Thursday, November 6, 2014

When Being a Brat is Normal - 7 Tips for Dealing with Displacement Aggression in Cats

WAFFLES:  Whoa! Something smells FUNNY. 



 WAFFLES:  Not haha-funny, but funny-funny. Stinky-funny.



WAFFLES:  Ok, there's some seriously WRONG smells going on in here.



WAFFLES:  Huh? I'm being quarantined? You mean like quarters and dimes and stuff? 



WAFFLES:  Uh, how many quarters and dimes to get me out of here???



Taking a Time-Out
Yes, it's true. Waffles has been quarantined. I know... this isn't exactly the stuff of which funny cat blogs are made. But everyday we write about what's going on in our lives and usually that means writing about what's made us laugh. We don't schedule our blog posts weeks or even days in advance. We're much more in-the-moment kinds of cats. 

Today, we're taking a brief time-out to talk about a different kind of time-out. 


Displacement Aggression
Our vet calls it Displacement Aggression. It's a very normal, albeit unnerving, behavioral challenge that can often present itself when one or more of the cats in a household visit the vet and return home smelling not at all like themselves. It doesn't even have to be the vet... it may involve extended travel or time away from home. 



Our Story
Those of you that read our blog regularly know that Waffles and Glogirly spent a little over a week away from the Townhouse. First in NYC, then Atlanta. It's not uncommon for reentry to become problematic when you've been away for so long.

What you don't know is that while Waffles was away, I had an unexpected date with the emergency vet. Don't worry... I'm fine now. But I had a bacterial infection that landed me at the regular vet, then the ER vet. There was anesthesia involved, antibiotics... I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say, I wasn't feeling OR smelling like myself.

When Waffles returned home, he noticed right away. Usually he'd just start up where he left off, chasing red dots and bouncing off the walls. But his time, he looked at me like he'd never seen me before. When the hissing and growling started, Glogirly stepped in and separated us. 

Though this is the first time, anything like this has happened to us, it's actually very common. Some cats will react in this way after a standard wellness check at the vet. We even know some cats who all go to the vet together, just so they'll smell the same when they come home. 


7 Tips to Bringing Back Peace & Harmony
We figured if this is happening here, that it just might be happening in your house too. So we wanted to share some of the things we're doing to bring back our own peace and harmony.

1. SEPARATE QUARTERS
We've got Waffles staying in what used to be the kitten-room when he was brought home for the first time. It's got all the comforts, including a litter box, toys, food, treats, water, blankets, his carrier, a scratching post and windows.

2. THE DOOR CRACK
After the first 24-48 hours, we've securely cracked the door so that we're able to see and smell each other. See our door-crack technique HERE.

3. DINNER SERVED DOOR-SIDE
It's important to associate good things with the door like food, treats, even toys.

4. CALMING AIDS
We use Feliway diffusers in nearby outlets and Feliway spray to neutralize the air and instill a sense of familiarity and calm. In addition, use Spirit Essenses Stress Stopper and Peacemaker.  Just a few drops petted onto our furs help to ease the stress. Waffles is also wearing a calming collar. (these are not affiliate links... just links to show you what WE use.)

5. ROOM SWAPPING
A couple times a day, Glogirly puts me in Waffles' room while Waffles is allowed to explore the rest of the house. This helps him become acquainted with my smell again. And I can make sure he's not got more food than I do. ; )

6. SOCKS???
Glogirly rubs Waffles' head and mouth area with a sock, then rubs that scent onto me... and vice versa. It's all about getting him comfortable with my scent.

7. PATIENCE
The hardest part. Every cat and every situation is different. It may take just a day or two... or a whole week. Take it slow. 



Cat Disclaimer! 
Please remember we're just a couple of funny cats. We're not vets, we're not really professional anything, except maybe professional chicken-eaters. Our first point of contact whenever anything doesn't seem right is our vet. We have a great relationship with her and everyone at the clinic. We can't stress enough how important that is. It should never be your last call.





48 comments:

  1. I sure hope the townhouse gets back to normal soon and that Katie is back to 100%!

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  2. We hope that things get ironed out at the townhouse very quickly. Chey takes notes from Katie about how to be nice to me!

