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Hello, in january of last year I got me a cat, cause the owners threatened to shoot her. Took her home and everything seems normal. She likes to cuddle, even comes to lick my hair right after I laid down in my bed. So I'd say she likes me, and I give my best to treat her nice. I'm an animal lover so I spent quite much time with her playing (okay on that part it could be more) and petting her.

Now a few weeks after we got her I noticed that she was really jumpy. When i made a fast move whe arched her back and made a noise I can't describe. Kinda like "rrrrr?", or even run as fast as she can. I always followed her petting her and assuring her that I was no harm for her. And when I took a broom to clean up a bit she hissed (?), and ran for her life.

Now to the problem. My cute cat can be a charmer in one minute and a flesheating monster in the very next second. Imagine me bowing down to her to give her a little kiss and her ramming her claws in the back of my head and biting my nose.

I won't talk me out of this. I didn't react like I should have first. I took her by the neck and put her to the ground, thinking it was the right thing to do as I've seen cats handle such things that way. I wanted to show her who's the boss. And she seemed to understand, staring at me without the slightest move in disbelief that a guy like me who didn't seem too tall beat her in her game.

After a few minutes, of course, I'm totally sorry and do my best to be as nice as I can be. And everything seems back to normal. Only till the next time. And those times I tried to be calmer, and only hissed at her (having read that this would help).

Just minutes ago I was lying besides her on the bed and petting her as she all of a sudden attacked my hand like it was a life threatening thing. Gotta admit, it made me angry and I did it again. Holding her to the ground, hissing at her. I stand up, she stares and as I get back down to her all seems to be fine. She's as calm as she could be and seems to enjoy my petting her.

Also, my cat seems to enjoy peeing in a certain corner. And I can't even say it's because her cat-toilette was not clean. I don't clean the thing thrice a day and she's a world record- sh'tter, but she used to pee in there at nights, when it was quite full and pee in corners the next day when it was almost empty. Now, for sh'tting she always hits the toilette, so I don't understand her. Couldn't say that it's out of frustration either, as she seems to be happy all the time. I don't think it's cause anything changed or cause she's jealous of someone. This is just popping up in my head. Could it be she's not happy to be inrooms al the time? I mean, she first was a housecat, then was given to a kind of farmer where she could probably do what she wanted and is now back in again. I was thinking about going for walks with her, cause sometimes she scratches at the door and begs to get out.

But on the other hand, she doesn't even dare to look out of the window. She never jumps up there and when I take her up to take a look through (the closed) window she gets this huge eyes, like she discovered the prey of her life, but after the third car passing by she puts out her crawls and jumps down from me, like she had to save her life.

Any adviece would be highly appreciated. Some more years with this cat and I'll look like Freddy Krueger. Almost I can't afford to change the carpet every other week.

So any tips would be appreciated. Has anyone experience with walking a cat?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Okay, through the search I stumbled to a link on littlebigcat. Great site btw. I learned a lot from the january newsletter. Also this read got me all excited about "Da Bird". Unfortunately, I'm unable to find a site where I can order it (I live in austria and have no creditcard). Any tipps on that matter would be appreciated. Even at Ebay I didn't find a single one. Thank you
 

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Is your cat spayed? This sounds like it could also be hormone-related.

Glad you like our website! Da Bird is beyond great...hope you can get one soon! :)

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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My dog was abused before we got him for the shelter... i'm not sure how much cats and dogs have in common... but the first time i came home to him, he had gone to the bathroom on the kitchen floor (i guess he had been home alone awhile and couldn't hold it.) Anyway, when i noticed it was there, he got SO scared... more scared than i've ever seen any animal. He was actually trembling all over, huge wide eyes, and after i'd calmed him down i saw that he'd been so scared he peed. Poor thing! He would also run away really fast whenever anyone used the broom. For a while he would go back and forth from being friendly and being scared of us. He eventually came around though! I think the best way to make an animal is just to keep doing what you're doing... being nice to it.

