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To start I'll give you a little background. We got a kitten at 6 weeks old. She is a female calico cat and when we got her as a kitten, she was lovable. She let us hold her and no problems. We got her spayed at about 8 months old. It has been since then we have noticed some weird behaviors. She seems very jumpy... scared of every little noise made. Even if you reach down to pet her she will jump or act startled. She has attacked my daughter a couple times, but never bad or anything just a hiss and maybe a paw bat or two. Then one time she became very agressive and just randomly walked up to my daughter and stratched her pretty bad on her leg. We talked about getting rid of her and decided we would just slow things down here at the house to help her relax a bit. She did wonderful... no more problems, other then the usual jumpiness. We ended up getting another kitten in hopes it would bring out some mothering instincts in her and well it kinda did. She was always caught cleaning the new kitten. Her and the kitten would play, in fact she enjoyed laying on us again. We thought we figured it out until today that is.

Today she was doing fine, the kitten wasn't bothering her or anything and I noticed her sniffing in the air letting out a little growl. I looked over and her growling with raised hair on her back and a bushy tail triggered the kitten to do the same. He didn't growl or hiss he just had the raised hair and tail. So I thought I'd better separate the two and as soon as I bent down to pick the kitten up she went after me. I had never ever seen her act the way she acted today. I am afraid we cannot keep her any longer, we cannot put our children at risk of being attacked by her and being hurt.

So I guess after this lonnnnnng book I wrote my main question is why is she like this? Why would she act so aggressive. We are very loving to her and welcome the opportunites to hold her when they come... so I just don't understand what is going on.

Any suggestions would be great... thanks
 

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Sounds to me like a common case of misplaced aggression. If a cat is upset or scared by another cat, a dog, or anything at all, really, and can't get to whatever is causing the upset, the closest moving target will sometimes get nailed instead.

Can you recall anything from outside that may have been disturbing your cat? You said she was sniffing - can you think of anything she could have smelled that was different than normal?

Sometimes (but not often) even changing one's lotion, body-wash or shampoo can set a cat off, as they depend on smell for identification purposes and if you don't smell like you usually do, then you're no longer familiar to the cat.

Finding the stressor and, if at all possible, eliminating it, is your best recourse. I absolutely wouldn't get rid of a kitten for this; it can be managed and as the kitty grows and becomes ever more comfortable in herself and her surroundings, she may become less likely to react like this.

I've experienced this myself, and learned that the best thing to do when a cat is upset is to let 'em be until they're calm once again, then figure out what the stressor was and either remove it or watch out for it going forward.

Regards!

AC
 

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I agree with AC. It sounds like misplaced aggression, often called redirected aggression. It seems as if your kitten either smelled something or saw something that upset her. Perhaps someone in your family had been around other animals earlier that day, and your kitten could smell the other animals. Perhaps there was a window open and she smelled something from outside. AC listed various other possibilities and perhaps there's something else that you can think of.

Here is a link to an article that discusses aggression in cats, including redirected aggression. You might find this helpful. ASPCA - Virtual Pet Behaviorist - Aggression in Cats
 

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I will definately check it out

She will be 2 years old in April so she isn't really a kitten anymore...

As far as letting her work it out and let her be until she calms is virtually impossible. She acts so quickly we don't really know its coming and the moment we do realize she is going to react like this if we try to leave the room .. you got, the first moving object or person to look into her eyes.. she snags em. The only other times we have seen this type of behavior which I failed to mention in the first post, was when she hears a certain noise. Examples would be the noise of a computer chair squeaking or if you bend the arms of a baby doll and it has a squeaky type of noise as well as any squeaky noise from shutting a window.

The window as open today, just slightly cracked. I just cannot decided what the stressor could have been today.. and we aren't getting rid of our kitten Oliver, we debated on getting rid of Paisley. I fear she will attack one of my kids while sleeping if they were to snore or make a noise that she dislikes.
 

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You will see in the article I posted that high-pitched noises can sometimes be the source of aggression (see the section on redirected aggression), which might explain her reactions to squeaks. I wouldn't classify snoring as a high-pitched noise, but if you're concerned, you might consider getting Paisley accustomed to sleeping in a separate room overnight.
 

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You said it began after she was spayed at 8 months. It may have been a very traumatic experience for her. All cats deal with it in different ways, depending on their personality. Not only that, not all people working in the vet's office are gentle with the animals. They can be very rough with them, especially if they put up a fight.
I know from experience. I worked as a vet assistance at an emergency clinic and I was absolutely shocked by how some of the techs treated injured animals or sick animals who weren't cooperative.
 

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My aunts cat is a lot like you describe and about the same age. In general, she just seems like a really spooky cat and dislikes any kind of loud noise (which means just about anyone walking around that's heavy footed) and she doesn't like any fast movements, and usually doesn't even appear to enjoy being petted, she seems to think you're going to attack her - she'll raise her paw in defense - often hold down your hand to the ground. My aunt says a lot of it started when she was spayed, although it's debatable if it simply got progressively worse. Looking in her eyes you can see even in her own home she's somewhat ill at ease - always waiting for the next sudden movement, likely.

