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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Big scare tonight...

I don't know what to do...

Recently, my cat.. Who is my baby and my best friend, who I love more than anything, who I hand raised from 2 weeks of age, has become very cold and aggressive. I took him to the vet, and she said he's super healthy and that it's behavioral.. She made it seem like he's just being playful, but I know his play-aggression and this is something so different and totally random. NOTHING has brought this on, I went through everything they suggested and none of that is going on. He's always been spoiled and never abused, he's adored and doted on in my household, he's always been super affectionate... Nothing has changed. Nothing except him, that is.

It just started with random attacks, but now suddenly he is starting to show displeasure at any sort of interaction at all. He doesn't want you walking near him, petting him, holding him, and he looks at you with this totally cold expression.. He only attacks me, though, and just runs from everybody else. It is not boredom. This cat at least gets played with at LEAST 15 minutes of every HOUR until bed time. It's not overstimulation. I'm never EVER touching him when he does this. It's not play-aggression. He never shows any of these signs when playing, and he's a pretty rough player. He's not doing it for attention either- he gets tons of that. Even when he's across the room, I'm busy chatting away to him and sweet talking him.

One day, I was on the phone and getting ready to leave the house. He was following me, like always, and sitting on the counter. Suddenly, he pinned his ears back and went for my arm. (I wasn't even looking at him.) I thought he was just playing and very gently pushed him away and said "No". This has ALWAYS, ALWAYS worked in the past when he started playing rough with us. He jumped off the counter, pinned back his ears, started thrashing his tail around and chattering his teeth. I was a little unnerved. He only does this when he is showing legitimate aggression. He went for my (bare) leg and sunk his teeth into me. I pushed him away a little harder, said no again, and he started this weird howling-meow and kept chattering away. I took a few steps back and he followed me with this scary look on his face. I ended up escaping, and took him to the vet a few days later (he was repeating that event towards me a few times almost each day.) I was given feliway. He was a total sweetheart for awhile, but slowly he's becoming more and more aggressive again. It started with him just nipping with his ears pinned and then giving me this glare (usually when I was just walking to my desk), and then slowly but surely all the symptoms came back... But now he's worse. He's not just aggressive, he's not loving anymore. He'll rub up against you, maybe, but then he's done. He still follows me, but from a distance. When I look at him, he has this cold sort of glare I never saw him wearing before.. He always just had this dopey loving look before. He won't sleep next to me, and if I move too close to him in my sleep (as in within his reach, not even close to touching him) he will sink his teeth into me. He still greets me when I come home, but from a distance again. He will no longer come up to me.

Tonight, I was sitting on the floor working on some art when he lunged in from the other room and went straight for me. His ears were laid back, his teeth were chattering, he was full-on glaring and meowing at me all weird... His breathing got funny, and his tail was lashing. He destroyed the arm I used to defend myself and literally was so vicious he backed me into a corner. I couldn't get him off of me. If I pushed him, he destroyed whatever touched him. I couldn't pick him up, he would destroy my arm and go for my face and neck. If I stood up, he would viciously attack whatever he could reach. When I tried to escape by slowly backing away, he just followed right along. I was so scared and heartbroken I started crying, and he seemed to settle for a moment. His mouth closed, his ears perked, and he stopped attacking. He approached me very slowly, seeming intrigued. I was in a defensive position, and as soon as I let my guard drop even in the slightest he went right back to attacking me. I managed to get him out of my room, and then locked him out for awhile. Next time I saw him, he wasn't being aggressive, just very very cold.

I am so heartbroken over this that I can't stop crying. My right arm and hand are both entirely bandaged up, my legs are a little bloodied up, and my other hand is a little scratched. Every time he comes near me, I'm so frightened I start shaking or sometimes even crying. I love him more than anything, and for awhile in my past he was all I had. He is neutered, still has his claws, is perfectly healthy, and is only 2 years old.