As for the problem with the peeing... a great trick i used when my cats went in a corner of the kitchen... put the food their for a while, after cleaning it as well as you can. cats won't go near their food! :D (wouldn't it be nicer if instead they absolutely refused to go near anything carpeted?)
:)
 

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Another round of thanks from the other half of Little Big Cat! :lol:

Now onto your kit-
It really resonates with me that your cat was at best mistreated and at worst pretty well abused by her former guardians. Threatening to shoot her was probably the last in a long line of threats and actions. That explains the deadly fear of brooms, for instance. Even the fear of getting into the window could stem from someone's unrealistic expectation that cats should not get into windows and beating them for doing it will teach them right from wrong. I spent many years working in animal shelters and saw first hand the insane reasons people would beat their animals. Burning the pads of their feet to teach them not to jump up on the stove is just one ugly example.
Long story short, your cat needs to be handled with kid gloves in order to get through the long long process of recovery, of learning to fully trust humans again. The techniques you've been trying, mostly negative reinforcement techniques like the "alpha roll," trying to show who's the dominant, or even the hiss technique, have by and large been shown not to work.Believe me, I know how frustrating an out of the blue aggression episode can be, but the best thing I can suggest is to walk away from it, or to put her in a "time-out." The hiss thing one second and apologies the next just sends mixed signals. Somehow anticipating the violence is key. For instance, you spoke of bending down over her to kiss her when you get attacked. That surrounding action which may give her the "no-escape" fear, may provoke her. You may just need to approach her differently.
Also, see my article on our website about overxcitement aggression
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... aggression
She may simply be getting too much petting, and the reaction is a physiological one, not behavioral.
This is all much for one post, so I won't go into the rest! Have patience with the girl which it sounds like you have much of. Best to both of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Excuse my language, but now I'm really, really pissed. The fucking thing pissed on my leatherchair. It's worth 600 bucks and I sure ain't rich. You have to understand me. I already moved the carpet out of the room cause it was pissed full and I give my best to treat her like gold. As adorable as she is that's not hard, but what she did today really crosses the line. I just see no f'king reason for this. Her sh't box (what's the name) was pretty clean except for a little pile of crap. But I won't clean it 5 times a day, and she has seen worse. I mean, what crosses her mind? "Well, I love this chair. And it seems to be his favourite place. Ahhh, how sweet he pets me everytime I jump up to him there. Let's **** at it. "

I love the thing, but I also have a temper. I won't talk sweet here, if I had caught her in the act, I think I'd have regreted what I had done. I really need help with her (plus a good advice on how to treat my leatherchair). I'm a good person, can't even kill a fly. But such situations really put me on a test.

Thank you.

PS: Thx to the poster above. An answer from you would be especially appreciated.
 

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as has been said before in this thread, just try and walk away from it before you lose your temper. cats are not stupid animals, and they can sense when you are angry, or when danger may be near. since this animal has a history of abuse, if u continue to lose your temper it will probably just make the situation worse, much worse. there are a number of threads on this forum that can help with the problem of kitty's peeing in places where they shouldnt, so you might wanna do a little browsing. so remember, just give the cat the necessary punishment such as hissing at them, telling them NO, or giving them a time out, and NEVER resort to physical abuse and have to "regret what you have done", because the reason why you took in the cat in the first place is because you wanted to rescue it from that kind of life. im sure that you and your kitty will work everything out, just be patient. Good luck!
P.S: and yes, i have experience walking a cat. it is very nice for indoor only cats who want to go outside. its very easy, u can buy a cat harness at almost any pet shop. my cat at home LOVES his daily walks, and i find that he is less stressed out being inside all day if he gets to go out for a half an hour under supervision. try it, it wont hurt
 

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Let's start by ruling out some of the obvious-
You didn't say whether or not she was spayed.
Also, has she seen a vet recently? we do need to rule out a medical problem- a lower urinary tract infection, bladder infection, stones, etc. In the long run it just adds to the frustration level to analyze every behavioral angle when she could just be raising that red flag saying "ouch!" not anything personal.
That's an important point as well. As you become increasingly more and more agitated, be sure not to project motivations onto her in the heat of the moment, like she's being spiteful or that she's making a specific attack on you. Motive has to be determined by a systematic series of rule-outs. as some have stated, take a deep breath and walk away. Remember, her attention span to the action is less than a second 1/2. That means that if you found the pee and then yelled at her, the only purpose that would serve is to reinforce her lack of trust in you, and perhaps perpetuate the problem.
Just hang in there, be patient, and let's start with answering those physically based questions.

