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Looking for some advice on my recently aggressive cat please help!

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Naomi Kennett, Jun 13, 2018.


  1. Naomi Kennett

    Naomi Kennett PetForums Newbie

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    Below is a timeline of events prior to this my lovely cat was soft and loving, care free and tolerant of anyone who came in or out, so unbothered.

    End of March: attacked my friend in my room while she was on her own playing with him with his dangle toy, the attack was pretty severe and resulted in an A&E trip, after this he reverted back to normal with no changes. He has known this friend since he was a kitten, he is now 4 and prior to this was always ok with her

    Bank holiday Monday 28th May - friend came back in for first time since (admittedly I had forgotten completely) Binky then started to hiss and growl at her, I managed to get him into the lounge and her out of the house. I then left him for about 20 minutes and came back in alone to see him, initially he was ok just a little unsettled and then it switched and he savaged me, resulting in A&E trip, glued injuries with multiple puncture marks and time off work as i could not drive.

    Things were ok for a few says he was settling, he would have the odd moment where he would be off and it would instill alot of anxiety in me and my partner however no further attacks. On one occasions he needed to be crated as it looked like an outburst would have happened but we contained it.

    On Sunday just gone my friend came over who is a vet to see him and me, she was just having a coffee, no examinations or anything, and he clearly wasnt happy after about 10-15 min, he then followed her to the loo and back again, and then when I decided to go to the loo followed me and made the same meow he has done when he attacks and proceeded completly unprovoked (i was stood still looking away from him) to attack my leg, I had to get him off of me and luckily my friend came with a towel and crated him again. I then left the house.

    That night when I came home he did not seem himself with me at all, much more off, although at one point did come up for a cuddle so it was very confusing. The following morning (yesterday) i went to put my glass in the kitchen before I left for work and he again started to go funny with me so I managed to use a towel to usher him into the lounge, he then hissed at me before I left him to go to work and avoid an attack. On my return home last night it was clear straight way on opening the door he was unsettled, wide eyed and looking afraid, again I took no chances and put him in the lounge. Proceeded to have a breakdown and am now at the point of not knowing what to do.

    I spoke to vets again who said based on above there would not be much they can do bringing him in and wouldn't keep him as overnights are kept for very sick animals, they suggested boarding. So Binky has now gone for 10 days to a cattery he has been too before for some respite for both me and him. I still have the behaviorist coming in the day after hes due home. I also plan on visiting him over this time.

    Has anyone has similar experiences or has any type of advice at all?
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Naomi Kennett and welcome :)

    I am very sorry to hear of your unsettling experiences with your cat. Such a sudden change in temperament in a 4 year old cat, from a friendly, loving pet, to periods of behaving like a frightened wild animal suggest to me the following possibilities:

    1/ the cat could be physically ill and in pain,

    2/ the cat could have suffered some kind of major trauma, such as a head injury

    3/ the aggression could be redirected aggression caused by some angry interaction your cat has been having with another cat (this is not uncommon with cats)

    4/ some other external cause of the cat becoming intensely afraid (what you describe sounds like a terrified cat)

    5/ any recent major life change in you yourself (which your cat may be sensing) ?



    Can I please check your cat is neutered?

    Has your cat had a recent full physical investigation from the vet. e.g. blood tests, urinalysis etc ?

    Is your cat eating normally and using litter tray/box as usual, and is his output of urine and faeces normal?

    Is your cat an outdoor cat?

    Is he your only pet?

    Are there any other humans apart from you living in your home? If so, how do they interact with the cat?

    Have there been any recent changes in the environment, prior to the attacks starting, e.g. repairs or refurbishment of the home, guests staying, strangers visiting, you being away and a cat sitter staying in your home?
     
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  3. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    With such a sudden change in behaviour I would first be concerned that there may be a medical reason for this change so would suggest a vet visit(regardless of the advice given by the vet you spoke to) .
    Poor lad sounds very upset and distressed and I don't think sending him to a cattery is going to help at all.



    Oops cross posted
     
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  4. Naomi Kennett

    Naomi Kennett PetForums Newbie

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    I had no choice to send him to the cattery, he is actually usually very happy there and seems to be settling in fine. As previously mentioned I had no CHOICE if my post was correctly read it was clearly not a choice I made without a heavy heart but my anxiety was so high for getting attacked again that I was having panic attacks and night terrors.

    Yes I have indeed been to the vets - a few times infact. Full bloods have been done and nothing has come back.

    yes he is neutered, yes he is going to the loo normally, yes he is eating normally, yes he is an indoor cat (i do not have the facilities for him to be outside and i live on a busy road) and yes other than a turtle in a tank that has been with me longer than he has - of which he pays no interest in, he is my only pet. My partner lives in the house with me part time as she works away from home, but ordinarily they get on great he absolutely loves her, and no recent changes, a few weeks before he saw my friend again (note the attack on her was a few months before this), I had new windows installed but he was at the cattery for this so that he was not exposed to any stress, and on return he was happy as larrry like usual.

