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attitude change in my cat

1731 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  librarychick
So I've tried to google this to find information but have come up short so i thought i would ask you guys and see if anyone had a similar situation or any advice.

When i got Alex from the shelter a few weeks ago he was the most loving cat i had ever met. He was my little shadow and was always ready to sit with me for a long cuddle. So sweet. Even my guests would comment on how they had never seen such a sweet, laid back kitty.

A few days to a week later he started attacking me and only me. Leaves my husband completely alone in that regard. I'm sure that some of this change is just him getting more comfortable but it's been bothering me a lot. I know that sounds childish that i'm upset that i'm the only one that he attacks but it's of course had me wondering what the heck i'm doing to make it only happen to me and what i can do to stop it.

He usually doesn't leave scars. Mainly he will run at my legs when i'm walking around. Or when i'm sitting down in my chair at the computer he will all of a sudden spring up and wrap is arms around my arm and bite. Also in the morning he has attacked my hands and legs multiple times (although sometimes i think he just wants food lol)

I can pick him up and walk around with him for awhile and he doesn't mind. This is the only time i really get to cuddle with him. He doesn't come and sit with me or anything. I'm the one who cleans his litter and feeds him his wet food. I play with him and give him lots of attention.

I just don't want this to be a forever thing. I love him and i don't want to be afraid of him anymore. It's not that i think he's a bad cat but why me and not my husband? What could i possibly be doing? So frustrated. I would appreciate any advice you could give!
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There are so many cat experts on here, and I'm not one of them. All I know is that kittens go through so many personality phases in the first year and a half. Sometimes even more. Patience is your best friend when it comes to strange behavior sometimes. It's difficult though, I know. I can be the worst offender.

One thing a breeder taught me for biting is to push the kittens lower lip over its teeth and gently apply presser. Do it right when they are in the act of trying to be aggressive with their mouths. This is something that really worked for me.
Not sure either, but I agree with ghost town that it could be a phase. Also, it could be that he just feels comfortable with you and is playing with you because of that. Unfortunate, huh? My girl has little crazy spurts at night and will launch herself at me and only me, not my husband. I put her in time out for 10 minutes so she can calm down and that usually does the trick. (that's when I can catch her and she doesn't hide under the bed) he's probably just comfortable with you now.

Sorry I'm not much help!
It sounds like he's playing.

Voldie used to do that when he was younger, with the difference he was taught that using claws/teeth on skin was unacceptable and only ambushed/wrapped his arms around my legs.
Your cat is being normal, don't worry. And he does not dislike you! He is at the age where he is going to strongly resemble a teenager. Like a teenager, he wants to rebel. He wants to test his boundaries, and he wants to 'challenge' your authority. He does it to you specifically because you are his primary caregiver, so in his mind you are his 'parent.' Ive had many cats go through a little phase like this. My newest kitten is going through it right now! She only attacks me, never my fiance, like you i am the one that feeds her, takes care of her litter etc. It can be a bit frustrating. Here's a few tips: when he bites or scratches, let out a LOUD yelp. Try to make your voice sound like an injured animal. This is how he will learn that he is hurting you. Do this every time. Also take your hand away, stop playing with him once he bites. If you continue to play, or push back with your hand, or 'hold' his mouth, he will think you are playing with him. If he continues to attack you (I don't mean an hour later, I mean during the same encounter) then hiss at him. I know that might feel a little weird at first. Continue to do this every time he bites you in an inappropriate way. Stick to yelping and hissing for at least a few days or a week. Sometimes they continue to bite. In this case, blow in his face (the way you'd blow out a candle). Blow hard. Cats really hate it, but it isn't painful so it really works like a charm without causing your kitty pain. I'm sure you wouldn't have, but don't ever smack him or anything like that. That will only make him think that hurting each other is acceptable. some cats only take a few days to learn, other cats can take a couple months. It varies, but usually it takes a couple of weeks. If none of this works (very unusual) then you should use your 'discipline word' (the word you use when he jumps on a table- like NO, STOP, BAD, or HEY. Use a one syllable word). Along with your discipline voice. If none of this works and you are at wits end, you should think about consulting an animal behavioralist. Some cats have anger or aggression issues, and some even need to be prescribed prozac. That is a last resort though. Also, make sure your cat has alternative activities!! If he is just utterly bored to tears, he will do naughty things just to get your attention. Make sure he has the option to be well behaved. So: yelp, hiss, blow, EVERY time he bites. Be consistent. He might forget quickly and bite you 20 minutes later. Be patient and yelp, hiss, blow again. Yelling goes last. Try to avoid it if you can. Good luck!
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I agree with the others, it sounds like he's just playing. My sister's cat went through a phase like that when he was a kitten. He didn't attack my mother or stepfather, just my sister and myself. He only felt comfortable cuddling with the two of us, so we figured he felt the same way about play time.

