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Types of Cat Aggression, the signs and how to combat

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by luisa, Aug 3, 2010.


  1. Jonny and Slush

    Jonny and Slush PetForums Junior

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    Really great thread for me to read before adopting my stray, deaf cat in a few weeks. I am really wanting to create a happy haven for Slush and I to live in together.

    Since she was a starving stray found in the middle of winter, combined with being completely deaf, I am expecting to need to work with her to make her as comfortable as possible in her new lifelong home. Fingers crossed I get lots of head bumping and no aggressive behaviour but it is great to know the signs, what they mean and how to work with Slush should they occur.

    Many thanks!
     
  2. Singinghorse

    Singinghorse PetForums Junior

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    I couldn't agree ore with what you say about it being down to the owner of the cat ... I know someone with a cat who continually refuses to learn to recognise the signs when his cat has had enough petting or playing, consequently he has had some terrible injuries. I have tried to re-educate him but he thinks cats are just like little humans. "Cat lovers" like him should not be allowed to own a cat!
     
  3. GRANDMASTERFLASH

    GRANDMASTERFLASH PetForums Newbie

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    This is really interesting and very useful, thank you.

    Yesterday we adopted a 1 year old female cat, she came out of hiding within hours and has been pretty good at settling in. But in the last few hours she has started jumping up at our legs and walking on our laps but with her claws out. This is our first cat and she seems very pleasant but is this aggressive behaviour? We want to combat it so have been saying no and leaving the room and praising other behaviours but am I doing enough?

    I'm a bit lost.

    Cheers
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi @GRANDMASTERFLASH and welcome :)

    At one year old your cat is still a kitten, or an adolescent cat anyway, and as such she will need lots of entertaining with interactive play. She is jumping at your legs as a way of telling you she wants to play, and she is excited, not being aggressive. The way to teach her not to do this is to redirect her attention to an alternative way of playing that does not harm you. The best toys for this are the fishing rod toys which are used to play with kitties at arms length. e.g. Flying Frenzy with all its lovely alternative attachments.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_13?url=search-alias=pets&field-keywords=flying+frenzy&sprefix=flying+frenzy,aps,236

    If you keep a few of these rods and attachments around the house (but out of kitty's reach) then the moment she goes for your legs, you redirect her attention to the Flying Frenzy and get her jumping, leaping, cartwheeling etc so that she burns up a lot of her energy.

    With regard to walking on your lap with claws out, I am not sure I have it clear. Do you mean she is marking time on your lap (often purring at the same time)? If so that is a sign of affection and pleasure, and you don't want to miss out on that, so protect your lap with e.g. a little folded fleece blanket, so she can mark time without her claws getting through to your lap.

    If that is not what you meant, and you mean she is walking across your lap with her claws out, then it could be that her claws are long and sharp and need trimming. This is often the case with cats who don't go outdoors. You need a pair of pet nail clippers such as these:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Clippers-Ki...=1443442547&sr=1-3&keywords=cat+nail+clippers

    You trim off the very tip of the claw, no more than that or you could damage the nail bed. If you are unsure ask one of the nurses at your vets to show you. They won;t charge much if anything for a regular customer.

    To help your kitty keep her claws trim (and protect your furniture and carpets) provide her with plenty of cat scratchers, several to each room, you can't have too many cat scratchers. Provide a variety, as every cat has their preferences, e.g. upright poles covered in sisal, and the cardboard ones you lay on the floor are very popular with cats,

    http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/scratching_posts/cardboard_cat_furniture/315507

    http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/scratching_posts/scratching_pads/scratching_mat/280459

    http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/scratching_posts/scratching_pads/scratching_mat/101907

    The cardboard ones are cheap enough to have several in every room. :)

    Not only do cats need to use scratching posts to keep their claws trim, but they also use them for scent marking their territory (they have scent glands in the base of their paws near their claws) .

