Wh is my cat acting weird today?
June 29, 2011 6:33 PM   Subscribe

My cat is acting strange all of a sudden. Looking for suggestions...

I have had these two cats - Pickle and Tabasco - for about two years now, give or take. Prior to today, they have always gotten along great. They cuddle and play. There's some fighting but always playful. 

This morning, when i came down for breakfast, Tabasco greeted me as usual as he knows it's feeding time, but Pickle wasn't around. I went into the basement to call for him and I heard him meowing from inside the garage. He's been in the garage before, but we don't leave it open for them. So he must have run in last night without me knowing and spent the night in there. After I let him out, he was super cuddly to me. Mores than usual. But when he came upstairs, Tabasco was hissing at him and smacking him. I've never seen him act like that before.

We were gone all day, but when we got home Tabasco was hiding under the couch and didn't come out when I called him for a "snack". He normally comes running, but tonight just stayed under the couch. When I approached him with a cat treat, he took it and didn't hiss at me.

Anyway, not too sure what's going on. Is he just in a pissy mood? Any thoughts or suggestions?
posted by bDiddy to Pets & Animals (21 answers total)
Best answer: Pickle showing up and smelling weird might just have freaked Tabasco out. See if things mellow out tomorrow.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:36 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pickle probably smells like Strange Garage and it's freaking Tobasco out. I think until it wears off, Tobasco might view him as another cat and not his old friend. Because he doesn't smell like his friend. Don't worry though, the smell will wear off soon and it will (probably) go back to normal. I used to get this after vet visits too.
posted by Jubey at 6:39 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


A - Something Between Cats Imperceptible to Humans: How old are the cats? Have they lived together their entire lives? Did oneenter the household before the other?

B - Something With Pickle Imperceptible to Humans Originating Outside; Are you in an area where there are many woodland critters (or parasitic suburban critters) in close proximity?

C - Something With Tabasco: Is it possible some other creature snuck inside that scared Tabasco? Has Tabasco ever lived outside? Has Tabasco any history of hissing or missing meals under other circumstances? Can you detain him and see if he has any visual wounds?
posted by keasby at 6:40 PM on June 29, 2011

Best answer: Agreed most likely with rmd and Jubey, the weird smell is probably it. Just trying to cover a lot of alternate scenarios. If Tabasco has never lived outside, the strange smells could be extra frightening. Maybe Pickle got in a small skirmish with something evil smelling.
posted by keasby at 6:41 PM on June 29, 2011

Best answer: I've had this happen before, with a cat who came back from the vet, but it wore off after a day or so. You could try mixing their scents (pet one, then the other) so that the first cat thinks "Hey, I smell like that too!" and stops being so mad.
posted by Gortuk at 6:42 PM on June 29, 2011

Response by poster: I kind of thought it might be the new smell thing freaking out Tabasco so I'll see how he is in a few days.

But to be thorough: keasby, a. Pickle came into the house about 9 months before Tabasco. We adopted Pickle and Guiness at the same time, but had to put Guiness to sleep aftter abut 8 months because of FIP (still get sad about that). A few weeks after that we adopted Tabasco. They've been living together for a few years now. Prior to our adopting him, Tabasco had lived in another house (sad story number 2 - Tabasco was returned to the shelter by the peoplewho had adopted I'm and his brother after their dogs killed the brother.) b. We probably have a number of woodland critters. Mice, chipmunks, and groundhogs all live nearby. Mice frequently show up in the garage. C. Neither cat has ever lived outside. Tabasco has no visible wounds that I can see.

So let's see how Tabasco is tomorrow when it's the morning and he's hungry again. Probably he'll forgive Pickle long enough to eat next to him like usual.

Thanks for all the advice. It helped a lot.
posted by bDiddy at 7:09 PM on June 29, 2011

The vet has told me that our cat Lucy acts strange because the other cat, Clarice, smells differently (at the vet, after they hold her, etc.).