About a month ago the cat started acting a lot worse than normal, hissing, running around the house in terror, attacking my aunt. It turned out she had a bladder infection and was not showing any of the typical symptoms. One it was treated this did not make her spookiness go away, but it stopped her from the completely random attacking.

My aunt is going to be putting the cat on psych drugs soon I think, since she isn't sure what else to do. You might look into this as an option.

Now, my opinion is: The cat probably isn't totally normal but with a lot of understanding and work, she can come to be a great cat. Lots of cats aren't totally "normal", you shouldn't give up your cat because of this.

How old are your children? If they are old enough to understand what the cat might like and what it might not like, I don't think this is a reason to give up your cat. A scratch here and there from a cat is nothing - it happens, it should be expected! Even when a cat is playing this type of thing will happen at times. Some cats will fly and attack for no reason that we can perceive... they're kind of psychotic - my does this and I've learned to live with it. I can tell he's about to because his pupils get larger. Otherwise he's totally loving. I even read an article about these kind of cats at the vets a few months ago. Just the movement of a blanket to a cat might set them off, since they might be very upset with changes in their environment.

A lot of cats do have misplaced aggression, or are spooked easily, or come with a number of problems. The trick is to learn what sets them off and to try your best to avoid those things or work with the cat to slowly overcome the issues. You need to be very understanding of the cat. For example, my dad lumbers around the house with no regard for my aunts cat when its over and the cat hates him for it since she she doesn't like the noise. He'll try and pick her up like you might a normal cat and ignores the fact that she doesn't like it, making her hate him all the more. Once she bit him she was so frightened of him - very hard! This wasn't the cats fault, it was my fathers for not reading the signs that the cat was scared out of its mind. If the cat is that scared, leave it alone. My dad's type of attitude towards the cat doesn't get either of them anywhere. She always bristles when she sees him.

My aunts cat, I think, likes me better than even my aunt, since I understand that she doesn't like noise or sudden movement - the cat follows me around my house when she's over here, despite being spooked easily. Underneath the scared behavior is a really great cat if you take the time to look.

A lot of people just want a normal cat with no "problems" and can't deal with this type of thing, they don't stop to really analyze what is setting the cat off and don't look for ways to try and help the cat get over the problems. I don't think that's fair, since you are the owner you should try everything possible or learn to live with it.
 

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What an excellent post, Carmel. Cats are individuals, just like we are.

As a general rule, most cats are uncomfortable around loud, high energy people. My nephew comes in the house like a hurricane and with the exception of a few, the fur flies in all directions, and he wonders why. I try to explain this to him, over and over. I have to admit, I resent people coming into my home and disturbing my cats. After all, it is their home. Personally, I don't like loud people either so I understand their feelings about it.
 

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What an excellent post, Carmel. Cats are individuals, just like we are.

As a general rule, most cats are uncomfortable around loud, high energy people. My nephew comes in the house like a hurricane and with the exception of a few, the fur flies in all directions, and he wonders why. I try to explain this to him, over and over. I have to admit, I resent people coming into my home and disturbing my cats. After all, it is their home. Personally, I don't like loud people either so I understand their feelings about it.
Yeah, that. All of it. Big-time.

I love my granddaughter to a depth that takes my breath away, but doggone is she rough on home tranquility. Her departure is just about as welcome as her arrival is anticipated.

AC
 

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Well, my nephew is fifteen. Time for him to tone down and enter the house like a civilized human, instead of an untrained dog, lol. He loves animals, especially cats but his energy is just too erratic for my sensitive felines. Although, he was accused of stealing a cat from a neighbor when he was four. In his defense, the kitten chose him and wouldn't stay home. That cat adored him and still does, but she's deaf, so that might have something to do with it.
 

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Kalena, sorry to hear what you've been going through. This cat taken away from momcat and siblings at 6 weeks, missed out on some critical socialization from that age to 11-12 weeks. This is when they learn to control their bite and claws by rough play with their siblings and momcat. They learn also what and what not to be afraid of. If momcat does not react to noises, neither will her kittens be afraid or upset. So your cat has had to figure this out on her own. My guess why she attacked is what others have suggested--redirected aggression-- likely triggered by scent of another cat from the window. Cats can even react to tomcat scent outside a house even tho the windows are closed. They have very sensitive sense of smell, as well as hearing, so it may also have been some type of noise outside as well.

For your daughter's safety, the cat should be locked away in a separate room for the night, or daughter's bedroom door should be kept closed. If you see the cat looking like it is upset it is best to ignore it, talk softly to it and sit or stand still.

Have you noticed any changes in her urination whether there might be a problem? As Carmel suggested, it could be a medical condition making her feel grumpy or uncomfortable.

I do hope you're able to work around her without giving her up. If you see her looking like she might attack (eyes dilated are usually the first sign) you might try distracting her with words "Want treats?" "Want catnip?" when I say "want treats" to my cats they go and sit in front of the cupboard where they're kept. Train her to respond to these words. Catnip is a mild sedative, altho cats may respond to it vigorously in the beginning but if you give them some to eat it makes them sleepy. I hope some of these suggestions work for you. All the best!
 
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