What can I do? aggression problems, still (long) - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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What can I do? aggression problems, still (long)

We have been having problems with Stephen for quite some time. She has become so moody and aggressive. I had thought it was because she was getting older, but she's only 6 - and from what I've learned here, that's still pretty young for an indoor cat. She's healthy and active, so it's not a medical problem.

The biggest issue is that she tears up my live-in boyfriend on a somewhat regular basis. When he sits with her and pets her, she will all of a sudden flip out and take off, usually tearing him up in the process. I've watched this happen over and over again. It's not that she does anything to harm her. And I've watched for the warning signs that she's had enough, but she doesn't give any when this happens. She comes to him for the attention; in fact, it's probably a very true statement to say that he gives her more one-on-one attention than I do.

I don't have this problem with her. I was talking to my boss about it today, and she suggested that maybe Stephen is just a one person cat. And now that I put a timeline to it, she's been doing this since we moved in together 18 months ago. She used to love it when he'd come to my apartment. But now he's full of scars. In the first six months or so after we moved in, she was hissing and growling and biting - all of which were never problems before.

She did it again today, only this time she ran up his shoulder and down his back which was extremely painful for him. I have soft paws on her front claws, but it's so hard to keep up with them because she fights the whole process. And sometimes she'll just bite for no reason, either - and not let go.

Does anyone have any suggestions or maybe have dealt with this before? My boss suggested maybe she would be better with an elderly, single person. She has a good heart and is a loving cat; something's just not right with our situation, I think, that makes her so unhappy.

What can do I do?
mismodliz is offline  
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Just from what I read here.....

It sounds like she is reacting to overstimulation.

Next time she jumps into his lap...tell him not to pet her
and just let her sit there for as long as she likes.

Cats do have signals for this...one of the first most obvious is tail swishing.
It is a sign to you that they have had enough. Another is ears twitching or flickering and next obvious one is they will start turning their head toward you.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I know the signs of overstimulation she gives because she gives them to me. She doesn't, however, give them to him in these situations. And she exhibits this behavior even when he's not petting her... when she's just sitting on him. It's honestly like a switch has been flipped.

As an example - you know how cats act when they are sitting with you and there is a loud noise and they freak out and take off? That's what she does. Only, nothing happens to make her take off.

As I said, she does this only with him, sames goes for the occasional biting. We really want to work on it with her; it's just that we don't know what's causing the problem or what we can do to fix it.

Thanks for the response, though. I've learned a lot about overstimulation on this forum; before I always just thought she was being "witchy." But, in these situations, I just don't this is the problem. I could be wrong, but it doesn't seem like that's what is happening.
mismodliz is offline  
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 05:29 PM
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The signs can be as small as a twitch of the skin. I watched two cats have an hour-long argument yesterday without moving or making a noise, but I could almost taste the hostility in the tiny muscle tics and upper whisker positions. No tails, no ears, no hissing, just staring and minute muscle movements until one of them gave in (they are both very bossy female cats, very much cat's-cats and not people-cats, who have been used to intimidating their various condo-mates, and now they're in a condo together...it's been fascinating watching their interactions, and I have been learning tons from it)

I would second the "just don't pat" idea and see if it helps. Let her come up on his lap, but no patting. If that solves the problem, the issue is likely petting overstimulation. SOmetimes, cats will give different signals to different people. Assumpta always gives us fair warning before she bites, but gives none at all to kids, and very little to adult visitors (hence my "please don't pat my cat" rule").

A vet visit might also be in order to rule out any skin or hypersensitivity problems, as well.
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