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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Is this normal cat behavior?? Baloo is over a year old now so definitely can't be called a kitten anymore. He is just displaying some behavior that is downright dangerous and at times scares me :( This is my first cat, so I don't know if his antics should be considered normal or not......

Most of the time, Baloo is a super sweet, super cuddly ball of love, and he will let you do anything to him without complaint. HOWEVER, he has a completely different side to him that also comes out. He will literally ATTACK me indiscriminately at times, like meaning business, all 4 sets of claws out and teeth ready to go.

Sometimes it happens when he is playing around and must just get over-stimulated I guess and go for my leg as I walk by--and then just escalate out of control from there. Other times, however, he does this when I do something to annoy him, like move him when he's laying down, accidentally push him over, pet him when he didn't want it, etc. etc. Anything he didn't happen to like at the moment really.

He makes a weird sharp sniffing noise, sits back on his haunches, looks me dead in the eyes with his pupils all dilated, and springs on me full force, all four sets of claws out, wrapping around any part of my body, my legs, arms, but most preferably my FACE! He will hold on and claw ferociously, biting me sooooo hard, and it is impossible for me to stop him. If I yelp in pain, he gets extremely aggravated and attacks me even harder. If I try to restrain him, he attacks even harder also. He will spring on me again and again with no regard for me at all :( It's scary because he could take an eye out the way he springs on my face. I have had to start physically HITTING him away from me because he just doesn't stop. If I throw him in the bathroom for a minute, he'll come out completely fine like nothing happened, but that doesn't help STOPPING his attacks in the first place. And sometimes I'm not in a position to retrain him to throw him in the bathroom when he's springing on me....

What do I do guys? He's such a butterball most of the time, I've even taught him to high five, sit, and lay down on command. But I'm seriously considering drastic measures like declawing him or something :( Which I've always been totally against.....His violent behavior is just totally unacceptable. It's like he turns into another cat. Any advice on handling this situation??
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ETA: This is not a new behavior, he has been like this since kittenhood :( Anybody think declawing is a good idea for this case? Oh, and hhe also yowls sometimes while looking me in the eye and then attacking. Or meows really strangely.
 

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Declawing isn't going to stop this behavior, just keep it from hurting. Imo, if you take away his defense system and he feels threatened the problem will escalate.

You would do better to try and understand WHY he's doing it and I think the only way to do that is to pay attention to what's going on just before and at the time of attack.
 

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Sorry no advice here other than perhaps a suggestion for SoftPaws to protect you from scratches while you sort out the reasons for the attacks. I agree with Krissy that declawing is not the answer for this and would likely make his attacks worse.
 

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I had a cat who would attack ankles - she didn't like the smell (I guess) of bare feet. (it always happened if I was bare-footed or wore sandals). I would throw an afghan or a beach towel over her & that seemed to distract her.

Other than asking your vet, I don't have any suggestions.
 

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Sounds like you're talking about my Apollo's behavior from not too long ago, and still occasionally now. First of all, is he neutered? And he's been like this since you've had him?

Probably a vet visit would be a good idea to rule anything big out. Then again, if he's been like this his whole life, it just could be what he's used to by now.

I have physical scars from Apollo, and every week I have a new one or two. We're.. slowly working on it. He has gotten MUCH better since he was neutered, but.. Yeah, he still gets pretty vicious for no reason still. He's also never gone for my face, only my limbs or my back; whatever's closest to him that he can latch onto.

There can be many many reasons for his behavior - and like the others said, take a good look at what's happening before he attacks. I learned early on to stop trying to pet him unless he came to me for pets and he was being good. He'd attack me if I leaned over to pet him while he was on the floor minding his own business; I stopped petting him all together.

The absolute best piece of advice I got from everyone here on the forum was to get up and walk away from Apollo as soon as he showed signs of aggression. I'd get up and walk away, no eye contact for a few and then return to where I was. I don't know how something so simple worked so well, but it did lol.
 

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When he stares at you before the attacks, do you just look at him normally and look away or stare back into his eyes? I think it's best if you just have less eye contact or at least don't look him in the eyes for too long. Maybe he thinks you'll attack him!

I agree with shenanigans, just walk away from him if he looks like he's about to do something dangerous!
 

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How old was Baloo when you got him? It's possible that part of his problem is that he was taken away from momacat and litter mates too soon, say before 8 weeks old, and never learned to control his bite and claws properly. He would have learned when a bite is too hard or claws are hurting by wrestling with his litter mates and getting swatted or a neck bite by mamacat when he would bite or scratch too hard. If you have not had him neutered that should be the first thing you do. Unneutered males around a year old can become aggressive and attack out of frustration to mate or even the scent of unneutered males outside, or other animals.

Sometime a cat will just start attacking for no apparent reason. There was a another posting not long ago, and finally the attacking stopped after some months, but it seemed to be triggered by an oppossum outside the house.

Wherever you are in the house have handy some little toys, foil ball, treats in your pocket. When Baloo looks as if he's getting agitated, throw a toy or treat to distract his attentiion. You want to get him out of that fixation stage just before an attack. Then walk away as if nothing happened. You might also do slow blinking if he starts to get hard eye contact with you. I would not pet him unless he comes to you for it, and then be careful and watch for signs of over stimulation.....tail twitching or ears going back, and stop the petting. Try to engage him in some interactive play with a fishing pole type of toy (like "Da Bird"). I hope some of these suggestions can get him straightened around, as I know how frightening it can be. I had one unneutered male cat attack me a couple of times before I was able to find him a mate (I was breeding Manx at the time). Cat bites and scratches can get infected very easily so be careful and immedately wash any injury with soap and water and put on some antibiotic ointment, such as Polytopic, so you don't get an infection. Please give us an update.

