spawn of satan??? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-20-2007, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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spawn of satan???

This past weekend Bethany and I had some out of town guests stay over at our townhouse. Everything went well, even when we had more visitors over for drinks. The cat, let's call her Beelzebub to protect her identity, a 4 year old spayed male, wasn't shy at all - came out meowing for attention, welcomed petting from guests.

Sunday night, after the overnight guests had left, I had two friends over, Bartholomew and Beatrice (Bethany was out running errands). This time, the cat hid underneath a chair in the dining room, something I thought was strange because ordinarily he would hide in the basement or upstairs under the bed. When Bartholomew walked into the kitchen, Beelzebub went into attack mode. All the usual - crouched low to the ground, ears back, tail electrified. And my god, the guttural yowling and screaming was unbelievable to hear. I've heard cats fight before, but this was incredible.

So Beelzebub went into attack mode, completely unprovoked. I don't know if he smelled something he didn't like - Bartholomew has a dog and a cat of his own - or if he was just over-sensitized or territorial. He wasn't cornered or anything - he had an easy escape to the basement, where his food and litter is, and where he stays at night. Beelzebub was crying and basically chased us out of the house - he was even going after me.

Beelzebub was like Cujo. Every time we touched the door knob, he would jump up at the door and attack. Bartholomew eventually got brave enough to push Beelzebub back with a water spray bottle, chasing him back into the basement, where we shut the door behind him. Beelzebub continued to yowl for at least fifteen minutes before we left.

Beelzebub has displayed redirected aggression towards Bethany in the past on at least two occasions. On one such occasion, Bethany was cornered by Beelzebub for 30 minutes after he was scared by a lamp falling down. And on the other occasion, Bethany tripped and fell and while she was lying on the ground in pain, since he was startled, Beelzebub was behaving and posturing aggressively towards her (but did not actually attack), enough to scare the dickens out of Bethany.

So what should we do? If our out of town guests had brought their 2 year old child, the outcome could have been very, very bad. And I think about all the guests that we have over - we could be facing a lawsuit if Beelzebub attacks the wrong person.

Has anyone heard of this? Is the cat crazy? Bethany adopted Beelzebub from a shelter when he was a kitten, not sure exactly how old and who knows where he came from. There are certainly a lot of stray cats here in Baltimore, so maybe he came from a feral colony?

And what should we do? I can't live feeling afraid of a little 20 lb mammal!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-20-2007, 12:03 PM
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It sounds like a guest may have brought an unwanted 'smell' in with them. As for having company over, put kitty in a different room and keep the door closed until well after they are gone. Maybe put a 'spot' of something on him to mask/cover any smells. I've recently heard of using a dot of vanilla extract rubbed on top of their head.(?)
As to the re-directed aggression after being frightened, I don't know what to say as I've never experienced it myself.

As to the possible feral comment, I feel that is a complete cop-out. You received this cat as a kitten and if he was not properly socialized, it is my opinion, you have only yourself to blame. I have fostered/raised many cats and kittens, both strays and truly feral, and never had a problem with any of them...UNLESS...they were not properly socialized. I say this with confidence because half of my last 20 cats, and ALL but one litter of the (23) kittens I have fostered since moving to Georgia, had absolutely NO human contact in their lives until being trapped and coming into my care. Of these, I have only one adult cat who is still showing feral tendencies, but she allows me to pick her up, hold her and pet her so she is coming around.
Your cat does not appear feral to me at all. He lives inside, he enjoys human contact and interaction. The few times he 'misbehaved' I am sure there was some sort of outside stimulus...smell or action he became frightened of. Your best bet is to try to avoid those particular stimuli and prevent him from having such a negative reaction that frightens and endangers people.
Best of luck, I don't know what to advise...
h



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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-20-2007, 12:39 PM
 
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Does Bartholomew have a cat too, or a dog? Sounds like the cat got seriously spooked by a smell carried by him - could be his own cat's smell if he has one, or dog smell, tomcat pee in which he could have stepped outside, or pee from another wild animal...

