When cats return home, they may carry unfamiliar materials (like bandages) or odors on them. Other cats may fail to recognize the returning cat and may attack them. To help reintroduction of cats, follow these tips:
1.) No history of aggression between cats after a veterinary visit:
Leave the returning cat in the carrier to see how the other cat(s) react. If no hissing or signs of aggression or fear occur over a 5-10 minute period, then you can allow the returning cat out of the carrier to interact with the other cat(s). Observe these interactions for 5-10 minutes. If signs of aggression occur, distract the cats to separate them. Avoid getting between them or picking up in an aroused state as redirected aggession may occur.
2.) Where aggression is a potential concern:
If prior home-comings have led to aggression, or if there is a negative reaction after trying the above approach, use the following tips:
* Put the patient in another safe, quiet room (with all necessary resources) for at least 24 hours until the cats consistenty respond to food and toy play from both sides of the door.
* If problems continue after slow re-introduction for 3 days, seek help from your veterinarian. A slower reintroduction period, or medication may be needed to facilitate the process.
* Often, bringing the cats to the clinic together for future visits will prevent problems as both cats will carry the scent of the clinic.
The following information may be helpful for cat owners that need to provide additional care for their cat: AAFP Brochure: Nursing Care for your Cat