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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We recently got a 12-week old female kitten, and are having some issues we have never seen before in cats.

HISTORY: She was born on Thanksgiving 2020, 1 of 3 females. She is a red tabby with white feet. The owner has several cats and when the litter was born, she placed the momma cat and the 3 babies in a camper located in the backyard. The babies were weaned, and the momma cat was removed from the camper, leaving the kittens to stay in the camper by themselves. The owner went out once a day to check food, water, and litter train/clean box. It was winter, but the owner set the heater in the camper to come on only once the temperature went below 45 degrees! Around 10 weeks of age, 2 of the kittens went to a new home together, and the kitten that would be mine was left, alone, in that camper. Two weeks later, we got her. We named her Buttercup.

CURRENT SITUATION: She is a weird one for us because she is either zooming from one end of the house to the other at 90 mph, or sleeping. She will occassionally "cuddle," but really seems to not like to be touched. In the house is myself, my husband, and our 3 boys (ages 18, 10, and 9). Buttercup can lay in bed with any of the guys in the house and there is no problem. However, if we let her into our room at night (which we don't mind cats sleeping with us), she attacks my head/face. She does not do this to anyone else in the house!

Because of this, we cannot keep her in the room at night. But, whenever send her out, she cries. Our nightly routine at this moment is to turn off the lights in the livingroom, save a couple of nightlights, then we put on YouTube videos that last 8-10 hours showing squirrels, chipmunks, birds, & etc. She settles down and eventually is either transfixed with the critters on the TV, or, falls asleep, at which point we return to bed. We also make sure that all her toys that she loves to play with have been found and collected from under the furniture and placed in her kitty treehouse. Her food and filtered water bowls are topped up, and her box is clean (it gets cleaned twice a day anyway).

We do not like locking her out of the room at night, but, I cannot have her attacking my face. I am home during the day, alone with her, and so I try and spend time with her, and we make sure that I am the only one who gives her her snackies, her food, & etc. so that she associates me with being her caregiver and will abandon this desire to attack me.

What do we do? Why is it only me she is attacking? We have considered getting another kitten so she would have a playmate, maybe learn some other cat social skills, but do we get another male or female? My husband also jokingly said that maybe because I'm going through menopause that Buttercup is picking up on my hormones and quite frankly, doesn't like them anymore than anyone else in the house.

So, what do y'all think?
 

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Lady Silver Belle The Destroyer, Of Clan Grey Tiger
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My guess it's a combination of not knowing human etiquette, youthful exuberance and boredom. Her background is certainly a handicap. She was cooped up in a small space with no interaction with people and, after the family she spent so much time with was adopted out, she was left alone for two weeks! Now, she's in a home where she has loving people and more freedom to explore her world. She doesn't know what to do with it all yet and needs guidance.

The first thing you want to do is establish a routine in her life. Start by ending free feeding. Establish routine feeding times and the rituals surround that routine. Having a routine gives your cat confidence they can rely on their guardians and all is well with the world. Feed your cat at least twice a day. Three or four feedings are better, but sometimes not allowed by our schedules. Figure out how much your cat needs each day to maintain a healthy weight, but not so much you end up with a fat cat. Then divide that amount by the number of feedings to determine how much to give your cat at each meal. Your cat is still growing and needs more than an adult.

Now that you've put your cat on routine mealtimes, you create a ritual to go with it. The natural ritual for a cat is Hunt, Catch, Kill, Eat followed by Grooming & Sleep. What you do is play with your cat prior to each meal. Maybe you can't always play with your cat before feeding, but it's important to do so at least once a day, especially before the last feeding before bedtime. You want your cat to burn off any excess energy during play and as young as your cat is, she has plenty of energy to burn! Use a wand toy and make your cat work for it. Make her run and jump. You don't want playtime to be boring for you or your cat.

The last meal of the day should be served an hour or two before you go to bed. Although play burned off energy prior to feeding, cats get a rise after eating, but settle down after about an hour. Give her enough time to settle down after eating before you go to bed so she doesn't have the rips while you try to sleep. Get your cat into your household routine by a feeding routine.

Cats respond well to bribes. Yes, use treats to bribe your cat to behave. This is another reason to stop free feeding your cat. If they can have as much food they want whenever they want it, treats lose their appeal.

Your cat must be taught hands are not toys. If someone in the house is playing with your cat with their hands, they're teaching her, not only are hands toys, but feet, arms legs and heads are as well. Teaching the cat to attack mom's head isn't acceptable. Have everyone use interactive toys to play with her.

Getting your cat on a playtime & feeding routine should settle her down and boost her comfort and confidence. Everyone in the family has to be on the same page. Treats between meals are good, if dished out sparingly for good behavior. A routine should get her to settle in at night for sleep instead of attacking your head to get your attention.

Welcome to the forums!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We are trying what you suggested, but, it is not working. In fact, things are worsening. Tonight she went for my 9 year old who was minding his own business reading a book.

Later, after her last meal & play time, we were settling into bed & she attacked my face TWICE with claws out.

Last night, she cried & cried that my husband had to stay up with her in the living room, sleeping in his recliner.

We are at our wits end for a cat that doesn't want to be held, petted, & randomly attacks people.
 

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First of all you have a red tabby, and I don't know why it is but reds seem to be more aggressive, quarrelsome, inclined to fight other cats. Something about red hair and temper seems to go together even in people. I suggest you get Buttercup settled down in her behavior before getting another cat.....just don't get a red one! Here's a link you may find interesting:


Another thing you could do is to ban her from the bedrooms at night, and have a few (not all of them out at once) interactive automated toys for her to play with at night in the living room, such as "Flipitty Fish".
 
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