Do not get him declawed; that will liking only increase his biting, and besides it is a very cruel practice.
 

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If it gets to the point that you do have to declaw, don't feel guilty. A declaw is considered cruel by many, but I find rehoming a cat with a history of "aggression" crueler especially when it's pretty much a death sentence in a shelter. Even no kills usually make exceptions for aggression. That said it should be a LAST RESORT. Declawwing increases the chances he'll use his teeth, so before going down that road let's see if we can cure this problem without going that far. A couple of people have asked a key question, is he neutered?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi everyone, thank you for all the responses. YES, Baloo was neutered at 6months of age, so it definitely isn't that. I "discovered" him at the shelter I volunteered at when he was very young, around 7 or 8 weeks most likely. I didn't take him home until he was 9 or 10 weeks. However, he had no mama and no related littermates :( He was alone with another random kitten who was very sick and died while he was still there. Then he was with another single kitten, but for a very short time. I'm guessing he was abandoned and no idea where his litter was.

Also, when he initiates the staring I immediately break eye contact and get very still to discourage him from jumping on me, but this or walking away only works sometimes. Sometimes he'll jump anyways or chase me if I leave. Like I said, sometimes it's like a play thing gone too far, but other times it's just mean spirited. Yes, he will get provoked in that way if I pet him when he doesn't want to be, but only if I persist after his first few bites of protest. But it can be anything really, random or when something irritates him.

I'll try the distraction thing and see if that breaks his focus when he gets worked up. I just don't want to feel like I'm rewarding the behavior though :/ I hope he doesn't take it that way. It's so funny, because he is a complete LOVEBUG who is very very attached to me, it's like he has multiple personality disorder! I have a feeling he might lack bite/scratch inhibition like you suggested Catloverami. He just attacks so fiercely :/
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Also, it can't be something like a scent or environmental change that's provoking this. He's had this aggressive side since I got him over a year ago.
 

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Put soft paws/soft claws on him - now. That will stop the painful scratching and you can work on the rest of it. Very inexpensive fix for the time being.

I hope you find some answers. :patback
 

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please don't declaw this cat. If you declaw him, he's still going to attack and since the claws no longer function, you're going to get bitten VERY hard.
Might I suggest you introduce a broom or a spray bottle? something to distract him from YOU and calm him down if walking away doesn't help. IT's too bad, when he was a kitten it would have been easier to fix. Good luck.
 

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this advice comes from "aggressive resident cat" another thread here:

"Distraction

Overly zealous play aggression, sexual aggression, and most Territorial/Dominance Aggression can be dealt with effectively by distracting the cats and redirecting their energies toward play with a toy. Here are some ideas:

Clap your hands, then say "No!" or "Time Out!" in a loud voice.

Blow a whistle or sound an air horn (I can't imagine always having one available, but for ongoing problems it wouldn't hurt.)

Hiss loudly. This is in imitation of their mother cat, a lesson cats remember well into adulthood. It can work effectively along with scruffing, described below.

Provide the aggressor cat with a large stuffed toy, such as a teddy bear. Keep it aside as his own personal "surrogate victim," and throw it to him to redirect his attention away from his feline victim (OR YOU!) (after getting his attention).

After you've gotten their attention, bring out an interactive toy, such as Da Bird, to redirect all that energy.
 

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Have you thought about getting him a friend? Maybe a cat that's a bit calmer, and maybe a tad bit older to teach him some manners?

The (very few and halfhearted) times Atlas was aggressive with us as a kitten, scruffing worked really well--but he was still young enough to remember his Mom, and even though he didn't nurse he still spent time with her until he was with us or a few weeks before. He also was really well socialized with multiple foster cats in the place he grew up. He is really incredibly gentle and never ever uses his claws or teeth with any force on us--but he WILL with Wicket, and the two of them get quite ferocious together. Maybe your Baloo is lonely and needs other kitty interaction?
 

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Even though I am not against declawing, I happen to agree with a lot of the posters on here. If you take away his claws, he is going to use his teeth as a replacement in his aggression.

I like the suggestions of using a spray bottle. I have trained many cats this way. Right now, we actually have a rattle can. I took a small container and filled it with noisy objects. When the cats are doing something they shouldn't, we shake the can. It scares them into stopping whatever they are doing. They also don't associate the noise with me. We had to use this a lot when they were babies, but not so much any more.

If there are signs of when he's going to attack, I wouldn't wait for the attack. I'd shake the can or spray the water, nipping the problem in the bud before it starts.
 

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Exactly, you may be feeding off each other. He gets defensive for whatever reason and you tense up waiting for the attack and he gets MORE worked up because your tense and stressed... it's all just a big mash of ick. :p
 

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Poor Baloo, it certainly sounds as if he missed out on early socialization. Since Baloo is smart and trainable, you might consider a couple more things to do when he just begins to get fixated on you. Besides throwing a toy etc., you could try clicker training.
Click Your Cat to Better Behavior! | Karen Pryor Clickertraining

or use a laser pointer to distract him. Don't shine it in his eyes but on the floor near him to attract his attention. A lot of cats love to chase that light dot around a room.

These actions should switch his brain from attack mode to you to something else. Once he's busy, he'll forget about going after you. I hope some of these things will work for you.

Altho I'm not against "Soft Paws", I think since he's such a biter that it may be difficult to even put them on him, unless he's sound asleep, and you put one or two on at a time before he wakes up!
 
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