    If after her claws are trimmed and she has plenty of scratchers to use she is still walking on your lap with her claws out it may be the case she is not able to sheath her claws fully. My sister had a cat like that years ago, he was an Abyssinian, but I don't know how common it is in the general cat population, or in Abyssininas come to that. But if that is the case with your kitty, you will just need to get into the habit of remembering to protect yourself with a little blanket before you allow her on your lap. :)

    Just one more thought, your cat may be jumping at your legs partly because she is hungry. At one year old she still has lots of growing to do so she needs feeding at least 3 times a day, possibly more than that. My one year olds eat 400 grams of wet food a day. So feed a high meat protein wet food that is low in carbs, as it is digested more slowly as natures intends for cats. Avoid dry food which is full of carbs (which cats do not need) and choose a good quality wet food, so much better for her health. :)
     
    Squeaks likes this.
  5. mrb

    mrb PetForums Newbie

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  6. mrb

    mrb PetForums Newbie

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    i enjoyed reading all that , i have this small black cat that visits me , dunno who he belongs to , he looks healthy enough , funny thing is iv tried for 2 years to make friends with him , he walks in , spits , hisses , and as of late hes started growling , i feed him his treats , like chicken , fish ect ect , we wont let me stroke him or any were near him , the only time we make contact is when he puts his paw on my leg lifts himself up to see whats on my plate , he will take the food eat it hiss again and do the same again , today he drew a little blood from my hand as he swiped the food out of my hand , his claw stuck right in , as usual i looked at him and thought jezzzz dude , i told him today he need to see a shrink , now does anyone know what on earth his problem is , hes not feral , hes to healthy looking for that , im just glad im bigger than him or id be killed for sure , and i aint jokin
     
  7. andrewjacson

    andrewjacson PetForums Junior

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    This is really a great information about cat, Thanks For Sharing.It can sometimes be so hard to see aggression starting in cats as they can be quite subtle about it.
     
  8. FeeSussex

    FeeSussex PetForums Newbie

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    Hi... my parents have taken on 2 new cats. .. one had been in the house for 3 weeks before the other joined them. First cat (a rescued ragdoll) second cat (a Siamese snowshoe cross rescue)... cat 2 has gradually been introduced...parents carefully followed all cat introductory rules. However...cats still apart at 4 weeks as cat 2 keeps physically attacking and stalking cat 1. Tried Feliway spray... any other helpful suggestions as parents are in their mid 70s? :)
    ost: 1747573, member: 1240202"]Since being on this forum I have noticed so many threads about cat aggression. Here is a guide to knowing your cat, its body language and warning signs.


    Know your cat

    Cats body language - their tail

    A cats tail like a dogs gives many different messages to other cats and their owners. The following is a basic guide to reading your cats mood via the way they hold their tail. Obviously all cats are different and different factors/environments may change how they react.

    1, Tail curled slightly downwards and then curved at the tip ( think of an elongated S shape ) = Cat is very relaxed an content.
    2, Tail is erect but not ridged and has a curved top ( think of a ? shape ) = cat is friendly and greeting.
    3, Tail is limp but the end is flicking = cat is getting agitated, the more the tail flicks the more annoyed the cat is getting. Beware that pushing the cat further when showing this twitching tail can possibly result in the cat being aggressive.
    4, Tail is erect and bobbing/dancing = cat is showing sheer affection.
    5, Tail is swishing from side to side ( think of an S shape again ) = This cat is VERY angry
    6, Tail is erect and the hair is sticking out ridged - this is normally towards another cat = Showing aggression do not approach.
    7, Tail is arched ( n shape ) and hair is sticking out ridged - this follows point 6 = Cat will attack. normally the cat also is standing on tip toes and has a sideways stance.
    8, Tail is between their legs = the cat is giving in / scared / submissive
    9, Tail is slightly raised but not ridged and the hair poofed out = cat is playing / often chasing.
    10, Female cat tail held to one side with bum in the air = cat is flirting and is in call. ready to mate.

    Cats body language - Ears

    1, Both ears flat each side of their head ( -o- shape ) = normally with dilated pupils the cat is intrigued and playful.
    2, Both ears are pointing back and flat = cat is annoyed and angry an ready to pounce.
    3, One ear side ways one ear forward = cat is relaxed this is a waiting position.
    4, Both forward = cat is alert and focusing on a noise.

    Cats body language - Eyes

    Dilated pupils - Playful and in extreamly dilated cases agressive.

    Cats body language - Whiskers

    Normally whiskers are spread out at the side of the face. If a cat is agitated they will move back with the ears.

