Traumatized Cats

We have two cats R. age 10 & C. age 4. Up until early July they were good friends, shared everything, and usually slept next to each other in the bathroom with heated floor. Tragically this all changed when we took the C. to the vet for her rabies shot as required by city ordinance. C. was only gone for 30 minutes but when she returned, all he’ll broke lose and R. started attacking her. It wasn’t the typical minor disagreement type of fight but a vicious attack with a goal of seriously injuring C. We separated them and thought this would pass. It hasn’t and now they’re permanently confined to separate quarters.

Appears R. has developed a case of redirected aggression likely due to C. picking up a strange scent from the vet. If I had known this was a possibility I certainly would’ve taken both cats to the vet at the same time. Kind of feel like the vet should’ve informed us of this when we got C. but looks like I’m supposed to be an expert on cat psychology.

Now we have C. who is absolutely terrified, continues to hide, and has added about 50% to her weight. R. now has lost 30% of her weight in past month, appears extremely apathetic, won’t eat, and rarely leaves her bathroom. We took R. to the vet and they’ve run some tests but she doesn’t have any obvious conditions from examination. It is possible R. is dying and we’ll soon have test results. It’s just she went from healthy to dangerously underweight (she only weighed 8 pounds at max now 5.25 pounds) in a couple of weeks. She’s not in pain and no fever. She just has no energy. This made me think of a possible diagnosis: depression.

R. and C. were very close, R. now thinks C. isn’t C., and R. really misses C. C. appears to have something like PTSD.

For C.’s well-being we may have to rehome her.

Any cat people here successfully navigate a serious case of redirected aggression against another cat in the home?

Hmmm to be honest that’s a lot of weight loss :frowning:

A cat in discomfort can become aggressive as well.

One cannot make a diagnoses on a forum but I would say wait for the test results first before deciding / doing anything else.

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That’s very sad to hear. I can only say that our two cats tolerated and got on with each other, but when we took one of them to the vets, one always took it out fairy aggressively on the other. This only lasted a couple of days. In your situation, it sounds an extreme version of it. Difficult to advise, but I’d try and get everything back to normal, normal routine, etc as soon as possible. Cats sense every subtle sign of a different routine and hate it. I could list you dozens and dozens of daily things our cat expects/does, but I’m sure you’re aware of them. Every new visit to the vets will only make it worse and it takes a good vet to realise this and advise you of it.

Have you tried Feliway? If not, give it a go, but then there’s a new smell in the house, so might not work.

If there’s nothing medically wrong with your cats, fuss both of them to bits.

Sorry about your feline dilemma.
Have you tried catnip ?
I know sounds silly but most cats go crazy for it. You could find a toy that both cats could interact with at the same time with it within somewhere.
I’ve seen something on YouTube - a whack a mole type thingy that had catnip put into it.
Could distract their fight or flight strategy enough to again feel some resemblance with each other.
I once had mother and daughter cats that had a very similar fallout.
We planted two catnips either side of a path in a sunny spot in the garden.
When they realised they both liked to sit on their little catnip bush in the sun it seemed to be a good pathway to peace. :heart_eyes_cat:

Spoke with the vet and blood work came back indicating R. has significant impairment of kidney function. Prognosis is grave. Without immediate treatment, vet recommended euthanasia as she has a likely survival time measured in days. Immediately ruled out euthanasia in this scenario. Also… Immediately ruled out just letting her die so she’s in the cat hospital. Prognosis with treatment is slightly upgraded to poor.

Not completely sure about the ethics in this situation.

Agree with everything the Count says. Been there, seen that.

@Katzky2021 . Regarding ethics. Cats are as much a part of your family as your Granny. So you fight like buqqery for them, until there really is no hope.


I’ve given all my pets whatever treatment was needed at any cost without delay.

I have a cat Mo who had FIP. The prognosis was obviously 100% death and there had never been any treatment. Through our own research, it then quickly became known that a very new treatment called Mutian was available, but is wasn’t licensed for use yet. At great expense and fiddly dealing with a Chinese company via Paypal, we got the treatment and it miraculously worked. Best thing we’ve ever done. Mo is amazing every minute of the day.