And, MeFi? Seriously, I don't know how to post pictures of my cats from a Picasa album without also linking to all my gross photos of my fitness progression. Any ideas? I will send two very cute cat photos!
posted by mrfuga0 at 7:14 PM on June 29, 2011

What you describe sounds exactly like how one of my parents' cats, Harpo, reacts when his brother Chico has been at the vet. OMG! Strange cat! Help! Cue hissing, hiding under the bed, etc. The rest of the time, they're super-lovey dovey. Cats usually recognize each other by scent, not by sight, so fur permeated w/unfamiliar smells causes cognitive dissonance.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:22 PM on June 29, 2011

Nthing everybody above. This is exactly how my cats react after going to the vet. It gets so bad I've contemplated taking all 3 to the vet whenever one goes, just so everyone smells the same. And it sometimes takes up to a week for my crew to get all lovey-dovey again (my cats absolutely adore each other otherwise), so don't be discouraged if things are still awkward tomorrow.
posted by cgg at 7:43 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've needed to visit the vet several times in the last few weeks to pick up various
supplies for my older of two cats. All I need to do is set foot in the clinic long enough to purchase the items....and pick up wierd smells, apparently...and when I return, the younger cat seems to think I'm the Antichrist for an hour or so. WAY worse if I actually have to take the older cat in. Then we BOTH get hissed at for awhile.

It's the wierdest damn thing. What seems to help (besides ignoring Little Miss Hissy Fit)
is opening the window and front door so fresh air can blow through the screens and
air out the place...also the birdies chirping outside are a nice distraction and she gets over it more quickly. ;)

I believe the default metafilter answer for issues of this type is: CATS ARE WIERD! :)

I hope this sorts itself out and that everything is OK with your kitties...
posted by dorgla at 8:08 PM on June 29, 2011


Don't be a crazy cat person and freak out when they are.
posted by TheBones at 9:28 PM on June 29, 2011

I believe the default metafilter answer for issues of this type is: CATS ARE WIERD! :)

Yes, that's default for both cats and Facebook, inexplicable and weird parts of life.
posted by sweetkid at 9:41 PM on June 29, 2011

Here's betting it's just cats with small brains using their noses instead of their eyes. Post in a day or two and let us know.

Also, obligatory cat pictures? How can you expect good advice if we can't identify the kittehs in question?
posted by BlueHorse at 9:50 PM on June 29, 2011

Response by poster: Good point, BlueHorse! Here's the best pic I could find right now.
Cuddly Cats
Tabasco is the white cat and Pickle is the gray.

Cats are weird!
posted by bDiddy at 2:16 AM on June 30, 2011

Teenage veterinarian-in-training daughter says to get some of that cat de-allergizer Allerpet, rub Tabasco with it in a towel, then rub said towel over Pickle (who probably had a run-in/playtime with a critter in the garage).

She also sez Pickle looks like trouble.

If that doesn't fix it, she said you may want to take Pickle in for a checkup since cats can smell when another cat is sick.
posted by kinetic at 3:29 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can I just say, Tabasco is an awesome name for a cat. And Tabasco looks adorable! (So does Pickle).
posted by LN at 6:23 AM on June 30, 2011

This is exactly how my cats react after going to the vet. It gets so bad I've contemplated taking all 3 to the vet whenever one goes, just so everyone smells the same.

Hey cgg, in my experience, you shouldn't bother! We have three too, and when they go all together or in various combinations, they still get weird at each other and don't recognize that they smell the same themselves!
posted by crabintheocean at 9:51 AM on June 30, 2011

cats'z be crazy, yo

posted by cupcake1337 at 6:06 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: cupcake1337: they do indeed be crazy.

Like a guy with a death wish, I may have to resort to giving them a bath tonight to get them back to normal. If I don't write back, inform my family.
posted by bDiddy at 9:00 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


or, you know, Hey! how's life with cats?
posted by rmd1023 at 1:17 PM on July 8, 2011

Response by poster: So it's been two weeks and the cats are getting along fine again. The bath didn't help at all, though it did make them cleaner, which was nice.

Thank you for all your help and advice!
posted by bDiddy at 4:02 AM on July 16, 2011

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