My cat went psychotic. Update Jan 24th - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My cat went psychotic. Update Jan 24th

I was hanging out in the bedroom that me and my GF have made a storage room/cat room and we were rearranging our movies and the window was open and the cat was up there on the window sill and we were below working on the movies. I had just pet her and played with her a bit and she was perfectly fine, then she all of a sudden jumped off the window sill and was snarling, hissing and freaking out. She ran for the door and ran into my GF. She latched on to my GF's leg and clawed it deeply while snarling and howling. I jumped up and grabbed the cat off her and tried to pin it so I could pick it up and put it in a crate and she clawed up my arm (not as bad as my GF's leg) got loose and then she jumped up and ran for the door again scratching my GF's other leg in the process and running through several large stacks of movies.

I followed her to the living room cuz she was freaking out and hissing and howling and she went under a chair and hissed at me and attacked me. I grabbed a clothes basket and chased after her so I could catch her and let her calm down a bit without her hurting anyone again. Every time she saw me she tried to attack me. She hid under the TV stand and i went to get my heavy leather wielding gloves. She was out when I came back and then she ran under the TV stand and was sitting there howling snarling and throwing a huge fit even though she could not see me and I was not near the stand. My GF was afraid and hiding in the bathroom and I ended up prodding her out from under there into the basket and put books on top and a blanket to calm her down.

After a while she was calm and making her crying let me out noise and i went over to her and she was nice as can be rubbing the basket and wanting attention like normal. My GF said she does not want her out of the basket as she's afraid of the cat now. I left her there for a bit while we finished the movies and then I planned on putting her in her room. I grabbed the gloves and a leather jacket just in case and lifted the basket and put a hand on her and she freaked again and tried to claw me and snarled and howled at me. I threw the basket over her again and pushed it and her into the room and she snarled and lashed out each time the basket touched her.

She is in there now and I have NO CLUE what to do with her. Just this morning she was sitting on me and cuddling while watching TV like she normally does. At first I would think rabies but she hasn't been outside in 3 years except a couple 5 min runs down the walk way of our apartment area and then right back in. Also we live on the 3rd floor so I doubt she was scared by anything near the window.

Something like this happened in the winter of 2008 when she saw a cat outside. But she didn't hurt anyone or even try to run like she did before. She sat there snarling and howling and scared us. We put a basket over her and books and she calmed down within a few hours and was fine afterwards.

I don't know what is wrong with her. I also don't know what to do with her. Even getting her to the vet for ANYTHING would be impossible. I am afraid she is going to hurt us (again). Note I know conventional reasoning said she needs to be PTS but I love her A LOT and I really don't want to do that unless there is nothing else I can do.
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat went psychotic, I don't know what's wrong w her.

Short answer - something scared or threatened her, possibly another cat outside. What you experienced was misdirected aggression. The best thing to do when a cat is upset like this is allow her time to be by herself until she calms down, DO NOT chase her and try to hold onto her, it will misfire in the way you described. Holding and calming might work for a frightened dog, but does not work for cats.

She is behaving normally now because the episode is over, you certainly don't need to put her to sleep(!) for being scared by something. Do some searching on this forum for 'misdirected aggression' and you will see that your kitty had a totally normal 'cat moment'.

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat went psychotic, I don't know what's wrong w her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KainRacure
Something like this happened in the winter of 2008 when she saw a cat outside.
Note I know conventional reasoning said she needs to be PTS...
Welcome to CatForum and I hope we can help you with your kitty.
You don't know it, but you've answered your question about what is wrong with your kitty and I don't think the problem is severe enough to warrant having her PTS. What she experienced in 2008 by seeing the cat outside, and what you just recently experienced, is feline redirected aggression. This is a response the cat has to a sight, sound or smell that triggers this behavior. They are acting instinctually and really cannot help it, other than trying to eliminate the triggers so it doesn't happen. You can use some products like a pheromone 'calming odor' in the form of a Feliway plug-in, it looks/works like an air-freshener but the odor/pheromone tells the cat "all-is-cool, be-mellow". You can also use other natural things, like Composure Liquid or Rescue Remedy to help keep her calm.

You could take her to a vet for an exam, but short of extreme ailments like seizures and/or brain tumors, I think the problem is going to be redirected aggression.
The cat sees, hears, smells something that activates its' instinct for survival (fight/flight), but if she cannot reach the source of this trigger, she "redirects" it onto those around her; other pets and her people. The best way to handle a cat in the throes of a redirected aggression incident is to handle it as little as possible and/or try to get it into a small room to hang out and calm down by itself.