There’s something in vets that runs through most of them. They do tend to want to put everything to sleep. Whether it’s because there’s less hassle, less comeback, best thing to do, etc… I do have my own theories.

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This is the really difficult part. Putting your emotions to one side and looking after the best interests of your cat can be hard, as you probably know, and it’s so tempting to keep them going for longer than you really should. They can be very good at hiding their discomfort and pain.
Vets generally do not make the decision for you, the most they can do is drop hints because it is your decision, not theirs, and their reluctance should not be misinterpreted as a recommendation to keep treating a seriously ill animal.

I remember the saga with Mo and it’s great that’s she’s still doing well. We’re in the middle of a situation with Zebedee, our 16 year old (17 next Monday!), who is recovering from his second bout of Hepatitis, and having lost Marble to cancer less than a month ago. Both ran though their insurance.

I agree that there seems to have been a sea-change in the attitudes of vets over the last few years, and it may well be for the theories that you propose. OTOH, there has been the rise of the Referral Vet Clinics (Supervets) who have teams of “consultant level” vets, and in the words of our local vet, “They have far better toys than we do!”. For sure, they are expensive……think Superlumina prices as compared with stock SNAIC :laughing:

I do have concerns though, about “big business” arriving in the sector. Our local vet, who we’ve been with for twenty years, recently sold out to an organisation in Bristol, who (surprise, surprise) own a local Supervet clinic - mutual benefit or conflict of interest? Even our lovely Supervets are owned by a large organisation (Mars, I think).

However our Supervets have brought Zebedee back from the brink……twice! and for that we are thankful :smiley_cat:


I’m sorry to hear this.

Sadly it is what I was suspecting as we’ve been through this.

Only thing I can comment on ethics is that the cat’s health and comfort should be placed first. Can be hard as it sometimes does not align with our hearts and feelings as owners.

Giving it the best treatment is certainly worth a try and not just giving up.


I hope Zebedee is doing ok. I have and always will compare our pets to humans. Nearly 17 is old, but not too old to recover and live many more years. Why not 25 years?

When Mo was diagnosed with FIP we researched everything and came across Mutian. I’m very much a ‘factual’ type person (whatever that is) and really didn’t want to be led into something sold to me as a miracle cure, only praying on our desperation. We were given a vets name 300 miles away from us, who thought this treatment was good. During that evening, he kindly spoke to us and his attitude was like a breath of fresh air. Not telling us what we wanted to hear, but his positive, level-headed and analytical approach. Thanks to him, he recommended the treatment, but gave no promises. He had no links with them.

Funny you should mention the referral supervets. Yes we had been referred to one too. They did all the tests on Mo and came to the FIP conclusion (which we knew anyway tbh) and they were going to put him to sleep. We went away and as mentioned, treated Mo ourselves. After the success we went back and they had heard of Mutian, but didn’t mention it. Clearly because the treatment was not licensed, but they could have mentioned something like the vet 300 miles away. They obviously weren’t that interested or just didn’t want to get involved, which brings me to my point about general vets advice. Some great ones out there and there’s the average ones. I’ve had pets constantly since the age of 10, so I’m not basing my opinion on the recent Mo experience.

BTW when they heard we had used the Mutian, they were all over us asking about him and were fascinated in his progress. I should say they were interested in the treatment’s progress and not Mo’s.

Here’s Mo just now enjoying the weedy path.


Just a suggestion, but what if you took both cats to the vet together for a check up? Both in the same room, one at a time out of a cage, so they sense each other presence and see what is being done. They both will have the same smell, and same experience. Just a thought.



For those of us who dote on our cats, talk to them if they come into the room or are already in a room you go into, it’s easy to regard giving them the best medical care possible and sustaining their life for as long as you can in the same way we would with a human member of the family as a no brainier.

