Putting Vanilla on cats: End Non recognition aggression between cats

Putting vanilla on cats is one of the tricks that lots of cat parents have had to learn the hard way. If you’re here, you already understand what trick I’m talking about, but in the case where you’re not aware, I’ll tell you. There are different ways to use this trick.

One way is to place a dab of vanilla extract on or under the chin of your cat, and the base of his tail, you can place a little dab on both shoulders as well. This is done mainly to get all the cats in the house to smell the same.

Another way to use the vanilla trick on cats is to the Vanilla perfume spray, There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t rely on this method, but if you’re going to make use of a vanilla perfumed spray, you should make sure not to spray directly on your cat.

What you can do is spray a small amount onto the air, then wave your hands into the air and rub on your cats. This is to diffuse or deconcentrate the level of alcohol that will get on your cat’s fur.

Uhm, I’ve heard this trick before, but I’ve never understood why we have to put vanilla extract on cats. Most of the time, we do this because of what is known as feline non-recognition aggression. Let’s find out what this is.

Feline non-recognition aggression

Put simply, non-recognition aggression is “the feeling of aggression that one cat may have toward another cat after a period of separation.” When a cat is taken out of its home, separated from her cat siblings, and then brought back, sometimes, if not all the time, her siblings may fail to remember her, and this is because she’s carrying an unfamiliar scent.

Times when you may experience this, include when you just got back from the vet, or when you bring a new kitten into the home filled with your older cats.  Okay, let me give you a perfect example to aid your understanding.

So Fiji is my younger cat, and Saka is older, and they get along so well now, but you should have seen them on the first day Fiji was brought into my home, the aggression and tension between them were out of this world, and that was the first time I heard about putting vanilla on cats. Regardless of how well they started doing together, at every given point in time, if Saka is taken to the vet and back, we experience the same aggression and vice versa.

While searching for the reason behind this aggression and anger between them, I stumbled upon the term Feline non-recognition aggression, that is to say, the aggression that cats have when they don’t recognize each other.

Another question that lived rent-free in my head was how and why cats behave in such a manner towards each other if they all look the same. I mean, how can you not recognize each other, Don’t you all look the same? and then I discovered that their looks aren’t the only yardstick they use for recognition.

Though smaller studies have suggested that a cat can recognize its owner by their voice, it is worthy of note that the most important way cats understand what is happening around them, or the way they recognize anything, is through their sense of smell.

When it comes to territory, identification, or recognition, cats are very smell-oriented, and the moment any smell changes around the house, these smart pets will notice before their humans. So ask yourself: When an unwanted stranger or visitor comes into your home, as a human who can control most of their feelings, how do I feel? Hmm, that’s exactly how your cat feels towards someone (in this case, other cats) that she doesn’t recognize.

The next question is: how long does non-recognition aggression last in cats?

Whenever your cats begin to experience non-recognition aggression, it’s only normal for you to want it to end as soon as possible because, depending on how long it takes for your cats to fall in love with each other again, the next one to two weeks could become one of the most agonizing periods in human life, and if you’re one to value peace and rest of mind, you would do whatever it takes to fix non-recognition in cats.

Unfortunately, cats don’t get over this aggression easily, Depending on the kind of cats you have at home, this aggression can last between a few days and several weeks. Do you remember my neighbor who told me about vanilla extracts for cats? She had to deal with her aggressive cats for 3 whole painful weeks before she found a solution because even separation didn’t do much to solve the problem.

So basically, how do you fix non-recognition aggression in cats? As we pointed out earlier if you’ve had to deal with cat aggression, you would understand how much you may feel the need to fix the problem, but if you don’t know how to fix non-aggression in cats, we can help you. Although there is no quick fix for non-recognition aggression in cats, there are a few things you could do to manage it and reduce the agonizing wait. These steps include:

  1. Separation is key when you’re introducing a new cat into the home, this should be done for as long as necessary
  2. Gradually introduce them through a pet-safe zone or pet gate.
  3. swap scents by taking a towel and rubbing it on the aggressor, and then do the same on the other cat. This is to get them to smell alike.
  4. Another way to get them to smell alike is by using vanilla extracts on them, a small quantity will do. Just apply some on a towel, and dab that towel on their chin, tail, and shoulders, this makes them smell alike and enticing to each other, and this mostly gets the job done.

Is vanilla extract safe for cats?

Here is the biggest question that every cat parent who’s thinking about trying vanilla extract on their cat should not forget to ask themselves. However, the fact that you didn’t have the patience and are only asking it right after the deed has been done doesn’t necessarily make you a bad parent, I understand you, and not to worry, your furry guy is going to live till and after your next birthday!

So to answer the question, Is putting vanilla extract safe for cats? The correct answer to this is that “it depends”. Usually, vanilla itself has no toxic or harmful effect on cats, but when we talk about vanilla extracts, it is a composition of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic substances (alcohol and water).

Consuming alcohol can make your furry guy start to act funny, his behavior may change, and he may even lose consciousness depending on how much alcohol he has consumed. The alcoholic content in vanilla extracts is the main culprit, because they may (in fact they will) try to lick some of the other and even a small amount of alcohol in your cat’s system can be somewhat toxic to them.

By toxic, we mean that it could lead to metabolic, and respiratory issues for your cat, but if you use it correctly, not spraying directly on their skin, or giving them a large amount to inhale, your cat will be very safe.

Putting vanilla on cats: Summing Up

If you must try putting vanilla on cats to reduce non-recognition aggression or for any reason at all, then you just have to be creative with it. One way to keep your cats away from high levels of toxicity in alcohol which is present in vanilla extract is to dilute the vanilla extracts in water before applying it to specific parts of their body or even spraying it in the air, You can also opt for the alcohol-free vanilla that has not been processed with any additives or preservatives, this is perfect for them. Good luck!

Josh Krul

Hi, I am Josh, an avid dog lover who has spent 15 years with my lovely buddies. Lingonpets is a platform to share my experiences.

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