Cat Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello cat lovers!

The first of the year we adopted a sweetheart of a cat named Maddie. Two years old, she was very well mannered and sweet. I live with my elderly parents and particularly wanted her for them.

Now, a few weeks out, and she is starting to bite when you reach down to pick her up. She also bites when you pet her...it's not one of those "over stimulated" bites, it's an angry bite. She stares at your hand and flicks her tail with her ears back.

My dad said to me the other day, "Your cat doesn't like me." It made me feel crummy.

I just don't know what to do. I've read that cats will give you a warning when irritated...flicking their tail but, honestly, she ALWAYS is flicking her tail angrily. Literally from day one, she is always flicking her tail back and forth like she is mad.

I know the problem is usually with the people so what are we doing wrong?? We've tried to be open and calm with her, talk softly. She just keeps biting and doesn't seem happy.

Thanks for any help, really appreciate it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Pretty sad tonight. I'm ready to give up on my new cat

Hi there,

Well, things are going terrible with my new cat and I really could use your advice.

On Jan 1, I adopted a two year old, Maddie, from a shelter. It was rough from the get go..the poor cat had an upper respiratory infection and took a good week to get well.

Now that she is finally well, I'm finally able to see her personality. And it's just tough. She bites constantly. When you go to pick her up, when you pet her, bite, bite, bite. They aren't playful bites. Her tail swishes angrily back and forth.

She is an indoor cat and I've tried to get her a lot of toys to play with. She plays so aggressively, I can't tell if she is even having any fun.

I don't know how to else to say this but I guess we aren't bonding. I want to, she is such a sweetheart underneath all this drama.

The hardest part for me is I feel like I'm somehow making her worse. I don't know what to do...do I discipline her when she bites at me? Do I ignore her?

The only way I can tell she even likes me is that she follows me room to room to room. Wherever I go, she goes.

Do I just not pet her? That seems unnatural.

Do I play with her? Do I not play with her?

I'm feeling really quite brokenhearted about it. That probably seems like an overreaction, I know. I had high expectations because I lost my 11 year old cat to cancer in early December. Maddie was given to me as a Christmas gift and I guess I'm just not use to a cat that is so remote.

I want it to work, of course. I want her to be happy in her new home. And I'm so frustrated (and confused) that it's not working out. I literally don't know what to differently.

I really appreciate any help you can give me, thanks much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
Hey, sorry you lost your other cat. That must be rough to deal with on top of what's going on with Maddie. :patback

Have you taken Maddie to the vet recently for a check up, to rule out any physical reasons she might biting? If you haven't I would definitely suggest doing that, first and foremost. Drastic changes in behavior can signify something medical going on with your cat.

Out of curiosity, is Maddie declawed? Some declawed cats can have problems with biting.

I don't think disciplining her when she bites will help at all. She won't understand why she's being disciplined. How hard does she bite? Has she ever drawn blood, or is she just giving you a warning bite? To me it sounds like she's trying to tell you she's uncomfortable with being picked up and/or petted. When they put their ears back and lash their tail they are usually trying to tell something is bothering them. If your cat is giving you those signals you should try to respect that.

Some cats don't care what you do to them, but some are really particular about their personal space. My cat Sassy will only allow me to pet her head and sometimes her back - and I have to be really gentle and respectful, or she'll smack me. If anyone dares try to touch her stomach, she will give them a warning bite. I call it a warning bite because she never breaks the skin - I know she could do a LOT of damage if she wanted to, but she isn't trying to hurt anyone. Just let them know she seriously wants them to back off.

With Sassy I never just reach out to pet her either, or she runs away. I offer her my hand to sniff, then kind of hold it out to her; if she wants pet she'll nudge under my hand, and then I know she's giving me permission to touch her. With some animals it's important to get that permission. She also really prefers if I get down on my knees before I pet her. I can understand why a cat might get nervous with a big human looming over them.

Anyway there are ways you can bond with your cat without touching her. Playing is a great way, and as long as your cat is willingly playing with you she's probably enjoying it. When cats don't like something they let you know :p You can also try just sitting or lying near her on the floor. Read a book, or just talk softly to her. Help her realize she can be close to you without always being touched.

Anyway if I were you, I would stop touching her for now, and ask your family to do the same. Let her come to you. Let her know you'll be respectful of her space. If she doesn't want to be touched it's not really something you can change, unfortunately. But she can still be a good companion, and she can still be happy in your home.

Good luck with Maddie.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
How long ago did you adopt her? You mention losing your cat early in December, so am I right to assume it hasn't been long?

Hopefully no one will bite my head off for saying this, however, if she's granted a clean bill of health by the vet and there's no improvement in her behaviour, then have you considered taking her back to the shelter? There's no shame in doing that, and most shelters tend to accept animals back if they don't get along for whatever reason.

Now, I wouldn't mention the above if it weren't for your elderly parents. Of course, each cat has its own way of being, but if it were me, I wouldn't enjoy the chance of my parents getting bitten every time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Do you have cable? There's a show called "My Cat From ****" that recently had an episode about cats that bite. You can go online and watch episodes too.

From what I can remember (and I hope I'm not confusing episodes) playing with the cat and providing cat trees and horizontal areas for the cat could climb did wonders.

Do you have any cat trees? How often do you play with her?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
I had a cat from the time I was born until I was 21. We just called her Pussycat, it was all she would respond too. You did not pet Pussycat, you touched her with fear. Dogs did not touch Pussycat, they stared at her and trembled.

Touching her was about as safe as sticking your hand in a used needle container in a hospital, it was bound to be bad. She would sit near you, and tolerate you being near, but that was it. She didn't bother anything that didn't bother her.

Toward the last 2 years of her life she got mellowed out, and would sit beside you and look at you in a way that let you know it was ok to pet her. We never judged her, we just accepted that's who she was. We'd occasionally get a few strokes in before she'd turn and give us that "who told you that was ok?" look.

That cat was awesome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
If she's happy not being touched, leave her alone for a while. let her come to you.
she might calm down about it with time and patience. And all that twitchy-ness, maybe she should go to the vet. I hope you come back to read this.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top