Cat Behavior Q&A with Dr. Marci Koski: Aggression After Vet Visit, Biting, and More

Question 1: Aggression after Vet Visit

I am a pet parent to four cats, three females (two of which are littermates, aged 3, and one is about 9) and a male, Sandy, who is 8. Sandy has always been the dominant one. Recently, after a vet visit for grooming, Sandy returned with a drastic change in appearance and smell. This led to aggression from the others, particularly Callie, who has become extremely hostile. Despite separation, the aggression persists even after three weeks. Sandy’s behavior has changed, and he’s now skittish. How can I help them reacquaint and resolve this? – Karen Morgan

Dr. Marci’s Response: It’s not uncommon for cats to experience “feline non-recognition” after a vet visit due to changes in scent. To reintroduce them, start by rebuilding a group scent. Use a soft-bristled brush to share their pheromones. Swap their locations for exercise and supervised interactions. Gradually increase visual exposure. End sessions positively and consider a sight blocker for safety.

Question 2: Cat Pees on the Bed

My 2-year-old neutered male cat, while I’m in bed, pees on it. He doesn’t have any medical issues. I have three jobs, but I try to show love to him and his sister. I want them to sleep with me. How can I address this? – Shelly Brooks

Dr. Marci’s Response: Inappropriate urination can signal discomfort or stress. First, ensure there are no medical issues. Offer interactive play to fulfill his hunting instincts. Provide food puzzles for mental stimulation. Create a calming bedtime routine. Use a small pillow as a barrier. Consider incorporating interactive play before bedtime to expend excess energy.

Question 3: “Love” Bites that Hurt

My 7-year-old male cat gives “love bites” that hurt. He doesn’t mean harm, but I can’t trust him around my face. How can I stop this behavior? – Julie

Dr. Marci’s Response: Love bites are affectionate gestures, but they shouldn’t hurt. Avoid offering your hand, which can reinforce the behavior. Instead, redirect him with a toy or treat. Reward gentle behavior. If he still nips, disengage and ignore. Be attentive to his body language and provide short, gentle strokes during petting.

Question 4: Neutered Male Cat Mounting Female Companion

My neutered male, Kacey, mounts my spayed female, Kieran. They are both spayed and neutered. Is this normal behavior, and how can I stop it? – Elisha Abrellb

Dr. Marci’s Response: Mounting can be a sign of dominance or residual behavior. Monitor their interactions closely and ensure no health changes have occurred. Consult your vet to check if the neutering was complete. Consider using a male pheromone to alter scent perception. Redirect their attention with play and interactive toys.

Question 5: Socializing a Poorly Socialized Kitten

My 6-month-old kitten, Lucky, is aggressive and doesn’t enjoy human contact. He was poorly socialized and came from a farm. How can I make him more loving and approachable? – Sally Collingwood

Dr. Marci’s Response: Lucky’s early experiences have influenced his behavior. Provide interactive play with wand toys to keep him engaged and minimize biting. Use treats and slow, gentle strokes on his forehead and cheeks to build trust. Respect his boundaries and let him initiate interactions. Be patient and allow him to progress at his own pace.

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