Aggression in Senior Cat - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Aggression in Senior Cat


I have a 16-17 year old cat and she has always been VERY affectionate and social, but recently she has started to become aggressive and attack me. It's happened a couple of times now. The attacks are totally unprovoked and not a result of like over-petting or excitement or playing or something clear-cut. They have all occurred on the bed though, so perhaps it's a territory thing. One second she's sitting next to me, or looking at me, I am not touching her at all, and then BAM she grabs my arm or hand and scratches and bites it. I typically try and do nothing so as to avoid threatening her and prolonging the attack. I don't scold or react at all. My hand has become infected once already though and required an urgent care visit.

Does anyone have any advice? I have read that this can happen with senior cats but that it usually happens for some underlying reason? I took her to the vet but no tests revealed any issues. They recommended meds to treat arthritis just to see if it helps.

Does anyone have any experience or advice?

I think I am going to have to start locking her in another room overnight to ensure I don't get attacked while I am sleeping, but this will surely cause some distress to this elderly animal and that could make things even worse. I'm not sure what to do.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 05:50 PM
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If you didn't take the arthritis meds, I would try them. It is possible your cat is having some pain which could cause her to lash out. The fact that she has always been "very affectionate" it is out of character for her, and another possibility is that at her age she has some dementia that is affecting her brain....ever people with it can act out of character and become violent when they never were before. You say attacks only happen on your bed is puzzling, but I don't think this is a territory thing. You might try some holistic treatments such as Bach Flower Remedies, or get a calming med from the vet. You do not want to risk getting another infection from a bad bite, so I would recommend that your cat spend the night in another locked room. Make her bedtime a pleasant ritual---If she's still playful, try to engage her with some play with a wand toy, followed by small meal of her favorite food, or sprinkle some treats on the floor throughout the room, so she has to find them. Be consistent with this routine and maybe she'll forget about biting you and will look forward to her bedtime. The general rule about dealing with cats (or other animals for that matter) is always reward good behavior. If she were doing what she does to you to another cat, she would get hissing and growling in return and maybe a bop on the head with a paw. Most cats would not ignore being attacked but would retaliate and/or walk away. As a last suggestion, I don't usually recommend a squirt bottle of water, but this may be one instance where it would work if the cat got squirted when it attacked. We always like to hear updates.

Here's a link you may find informative...

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."

Last edited by marie73; 06-30-2019 at 09:13 PM.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 11:21 PM
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Did your vet check the cat's thyroid levels? My older cat became aggressive when he developed hyperthyroidism.
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