Best,
Jackson
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'll go to a vet with her soon. I just bought her a nice leash and collar. It was surprisingly easy to put it on her head, but it barely fits her waiste. Also, she doesn't let me put it on her waist. Already gave her some food to make her stand still but I guess she doesn't want anyone bugging her while eating.

BTW, I think my leather chair is saved. Today she went to the litter (is this it) to pee. I gave he a snack. A minute later I see her taking a sh*t. Gave her another snack. Hope she got the point. (Litter: Good; leather-chair: bad).

So anyone has any tricks to get the collar on the cat?
 

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In the beginning it is best to have someone else hold the cat while you are putting the collar and leash on, then the cat will eventually look forward to the event and let you put it on yourself. When i lived at home with the cat that i walked, he used to be sitting by the door with the harness in his mouth and waiting for me to take him out. since ive moved to college, my mom walks him, and he still waits by the door everyday! oh, and if you have a long haired cat, try to keep them out of the dirt whenyou are walking them because all the little knats and weeds get stuck in there and create mats ( i had to learn this the hard way), and can be very painful! have fun!
 

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My s/o bought a harness/leash for my cat to take her outside - a compromise since I didn't want her out there! :)

He would hold her and pet her. While she was relaxed and unsuspecting, he would slowly put on it on her - very slowly. Sometimes it takes him 10 min. to get it on, but she handles it well using this method.

... and this comes from the cat who hates and refuses collars.
 

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i'm sure you already checked this, but, if the harness was easy for her head and too small for her waist, was it backwards?
 

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My advise would be to trim her claws first of all, it'll prevent nasty scratches.

My cats are the same way when you hold them in one position too long, they get restless, it is not exclusive to the window or to abused cats. So estimate the amount of time she'd like to look out the window, then put her down before she gets fiesty.

Spend time with her, but don't over-pet her. I have a very fierce female cat in my home, she's ok if I stroke her a little and looks like she rather enjoys it. Then the next sec she gives me the glare, and I stop before she goes crazy. We respect each other's space, and perhaps your cat wants that too.

I may get beaten up for saying this, but if she were to pee on your couch, the only way to get her to stop is to let her smell her urine then smack her on her butt. Repeat it about 3 times and let her go. Don't smack her too hard, but let it register in her head that the equivalent of urinating on the couch is something nasty. I've trained all five of my cats that way, and it hasn't dampened our relationships at all. They have to understand when they enter a house there are certain rules to follow, and if the rules are not broken, that you can still be the best of friends.
 

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Ci, I don't know where you got that idea. The old "rub their nose in it and smack them" has never worked and never will. In fact, it's very close to animal abuse.

At best, punishment will teach the cat not to do the behavior when you're in the room, at worst it will teach the cat to fear you, and frightened cats tend to mark even more, in an attempt to make their territory less scary and more "theirs."

Taking a cat over to urine that has been sitting there and punishing tells her, "If there is old urine on the couch, you will get beaten." This does nothing to help her associate the "act" of urinating with bad things. Please re-read some of the earlier posts, specifically about attention span. You even said it yourself: she needs to know that "urinating" on the couch is bad...punishing after the fact doesn't make that association.

In this particular case, beating a frightened cat is the absolute worst thing to do.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Spend time with her, but don't over-pet her. I have a very fierce female cat in my home, she's ok if I stroke her a little and looks like she rather enjoys it. Then the next sec she gives me the glare, and I stop before she goes crazy.
Ci - I think your cat is related to my Stephen; she's the same way, especially with my s/o. If you see the glare or the tail, beware!!
 

