SUDDEN and spontaneous hissing and clawing behavior. - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default SUDDEN and spontaneous hissing and clawing behavior.

This is an issue that's occurred in this past week and I still can't get my head around this. My cat has been friendly/passive for the 2 1/2 years I've had her but a few days ago she suddenly started hissing, growling, and clawing at my legs. Just for the record, I know the clear difference between playing and hostile behavior and I'm pretty certain that this is the latter.

What throws me off even more is that I haven't done anything to deserve this! I treat her very well and I'm the one who feeds her at least half the time. On top of that, this has happened 3 times in the past week but every time it happens, my cat seems to forget about it an hour later and just go back to the cat she's always been. As far as I know there has been no clear change in anything and my cat shouldn't suddenly be sick (I think if she was sick then the behavior would be more consistent?).

Just to reiterate, when this happens she is hissing loudly and assumes a defensive, agitated stance when we make eye contact but will follow me around (presumably waiting for me to turn around or some other opening to attack?). This didn't happen every day since it started and only last a short period of time. I don't get it!

If anyone understand why my cat would have such unexpected behavioral changes please let me know

On a side note: is there some kind of outdoors scent that cats would react very negatively to? I've recently been biking around town but I don't think I've picked up any specific animal scents along the way. Even if I did, she doesn't react this way immediately anyways. I'm bringing this up because it seems to be coincidental that she starts behaving this way (and again, inconsistently) around the time when I started to bike. Still just a theory on my part though.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's possible she's picking up some scent, but I think it's a longshot. To test your theory, change into fresh laundered clothes when you come in, and see if anything changes. If you've been petting any stray dogs or cats, wash your hands as soon as you come in as well. Some cats do react strongly to strange scents. If there are neighborhood cats outside, and they're spraying, the scent could even waft inside since windows and doors are rarely air tight and that could be upsetting her. Does she do this just before meals? Some cats get pretty antsy and aggressive if they're really hungry. Try saying "Pssst!" to her when she's in the middle of hissing and divert her attention by throwing something----a paper ball, paperclip or anything small. Sometimes cats just do strange behavior and it's hard to figure out what triggers it. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I could be behavioral, but it also could be that's she's in pain and lashing out at you/worried you'll cause her more pain. My aunt's cat started doing something similar to your kitty and my aunt didn't know what to make of it and was thinking about putting her on psych drugs to see if that would help, however, at the vets it was discovered that her cat had a pretty bad urinary tract infection and yet she was not displaying any of the typical symptoms expect the (untypical) misplaced aggression.
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Old 05-20-2011, 10:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Cats react very strongly to scent. So, you might rule that our first...as catloverami suggested, change/shower as soon as you get home. If the hissing/growling continues thereafter, I would suggest a vet visit. Any sudden unexplained behavioral changes often signify medical issues.
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Old 05-21-2011, 04:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hmm, so it could be either/or huh. Looks like I'll have to investigate a bit more and pay a bit more attention to exactly when she behaves like that if this persists. Hope it's not a serious medical problem.

I can confirm that this is not a feeding issue. She does not get violent over food and we always feed her properly.

Thanks for all your responses so far!
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