    I must stress, which lots of people seem to be overlooking, he was ABSOLUTELY fine after the attack on my friend end of March, it is ONLY since he has seen her again this has all come about

    Hope someone can help, and please save me the useless comments about the cattery. Honestly I love my cat and I would not have made that decision if it was not absolutely necessary for both mine and his mental wellbeing.

    thanks
     
  5. moggie14

    moggie14 PetForums VIP

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    Please be civil, people are trying to help.
    From the information given it does appear that your friend is the trigger. I won't pretend to know why, however I'm wondering because your cat was previously OK with this friend has she recently got a dog or other pet that your cat can smell on her? Or maybe even a new baby?
     
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  6. Naomi Kennett

    Naomi Kennett PetForums Newbie

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    Yes I suppose she may have? She has a fair few animals! However after the attack on her he went back to normal, then since seeing her again and then attacking me (most likely redirected) he seems not to have been able to return to Normal :(
     
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  7. moggie14

    moggie14 PetForums VIP

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    Has he been OK with your partner through all of this, when did they last see eachother?
    I also wonder if he can see a cat outside. I have indoor cats and they can get distressed if they can see a stranger through the window. This could be happening whilst you are at work so you could be completely unaware.
    Perhaps try keeping blinds and curtains closed for a day or two. If you have french/patio doors you could apply a plastic film to the glass to obscure his view.
    Also there are lots of calming supplements to try that are completely safe. A few I know of are -

    https://www1.animeddirect.co.uk/zylkene-capsules

    https://www.viovet.co.uk/Beaphar-Calming-Spot-On-for-Dogs-Cats/c17732/

    https://www1.animeddirect.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?q=pet+remedy+for+cats
     
  8. Treaclesmum

    Treaclesmum PetForums VIP

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    I would also recommend getting a Feliway plug in.
     
  9. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Hi,
    I agree with what has been said above. It does sound like your cat is very frightened during these episodes. Cats usually will attack perceived threats when they are frightened when they cannot get away.

    Possible causes may be that the cat experienced some form of pain when in your friends company, associated that with your friend and lashed out in distress. Subsequently the distress and aggression has been redirected to you perhaps specifically when you are perceived as more of a potential threat eg standing up in a confined space, moving, entering the building. Similarly, as other have said your cat may have been severely distressed and aroused by an external event eg a cat outside and the arousal experienced on your friends visit/playing triggered a redirected response to your friend and later to you.

    It is also possible you cat is suffering from more chronic or serious condition that is intermittent. Brain conditions or nerve pain for example. As well as blood tests did your vet perform a full orthopaedic exam ?

    I agree with trying some calmatives. You can also try beaphar calming spot on which are drops for the back of the neck and contain valerian. It is also worth trying zylkene which is a natural milk protein. Both of these can be used at the same time and don't have side effects. Members here including myself often see benefits in stressed cats from these.

    The stress hormone cortisol can take 48 to72 hours to dissipate and every stressful or exciting even raises this again. Read up on the stress bathtub as to how seemingly small incidents can build up to trigger a major reaction - this refers to dogs but is equally applicable to cats and humans.

    http://reactivechampion.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-stress-bathtub.html

    I suggest you block clear sight to outside as suggested above, get some calmatives (for you and the cat) and then put on stout boots / wellies and trousers eg thick jeans on in the house. The idea about the protective clothing is it will give you confidence not to feel frightened on an attack. If the cat does attack he will not hurt you so you can remain in place and not react. When you feel fear the cat will feel this also. He wont know you are frightened of him just that you have confirmed there is something to be frightened of. This will increase his stress. So you need to stay calm and if wearing protective clothing achieves this then do that.

    When you are not reacting gently drop delicious treats near your cat, don't throw them at him. Chicken or similar is good. He needs to re-learn that your presence means good things. Move slowly and keep movements and voice gently and calm. Don't pet your cat or approach him. Let him come to you. If he seems relaxed offer an outstretched finger for him to sniff and rub against but no stroking or contact for now. Also no staring or eye contact, just essentially ignore him except for dropping delicious treats for him.

    With patience he will associate you with calm and good things and trust will rebuild. Try and avoid visitors as this clearly stresses him at least until he has recovered his composure for a while. Hope you both manage to return to being friends again.
     
  10. Naomi Kennett

    Naomi Kennett PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for all of the advice.

