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Help: Cat aggressive behaviour towards boyfriend when mumma is out

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by asherman11, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. asherman11

    asherman11 PetForums Newbie

    Jul 16, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Hi- boyfriend to cat mumma here!

    I'm new here but wanted to seek some advice on the behaviour of 1 of 2 of my girlfriends cats.

    Obviously with COVID everyone's working days have been a little different. I am able to work from home and so recently moved in with my girlfriend who is a nurse, following bubble announcements by the govt. She works 12 hour shifts (NHS Heroes!) and so is out of the house for longer periods whilst I remain at home. The cats are well looked after, have mostly full run of the house except the living room (where I'm working but normally closed off anyway except for cuddle times) and one bedroom. They have beds, high spots, ample food and opportunities to play, even when alone. Both are indoor girls (sisters) ~1year old and i have spent time with them ocassionally at weekends since they came to the house, including some longer periods here and there.

    Yesterday as I opened the living room door from where I was working and left the room to go to the bathroom, I was met with a very very aggressive cat running down the stairs towards me, who wanted to keep backing me into a corner as though prey. If I moved forwards then she would get angrier. we're talking the whole hog - teeth out, hissing, screeching and yowling etc. Then every time I would leave the room following that to go to the bathroom, similar would happen.

    When my girlfriend came home.. obviously she was a different cat. Tummy out, purring but the whole time eyes were locked on me and so I tried to avert my vision, blinking slowly if I caught her eye then looking away.

    This morning as soon as my girlfriend left the house for her morning run, the behaviour started again so I avoided her and closed myself away again..

    I can't figure out if its territorial, re-directed aggression because she's anxious, or if I'm doing something wrong? I've had cats my whole life, I love them and love these two as though they are my own.

    If anyone has any suggestions on how to help this little kitty trust me again, id really appreciate it. I'm trying to reinforce her positive behaviour when she's in a better mood around me, but its like she's two cats with me!

    obviously my girlfriend hasn't seen the behaviour but she has been supportive towards me, but I feel this is something I need to resolve to help the little kitty feel less unsettled and distressed as it's only me she gets worked up with

    Help much appreciated!

  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Hello @asherman11 and welcome :)

    The upset cat's behaviour possibly indicates she is being very protective of her resources. Doe she have a litter tray situated in (or near) the bathroom? Litter trays are a very important resource to cats, [for indoor cats especially], and cats can be very protective of them.

    If there is not a litter tray in or near the bathroom does the cat have her food near that spot?

    But if you have been living with your GF and her cats since lockdown began in March, and the cat was fine with you up until recently, then one must rule out any health problem causing her pain or discomfort. Cats are well known for hiding their pain, but it can show in their behaviour e.g. aggression.

    How old is the cat? Has she been diagnosed with any health problems by the vet? Does she show any signs of being unwell e.g is her appetite good? is she using the litter trays normally? Pooing once a day? Peeing big pees several times a day, not lots of small pees?

    Do you have contact with any other cats (or dogs) outside your GF's home? If so the scent may be on your clothes and noticeable to your GF's cat.
  3. asherman11

    asherman11 PetForums Newbie

    Jul 16, 2020
    Likes Received:
    hi @chillminx , thank you so much for responding!

    so the cat (rosie) is around 1 years old. she's not shown any signs of ill health and her habits seem otherwise normal. if she acts out again or doesn't improve further its definitely something we would explore.

    I would say from observation that her food is in a walkway, so perhaps thats a possible territory breach. I do wonder too if working from the chair she would sit on when she does have access to the living room might contribute to her frustration.

    Today with Rosie has been a little better, we started off with some cautious behaviour and some short growling whilst her human was out, but she seemed to come round when i saw her at lunchtime, we even managed some tummy display and purring but we arent on fussing levels yet!

    I'll make sure we both are a little more observant when it comes to her behaviour and we keep a log of any outbursts. I guess just like humans we all have our moments!

    I do have two cats at my family home, so youre absolutely right the scent might be strong on me, so perhaps I should spread some smaller items of mine around the house so that she can become comfortable, starting with one item.

    thanks again for your reply, it has really put me at ease, I know there's work to be done to help the little one feel better but your response has been really welcomed, thank you!

    chillminx likes this.
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