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Discussion Starter #1
Situation is...1yr old spayed female tabby cat - surrendered for rehoming due to aggression problems.

Ok, obviously - there are all type of homes, owners - and mistakes people make with cats. But the facts of this case are ...

The owners got this cat as an 8week old kitten, on paper they look like good owners. Had it vaccinated as a kitten, regularly wormed and flea'd, had it spayed and microchipped at 6 months. Lives indoors and out.

Tried a few things, advice from vet about behaviour etc ... tried calmers and pheremones ... and reluctantly ... came to the decision that they could no longer keep it, as it was biting them, scratching them (breaking the skin and just generally being aggressive)

Owners were distraught at the thought of having the cat euthanised, so paid a large donation to have the cat boarded while a home is found. (obviously this is going to be difficult with the history) so this cat is currently being 'aimed at' a farm home, where hopefully it won't be able to hurt people.

Now here's the strange part.

Cat's been boarding for a forthnight ...in what you could definitely call a stressful environment (not set up for boarding longterm)
Lots of traffic, lots of other cats, lots of smells, lots of different people, lots of noise (barking etc) sometimes confined to quite a small kennel (depends on space)

I know you are probably reading that, thinking - argh, why is the cat being housed such? But there is no alternative, shelters, can't take in nice, healthy cats ... nevermind ones with suspect temperament.

And... for all intensive purpose ... it seems it's the friendliest cat ever???
Cries for attention, pokes paws (without claws) out through the kennel door when people are passing. Preens and purrs for attention, loves a cuddle ... hasn't shown any aggression directed at humans (it sometimes screeches and richochets around the kennel when it bored or playing - whatever)
Infact, doesn't even seem to mind other cats, stares at dogs, but shows no signs of aggression.

Good litter habits, but will shred the bedding in its kennel or tip up water... can't blame it really, bored/stressed/not enough space.

Doesn't particularly like being picked up/carried (just tries to squirm free)... but then, my gentle friendly cat protests at that...

Its just if anything ... you would expect, that were this cat mistreated, not managed properly, didn't get enough attention or was overstimulated, environmental issues ...etc ... these would be magnified in this situation????



Thoughts?
 

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I've met many animals that take shocking advantage of their owners lack of knowledge about pets. They usually settle down almost instantly when they are in the hands of people who know what they're doing.

While I taught dog training at petsmart I taught MANY dogs (like 1 per class) that was awful for their owners, and perfect as soon as I had the leash.

I've met cats like that too. Given up for 'behavioral issues' when what they had was no manners. For the right person it can be an easy fix. The rescue my store worked with had many 'caution' kitties...I trimmed their nails in a PetSmart. They just needed a person who understood them and was patient.

I'd suggest rehoming to a family who has raised kittens before and has other cats. It'll probably do just great.
 

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I've met many animals that take shocking advantage of their owners lack of knowledge about pets. They usually settle down almost instantly when they are in the hands of people who know what they're doing.

While I taught dog training at petsmart I taught MANY dogs (like 1 per class) that was awful for their owners, and perfect as soon as I had the leash.

I've met cats like that too. Given up for 'behavioral issues' when what they had was no manners. For the right person it can be an easy fix. The rescue my store worked with had many 'caution' kitties...I trimmed their nails in a PetSmart. They just needed a person who understood them and was patient.

I'd suggest rehoming to a family who has raised kittens before and has other cats. It'll probably do just great.
I've definitely come across this in dogs now that you mention it!

I just didn't associate it with this cat, because its not getting much individual attention ... and, we're not all cat people ... the caution sign ;-) is usually enough to have some of the staff tiptoeing around it... and yet, even for them, its been good! Actually even young work experience students have spent time with it...? (school age, little or no experience, may not even have pets...obviously after we hadn't had problems with it)

On the dog one, possibly the most stark case I ever saw... I was actually incredulous ... little dog that was coming in for eyedrops 3x daily ... it just said on the file that the owner wasn't able to apply them, but I wasn't involved in the case so I didn't know the whole scenario.

So for a good few days, I either took the dog, or returned the dog to the owner, or put drops in ... easiest dog in the world... most of these drop-in's for drops dogs ... you could gaurantee you would at least need someone to hold the dog, sometimes they are very difficult, few are just 'good'...

This dog was perfect, absolutely perfect. So one day, when I had collected dog, put the drops in by myself, dropped him back ... and offered to take owner aside and show him how to do it ... just, how to restrain it safely by yourself and apply the drops. Save him so many trips -I thought that, either he didn't have help, didn't know how, struggled, and yes theres also the possibilty the dog just doesn't behave for the owner ... what I didn't expect was, that as soon as I went to take the lead back from the owner ... the dog went ballistic insane, teeth stripped, launching at me. I didn't even have the drops out ... but yes apparently ... this is what the dog does with the owner (was actually very dangerous behaviour).. and also, apparently... even just in the presence of the owner!!! (I'm not even quite sure how the dog knew what was going to happen? It was no different to any of the other days/ways I'd taken him before!)

Anyway, back to the cat ...I had hoped as you say - that she will actually be just fine in an experienced home.

