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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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dealing with aggression

I've read a lot of behavior posts and probably know the replies I'm going to get... but I'm frustrated.

I hate to blame my mom... but I do. She thinks its just soooo cute to have Skylar chewing on her hand. She plays by wiggling her fingers under pillows, blankets and in the couch cushions. She'll sit there and pet her until she gets mad... I'll tell her to stop because she's going to bite and she eggs her on until Skylar lunges at her hand. She still thinks its cute.

The other day she said she latched on so tight she had to basically pry her off. Yet she STILL plays with her like this.

Trust me, we've had conversations... its a weekly thing.

I personally don't care if she wants to be bitten. But I don't.

Several times I've been sitting on my bed on my lap top. She'll be on the bed with me and out of nowhere will attack my hand. Generall, I scruff her and toss her to the floor. Not throw, just get her off the bed and away from me.

Just now she did it again. She likes to walk all over my computer, chew the cord in the back and paw at the latch at the top. I generally just nudge her off the keyboard and we're fine. This time, I nudged her off and she latched onto my hand. So again, scruffed her and tossed her off the bed. She jumped back up and grabbed onto my arm with all four feet and bit in (long sleeves, no damage but still teeth marks). I used a pillow to push her off the bed this time and she immediately jumped back up, perched right next to me and stared for a good 10-15 seconds, tail thrashing the whole time. At one point, she actually let out this little howl that had me scared. I wouldn't even look at her because I expected my face would be next.

This isn't cute, it isn't funny and its becoming downright scary.

She also bites Brody (dog) a lot. I honestly think its play as she doesn't really sink her teeth in... but she'll just sneak up while Brody is walking and grab her back end and bite into her rear legs... she also sits on the bed and lunches at her, grabbing onto the loose skin on her face and chews on her for a while every night when we go to bed. Poor dog just sits there and takes it.

I'm hoping that at some point after I move out and she's away from my mom's hands she'll finally calm down about it. But I have no idea how to react to her when she goes into attack mode. Its not full on hissing spitting dangerous cat... but I don't want it to get to that point either.

I understand the concept of "time outs" to put her somewhere to cool down... but its that immediate moment of attack that I don't know how to deal with. Obviously the hands are her target so going to pick her up is almost just making it worse. I've also tried that pushing my hand toward her when she bites... she just bites down harder.

She's never really broken skin with a bite. But like I said, I don't want it to get to that point either. I'm off to have yet another serious conversation with my mother about this... but I don't know what else to do.

Jessie

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 09:56 PM
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Re: dealing with aggression

My husband would play with several of our cats like that...however the cats never tried to play that way with me, and I think it was because I didn't play with them that way and I didn't stand for it if they tried. You are doing the right things by pushing her off the bed, but since she is escalating her 'attacking activites' with you, maybe you need to escalate, too.
Yowl when she bites you. Ow! Hey! That HURTS! No! AaaaaAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! ...and I'd give 'em a smack before I pushed them to the floor or away from me.

This IS your mother's doing. Sure, its' cute when they are kittens, but those kittens grow up to be cats with sharp teeth and claws that hurt. This [what your mom is doing] isn't fair to Skylar because eventually Skylar will become untrustworthy to be around guests if she tries to grab and wrestle with their hands, too.



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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 10:03 PM
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Re: dealing with aggression

I think someone's Mom needs scruffing.....

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 11:19 PM
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Re: dealing with aggression

Jessie, Skylar is taking this as a play attack game. She doesn't want to hurt you, but your Mom has messed up the boundaries you had set for Skylar by her rough, "bite me it's fun", kind of play.
You need to teach Skylar that kind of play is not acceptable for you. When Skylar starts pouncing and biting your laptop, scruff her to get her off of it, then leave the room, taking the laptop with you, and locking Skylar in the room.
If Skylar starts pouncing and biting your hands or arms, end the play by folding your arms over your hands, and completely ignore her for a while. And don't let yourself feel scared if she lets out a panther yowl. Making you scared is a fun part of the game for her. She's not being mean, it's just her hunter's instinct. Take that part of the game away, and the game is not fun for Skylar anymore.
When Skylar is getting her kitten crazies, pouncing you and everything else, you can sometimes redirect her attention and behavior to a toy like Da Bird. If she still pounces you instead of the toy, end the game, and tell her,"Skylar, I can't play if you're going to hurt me.", or something to that effect. Then go to the 'ignore the kitty' mode.
I hope this is some help.