Since your kitty has already shown aggressivity towards Bethany, maybe next time they come over you could give them treats to give the cat? And make sure they leave their shoes outside, in case that's where the threatening smell lingers. They should ignore the cat thoroughly, and then give him treats and treat him gently when he finally approaches them (provided that he does not freak out right when they step in).

And if you find he really does not do well when you have guests over, then yes, locking him up in a spare bedroom with his litter box, a few toys, a comfy place to sleep and maybe a snack to nibble on could be the best solution for everyone. It would spare him and your guests the stress - being stared at and threatened by an irate cat is never a pleasing experience!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-20-2007, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
 
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Bart has a dog and a cat. The smell idea is certainly feasible, but why was Beelzebub going after me, too? It's like he hit this rage point and wanted all of us gone. And he was chasing after us, screaming and swiping - there would have been blood if we all weren't quick on our feet!

Sorry about the feral remark - I am maybe just reaching for an explanation. I've never seen or heard of a cat acting like this. But in raising the cat, we only gave it love - no punishments, etc. He is overall a very good cat - plays "fair" (with claws rectracted, play bites, etc.), doesn't get into too much trouble wrt countertops, eating plants, etc. It's just these random episodes of hyper-aggression.

And again what really scared me was that it lasted for a sustained amount of time. It wasn't like he swiped at my friend's leg, and then ran away. He literally chased us out of the house.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-20-2007, 01:51 PM
 
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Cats are very prone to redirected aggressions - which explains why your cat was going after you too. He was not himself, the fear triggered a defensive reaction that he obviously was not in control of. This does not mean your cat is "mean" or hates you, just that he is easily thrown off balance, and once he is in defensive mode, he does not recognize you. And cats are notorious for staying aggravated and defensive for a good while in situations like these.

If your friend has pets and that is the smell that spooks your cat, I would strongly recommend just keeping the cat away in a spare room whenever they come over. You don't want the situation to repeat itself, and your cat to associate guests with negative experiences, which would make both you and him very unhappy.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-20-2007, 02:40 PM
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I have been attacked by one cat, and I agree with you...it is SCARY!
I had gone to my friend's home and pet a cat that was outside in the yard. Turns out, it was an un-neutered male who was a bit of a 'neighborhood terror' to the other housepets. My friend's kitty got wild-eyed, yowled and jumped at my face, swiping with his claws into my shoulder and cheek because I ducked and turned around.
This was many years ago, so I don't remember how my friend handled it with her kitty. I left, because I knew it was the smell of the tom-cat on my hands that triggered him to behave that way. I don't think the kitty was agitated for very long after I left and took the smell away with me. On other visits, I just made sure I didn't pet any other kitties before going over and her cat never had a problem with me after that.
Her kitty was usually a very friendly cat that she'd had since a kitten. I don't know where she got him from.



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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2007, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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And the thing that still has me freaked out is that it lasted for a good 15 minutes, at least. I've seen cats get angry or snippy in the past, maybe hiss and growl or even take a swipe, but usually that ends just as quickly as it started, and the cat will slink away to safety. Beelzebub had plenty of room to run away and hid in the basement, where he spends a lot of time, but instead he was on the offensive. And he was after all of us, even me! That cat was possessed.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2007, 03:44 PM
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No, he wasn't possessed. He was triggered into 'defending his territory' because of a smell (or sight, or sound) and it is an instinctual thing with many animals, not something they can control. This is why he appeared so aggressive with people he knew and didn't back down or leave the room...he felt he had to 'defend' against everything, because he could SMELL it, but he couldn't FIND it, so he was aggressive to everyone.



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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2007, 04:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krl21224
That cat was possessed.
I agree with Heidi on this. It is just normal behavior, albeit scary.

On a side-note, I would think Satan would be too busy singing to the government and oil companies to pay attention to kitties
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