your doorstep with a drywall saw and a bucket of joint compound. I didn't remember what set it off.

I'm not sure I can deal with this - I got home and Becket was HOWLING. I think he's looking for her. But when I brought her downstairs, they're hissing and growling. I'm worried about him injuring her if I let them tangle, but when I separate them the noise is unbearable.

Sigh. Right now she's hiding in the library, and he's stalking her. I'm hoping they're over it by Tuesday. Right now I don't feel like I can leave them unattended.

As long as I can find her twice a day to give her the pain medication. You can imagine how much she loves that.
Jan. 14th, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
I read somewhere, sometime about a woman who had to introduce a new cat into her house. After keeping the new one in the separate room for a day to two, she switched them, putting the established cat into the room that the other cat had been in, for another day. Then, she happened to have a screen door, which she somehow put up temporarily between the room and the rest of the house. They could see and smell each other, but they couldn't make contact. Evidently this worked well. But who has an extra screen door laying around??
Jan. 14th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
I understand how important it is to get their teeth cleaned (I had to have Kiba's done a couple months ago and it really was traumatic), but it always leads to drama. Kiba thought he'd been punished...it took a week to convince him that his pack still loved him.

I never understood cats, even though I've had one or more for decades now. They are such little victims of stimuli, and it's so hard to know what they are thinking until too late.

Nishka was you're dominant cat, right? She probably came home smelling of fear and sickness, and Beckett took advantage of an opportunity to do a little social climbing, perhaps?

Anyway, with patience you'll get it sorted out. Maybe Becket can get his teeth cleaned too.
Jan. 14th, 2012 11:09 pm (UTC)
I just went and read a little about this online -- who knew!?
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )