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Expert advice needed!!

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by popcornsmum, Nov 6, 2018.


  1. popcornsmum

    popcornsmum Popcorn relaxing!

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    Brief background for those who don’t know us!
    Always been aggressive with us as she was not socialised as a small kitten, she is now a 5 year old tabby cat Popcorn. History of ill health but doing well atm! Now unable to be handled by us and vets without a general anaesthetic and even then it takes 3 people and a crush cage to treat her. Luckily she hasn’t been ill for ages as it’s so stressful for her.
    She has a furless 2.5 year old brother who absolutely adores her and worships the ground she walks on. He loves her more than us!! Now here’s the issue! She has started attacking him. He has never ever been rough with her or hurt her. He is THE most gentle soul put on the planet and loves all animals spiders included. From day 1 he has been taught how to deal with her - given her space, head bumps when she demands them, feeds her treats - she goes to him meowing for food half the time! Suddenly this week she has run at him twice and swiped him scratching his back on both occasions as he’s had his back to her once reading a book and secondly just standing whilst I talked to him, this has happened in the bedroom whilst he’s been on the floor and she’s been on the bed - where she wants to be!! Any ideas or advice please folk because I don’t want him keep being scratched and he’s now avoiding her and cries when she walks near him!
     
  2. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    When behaviour changes like this especially behaviour which involves distancing themselves from the family or acting aggressively it can often indicate pain or discomfort. One of mine could be measured on exactly how much arthritic pain she was experiencing at any one time by her demeanor. My old boy is the reverse, the more discomfort he is in the more clingy he gets.

    I think your son shouldn't take it personally. Popcorn has a reason for saying don't come near me and its most likely because shes no 100%. For some cats that could be mild tummy ache or a sore leg and for some they only get grumpy if feeling very ill.

    Given Popcorns past history with the vets she could also associate a feeling of being unwell with anxiety with previous treatment. That said if she has being showing a change of mood for some days then a vest vist would be advisable. Have you ever tried zylkene. My boy was absolutely terrible at the vets but a double dose for 10 days before a visit really helped with his anxiety so much so that I can reduce the dose and he will now cuddle the vet. Beaphar spot on calming drops also work well for some PF cats.

    I hope you get to the bottom of it. Meanwhile tell your son to give Popcorn some space and avoid her as she is feeling unwell. Hopefully once all is good she will be his friendly cuddly best buddy once more.

    Edited to add. Has the aggression coincided with firework season. It could be that the added stress is making her anxious. Have a look at the stress bath tub for dogs below. It is equally applicable to cats (and humans).

    http://reactivechampion.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-stress-bathtub.html
     
    ribbon, chillminx, KittenKong and 5 others like this.
  3. Anita1234

    Anita1234 PetForums Junior

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    If popcorn is not ill , I would say she is playing , I imagine your son is small , I have seen my cats attack/play with each other for no reason , maybe she needs a bit more playing , I think it’s like when cats attack legs when people are walking , is she an indoor cat ? , I think I watched a Jackson galaxy video of a cat doing a similar thing and it was boredom as he/she was an indoor cat without much stimulation
     
    #3 Anita1234, Nov 7, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  4. popcornsmum

    popcornsmum Popcorn relaxing!

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    Thanks for your replies we’re pretty sure she’s not unwell as she’s full of energy and eating fine. When she’s ill she sits in an egg and doesn’t eat.
    She’s not seemed bothered by the fireworks and jumps on the window to watch them as every year.
    She’s just been sat in the doorway watching her brother who is across the room playing with his MOG cat and his pushchair and gone to launch herself at him but I stopped her. I really do not know what is going on in her head as she seeks him out! Anyway she is now up on the window sill!
    She does get played with using her FF in the evenings and she also has scratchers all around the house and plenty of toys and her cat in a box which she’s been battering about this morning. She’s also been much more aggressive with my OH at bedtime she wants to continue to play once the lights are out and now runs around the bed booping, biting and spitting at OH. We’ve tried distracting her by throwing toys for her and also tried ignoring her but she’s just so vicious!
     
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  5. Dumpling

    Dumpling PetForums VIP

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    Have you thought about contacting a behaviourist to come and have a look? I know some insurance policies will cover it.

    It sounds like you are doing a lot of the things that would be advised, lots of play, your little one being very gentle when he interacts and giving her space etc, so I would be inclined to ask your vet about a behaviourist referral.
     
    buffie likes this.
  6. SaneDaysAreMad

    SaneDaysAreMad PetForums Member

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    I'm the opposite of expert, but just as a thought... could it be hyperesthesia? Some cats with that condition can attack family members instead of themselves (tail, paws, etc) which is the most common symptom.
     
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  7. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    Absolutely no advice to offer but just wanted to say I'm so sorry to read that Popcorn is behaving like this.
    I know she has never been an "angel" but this does seem to be extreme even for her.
    I can only suggest that a behaviourists input may be helpful as they will be seeing her with fresh eyes and may see trigger points that the untrained eye could be missing..
    Wishing you well in your search to help everyone especially your son and Popcorn x
     
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  8. Anita1234

    Anita1234 PetForums Junior

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    Yes definitely you need an expert behaviourist to have a look at the case, strange she suddenly started atacking your little one ,
     
  9. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    Oh your son is so young, poor boy.