    Cat body language - Head, legs and body

    Legs - stiff walking along side the fact that the back leg follows the front shows awkwardness in the cat. This cat is stressed

    Head - lowered head is a cat about to pounce or can also show submissiveness

    Arched body - cat is getting ready to attack and defend itself.


    Here are some different types of common aggression factors and how to try to combat the behaviour.

    Kitten & Adult Play Aggression

    cats are naturally predators. This instinct will never die and due to the nature of the animal will never be "bred out". Nature created a cat with teeth and sharp claws to prey/ defend themselves and attack. Every cat has these natural urges to stalk and pounce.
    Some cats get pleasure in attacking feet, sleeping owners and the odd little animal. Cats love to explore, stalk anything that moves, and bat and pounce on small objects that they pretend to be prey. This mostly is seen in young kittens during their learning period but many adult cats still love to play hunt.
    Kittens learn their limits of what is and isn't acceptable between the ages of 5 and 13 weeks of age.
    Kittens play and attack one another often they quickly learn the limits of biting and scratching. Their litter mates bite back when play gets too rough.
    Kittens taken from the litter before this do not have this option and transfer this play attacking on their owners. This is natural for them and don't see themselves as doing wrong.
    How to spot it:-
    Play aggression is easy to recognise by the cat/kittens body language.
    They crouch, flatten their ears, their pupils dilate and their tail swishes back and forth while they stalk or pounce at the owner. Before pouncing they normally wiggle their back end a little.

    How to combat :-
    Not allowing the kitten to get into the habit of stalking you. Once you recognise this body language in the kitten distract the kittens attention to a fishing rod type toy or ball. Drag string along the floor or dangle a toy on a string for it to play with.
    Never encourage the kitten if they are pouncing on you by running, making quick movements or fighting the kitten back. Never encourage hand play. This will only encourage the kitten to stalk you more as they think you are playing with them.
    Do not condone rough play at all between a human or kitten - this extends to all family members.
    If a kitten is to attack you in this manor play dead and don't move. They will soon get bored of you and walk off when they do get a toy for them to play with. If you are petting your kitten and they try to play bite you, say a firm NO and remove yourself from the kitten and ignore the behaviour. From this the kitten will realise what they have done.
    If all this fails a bottle with coins in to shake will startle the kitten and stop this behaviour. Warning IMO this latter bottle shaking can produce a shy jumpy kitten. I myself have never used this type of aggression technique as i feel the other methods work better.
    NEVER PUNISH. Always encourage good play with lots of treats and verbal encouragement I.E "your such a good girl/boy" etc
    You can also hiss at the cat a a mother cat would. simply making a hiss noise with your mouth isn't realistic enough. Get saliva in your mouth and inhale quickly sucking the saliva back with bared teeth. this creates a more realistic noise and gets the kitten to stop what its doing. It will normally back off and sulk for a little while but remember what he did wrong.

    Some people will suggest the old technique of removing the cat/kitten and placing it into "time out" IMO again this seldomly works, and can mentally disturb the cat giving it anxiety problems

    Territory Based Aggression

    Cats are one of the most territorial of animals, in some cases even more so then dogs.
    In the wild cats are solitary hunters and hunt within their own territory.
    Cats will be territorial as indoor or outdoor cats. Territorial aggression normally starts when a cat reaches adult hood ( 1-2 yrs of age ) but can also be present in kittens.
    Outdoor cats can become extreamly territorial of the area surrounding the house. Should they see another cat/dog/bird or other animal in their territory they can become upset. In these situations your kitten/cat can indeed transfer his aggression out on their owners or other pets. This same agression also occurs with indoor cats.
    How to spot it:-
    When territory aggression occurs cats/kittens will hiss, spit and make growling or warning noises. This can be either to its owner or another litter mate or cat.
    Cats can attack. Normally in this type of aggression the cat will attack the hind quarters of the other cat. Wounds will occur on hind quarter legs and tail of the more submissive cat, and on the face nose and neck area of the aggressor.
    In indoor cats the aggression behaviour can differ. Multiple cat households can live completely at ease with cats sharing each others territories at different times of the day. This can be upset by a number of different things I.E moving household furniture, getting a new sofa, moving the room about or even moving cat trees. Adding a new kitten/cat will also upset this balance.
    Spotting it in the home can sometimes be more difficult. The aggressive more assertive cat will guard favoured places and objects by growling and or threatening to attack the other cat/person. Stressed territory based aggression can also be spotted through hiding toys, walking round with toys in their mouth, spraying urine and excessive licking or grooming.