    Ichiro.

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  3. Not a 'funny' post but because people listen to Katie and Waffles and You, this post will be really important. We are adding it to our Top Posts of 2014 as we REALLY like this one!

    Harvey, Miranda and Silver.
    PS Good luck you guys * paw hugs *

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  4. This was very interesting. I hope that Katies ad Waffles are back to their normal selves quickly. We send goat hugs and purrs from the Farm.

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  5. Great tips! Sorry things are a little out of whack for your guys at the moment.It happens to the best of us. I have no doubt you will all be back to normal soon. Thanks for sharing what you've learned so that others can use that info too :)

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  6. Hope you're feelin all better soon Katie and dat Waffles and you get back to normal quick.

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  7. It is so important that this gets mentioned - it IS more common than humans think. Sparkle behaved like Waffles is doing every time Binga and Boodie came home from the vet - in fact, she would howl and attack! Which is why she wound up having to go to the vet with them, even though she hated the vet. It was the best solution for all the kitties. Fortunately, no kitty seems to care that I come and go a lot! But my human has a whole arsenal of solutions, just in case.

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  8. I hope the town house will be back to normal soon !

    XOXO

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  9. Katie, we are sorry to hear about your medical troubles. Hopefully that is all fixed now. We hope the rest will solve itself quickly.

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  10. The Staff read about this on facebook! Katie, we are hoping you and Waffles get back to your usual high jinks soon, .... well Waffles anyway! AND I hope you are feeling better xoxox

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  11. Thanks for sharing this with your wide audience. We suspect it's a lot more common than people realize. Hopefully everything will be back to chicken-stealing normal in short order once everyone smells like home again.

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  12. Wow!!! We hope things settle down soon!!!!!!!

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  13. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. I know it's common, but that doesn't make it any less distressing. I'd been wondering about this, with Waffle traveling as much as he had been. It's interesting that it took Katie's vet visit for this to become a problem.

    Remember to use the Spirit Essences to help things along (Stress Stopper and Peacemaker)!

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  14. I know this is a fairly common problem, but thankfully one I have not encountered. I hope Waffles gets used to Katie again soon and the peace is restored.

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  15. We know all about displacement aggression. Wally is so guilty of it when I go to the vet. He can be so mean to me when I come home...for days! Now he has to go to the vet too, every time I go. Teach him a lesson.

    We sure hope things get back to normal...and funny haha...real soon. :)

    Ernie

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  16. Very good post full of helpful information for those kitty bumps in the road. Hope Katie is better and peace returns to the townhouse soon.
    xxoo
    Maggie

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  17. A serious blog post, but really helpful information.

    We hope that you are recovering from the reasons for your vet visit, Katie (sure no fair for you to end up there while Waffles was carousing with the ladies!). And that these steps work and you two are soon back to your normal sibling tension in the townhouse.

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  18. it can be tough to settle back into your own routine...and a heck of a lot happened last week. we hope you are feeling much better Katie - and that Waffles returns to "normal" asap (or as normal as he is ever going to get)

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  19. Hopefully peace will come to your home soon (too bad it didn't come for the blast for peace day)

    Thinking happy thoughts for you

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  20. Sorry you were sick Katie, I am glad you are doing better. This is a great post, I have problems every time I bring a kitty to the vet, the others treat him/her like a stranger.

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  21. We hope the west is over and peace will return to the townhouse. And also that Katie will be all better.

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  22. We thought that was just part of being a kitty
    Snorts,
    Lily & Edward

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  23. Katie..Thanks for sharing this important information..I hope you are feeling much better..Waffles..buddy..it's Katie..the Boss..I'm sure you will get it straightened out in your head soon..Glogirly..I have never had this happen but it is sure nice to know in case it does happen one day..Wishing for peace in the townhouse!

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  24. Purring and praying that all returns to normalcy at the Townhouse once again real soon.

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  25. Katie we're glad you're feeling better and hope that things settle down quickly although you might be liking Waffles in Quarantine!

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  26. Great post pals. Sadly, I guess stuff like that does happen. Sounds like your human has the situation under control and pretty soon Waffles will be out harrassing Katie again. Katie, enjoy your time alone while you can sweetie.