    I agree a behaviorist or a vet that could visit and try to see what may be causing pain if that is the issue.
    Sometimes as said, cats in pain strike out at those nearby, even if not touching, thinking they are the source of the pain.
     
  10. Soozi

    Soozi PetForums VIP

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    Hi @popcornsmum!
    It does seem a bit strange that popcorn seems to show her aggressiveness towards just your son and your OH? Not you???
    I did also think that although your son is a calm little boy his unpredictable movements however subtle might trigger an attack.
    You could have a chat to a behaviourist to get an opinion I hear Vicky Halls is really good. I do hope you can settle popcorn soon.

    Edited to remove child's name.
     
    #10 Soozi, Nov 7, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2018
  11. bluecordelia

    bluecordelia Footy

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    Hi there lovely Is the change in daylight with the clocks getting to her?

    I am up at all hours currently with both wanting feeding and to go out at stupid hours. I know there are things a foot as even Iv is being a pain. He starts scratching my headboard and the wardrobe ...almost naughty behaviour

    Hope you sort it x
     
  12. popcornsmum

    popcornsmum Popcorn relaxing!

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    Thanks everyone for all the advice. I will look into a behaviourist I think as she needs something and sadly Jackson Galaxy is too far away!! She was better yesterday afternoon and evening and didn’t attack OH in bed which was good! Today she’s been kneading and purring on her sooky blanket and head nudging her brother which is nice as usually she only does this when she wants food!

    @Soozi she rarely attacks me - only at the vets when she goes for my face!
     
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  13. popcornsmum

    popcornsmum Popcorn relaxing!

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    Popcorn had a good week last week but tonight she’s being super aggressive again and has just ripped OHs scalp open - I’m not kidding there is SO much blood and also bit her face. OH was laying asleep in bed. Popcorn ran into the bedroom from the hall where she was sitting , pushed opened the bedroom door and jumped on her. Even I couldn’t get her off. The toddler is still terrified of her, won’t go anywhere near her and panics when she walks near him. The vets have cancelled our last few apt’s because they can’t handle her unless 2 vets are on which they never are so I’m looking for a new vet too. I feel so sorry for Popcorn but she is definitely getting worse and the times she’s not aggressive are becoming rarer and rarer. I don’t think we can afford a behaviourist having looked into them. They cost so much and we can barely afford the mortgage. So we are reliant on pet remedy plug in, spray and Beapher treats. Zylkene does not work with her. :(
     
  14. popcornsmum

    popcornsmum Popcorn relaxing!

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    How do you even try to stop her agression when you don’t know it will happen or what the trigger is!!!??
     
  15. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    I may be way off beam here but does the aggression / attacks happen at random locations or only in bedrooms ?
    The reason I ask is because Meeko was an aggressive thug when he was a kitten/young cat but he has settled into a nippy little sod who now knows the boundaries but will still attack , and I mean viciously attack , anyone in or near a bed .
    I have no idea why or when this became an issue as he used to sleep in/on the bed at night but now has to be kept out of the room even when I'm changing the bed linen.
     
  16. popcornsmum

    popcornsmum Popcorn relaxing!

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    With OH it’s only in the bedroom actually now you say that! With the toddler it’s usually mainly in our bedroom but she’s been known to walk past him and swipe him when he’s sat on the sofa!!!
    I will add after her giant feral attack she’s now sleeping soundly on my feet in bed! Which is her usual place until 1am when she goes into toddlers room and pulls down his blackout blind so she can nosy into the garden!!
    Hmm do you think it’s a bed thing?!!
     
  17. popcornsmum

    popcornsmum Popcorn relaxing!

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    Oh and yes the bed linen changing changes her into a mental spitting hissing ball of fluff too!
     
  18. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    TBH I'm grasping at straws but it could be a bed thing ,as I said I have no idea why Meeko does it but something about the bed turns him into Mr Nasty .
    I don't know how easy it would be for you to try keeping all bedroom doors closed when anyone is in bed or Popcorn away from open bedroom doors, but it might be worth experimenting if you can.
    I hope you can find a way around this x
     
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  19. Dumpling

    Dumpling PetForums VIP

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    You're poor OH, make sure she gets some antibiotics tomorrow as cat bites can turn really nasty very quickly.

    I'm not sure what to suggest in all honesty, but to show that level of aggression to your OH would worry me a lot, especially with a toddler in the house.

    Can you stop her getting in your little one's room at night/whenever he is in there? I personally wouldn't risk them being left unattended together at all now.

    I hope you can find a solution that works for you all xx
     
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  20. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Beds and sofas are a rich source of owners scent and often locations for scent marking peeing or middening (pooing in obvious places) as a part if protecting the territory from invaders be they cat or human.

    What is Popcorns relationship with each of you normally like. Don't know whether it's the case buy what sprung to mind was a very defensive display of territory as aggression but it could be something else.

    Has the vet ruled out a neurological cause ?
     
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