    How to combat :-
    Multicat households need 1 litter tray for every cat plus one spare, these need to be put in different areas of the house.
    Cats dont like sharing eating/drinking areas so give each cat its own food and water bowl and feeding space.
    Provide territories for your cats give them places to hide and chill out and retreat. Boxes behind sofas or on top of shelves, radiator beds, pryamid type beds up high and down low. Sometimes coloured toys work - ie red toys for one cat blue for another yellow for another etc only play with each coloured toy with the correct cat and don't mix. Allow cats to gain access to high up areas.
    When introducing new cats keep the new cat confined to one room at first. Allow the other cats to smell under the door. spend time with the new cat and allow the older cats to get used to the sent of the new cat on your clothes.
    Over a period of time allow the new cats area to become larger. when the old cat is sleeping in a different room or put into another room an the doors closed allow the new cat to wonder and smell this area, allow the older cat into the new cats room to also do this. Never put a new cat straight into your home and expect things to be hunky dory. A slow integration period must occur first. Be patient.
    Another good way to combat this aggression is a feilaway diffuser.

    Aggression Towards Humans/Fear Aggression Also related to kitten aggression

    This normally occurs when a kitten has been taken at an age that is too young, and hasn't been correctly handled, petted and socialised when they were between five and twelve weeks of age.
    These cats are normally fearful, shy, wary of new people, easily angered and upset.
    Cats that are frightened can be misinterpreted as an aggressive cat.
    How to spot
    Uptight and Frightened cats crouch with their ears laid back, their tails curled inward and they tilt their bodies away from the threat. They will lash out and claw or bite anything that approaches them. Also the way they walk is a big clue to how a cat is feeling. If the cat has a ridgid upright tail with the back right leg and front right leg moving at the same time the cat is stressed. This behavior often occurs when the cat is in new surroundings or being approached by a stranger. Before attack the cats pupils will often dilate and they may hiss and show their teeth. The cats fur will stand along their back, and they will stick their tail up vertical.

    How to combat:-
    Kittens need to be socialised and handled from an early age. When getting a young kitten get them being used of being touched every where. To get them to allow them to let you touch them wait until they are relaxed and content ( purring ) one way of getting the socialisation period started is to provide the cats favorite healthy treat on the floor infront of you. whilst eating start off by slowly scratching the head and cheeks. Do not make any jerky or sudden movements. Try to progress down the cats back and tail. As you are doing this talk to the cat. Look for signs of the cat becoming agitated. You can tell this as they stop purring and the end of their tail starts flicking. If this happens don't continue for the time being and allow the cat to relax again. Give food treats after the kitten has allowed you to pet them. Slowly the cat will like being touched and relate it to being treated and being calm.
    For socialisation allow your kitten to come into contact with LOTS of different types of people ( different races, male/female, tall, short, fat, thin, young and old. )

    Fear aggression is really hard to combat in older cats but can be done slowly with time and patience. This is because the cat has an inbuilt fear that has been intergrated into the cats personality. With adult cats that have fear aggression never approach it. Everything has to be done on the cats terms. Let the cat approach you. Always have treats available to reward when it does come to you this encourage it to come to you again. Take baby steps each time the cat comes to you. slowly raise a hand towards it to allow it to get your smell. With lots of treats and encouragement the cat will eventually learn to gain trust and allow you to pet it. Never push the boundrys if the cat shows any signs of hostility or agitation stop what your doing and allow the cat to relax again.

    Redirected Aggression

    This happens when someone strange or a strange animal or situation/smell that the cats not used to upsets it. Instead of taking its aggression out on the perpetrator they take it out on their owner. When its not happened before this can break a lifelong bond with a cat.

    How to combat:-
    Find the trigger as to why this is happening and remove it. If its a stray cat in your garden shut the curtains/blinds and shoo the stray away. If the cat shows aggression towards you leave it to calm down! Never shout or punish the cat in this situation it will only fuel more hostility and aggression towards you. Interacting with a cat with this aggression is counter productive. Once the cat is calm and comes to you reward its calm behaiviour with treats and play.

