WAFFLES: Whoa! Something smells 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.
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.
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. ; )
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.
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.
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.