Why are my cats fighting after their baths?

Our question this week was:

We have 2 cats, brother and sister. They have lived together since birth in same house and have been quite close, grooming, playing, no fights, etc. Over the weekend we bathed them. Now the male cat seems to not know the female, hisses, and runs from her. The female tries to be friendly, but reciprocates the hissing from the male. I’m guessing he doesn’t recognize her scent now? That she is strange cat? Do you think this is permanent, or will he begin to recognize her eventually?

Troy H.


Hi – thanks for your email Troy. You wrote that you have two sibling cats that always got along but now are running and hissing after their baths. You may be right that their scents may be different causing disruption. They also can be quite agitated after a bath and “hate the world”.

I think they will be okay given time. I’d recommend that try to engage them in play – allow them to relieve any pent-up frustration on toys and exercise. You can also use some pheromone sprays that can help cause “calmness” in some cats.

Another thing you could try is to dry or wipe the male cat with a towel, then use that towel to pet or wipe the female, then gently wipe him with it again (just to distribute their scents to each other).

A couple articles that might be helpful to you are Pheromone Sprays and Non – Recognition Aggression in Cats

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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