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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I are cat people but our cats are all outdoor cats, they are all friendly and affectionate and we've never had any aggression problems. Yesterday in the local village, my husband was 'given' a cat that had been abandoned there a few days previously. The cat is a big, handsome tom cat, jet black with long hair. He's friendly and not scared of people.
On arriving home, he didn't show much curiosity or desire to explore, but jumped onto the sofa and sat there totally relaxed as if he had lived here for ever. He purred when I petted him, he didn't mind me touching his tummy although there was a (painful?) spot on his shoulder which caused him to give a warning miaow. When I left the lounge, he followed me and was rubbing around my legs insistently, apparently asking for more petting and stroking.
My husband and I went outside for an hour, leaving him happy on the sofa. When we came back in he jumped down to greet us, and started rubbing my legs again. I was changing my shoes and when I lifted my foot to put on my house shoes, he suddenly growled, and then when I put on the shoe and moved away he attacked my foot, scratching and yowling. I said NO and shook him off my foot (a bit violently as he had scared me) but he didn't show any more aggression, instead he came back towards me and my husband. He spent the entire evening lying on the sofa with my husband, totally relaxed. Later on when I went to bed, he came in to the bedroom and jumped on the bed, but I wasn't happy about this after the aggressive incident so I gave him a little push and he left.
This morning when I got up, he came to the bathroom door to greet me, and I stroked him briefly. Then when I wanted to go to the kitchen, he started the same rubbing and twisting round my legs, and when I tried to walked forward, he bit my leg. Then he hid under a chair and did nothing else.

I am totally confused by this cat. He seems so familiar with people, and seems to enjoy receiving affection. Are the attacks possessive? Both times it's as if he's trying to prevent me moving away or leaving him. Since the second attack this morning I haven't interacted with him, I don't know how to deal with this, also we don't know anything about his past. The fact that such a handsome, affectionate cat seems to have been abandoned makes me wonder if he has a history of unpredictable aggression.
Any ideas would be very helpful.
 

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Have you taken him to a vet? If he's in pain, he'll hide it but could still act out. Intact males can also be more aggressive in general.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, not yet, he looks generally healthy and in any case if pain was the reason, why would he specifically show aggression towards me?
 

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You're female and he's still intact and possibly in pain. That's plenty of reason. You focused on him and he focused right back on you. If he we're possessive of you, he would attack your husband, another male, for being near you. Aggressive behavior is never unpredictable, the warning signs are just missed or ignored. Cats can also have hyper-sensitivity to physical contact which is made worse if he does have an injury. He may have been kicked or had a close call with a car or bike after or during being abandoned.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, I think I was too affectionate with him. My other male cats all love affection and start play biting so I'm used to that, but this guy got aggressive for real, so now I'm giving him plenty of space and that seems to work. If he comes and initiates contact with me, I give him a few scratches and stop before he gets too worked up. We'll also take him to the vet to be checked over in case he's been injured.
Thanks for your input.
 

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If you plan on keeping this black cat after having the vet check him out, suggest you should definitely have him neutered. This can lower his aggressiveness.
 
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