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Hi, I would have posted this in the behavior forum but I saw that this area gets the most posts and I want to make sure and get as much input as possible... I am a dog person and this is my first cat, after having her for a couple weeks I now have a problem that has been getting worse...

I adopted a 5 yr. old Siamese from a shelter :) At first she was really sweet and loving and we bonded right away, all she wanted to do was lay around me and snuggle. Now though, it is like her whole personality changed! She just wants to hang out by herself and everytime I go to pet her she will act like it is play-time and swat at me and bite. This kind of surprises me because it seems like she went from one extreme to the other personality-wise.

It gets worse though... EVERY NIGHT when I go and get in bed to sleep she comes running in from wherever she was and attacks my bed! Sometimes she'll try and attack me too. Her ears are back the whole time she is going through her "wild spell", her mouth and eyes wide open (haha, it's actually pretty funny looking), and one time she even hissed at me when I was watching her! It's impossible to pick her up and get her out of my room because she will try and scratch. She totally tears up my bed - all I can say is it's a good thing I don't have expensive sheets and pillows. Eventually she will mellow out and become her sweet self again and sometimes snuggle me the rest of the night. This is a real problem though, i'm tired of loosing sleep while trying to get her to calm down. Plus it is not like I can just keep her locked out of my room all day because she thinks of it as her sanctuary (it was the first place I let her in at my house) so she's always trying to be in there when she's not exploring.

I understand that cats get wild sometimes and I still love mine very much but I need to figure out how to deal with this and why she's doing it, please help!
 

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Do you play with her during the day? She might not be getting enough play time. Whats the weather been like lately? If it's been storming cats sometimes can sense its coming. Have you taken her to the vet to make sure somthing isn't wrong with her? Cats are good at hiding illness, usually a sudden change in behavior is how they tell us. If she was fostered by the place you adopted her from you can ask her caregiver about it. And if she's not sick, no weather changes happen in the next few days, and youve been playing with her tons, maybe a second cat is what she needs, to give her someone to play with at night so you can get some sleep.

Also..Welcome to the forum! It's wonderful of you to have adopted an older cat, and I adore Siamese! Post pics as soon as you can!
 

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I agree with Payge. It sounds like your kitty has alot of energy to burn off. A good hard play session sometime in the evening before bed may help to calm her down come bedtime.

As for the biting while being pet, I did some reading on it last night in Think Like a Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett. She calls it petting-induced aggression or overstimulation. It seems that some cats have a low threshold for how much touch they can tolerate before it become uncomfortable for them. She says to be aware of your cats body language. If you cat starts thumping its tail or lashing it back and forth during petting, stop immediately.

PJB can explain this so much better I am just going to type this word for word. As you can tell, I just love this book.

"The best thing to do as an owner is to never even reach the warning phase again. In you know that your cat starts geting uncomfortable after five minutes of petting, stop after three minutes. By stopping before he begins to feel uncomfortable, you both will enjoy this interaction better and he won't begin to associate your hands with something unpleasant. You certainly don't want your cat believing that the only way to stop you for petting him is by inflicting injury on you.

If you cat has no tolerance for so much as one little stroke down the back, be content just to let him sit on your lap or on the couch next to you. Build trust by not attempting to pet him. In time, you can hold your hand out and scratch him under the chin or on the back of the head. These two spots tend to be the most comfortable for cats. Some cats don't like having their back stroked. Pay attention to your cat's cues. I have one cat who adores being petted on the head, under the chin and around her shoulders. She doesn't like long strokes down the back so I avoid that totally. She let me know what she preferrred and I paid attention. As a result, she has never had to work that I might break the rules."


Whew! That was alot of typing. Better to hear it from the horses mouth so to speak. She makes alot of sense. Badness is that way. "The head please, only the head." I touch her anywhere below the shoulders and the tail begins to lash. She just doesn't like it. I have to respect that if I don't want to pull back a bloody stub.
 

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Oh, deeohgee, I went through the same thing with Fergus (he was a stray that I took in) for a few months after I decided to keep him. I took him in when he was around 6 months old...he was obviously accustomed to people, because he came right up to my door, scratched and cried, until I opened it, and he ran in. And lo' and behold, he has never left my home since (except on trips, and vet visits). He had a very sad and meager existence before we found each other...but, we had a bit of an "adjustment period," which sort of sounds like what you're going through with your new little friend.

In the couple of weeks of being with Fergus, I kept thinking, "I've never had such a mellow, affectionate, lazy kitten before..."

Well, a couple weeks after that, he became the opposite of mellow, affectionate, and lazy...and after finally catching up on 6 months of sleepless nights outdoors, and the exhaustion that comes from trying to survive just one more day...his true (and somewhat wild) colors began to come out!!! I attribute this to the fact that he was finally feeling comfortable, and was finally feeling the need to play and act out his predatory sequences...usually at my expense.

Fergus would tear from one end of the house to the other at light speed (still does this...after a year of seeing his daily "jog", I find it cute rather than disturbing), leap in the air and bat at invisible birds and moths, attack me during the night, pounce on my feet under the covers (I literally was afraid to move during the night for a couple of months there), and knock shampoo and soap bottles into my bathtub and thud them around late into the midnight hour...and would occassionally bite me or swat at me (he still does this if he gets overstimulated).

My advice to you would be to get a variety of toys (I recommend the Cat Dancer...it's the GREATEST thing, and only about $3.00, a wand toy, a laser pointer [don't point it at your kitty's eyes], a variety pack of little toy mice, tinfoil balls, a cardboard box, etc.), and begin to structure several intense playtimes with your kitty to help him burn off the energy. I tend to break up playtime with Fergus and Ripley into about 3 to 4 intense 15 minute sessions...and it happens at the same times everyday, the most intense being right before bedtime. If you get nipped or swatted at, firmly tell your little guy "no," remove your hand, and quickly offer a mouse or wand toy session instead...he needs to know that your hand is not a toy, and that play attacking you is unacceptable. If he seems to be getting overstimulated and too nippy, cut the play session short, and ignore him until he has calmed down. Once he is calm, then the playing can resume.

I can't stress how important it is to play with a cat daily...and believe me, the key is to wear the little fellow OUT before bed time. He will become a much more content pet, and healthier too with the right amount of exercise each day.
 
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