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Old 11-21-2012, 08:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dealing with aggression?

I have a ~5 year old male named Bruce. We adopted him in April of this year from a shelter. He was seized from a farm after an investigation into animal neglect and abuse. The shelter did not believe he'd been abused (only severely neglected). Apparently he had a raging ear mite infection and was covered in fleas and scars. He's missing an ear and we had to get some teeth removed once we got him home as they were broken.

He was neutered when he was seized about a year ago (he'd been available for adoption for a few months before we found him). He's a very big boy. We weighed him at 17 lbs when we brought him home. He could stand to lose a few pounds (but will still remain a very big boy) and is doing well on his diet.

He is generally a very sweet cat, very friendly, very loveable and usually gets along well with our other two. He LOVES the kittens we kept from our foster (which is so sweet to see such a big tom play with these tiny kittens). So what's the problem then??

This cat is the perfect example of Jekyll and Hyde. He`ll play happily with the two adults (Taz and Daisy) and then something snaps and he turns downright mean. Biting, aggression and fur flying; no fun for anyone.

He might get a time out if he gets really aggressive, but usually a stern `NO BRUCE` gets his attention and he`s learned that `PLAY NICE`means all parties need to stop what they are doing. If the spray bottle is close at hand, he gets a spritz.

Its been slow going over the past few months and I really want to nip this in the bud before the kittens are completely integrated (we are still doing supervised visits due to us being at work all day). He`s 16+ lbs; the kittens not even 3lbs yet. I`m very concerned that he might unintentionally hurt them if he gets into one of his moods.

We give him as much attention as we can. He`s got lots of toys to play with and we give individual playtime as often as we can when we are home.

Any other suggestions of dealing with aggression? Or is that about it and we just have to give it more time??

Last edited by Malaika219; 11-21-2012 at 08:59 AM. Reason: spelling error!
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hm. Do you know how long he lived at the farm? Maybe his littermates were removed before he could ever learn that too aggressive hurts and then when he hears them cry/wail he doesn't understand cat language to stop. Therefore he will only respond to water because it is unpleasant?? I don't know but it sounds like someone can get hurt. Some of his teeth are removed and do you clip his nails?? Maybe he is a little insecure.
My cat is kind of the same, lived as a mostly outside cat so he has a high prey drive and loves chewing on human flesh. I don't know what he's like with other animals (cats/dogs) yet but he cannot be around my bunny.

Good luck! I hope someone can help you better.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't know how long he was at the farm. They seized a large number of animals (goats, horses, sheep, dogs, cats and some chickens I think). The shelter presumed he was born there, but we don't know if he was a 'pet' or a feral. He had good house manners (no scratching furniture, no spraying or marking etc) and decent people manners (he is quite the snuggler).

I do keep his claws trimmed and he's been ok about letting me do it (I have to get him while he's sleeping, otherwise its a hassle).

I am sure it will happen over time, but I just don't have that much of it! I can't leave those poor kittens separated for much longer.

That's a really great thought about his littermates being gone before he could learn this. Will having other cats (and us) around teach him at his age (the ripe old age of 5! ha!)?? I just hope I'm not doomed to worry every time we leave them...
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hmm, hopefully over time. I mean, eventually the other cats might not want to play with him if they come to realise they will get hurt every time. Maybe separating them while you're gone with a screen door or something they can still interact with each other but not physically? That way, they can communicate but they cannot fight and bite.

I'm not totally sure if there is a window of learning that closes for them regarding learning cat behavior. My sister's cat was taken from the litter before his mother could show him to cover his poop in the pan (either that or the mother cat didn't know herself, idk) and up until about three years ago, he never once covered his poop in the pan. My mom's cat would come and cover it for him. It wasn't until my sister moved in with her boyfriend and took her cat that he covered it (out of respect for the male? It baffles me still).. The cat was about three years old when he spontaneously covered his stuff. lol
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