I just don't know what to do...
I'm so terrified of my own baby..

What can I do?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 01:51 AM
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Re: Big scare tonight...

Wow. I can understand how upsetting this is for you. The pet you love most in the world is treating you like an unwanted intruder. I wonder if this could be a reaction triggered by things he is seeing or smelling outside? Some cats, if they see/smell 'intruder cats' will go sort of nutz for a while. They are angry that a cat (or something) has 'intruded' into their 'territory' (whatever they can see) and they want to defend their territory, but since they can't reach whatever it is outside, they attack the closest thing inside.
Usually this [misdirected aggression] happens to other household pets; cats, dogs and such. Occasionally it is directed towards the people of the home.
Is there a possibility that you are wearing some scent (perfume, laundry soaps, shampoo/conditioner, gel/hairspray, lotion or anything) that is setting him off?

I wonder, sometimes when a household has several cats and one goes to the vet, it comes home happy to BE home, but the other cats can tell it smells different and they react very aggressively or scared, because their family member doesn't SMELL like what they are used to so they don't recognize them. This confuses the poor kitty that has just come home and wants to be reassured that everything is okay and the pet-household is disrupted until the 'vet smell' wears off and the cats all smell the same again.
One method to help prevent/resolve this is to put a drop of vanilla on the back of the neck of each cat. Maybe you could do this to him so it would remove any odor-trigger that he is reacting to?

I'm so sorry, I don't know what else to offer. You cannot live in fear of your pet and I know you love him, but maybe you would have to consider re-homing him? I have a cat who is a very good kitty and shows us affection, but when one of my friends comes to visit he is ALL OVER her! He just loves her. If she didn't have two large dogs who would play with a cat like a squeaky-toy, I would let her have him since he obviously loves her. The point I'm making isn't that your cat hates you, just that there is something that is triggering him against you and if we cannot figure out what it is, I don't think he is safe for you to be around. Cat bites and scratches can easily become infected. I know you love him, but you need to be safe.
Best of luck that this issue can be resolved,

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 08:04 AM
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Re: Big scare tonight...

Wow, that's a terrible situation. I feel for you.

There isn't any indication that he's having seizures, is there? You haven't heard any thrashing around and he doesn't have pee on himself?

I just ask because when Rookie (RIP) started having seizures, we went a couple days without knowing what was going on because we didn't see her having them. She had that same weird kind of howl during those days. We knew it was different and weird, but we had no idea what it was. Like you, we had a vet tell us twice that it was just a behavioral problem. And after that last seizure, she attacked me, dug her teeth into my wrist, and hung off my arm. So some of the symptoms do sound alike. I wonder if that howling noise is just an indication that something's wrong physically.

I hope you're able to resolve this. Please let us know how it's going.

Holly and Murphy
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 08:06 AM
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Re: Big scare tonight...

Icedtei, I meant to mention that if you've been bitten, there are also some precautions you should take. When Rookie bit me in 4 places, the vet told me to make sure to get a tetanus shot and antibiotics. It would also be a good time to look for Buster's rabies certificate, because if this comes to light they're likely to ask if he's had his rabies shot.

Holly and Murphy
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 06:51 PM
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Re: Big scare tonight...

How old is he and is he neutered?

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 11:53 PM
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Re: Big scare tonight...

I'm with Heidi on the scent change or 'intruders' in the yard. Cats generally just don't randomly attack someone they've loved for 2 years. It's usually triggered by a change in their world as opposed to a change in them. Think really hard about something that may have changed that could be upsetting him. And be very aware of animals that may be outside.

Has he lost any weight? A symptom of hyperthyroid is aggression, but I find it hard to believe he would have it at age 2. But it's something to consider if he has lost weight.

You could consider contacting an animal behaviorist. There are also people who believe in animal communicators. If you know anyone that does Reiki a few treatments may get him to relax (if he'll permit treatment).

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-21-2009, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Big scare tonight...

