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Old 12-06-2010, 10:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question My cat is all of a sudden hissing and growling at me!

Hi all,

As you will have gathered from the topic title, my cat has mysteriously begun growling and hissing at me for no apparent reason (at least no reason that I can fathom!)

A bit of history: she is approximately 20 months old, mixed breed tabby, we adopted her as a rescue kitten at 6 weeks old. She is a generally warm and friendly cat, but is not afraid to tell you when she's had enough! She eats and drinks well, we have her on Science Diet (both dry food "Hairball Control" and wet food "Indoor") and she seems to love it. She's a 100% indoor cat, is up-to-date with all vaccinations etc. and was spayed at 5 weeks. The only time we have experienced hissing and growling was with one particular visitor to the house whom she just simply didn't like! She has never hissed at us before and I'm a little worried.

Yesterday, she had vomited up her breakfast as well as some bright red blood. She did the same with her lunch (a few hours after eating this time) and again with dinner, after which we took her to see the vet, who recommended taking her home, monitoring her overnight and bringing her in for x-rays in the morning if the problem didn't solve itself. It should be mentioned that a few months ago she somehow managed to swallow an entire shoelace and was clogged up for days. X-ray didn't even see it, it was only after the vet gave her an enema that she managed to pass it out and was all well again. Suffice it to say, this cat has a habit of swallowing things that she shouldn't.

Anyway, the vomiting stopped completely, she was eating and drinking normally (as she had been this entire time, her behaviour has not seemed out of the ordinary at all until now), and the only thing she hadn't done was create stool, so we canceled the vet visit to give her a day to calm down and relax and hopefully pass something. (She gets very stressed on the way to the vet, and with the very warm weather here at the moment she was panting all the way in the car.) Trying to help, I fed her some oil from a tin of atlantic salmon and this did seem to help unclog things, as after I returned from a brief walk she had done her business. I knelt down to congratulate her, and she came up to me and rubbed herself on my hands as usual, then as I turned away she started hissing and growling at me!

Currently I cannot go within 3 metres of her without her folding her ears down, hissing and wailing loudly at me. To me, this sort of behaviour indicates fear, or pain. I'm guessing it's the latter, and that there is probably still some fecal matter that is not moving. She is booked in for a vet visit this afternoon but I'd love to hear if anybody has any suggestions or other possible explanations? Sudden mood and behaviour changes can sometimes indicate serious underlying conditions, and I do hope that isn't the case here.

Many thanks in advance,
P

EDIT: I should also mention that yesterday at the vet they gave her an antibiotic via syringe into her neck and gave us a few tablets to take home and give her just in case (which of course I am not able to do at this stage!) Would a reaction to this kind of thing be possible? Could it be causing her some pain or discomfort?
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Last edited by pdwbentley; 12-06-2010 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Adding additional information
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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She might be in pain, which would explain the hissing/growling. Alternatively, she might be reacting to a scent on you that you picked up during your walk. Is she reacting the same way to your partner (you say "we" in your post)...or is she only hissing at you? If she's hissing at both of you, then presumably it's not scent related.

You're right that sudden mood/behavior changes can indicate serious problems, but they can also indicate minor issues. I hope the latter is the case here.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Susan,

At the time of writing, my partner hadn't been home, so I had no indication as to whether it was just me she was unhappy with or if there was something else the matter. My partner returned home while I was out and texted me to say she was behaving perfectly normal. Upon my return home, there was a tentative examination of me by Aria, followed by a bit of hissing. She is definitely more calm now than she was, so hopefully overnight she will forgive whatever I've done!

It could be scent related I suppose, I did try having a shower but who knows if that would help anything. It's possible she just got a fright at some point somehow. I returned home with plastic shopping bags, perhaps she got a bit spooked? Who knows.

Let's see what a night's rest will do.
I'll keep you posted!

P
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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After I replied, I saw your intro post, saying you've been in London of late and recently returned home to Australia. It might be that Aria still needs to get used to you again. My Abby acts a little weird towards me when I return home after being away (even though only a few days or a week). She doesn't hiss, but she does steer clear of me and run away when I approach her. After a few days, she settles down and starts to "recognize" me again. Perhaps your recent absence plays a role. In any event, I hope things settle back to normal soon!
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Could be her tummy is upset. Sometimes antibiotics have that effect. This could certainly make her feel grumpy.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think I'm going to go with the theory of absence. I had been away for a couple of months and returned a week ago. A friend of mine (and fellow cat lover) commented that when she goes away for even a short period of time, she generally returns to the cat who is incredibly happy to see her, followed by incredibly angry that she left in the first place, followed by very nonchalant and completely ignorant of her and finally back to normal.

Aria has definitely calmed down a lot now though. She was incredibly affectionate this morning and then, almost as if she had remembered she was mad at me, she started growling quietly. I just left her alone, deciding she just needed time to come back around. This is all made more difficult by the fact that I'm leaving again in a week or so, and probably won't see her for about 6 months. My partner is still tied to Melbourne for the next little while but will eventually join me in London. And once we're settled, so will Aria.

Any concerns of sickness or discomfort have abated for the time being. She's eating beautifully, drinking water, making normal bowel movements, playing and purring (with the other half, anyway!) and seems perfectly content. Just now she has jumped up on the couch and is giving me a bit of a nudge. She's slowly coming back around.
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Aria is apparently not aware that absence makes the heart grow fonder! I'm glad she's starting to settle back to normal and there are no health issues.
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