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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Please help me with my cat

I adopted a 1yr old female cat 6 months ago. She had 2 previous owners, very little interaction with people and none with other animals. She is really great 90% of the time, behaves well, sleeps at the bottom of my bed always wants to be around me, but on a couple occasions she has absolutely flipped out. I have always had fish and dogs, this is my first cat, she lives in my apartment with just me. She has been to the vet twice, spayed, is healthy, but twice now she has attacked me. Most of the time I am the only person she wants to be around...visitors and friends dont happen much unless she's closed in my bedroom. when I have allowed her to be out or have someone over for the night, she will sit on a table in front of them stare and then hiss..this is when I get up quickly to remove her. The first time she went after me she would not stop until I closed a door in between us. She only scratched me and I was more shocked than anything because this was after having her for 2 months and never seeing this behavior at all. Yesterday she was behind me, I didnt know as usual, when I dropped a sweatshirt onto the ground, and her. I kept walking and out of nowhere she is biting the back of my calf and going nuts again. Ears all back, poofed up, and making the worst sound ever. This time, after she bit me pretty good and jumped at me twice, I blocked her with a pillow and then knelt down and was able to talk her out of it. Ever since she has been half normal and half walking around on edge, just like the first time.

I know that was long and probably didnt make sense..the story itself could take forever I was trying to do the best paraphrase I could. I dont know what to do. Ive volunteered at animal shelters and dogs and most other cats all love me, I tried to do a good thing by taking her and do enjoy her, but the bite really hurt and I dont see this getting better unless someone can give me some advice. Ive looked online everywhere, in bookstores, talked to my vet, and I just cant get any good answers or ideas on what to do. Obviously her past is the biggest issue, I wont say but I know she was not treated too well. Sorry again about the length I am just sort of getting to my wits end with this and everything else that is going on in life.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-26-2010, 11:36 PM
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Re: Please help me with my cat

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!
heidi =^..^=

From Little Big Cat's archive of articles: ... acasestudy

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-27-2010, 02:46 AM
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Re: Please help me with my cat

You have done really well with this little one. By reacting in a calming way when your cat attacks, you are taking steps toward establishing a rapport with her that will be immensely rewarding. You are showing her you are not like the humans that may have abused her in the past, making her engage the thinking, problem solving part of her mind instead of reacting on pure instinct alone. Stay the course, keep that good attitude with her, follow Heiidi's kcbc, and you will soon have a smart, loyal friend and companion. Keep up the good work!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-27-2010, 09:36 AM
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Re: Please help me with my cat

From what you wrote it sounded like to me that your cat might have been semi feral or not fully socialized when it was sent out to a home & they didnít treat her humanely like you did when she acted out in fear. I too have to commend you for the levelheaded way you handled the kitty and didnít take it like a personal affront. That was awesome!

We have a cat in one of our foster homes that had been abused as a kitten. He reacts out in fear the same way. The foster mom is taking the time not to react but establish a bond with the cat so he can feel safe and not act out in destructive manners.

Feliway is a good start. If it becomes bad I would recommend giving it Composure Liquid. Itís all natural and has done wonders on fearful cats Iíve fostered. Use the techniques that is used to bring feral and semi feral cat around. It takes time but you will be this catís angel. Other wise I see it being pushed from home to home till it is put down.

Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat--Not a Sour Puss
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-29-2010, 02:04 AM
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Re: Please help me with my cat

Another good book is The Cat's Mind: Understanding Your Cat's Behaviour. The author tends to oversimplify, but it's a good basic guide. sells it, also
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