Why is My Cat Hissing at My Other Cat After Surgery?

Why is My Cat Hissing at My Other Cat After Surgery?

After surgery, cats may hiss at each other due to territorial disputes or changes in scent, which can cause temporary aggression and stress. Introductions are important when it comes to introducing a new cat to your home or integrating a recently surgically treated cat with other existing cats.

While it may seem strange that your cat is hissing at another cat after surgery, it is actually quite common. This behavior occurs due to territorial disputes and changes in scent between the cats, leading to temporary aggression and stress.

Understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help you create a peaceful and harmonious environment for all your feline companions. We will discuss why your cat may be hissing at your other cat after surgery and provide some tips on how to help them readjust and get along.

Why is My Cat Hissing at My Other Cat After Surgery?

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Stress And Anxiety Levels

Stress and anxiety levels can play a significant role in why a cat may start hissing at another cat after surgery. Cats are sensitive animals and any disruption to their routine, such as surgery, can cause them to become stressed. One common reason for this behavior is a fear of unfamiliar scent. When one cat returns from surgery, they may have a different scent due to medications or being in a veterinary clinic. The other cat may perceive this as a threat and react with hissing.

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Psychological distress can also contribute to aggression between cats after surgery. Cats may experience discomfort or pain during the recovery process, leading to increased stress levels. This can cause them to be on edge and more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior, such as hissing.

Changes in territorial dynamics can occur after surgery, which can trigger hissing. Cats rely heavily on scent marking to establish their territories and feel secure. When one cat’s scent is altered due to surgery, it may disrupt the established hierarchy and cause tension between the cats.

Disruption Of Social Hierarchy

After surgery, it is common for a cat to hiss or display aggressive behavior towards another cat. This can be attributed to the disruption of the social hierarchy within the group. Cats have a natural instinct to establish and maintain a pecking order, with dominant cats occupying the top positions. When one cat undergoes surgery and returns with a changed scent or behavior, it can create confusion and insecurity among the other cats. The dominant cat may perceive this change as a threat to its status and react aggressively.

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To re-establish the pecking order, the cats will need time to readjust and recognize any changes within the group dynamics. This process often involves sniffing, posturing, and vocalizations, which may include hissing. It is essential to provide a calm and safe environment for the cats to navigate this transition. Gradually reintroducing them to each other and providing positive reinforcement when they display peaceful behavior can help to minimize aggression and facilitate a smoother reintegration process.

Pain And Discomfort

After surgery, it is common for cats to experience pain and discomfort, which can result in changes in behavior, including hissing at other cats. The surgical procedure itself may cause sensitivity and pain, causing your cat to be on edge or defensive. Postoperative sensitivity can make your cat more irritable and less tolerant of other cats, leading to aggressive behavior.

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This aggression is often a response to physical discomfort. Your cat may be in pain and perceive the presence of the other cat as a potential threat, triggering a defensive reaction. It’s important to monitor their interactions closely and ensure that both cats have separate spaces to recover and feel safe.


It is not uncommon for cats to hiss at each other after one has undergone surgery. The hissing behavior can be attributed to a disruption in the social hierarchy and the lingering smell of anesthesia. However, with patience and gradual reintroductions, your cats will likely resolve their issues and return to their normal relationship.

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