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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-09-2007, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Cat suddenly agressive

I have 2 tonkinese cats. A 2 y/o male (neutered) and a 9 mo. female (spayed 2 mo. ago). When we are not at home, the cats are confined to a bathroom, otherwise they destroy the house. This is a large bathroom with an opaque window that has the litter box, food, cat tree, etc. We use the bathroom for no other purpose than for the cats and they understand that is "thier" room. Neither cat has ever been agressive toward me and has always greeted me in a friendly way when I open the door.

For Christmas, we got the cats a new bed - one of those soft sided, open topped basket things which they both appear to love. On Sunday, I went into the bathroom to retrieve a skein of embroidery floss that the cats has stolen and the female was laying in the bed. She hissed at me and when it swooshed my hand at her to tell her "no", she bit and scratched me. Yesterday, when I went into the bathroom to feed her. She was laying in the bed and hissed and growled at me again.

Thinking that perhaps she was being territorial for some reason, I decided to remove the bed from the bathroom last night. When I went in this morning to test my theory, no growling, no hissing (but not exactly friendly either).

Can anyone tell me what is up with this behavior? I hate to take the bed away since both cats love it and seem to share it just fine. I have only ever had male cats before and none have ever acted this way. Is this a female cat thing? Could it have anything to do with her recently being spayed?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-10-2007, 11:28 AM
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I don't really have a good answer, but-

It's not a female cat thing, although there are some cats (both male and female) that can get overly territorial.

I've heard anecdotal evidence that a recent spay can cause mood swings in cats, but I've never seen any hard evidence, and 2 months is a fair amount of time after the spay.

Hissing and growling can be signs of territorial aggression, but they can also mean something else. It's hard to say with the information here, and without actually being there.

Try not to use your hands to discipline your cats.. apart from getting scratched, the cats can also get the idea that you can be challenged and fought for dominance/territory. Trying using a loud sound like a noisemaker, clapping your hands, or a can full of pennies to discipline her the next time she hisses or growls.

Random aggression is often caused by a medical condition that causes them pain, but no outward symptoms, so the growling might have nothing to do with the bed, but might be because something hurts her when she is lying a particular way. If money is not an issue, it won't hurt to have her checked at the vet.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-10-2007, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply!

Yeah. I know that swishing my hand was not the best thing to do. It was mostly instictive on my part. If I wouldn't have had my other hand occupied with the yarn, I would have clapped and said "no" like I usually do. I was very surprised that she challenged me, but understand why it happened.

Last night, she didn't hiss at me, but she did this morning even without the cat bed being there. I just talked low to her and petted her. No scratching this time and she started purring. I ended up returning the cat bed since it doesn't seem that the bed is the cause of the problem.

I don't think she is ill; she only hisses when I first enter the bathroom and not at any other time. She is pretty friendly when she is out and about in the house and allows us to pick her up. She was just checked out at the vet a couple of months ago when she was spayed. I just lost a cat in August to megacolon/pancreatic failure/kidney failure, so I am pretty familiar the signs cats give when they are in pain.

Hopefully, this is just a phase and she'll stop it soon. I am just worried that the spaying may have changed her personality.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-10-2007, 05:57 PM
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I'm more worried about that skein. Shortly after I got my first two cats, I played with them with a ball of yarn. I left them unattended for just a couple minutes and returned to find the yarn beginning to disappear down one of the cat's throats. Not knowing any better at the time, I pulled it out, and was very fortunate that it came out easily, no damage done.

Please don't leave that kind of stuff laying around where your cats can get at it.
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