Warning to all multiple pet families!

Ok, I may be stating the obvious to most pet owners but it wasn't obvious to me so there must be others out there like me who are clueless. Scroll down to the bold if you aren't interested in details.

I took my two male cats to be neutered recently. They are best buddies who have grown up together. They spend all day, every day grooming each other, playing together and sleeping on top of each other. They have never once shown any signs of aggression toward each other or to me. In fact, I would say that they are the most gentle, loving cats I have ever met. I took them to the vet in the same carrier (as I always do). The surgery went well and they were ready to go home very quickly. When I left they were both awake and able to walk a bit but were pretty groggy still. They both wandered into the carrier together without a problem.

I live in the countryside about 45 minutes outside Gwangju so I have to a take a bus home. Everything was fine until we arrived in my town. Then total chaos began! They started to VIOLENTLY fight with each other inside the crate. Not just a little hissing, not just a swat here or there but very serious fighting. I couldn't let them out because I was outside on the street. I'll spare you the details and tell you that I feel extremely thankful that I got them home in one piece (minus some chunks of hair and flesh).

I HAD NO IDEA THAT WHEN CATS WAKE UP FROM ANAESTHETIC THEY CAN BECOME EXTREMELY AGGRESSIVE WITH OTHER ANIMALS AND CAREGIVERS AND SHOULD NEVER BE IN THE SAME CARRIER AS ANOTHER ANIMAL. A LOT OF CARE SHOULD ALSO BE TAKEN BEFORE ANYONE PICKS THEM UP. I sincerely thought that they would be less scared and more reassured being together since they are so close. Not only were they aggressive with each other but they were very aggressive with me as well. I have serious cuts on my face, arms and hands. They were absolutely terrified of me if I came anywhere near them.

I've had multiple animals (including multiple cats) over the years and I've never experienced this before. I really had no clue how violent they could become especially because of how gentle they normally are. People may be reading this thinking "how could she be so stupid?" but if I am stupid, there must be other stupid people like me. Hopefully they read this and learn from it!! :)

Tags: warning, surgery, spay/neuter, aggression


trevinaj's picture

Wow! I am so sorry to hear about your situation. It seems like the vet would have given you some advice, but maybe he or she did know the cats were being transported in the same carrier. I hope they are back to themselves soon. It sounds like a dangerous situation for your whole family.

marlajoy's picture

My vet knew there were in the same carrier but I think he probably assumed, as I did, that they would be ok. Every time we go to the vet he always comments how kind and gentle they are. We don't even have to hold them down when they get their IV. That's why their reaction was such a shock. But, within a couple hours of getting back home they were mostly themselves again and within 24 hours they were 100% back to being soft, gentle and absolutely lovely with me and each other.

clare_bell's picture

That's awful Marla! Thanks for posting because I certainly had never thought of that happening. Hope the boys and you have recovered from the trauma now!

megs's picture

Ah! That's terrible! Thank you, though, for the warning. I would have had no idea, and I would have definitely done the same.

sthill's picture

Wow! thats the complete opposite for my cat. I have multiple cats in my house and when my long haired cat gets a hair cut they always have to put him under. When he awakes he is so calm and the other cats don't seem to recognize him so they actually try to attack him so he always hides in my room TT. I hope your babies are okay now! And thank you for sharing just in case I won't have my cats in the same crate!

kmwg19's picture

Hey Marlajoy, this blog entry on Cat Behavior Associates came up on my feed and I thought of this story - I hope you can find it insightful and helpful! Aggression Between Cats After a Vet Visit

marlajoy's picture

Thanks! It's a good article. What's interesting though is that it mentions taking your cats to the vet at the same time so they both have the same smells and this will minimize problems. My cats both went to the vet at the same time, had the same surgery and obviously both smelled the same - but that certainly didn't prevent what arose. I'm sure smell played a role but I think confusion after waking up from anaesthetic also played a role as did the physical pain they were both feeling. Thanks!

kmwg19's picture

Ah yes, very true. I was just surprised it's a common thing! I guess it would have been that situation as you said.... maybe separate carriers are also important.