But the fact is that it isn’t the same. A cat that is old, ill and in pain might be kept going for a few more painful months by heroic interventions by supervets, but I believe that is more in the interests of the owner than the cat. Letting such a cat go before putting it through multiple medical procedures that might or might not work is probably going to be kinder to the cat.

I know of what I speak. A few years ago we spent £5K of the insurance company’s money over two days trying to save a cherished 4 year old cat from a mystery pneumonia that came out of the blue. He spent that time in a specialist referral hospital and we could not visit him. At the end of the two days, he was worse in every respect and they said that he had to be euthanised now and it couldn’t wait for the 40 mins it would take us to drive there. I am clear in my own mind that we should have let him go at least 24 hours earlier and not let them worsen his last hours by more extreme and as it proved, futile, efforts to save him.

But going to the OPs original post, I am reminded that recently we had our two kittens neutered. One was done a month before the other and our vet did warn us that when the second cat got home smelling of “hospital”, the first cat to be neutered would hate the smell reminding him of his unpleasant experience and be horrid to her. He said it would pass in a couple of days. He was right in both respects and quickly they were the best of friends again. I guess it takes longer for adult cats. But I agree with other posters that the calming effect of familiar routine and making a fuss of both as usual is a good place to start.


An excellent suggestion, Baldrick, but with just one flaw………we have mostly had more than two cats…… :scream_cat:

But seriously though, we have done it and it does help, and we even get a modest “discount for quantity” at our vets :smiley_cat: :smiley_cat:

Really sorry to hear that. The ethics are difficult - if there is some hope to prolong life knowing there is no cure it may be worth treating, however what kind of ‘treatment’ are the vets offering? Do they know the cause of the renal failure? There will be a myriad of potential causes but the majority are unlikely to be curable. Is R passing urine, or perhaps has been passing more than normal?

You may need to think hard about whether or not to euthanise if R is very unwell and actually suffering, though if R is not suffering and just crotchety you might prefer to have R at home and let things happen naturally which they will with untreated significant renal failure, though a sudden terminal event could be upsetting to witness.

I’d enquire if the treatment is likely to allow R to come home with a short but better quality of life, and also how often ‘treatment’ would be needed - just being in ‘cat hospital’ could be a stressor for R.

Also think about yourselves and how you’d like R to pass away and the memories that will inevitably come from this event which sounds as though it may not be too far away.

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Top differentials are:

  1. Renal failure as a consequence of infection
  2. Chronic renal disease
  3. Renal cancer

We’re treating the infection and providing supportive care. She is producing so that’s good. Elevated P, Ca, creatine, an urea nitrogen but has come down a bit. Unfortunately she won’t eat. Treatment is around $1k/day which is distressing because I believe it’s immoral.

Discussed R. Condition with the vet this morning. Running tests to find an actual diagnosis so I can make an informed decision. Regardless… euthanasia is not something I would consider. If she’s not making appropriate progress, we’ll bring her home Saturday afternoon and make her as comfortable as possible for her final days.

The tragedy is I believe R. really misse C. and C. believes R. hates her. It must be so confusing to both of them. Wish I could reunite them while R is still alive but the damage to C is just too extreme. So sad. They were such good friends.


You don’t give up until there’s no hope. If we had given up on Zebedee, he would not have been around for the last two years! And certainly not looking as good as this:

You wanna argue with this kitty? His “mum” has just had to shut him out of her bedroom as he was being a right PITA, demanding attention!

edit: and having failed in his attempts to bother his “mum” (due to closed door), he has turned his attention to me!

for Hifi buffs, Linn remote Kontrol on the table :slight_smile:


Mo is certainly looking good!

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The primary problem is determining when there is no hope. She’s in a cat ICU @ $1k/night. Feels like that’s a subtle way for the vets to let you know without having to tell you. Our vet is looking for significant improvement over next 48 hours to support the theory her condition is survivable.

So sorry, it is truly sad. We are attached to ours as you are to yours I am assure, and pains me to think about our own furry family in your situation, I know how you must feel. I hope for a quick turn around and a get well wish for the kitty.

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