Edit for spelling
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2008, 12:24 AM
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Re: dealing with aggression

Quote:
Originally Posted by marie73
I think someone's Mom needs scruffing.....

Jessie, since your mother is going to undo whatever you do as a human, I'd suggest starting to deal with Skylar as one cat to another. She's not going to learn the usual way because your mother is going confuse the issue. Deal with Skylar as a larger, older cat would deal with an obnoxious kitten. I think you get the picture; and I think Skylar will, too.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2008, 12:29 AM
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Re: dealing with aggression

Oh my goodness, this is definately something you need to deal with now, and not later. What has worked "for me", though I've not had anything as serious as what you are dealing with, is when they start to bite, or get a too rough, I raise my voice, yelling something like "HEY!", or "STOP THAT NOW!" Something that shocks them, to grab their attention, and let them know you mean business, then I walk away. This has worked for me, though Lucy is still learning, she likes to attack feet!

Good luck!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2008, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Re: dealing with aggression

I think part of it is that she's not really a kitten anymore. She's 1 1/2 years old, and I know she's still very kittenish but this has developed far beyond simple "kitten" bad behavior.

I think if it was done more in a playful manner I wouldn't be so concerned. But for her to feel the need to put teeth on me for pushing her off a laptop... then coming back TWICE more when pushed off the bed... its attitude. And I seriously wonder sometimes about her "play" with the dog. She'll sit on the floor and stare up at her, thrashing her tail, ears pinned back. Then she'll lunge and grab. She does it a couple of times then starts hissing and walks away all pissy. I've tried to get it on camera, but you know how that goes.

I'm not worried about company as she pretty much avoids strangers. Even my brother and boyfriend - she's afraid of them and stays far far away. So its really just me and mom... and I'm the only one bothered by it at the moment.

We did have a nice talk about it though - and she's starting to think maybe its not 100% cute anymore. I think if I remind her CONSTANTLY it'll finally sink it. I've also warned her that she's not going to appreciate going to the hospital with rotten fingers when she finally does start sinking her teeth in.

What makes it worse? When its time to go to bed and she snuggles up all full of purrs, or this morning when she woke up and was just all over me lovey dovey as can be. But I hesitate with affection because I know how quickly she can flip her switch.

Jessie

"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2008, 03:00 PM
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Re: dealing with aggression

Gracie does a little of the pounce and nip stuff, too - but she reacts well to a loudly voiced "Hey! OUCH!"

I would try to redirect some of that play/aggression to toys and interactive playtime. Maybe this would be something even your mom would be willing to do - it is just as fun, and would teach Skylar to jump on the toy, not the hand. Kitties are just so distractible! If computer time is an issue, you could also 'booby trap' your desk area with a hanging toy so that kitty forgets to hassle the keyboard because she has stumbled upon something more fun and surprising...

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 01:38 AM
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Re: dealing with aggression

i must admit i'm very guilty of "fighting" with tj my cat ie she will jump on my hand or arm and i roughhouse with her but when she tries it with my wife my wife just totaly ignores her and she has given up now and only does it with me.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 02:22 AM
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Re: dealing with aggression

I think you're doing the right thing. I admit, my cats play rough with me because biting me has no effect, I don't feel it anymore as I am so used to it. If I talk to my cat softly after rough play and put my hand out in a non-threatening way after, and pet them, they generally know to stop. You're right, this is your moms doing, the cat assumes it can do the same to you.
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