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drjean said:
Ci, I don't know where you got that idea. The old "rub their nose in it and smack them" has never worked and never will. In fact, it's very close to animal abuse.
Well it has for me and my family. It's been close to 16 years that I've had cats. We tried the positive/gentle approach at the beginning, but the cats only climbed over our heads and did what they pleased. We ended up having to clean up after them, getting whacked and scratched by them whenever they pleased and having them steal the food from under our noses. It couldn't go on of course, so we began treating them like we would human kids. Spoke to them (in english), pointed, gestured and smacked them when they were disobedient. Through time we realised they were really picking up human words, and were quickly quitting bad habits (ie. urinating on furniture, scratching people and understanding the difference between human food and cat food). They even began to stand really still during baths, which was quite a bonus, and thank us for food, which we had not trained them for. I guess it all came along with mutal respect. Toffee, the female cat, even took it upon herself to be the monitress of the household, and would often be seen scolding the other cats if they broke the rules, or even giving them a smack on the backside like we would! It's amazing how much they pick up. The more we treat them like humans, the more they act that way.

I wouldn't call it animal abuse, but I do believe in the concept 'spare the rod and spoil the child', and in this case, it would apply to pets as well. In the beginning they were smacked when they did unacceptable things, but these days they only need a stern talking to to get the message. And other than those moments, Toffee loves playing peek-a-boo, and Sandy loves cuddling up with me - so I don't think they're upset or afraid. But they do know they must respect their limits to a certain extent.

mismodliz is that so! Sometimes it's clear in Toffee's glare that she doesn't want to play, but other times she has that funny look about her, and starts rolling on the ground like she wants to play. So I tickle her tummy, and she acts like she hates it 'cos she'll try to catch my hand and nibble on it, but if I were to walk away, she'll try to grab my leg so I can't leave :lol: . She's a very sweet cat, despite that oh-so-tomboyish exterior heh....

btw, I love the name Stephen! He must be a sweetie.

 

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What I see "working" is that your cats have been taught that when you talk "sternly" they are about to get beaten and they quit whatever they're doing and run. It's unlikely they associate it with the behavior itself, unless you are and have always been 100% accurate in your timing. This means that every time they perform the behavior (24/7), you are there with the punishment at the exact right moment. Certainly they have learned not to do particular things around you, so your perception is that the behavior is gone.

It is, of course, necessary to set limits on a cat's behavior, but this does not need to involve smacking them or any other kind of corporal punishment.

Every competent animal behaviorist on the planet would disagree with your "technique." In the cases that I have personally seen and worked with, using force or physical punishment has only served to make the animals (cat or dog) more fearful, more aggressive, and worsen the problems. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone else.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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drjean said:
What I see "working" is that your cats have been taught that when you talk "sternly" they are about to get beaten and they quit whatever they're doing and run.
Actually not to dispute your point drjean, but the cats don't run. If they did, I'd probably know what I was doing is wrong. When I talk sternly to them, they sit and stare, then they usually don't do it anymore. Sandy is usually ok when I do that for him, he won't argue with me. But Toffee will, if she finds the rules unreasonable. I tell her there's no arguing with the rules because she has it very easy already, and she walks off in a huff. But she doesn't do it again either. I guess they could be doing naughty stuff while we're away, but that's the time our food is packed away in containers and it's not as damaging if they were to climb the dining table. The other rules are not to hurt human beings, to stand still during baths, and not to get on the sofa in case they decide to take a pee or vomit a furball. seppl's problem kinda reminded me of ours. It's ok if it's on the ground, but it is a horrible hassle to clean up the sofa, especially since ours is a fabric sofa. So we make it clear that the sofa is off limits. You may have a point because at times I do find fur on the sofa, but it's much reduced as compared to if we openly allowed them to laze on it. And the chance of getting a nasty urine patch or furball on the sofa is also reduced. That's all that matters. I don't want this household to become a military camp, but I want there to be some amount of respect at least. At least they know not to mess around by hurting us or running around the house during bath time, and I'm plenty proud of them already. Can't expect them to be angels 24/7, even I can't achieve that :oops:

Of course such discipline can easily be abused, and in that way drjean is absolutely right for taking a stand. There has to be love in discipline else one can end up hurting the cats merely to satisfy one's ego. In that aspect, my advise would be pretty counter-productive.
 
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