I wouldn't worry too much! Wishing you the best of luck with your new kitty!
Thanks for your advice everyone! I really really appreciate it. It's been awhile since i've had my own cat and i feel like i am learning all over again! Xrobotlove you have made me feel so much better! This is exactly what i've been looking for. I'm going to follow your advice and i'm sure everything will work out!! Thanks so much!
Your welcome, i love lending a hand to fellow cat lovers. It warms my heart, hehe. I'm going through the same thing, the last time any of my cats were kittens was over five years ago! Although every kitty is a new learning experience, they're all so different. I think my new kitten, Azrielle, is probably the biggest 'handful' I've ever had, but she also has more personality than half the people I know. How old is Alex? It sounds like our kittens may be around the same age, and going through the same stages.
He is a rescue and they estimated his age at 1 1/2
You're not alone! We have the same issue with one of our cats, Puddin. She has been touted as the "best cat I ever groomed" by the groomers and "best cat I ever examined" by the vet. But she has about a 5-minute tolerance when I brush her, and then bad things happen. She is a loving cat but just has no patience with her parents.
Thanks Venus! It's nice to have forums as a resource because no one i talk to where i live seems to have had the same experience. Since i first posted alex has actually jumped up twice and attacked my head which was my biggest (and i thought most irrational) fear!!! I love him and i know i'm going to have to educate myself if i want to have a chance of changing the behaviour but i can't help but miss the cat i thought i had adopted lol
He's adjusting to your home. He is still young and, like the other posters have said, he's a teenager right now. Add to that the fact that he doesn't know the 'rules of the house' yet and you're going to be seriously cultivating patience. Lol.

I agree that he is playing. In fact you should be a little flattered that he's chosen you as his playmate. That doesn't mean what he's doing is ok, but it does mean he wants to be near you and interact with you. You just need to teach him to do it in positive ways.

You mentioned that you play with him. Perfect. But you do need to be careful how you are playing with him. Since he's currently having trouble telling the difference between your body parts and toys you need to make sure none of your play involves wrestling or using your body parts to play with him. Wand toys and laser pointers are great ways to wear himout, without teaching him to play with your hands and feet.

I also used to use a big stuffed animal (bigger than the cat) to wrestle with my two boys. They were allowed to growl and pounce, bite and scratch all they wanted...on the toy. As soon as they got my skin or clothes, even by accident I would say "Nuh uh!" and get up to walk calmly away. After that it didn't matter what they did, if they were trying to get me I ignored them or left the room. As soon as they either settled down, or went after another toy the game was back on.

Now both my boys know that the best way to get mom to play is to either bring me a toy, or be a very good kitty. Works like a charm as long as you have the patience to back it up!

Once he settles a bit and works off some of that extra energy he'll be back to loving you.

One thing I noticed about my cats, especially the boys, is that they always feel their snuggliest right after a good wrestle. They'll chase and pounce each other, then settle in to groom, and purr together. It's very sweet. They do the same with me. Once they're done playing they are all snuggles and sweetness. It's a great bonding opportunity!
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