(Sorry for the delay, and the superrr long post)

Thank you to everyone for your support... This means a lot to me. This whole thing has been really hard.

Nothing has changed with me whatsoever. I've been wearing the same perfume since I found him, and the very few things I did change (like hair products or lotions) were changes I made long before he started lashing out and ones he never reacted negatively to. I get very attached to specific things, so its hard for me to make personal changes. I don't think it's anything laundry related, either, as everyone in my house uses the same detergents and softeners and yet he only singles out me with his aggression... Although that might be because he's known me the best and the longest. We've only been living here since October.

If it was misdirected aggression, would it be normal for it only to be directed at me? I'm not sure, I just always think about them turning on whatever they can get to. My family consists of four people, including me, and two older (13 and 17 year old) dogs. He's definitely always harassing our dogs, but not in an aggressive way. Haha.

The seizure bit worries me.. It does sound a lot like what happens with him.. I took him in to a different vet recently and he is now on asthma medicine (a trial run) and I have to bring him back in less than a week for a refill.. So I'm definitely bringing that up. I've never seen him have one, but his aggression sounds very similar to what your kitty used to do.

And my cat spends a good amount of time sleeping.. He's the one who's always coming up to us and begging to play. We never wake him up or anything, he just trots up to us and tries to get us to play with him, haha. He probably gets played with less than that on days when I have classes or work, as I am gone usually from morning 'til either 6pm or 11:30pm. All of my time I spend home though is spent cuddling and playing with him, and then we both go to sleep. He sleeps with me the entire night. My mom and my kid sister (and friends) love playing with him while I'm gone, but when he's done or tired he definitely lets everybody know. He bolts off and hides, and then snoozes until he's up for more. Haha.

He is almost 2 years old, and has been neutered for over a year. He has never been a territorial cat, either. He usually loves sharing his space.

We have tons of outdoor cats in our neighborhood, as well as a small pride of ferals (the neighborhood cares for them to help control the rat population.. They have all been vaccinated and fixed) that I guess could have set him off.. He's never really shown much apprehension to other cats, though, but then again he is still young. That does seem a lot more likely right about now.. And he has been losing weight, but its a good thing. When he lived at by boyfriend's house, he was roughly 5 pounds overweight. He's 12 lbs right now, and the vet says he's almost to his appropriate weight of 10-11 lbs. Could maybe his dieting have something to do with it? He still gets fed more than enough. He always has food left from the previous day when I give him his morning feeding and he likes eating it just fine..

I'm thinking about seeking help from a behaviorist or something now.. My boyfriend and I were talking about it earlier today. I never thought about Reiki, though. That might help. This story may have made him sound aggressive or high strung, but he's really not. The vet always compliments on how compliant he is. He doesn't flinch for shots or when he's being manipulated around for his check up. He's always been very laid back in that way, so it could really work.

And now...


He's been doing MUCH MUCH better lately... I kept my distance from him the day after, and only spoke to him or gave him a pat on the head to show affection. He took notice of my injured arm and started actually licking it. He was still a little rowdy for a bit, but I started praising and coddling him when he was acting properly, and then I would just ignore him and get away from him as soon as he started getting mean. He would instantly change and start rubbing up against my legs. He was still very aloof until today when I arrived home about an hour ago. (I got home late- 12:30ish am my time.) He didn't come greet me at the door, so I just let it be and went to my room. (He usually sleeps with my dad until I get home, then runs to greet me and comes with me into my room.) A few minutes later he just comes wandering in, half awake, and I just gave him a good petting and went about my business. To my surprise, he is being VERY VERY affectionate tonight! I don't know what's going on. It's like he's back to his old self. He's rubbing against me and lifting his head for pettings and coming to me when I call him and trying to crawl in my lap... Which is why I'm really starting to think this was all redirected aggression or something...

I dunno, this is just crazy. A few days ago he was backing me into a corner and now he's being a little love again. Huh. Cats.
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