We haven't much of a waiting list at the moment :???: and I tried to encourage a few just to come and look at her even ... but no, not even a viewing. I have to warn them obviously, but I've tried to reassure them about her behaviour with us, and without 'blaming' previous owners, just explaining a few things why she may be completely fine in a different home.....even to the point of offering a short foster trial etc... but no interest:neutral:

She has everything going for her aswell, its such a shame. Really pretty little tabby with a white beard, and all up to date healthwise.
 

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I would say they don't know what they're doing. Just because people own pets doesn't mean that they are adept at dealing with animal behaviour and understanding it, in fact many pet owners aren't.

Most people I know who have pets are hopeless with them, they might love them but the pets walk all over them.

Just ask for very experienced cat people and even by talking to them you will get a sense of whether or not they truly understand the animals. All this cat needs is to have someone above her in the pecking order and she will settle down. It sounds like she has a dominance issue, and the aggression is simply a by-product of that.
 

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Not sure it's a total myth (speaking of dogs, not cats). Just as there is support to back it up as a myth, there is support to back it up as a fact .. and from the same type of source:

American Dog Trainers Network -- Taming the Dominant Dog

However, speaking of cats, I've found that some cats respond better/differently in different environments and around different humans. My cat was an angel at the vet's during her recent overnight stay, while at home .. well it's a lot closer to the other, spicier end of the spectrum!
 

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Cats still have a pecking order. If they are currently at the "top" of that pecking order, they are going to behave aggressively while in their territory, that's natural.

Take them out of their "territory" or introduce them into an environment where they are no longer at the "top" and the aggressive behaviour will cease.

It's not "dominance" in the traditional sense, like you would have with a dog, but cats still definitely have their own pecking order and problems can occur because of it.
 

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Not sure it's a total myth (speaking of dogs, not cats). Just as there is support to back it up as a myth, there is support to back it up as a fact .. and from the same type of source:

American Dog Trainers Network -- Taming the Dominant Dog
I've thought about this for a few days, and while I have no interest in fighting or arguing I also feel the need to try and give as many people true information as possible.

There is a reason I chose the article I did. It is from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the largest and most well respected organization of it's type. They base their methods on current science, have many members who are certified behaviorists, and generally are THE authority.

However, for the sake of fairness I've also found a few other articles from other well respected groups.

A pamphlet from The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior regarding using dominance theory in behavior modification: http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/dominance statement.pdf
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior is linked to the American Veterinary Association (as you probably guessed), and is very respectable. They both support the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

An Article from the New York Times that includes information from a top wolf researcher, David Mech: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/31/opinion/31derr.html?_r=1

Articles published my David Mech: Articles - L. David Mech

And, just to be thorough, David Mech's credentials page from his website: L. David Mech

Also, just because there are a few very good articles, here is a search I did on Patricia McConnell's blog. You used her book as an example, but her book is not about dominance the way most people think about it. I have read that booklet and many others by her and she is reffering more to what I would call leadership. Search results for dominance TheOtherEndoftheLeash
Patrica McConnell's credentials: About Us at Patricia McConnell

Even if you believe in dominance in dogs that does not mean it translates into cats. As everyone here should know cats are NOT the same as dogs. They evolved differently, became domesticated (sort of, in the case of cats) differently, and therefore their behavior is entriely different.

Dogs are usually at the top, or near there, of the food chain. They are genrally an apex predator. Not so with cats. The small african cat that our domesticaed friends are descended from wasn't an apex predator. Because of this our cats have behaviors from both predator and prey, which is drastically different from any dog or wolf.

If left pretty much to themselves feral cats can form bonds and friendships, live in groups and colonies ect. But they don't hunt together, in fact the only time a feral cat will share food is a mother feeding her kittens. Otherwise they tend to be quite vocal about keeping food to themselves.

Wild dogs hunt together, share food, and play together. It's not the same.

So even if you do believe in dominance (which I really don't, or at least not the way it's commonly percieved) you have to admit that you can't apply that sort of thinking from one species to another. It just doesn't work.

In any case this is the last I'll say about it in this thread since it's off topic enough.

Cats still have a pecking order. If they are currently at the "top" of that pecking order, they are going to behave aggressively while in their territory, that's natural.

Take them out of their "territory" or introduce them into an environment where they are no longer at the "top" and the aggressive behaviour will cease.

It's not "dominance" in the traditional sense, like you would have with a dog, but cats still definitely have their own pecking order and problems can occur because of it.
This is very true, but it isn't 'dominance' it's territoriality. They can learn to overcome this early on, but we see threads on a regular basis about things suddenly going wrong between two cats who had gotten along well previously. It's not the same.

In this case OP I would say that it's a simple case of a change in environment (which will disrupt most learned behaviors temporarily at least), and people who are more familiar with handling animals and reading body language.

If it was me I'd remove the warning sign entirely. If you haven't seen the behavior, and neither has anyone else who has dealt with this cat then there's no need to label it as dangerous. If it can behave itself in a stressful situation (which I would say a kennel counts) then it should be fine with experienced owners.
 

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Umm, I believe I did say I was speaking of dogs, not cats. I'm not sure why you felt you had to come back and defend your point of view. These are simply personal opinions and biases, with each view having the ability to be backed up by other sources, but I'm not going to bother spending time doing so. :) I'm sorry if you felt it was an attack of your opinion and certainly wasn't worth your spending a few days thinking about it to forumulate a rebuttal.
 
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