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How to re-introduce a cat who’s been away

18 April, 2007

As you all know, Ananda was away on her Club 18-30 holiday with the Stud.  She was only gone for five days, but I was worried about how to re-introduce her back into the household.  Not only would she have been away for several days, but she would come back reeking of a strange cat.  I was concerned how my other two cats (especially Maya the Asbo Bengal) would react.

I used the same trick I had last year when Ananda was away for a week at stud.  When we got her home I opened her basket alone in a room without the other two cats.  Then I rubbed her over with mine and hubby’s used socks so that our scent got spread over her.  Then I let the other two cats into the room.

It worked.  The other two cats did sniff her bum rather a lot, but they seemed to recognise her and didn’t give her a hard time. 

I don’t know if this trick would have worked had she been away for a longer period of time.  I suspect that her scent markers were still prevalent in the house and so she didn’t come across as a stranger.  And maybe I’ve got fairly tolerant cats.  I know of other breeders who’ve re-introduced queens who’ve been away only to have the existing cats gang up on the returnee.

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Update:  Actually, it was Maya the Bengal, who was the most unsettled of the three cats.  The day we sent Ananda to stud, Maya started meowing for prolonged periods of time for no apparent reason, and she’s been having crying spates since then.  Yesterday I caught her scraping a bag full of newspaper, and when I went to investigate there was cat pee all over the bag.  I don’t know if it was her or Ananda.  Either way, it’s what’s termed by cat behaviourists as “inappropriate elimination” and a sign of either stress or a urinary infection.  I will have to watch them both carefully.  This is worrying because I always thought Maya was the more robust of the two female cats, but it may be that she found Ananda’s absence unsettling.

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