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  27. Very impawtant post ! We hope everything goes back to normal as quick as possible ! We're glad to see that Glogirly does the best for it ! Purrs

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  28. We had that too once. When Tess and May were 1.5 years old, Tess snuck out of a second story window and was lost for two whole weeks. When I found her, May was hissing and spitting and not liking her at all. Tess also needed two trips to the vet, because she had lost nearly all her weight and had eaten something bad when she had been out. It took two months, and two courses of antibiotics for Tess, before they were completely okay again. I didn't use any of the things you are using though, so you will be back to normal much quicker. Hang in there guys. And thanks for the great tips, I hope I will never need to use them.

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  29. Hoping that all is ok with Katie, broke my heart to hear that she was ill. I am sure things will return to normal in no time...great and important tips!

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  30. I hope things turn round and get back to normal real soon. It must be so hard when they were getting on so well. Waffles must have not liked the vet smell at all to have reacted so much. I am hoping it gets better for you soon.

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  31. Great advice! I'll have to try these tips with my Sassy girl. She is having to be kept separate from the others because of aggression. Thanks for sharing!

    Glad to hear you are okay, Katie!!

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  32. We're sorry to hear you two are having some homecoming problems. We know your humans will have this resolved in no time!

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  33. Katie...you and me...we will get thru this together, both Katies, and Waffles will be alright again. xoxoxoxoxo

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  34. Weez hav da hissy fits when one of us goes to da VET wiff out da udder too. So weez just boff go togedder. And ifin weez gunna be gone fur long, weez all go. But bein' Service Cats weez can.

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Lexi

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  35. Hope Katie is feeling better. My cats hiss for just a bit after the vet visits. When Bear Bear was still here with us he would be like that for almost the rest of the day.
    Sue B

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  36. I smell trouble in Kitty City! Maybe if you both go outside together for a bit you will cool off? We all go to the vet together (3 dogs, 2 cats) to avoid that wrong smell issue, but sometimes a cat has to go alone and reuniting is not always warm and fuzzy.

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  37. Just like moving in together for the first time. Hope the two can get back to K&W real soon.

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  38. Poor Katie has been through so much. Glad everything is settling down.

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  39. Katie girl, we are sorry to hear that you had to go to the vet while Glogirly was away. And then to have Waff hissing! That must have been strange. Coco is our Chief Smeller when someone comes back from the vet and she is not very nice for about two days. When she was the one who smelled after her teeth cleaning, Valentina was the hissy sister. We livein a studio apartment so the separation is not so easy here, but Z-Girl does do the sock scenting work with us, and we have Feliway all over the apartment. She will try the Spirit Essences next time to see if that helps, too. We appreciated the post, cuz we want to know what's happening in the Townhouse! The cats of Squeedunk

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  40. Oh Katie, i'm so sorry your not well :( These were wonderful tips, and I thank you for sharing. T=This post could really help people know how to deal with this exact situation.
    ]ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  41. Purrs to poor Katie & Gloman! So sorry you were unable to have the relaxing time you anticipated while Waffles & Glogirly were away. Hope the "reentry" is going better & your furry family is back to cuddles

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  42. Loved all your suggestions here. Some we use on a daily basis to try to keep things calm in an eight cat house. Others, Mom says she is going to try. Thanks. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

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  43. Thanks for the good advice. Hope all is well soon.

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  44. Thank you for the tips Katie. I hope you are doing better since coming back from the emergency vet. Poor girl.

    This has never happened to us and kitties have been going to vets or vet hospitals but if it does we will surely check out these great tips.

    I hope things are getting back to normal for my favorite funny cats. Take care. xo

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  45. Thanks for sharing these important tips Katie. Mom used to put tuna oil on her cats when the fights started after visiting the vet. I hope things are back to normal soon. Love Dolly (& Rhette)

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  46. Katie so very sorry to hear you were ill. Glad that you are better now! Thank you so much for sharing your tips, I am going to save them for future reference.
    Marty's Mom

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  47. Wow. I'd never heard of this before, but it makes sense. I've always wondered how Bear feels about the change in his own smell after going to the vet. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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