    I had previously had feliway plug in and spray after the incidents but it didnt seem to do an awful lot, he was also on nutri calm from the vet, again not an awful lot of use. I have now got some Zyklene and will be starting him on this today. I am going to be visiting him over the weekend at the cattery to build up some confidence with us and spend some nice time with him.

    I am also going to provide him an additional liter tray at home as well as an under stair space that is hidden from all 'walk through' so that he can have a retreat if he wishes too. I also have the behaviorist coming on his return to look at how he is.

    I am hoping these changes help and that we can regain our relationship over time. I plan to avoid visitors other than my partner obviously who lives there half the week.
     
  11. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    It sounds like you have a good plan. The zylkene can take a few days to start to work. If you can make sure you project calm confident vibes too that will give him lots of confidence.

    Wishing good luck with the re introductions.
     
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  12. Naomi Kennett

    Naomi Kennett PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you, I am really hoping things are okay. The cattery are reporting he is settling in well, no signs of aggression. He is just a little timid but that is not unusual for any cats or him. He is eating an toileting fine and had enjoyed a fuss on his terms. So that is positive news, i just hope with the introduction of Zylkene he will be able to come home and settle after a break away. I would always be open to any tips people have on keeping indoor cats happy, I have pretty much kitted my house out for him but maybe there is something I have missed and could consider doing :)

    Thanks to all for contributions
     
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  13. moggie14

    moggie14 PetForums VIP

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    I always feel more comfortable if I have a plan and I hope you do too, it sounds like a good one. Please do let us know how it goes x
     
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  14. Naomi Kennett

    Naomi Kennett PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks, I visited him for the first time last night just for a short while, he was okay, very timid I suppose but seemed happy enough, came up for strokes when he wanted them, only bizarre thing was when i went to leave with the cattery lady he then hissed and seemed to get irritated? Now I dont know why this is? cant figure out if he doesn't like me anymore or has just 'found his hiss' as for 3.5 years he had NEVER hissed. She spoke to me and tried to normalize it to a degree and explained how other cats here vocalize etc. I guess for me it just always feels worrying as he never used to be upset enough to hiss and recently the hiss is linked to being very unhappy and on occasions attacking?

    He was started on the Zylkene last night so i am going to leave today as not to over do it and go tomorrow and sit there for a longer amount of time with him.
     
  15. havoc

    havoc PetForums VIP

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    Animals in groups quite often turn viciously on a sick one and your friend could well be carrying the scents of very sick animals. That might have been the trigger.
     
  16. Naomi Kennett

    Naomi Kennett PetForums Newbie

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    mmmm not something I had considered but yes this friend does have a variety of pets so it is possible, however was fine with her for all 4 previous years, and was also fine with me, it is since he has attacked me through re-directed aggression after seeing my friend the 2nd time that he does not appear to have returned to his normal self.
     
  17. havoc

    havoc PetForums VIP

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    It was the vet friend which put it in my mind to be honest.
    I’m drawn to neurological causes in the absence of anything else obvious.
     
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  18. moggie14

    moggie14 PetForums VIP

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    I wouldn't be too concerned about the hissing at the cattery. I heard my Sam hiss at Dexter the first time I dropped them off for a cattery stay, it's very confusing for an indoor only cat with all the sights, sounds and smells at the cattery.
     
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  19. Naomi Kennett

    Naomi Kennett PetForums Newbie

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    The visits have been fine over the weekend, yesterday a particularly good one, hes always 'busy' when there smelling everything and having a good nose about the corridor but the cattery lady has said she has seen NO signs of aggression and NO signs of illness. I am hoping the exposure to so many sights/sounds and smells will mean that when he comes home things feel a bit more familiar for him. I am also considering a slow introduction so keeping him in the lounge which has an upstairs room also, then the behaviorist comes the following day.Rather than completely overwhelm him with the whole house and she what she says from there.

    The cattery lady emailed this morning to say hes doing well and hes had kisses and cuddles this morning so that too is good, but as i say I feel i have to hold my excitement as I am so aware it could all go wrong when he comes home friday
     
  20. SuboJvR

    SuboJvR Joey’s Mummy

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    It reads very much like he was feeling scared/threatened by your friend who initially visited, and then when your other friend visited perhaps it trigged similar feelings for having someone new in the home again.

    I'm guessing you didn't see what happened initially with the dangle toy preceding the attack. And of course I don't want to go accusing anyone of anything but is it possible he somehow hurt himself whilst playing and he then had bad associations, something like that could've started it all off?

    If your friend has a lot of animals and some new ones etc then the smells can be very confusing for cats. So whilst he was fine with her for 3.5 years, if she then got a new tom cat (for example!!) and brought his scent around it could definitely upset your little guy?
     
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