Maybe someone else will be able to give you better advice. I've only experienced it once or twice, but neither episode was as bad as what you described. I *was* attacked by a new cat when he smelled the outdoor tomcat on my hands. He yowled and leapt at me, I turned my face and upper body and he just scratched my shoulder badly. He did that because I smelled like a rival tomcat.
Best of luck,
Heidi =^..^=

http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/aggression3.html
http://www.littlebigcat.com/?action=library Redirected Aggression article from LBC: http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... acasestudy
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat went psychotic, I don't know what's wrong w her.

Well the reason I said something bout being PTS is cuz 3 ppl have said she should be. Note that I DON'T WANT TO. which is why I am asking around for other answers.

Thank you guys for the misdirected aggression thing, it sounds about right and I will look for those products.
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat went psychotic, I don't know what's wrong w her.

Are the three people who have suggested PTS persons who are saying that out of having a frightened knee-jerk reaction after having been told the story? All they are hearing is "psycho kitty attacked" for apparantly no reason and thinking she is dangerous. They need to hear: "kitty was frightened by something and her instinct demanded a response, and the only response she could give affected those closest to her".
It is sort of like when people see something that they find scary; a spider, mouse or a snake. The people who have a strong fear-reaction, will *always* have a strong fear-reaction that they will be unable to control. They will jump, maybe scream and cringe or run away. Every time. They cannot *not* BE frightened. That is what happened to your kitty: She could not *not* react.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat went psychotic, I don't know what's wrong w her.

I agree with the misdirected aggression assessment. I've never had a cat turn on me, but I have had them turn on each other. Sometimes a cat will react strongly to another cat coming into what it considers it's territory. Many cats think that what they see out the window is theirs. It may not react to one cat, but may react to another. For example, a neutered male may not elicit a response but an intact male does.

The best thing for you to do when your cat responds to this is get out of the way and not try to handle her. Unfortunately your girlfriend couldn't get out of the way and I sympathize with that. And your response inadvertently compounded the situation...not blaming you, you didn't know or understand, I just wanted to educate you in case something like this happens again.

In the meantime, isolating her in a quiet dim room (shades drawn, nightlight on) is the best way to calm her down. The feliway does help. Going forward, is there some way to keep stray or neighborhood cats out of your yard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KainRacure
Well the reason I said something bout being PTS is cuz 3 ppl have said she should be.
I suspect these are people who really don't understand cats and are having a knee jerk reaction. Cats don't think or react like people or dogs. Self preservation is their only agenda and anything getting in the way of that, including their humans, is fair game. You might want to read the book "Think Like a Cat" by Pam Johnson Bennett, it will help you see things from a cat's perspective.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat went psychotic, I don't know what's wrong w her.

Well an update. Cat is somewhat calmed down but sadly she is now SERIOUSLY aggressive towards my GF. I opened the door to just feed her and the cat saw her and started hissing and getting mad. She go mad at me as well after she left.

Also later I tried going in there again alone just to feed her and she was rubbing on my leg and meowing a lot and i reached down with a gloved hand to pet her and she rubs on me then attacked my hand then rubbed and attacked. She didn't give any signs of annoyance such as twitching tail or ears back she just straight up attacked then went back to being happy.

I am not sure what is going to happen if she is aggressive towards my GF. Oh note my GF lives with me so it isn't a once in a while thing. Oh and I will not be putting her to sleep so no worries bout that.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat went psychotic, I don't know what's wrong w her.

Sounds like she thinks when she crashed with your girlfriend that your GF attacked her. This throwing a basket over her is no good, that will make her more aggressive, shes not a canary who thinks its night and will happily start snoring.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat went psychotic, I don't know what's wrong w her.

My cat had a couple episodes like that. Both happenned when a neighbors' (I think? as he had a collar) outdoor cat was staring at her from outside the window. She got all huge and puffy, hissed and growled, and bolted out of the room. I frankly wanted no part of her at that time, so I just shooed away the intruder cat and left my cat alone to let her chill out. She was completely fine in a matter of maybe 30 minutes. I really think that you confronting the cat and then confining her in a basket aggravated her situation. Also the unfortunate encounter with your girlfriend made it even worse. She probably has bad memories associated with the objects (basket, girlfriend, your gloves, etc.) from that scary time, so she still reacts aggressively to them. I have no idea how you can make her forget what happenned. I agree that some Feliway should help mellow her out. Also, maybe you should give her a little more space during this time so she can forget and re-adjust. I think it will just take time, but she should return to normal eventually. Just be patient with her (difficult.. I understand).
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: My cat went psychotic, I don't know what's wrong w her.

Have your girlfriend do all the feeding, too - that will definitely help. Cats are suckers for the food dish.

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