Welcome to CatForum and I hope we can help you with your kitty. First, I want to tell you that I think you handled a scary situation VERY WELL by thinking of the kitty and calming her down. I think this shows GREAT promise that you will be able to work through this and be successful with your kitty.
It sounds like you are dealing with Feline Redirected/Misdirected Aggression
. This usually happens when a cat sees, hears or smells something that aggitates them, but they cannot reach or understand the source of their unease, so they re-direct that aggression onto the closest thing to dissipate that wound-up feeling they have. Usually these episodes are directed at other family members (pets and people
) in the home.
This is an instinctual response, and the kitty really cannot control it. The best we can do is eliminate as many of the triggers as we can, socialize the kitty well and provide some other 'calming measures' to help the kitty change their behavior pattern over time.
Can you handle her? Can you work on handling her more? I have a 'program' I put all of my personal and foster cats through, jokingly called kitty cat boot camp. It is intense when applied in a methodical manner when I am socializing cats for adoption, but in general it is a basic overview of how to steadily socialize cats to help them become confident with themselves, being handled and become relaxed and confident in their home with their people. If you could commit to incorporating little bits of different handling techniques with your kitty every day, building on each new thing the cat accepts as part of their 'normal', slowly working towards accomplishing more and more, over time she may become a different kitty for you. One who is relaxed and confident.
This kcbc has worked for me all of my life with all of my cats and with the feral cats/kittens I've tamed/socialized for adoption into families.
Things that can help immediately would be Feliway diffusers. These act like air-freshener plug-ins that release a 'hippy-ish' cat pheromone that tells the cat "everything is cool and mellow, its all right". Some cats react well to Feliway and some have no reaction at all. Other natural products you could try would be composure liquid and rescue remedy. I haven't tried any of these products but plenty of people (feral rescues) have used them with great success and I feel they may be worth a try. Treats are also a good motivating factor, helping the cat to see you as The Bringer Of Good Things. Toys can also be good ice-breakers, though I suggest using toys you control and ones that keep her sharp bits (teeth/claws) away from your skin; laser lights to chase, leather strings to drag, Da Bird ~ feather toy on string/wand and Cat Charmer ~ fleece ribbon on a wand. I also like to use small-to-medium sized stuffed toys to toss to the kitty so they can leap for them AND bite/wrestle/kick the toys and *not* me.
Other members may have more information to offer. I know what you've gone through is scary, but you should be able to work through this with your kitty and I wish you both the Best of Luck!
From Little Big Cat's archive of articles: http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... acasestudy