    Stop stroking me biting!

    This is cats that seem immensely pleased by your petting only to suddenly whirl around and bite you. These cats purr up to the moment they attack. This is due to the cat’s short attention span. That there is a fine line between what is pleasurable and what is annoying. Sometimes these displays occur when a sensitive area on the body has been touched. Some cats will beg for attention only to sink their teeth into you a few minutes later.

    How to combat:-
    Release your cat at the first sign it has had enough petting. Some signs that you are approaching the limits of the cats tolerance are restlessness, tail twitching, flattened ears, twitching ears and a tendency to move its head toward your hand. One can attempt to desensitise these cats by feeding them a tasty treat just before you think they might attack and move away.


    Dominance based Aggression Also relates to territory

    Some cats will treat their owners as another cat and attempt to dominate them.
    These cats may growl or hiss when you join them on the bed or attempt to move them. Some will block doorways and show the typical signs of aggression such as tail switching, dilated pupils, flattened ears, and hissing and spitting.

    How to combat :-
    Ignore the cat. Do not give it any attention, withhold treats and petting until the cat has calmed down.
    Feilaway diffusers are good to combat this aggression.
    Don't give a cat treats when it is being aggressive this will teach the cat to bully you when it wants food.

    None Recognition Aggression

    This commonly occurs in a multi-cat household.
    For example one of the cats needs to visit the vet to be spayed. The cats that are normally victim to this type of aggression are those that have been to the vet. These cats are victimised as they return home with a different scent. The cats remaining in the household do not recognise the unfamiliar smell so think that a new cat is intruding into their territory.

    How to combat :-
    If one of the cats needs to go to the vet take the others along too in different carriers.
    upon returning home take the cats into a neutral area of the home and leave them in the carriers side by side for up to half an hour. Give each cat a bowl of the same food ( nice stinky tuna as a treat ) and once they have finished eating let them out. Also using a feiliaway diffuser in this situation helps too.

    Medical based Aggression

    Sometimes some cats aggression does not fit into any of the above categories.
    They may growl and hiss when you pick them up, or touch a certain part of the body. If this occurs get the cat straight to a vet to be checked out. It may be unclear that your cat is ill but cats are strong willed and rarely show that they are in pain. Get your vet to do a good check on the cat and an X-ray to rule out any health problems.

    Cats with a high fever show signs of aggression and irritability.

    Some cat behaviours also may be down to diet. Some commercial foods have cerials and grains that in rare incidences can cause different behaviour problems in the cat. Get this ruled out by a vet also.

    Further more some cat aggression can not be "fixed" it is purely down to the genes that they have been given. This is also rare but does sometimes happen.


    hope this helps!![/QUOTE]
     
  9. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @FeeSussex, welcome to the forums. :)

    You don't mention the age of each cat? If they are kittens (under the age of a year) then 4 weeks is quite a long time, but if they are adult cats then 4 weeks is very little time in which to get two strangers to accept each other.

    What gender are the two cats? Which gender is the cat who is doing the stalking and attacking?

    Do your parents know much about the history of the two cats? Has the aggressive cat previously lived as an only cat?

    Have both cats been neutered? If so, how long ago?

    Your parents will need to keep the two cats apart for the time being. The best thing is divide the house in two so each cat has its own area of the house. Tall pet gates can be used as a divider but you would need two of them and fix one on top of the other to prevent the cats jumping over. The idea is for the cats to see each other and smell each other's scent but not have direct contact. You may be able to buy used gates on e.g. ebay or gumtree.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bettacare-C...qid=1459777708&sr=8-1&keywords=tall+pet+gates

    The plan should be to expose the cats to each other's presence through the safety gates for periods of perhaps
    10 minutes to start with, gradually increasing the exposure day by day if all is going well. After the timed periods of exposure the cats should be out of sight of each other, e.g. in separate rooms.

    If there is any yowling, growling then stop the exposure and try again next day. When there is no more growling etc then the cats can be fed on opposite sides of the gates, either meals or treats so they begin to associate each other with pleasant things.

    Once the cats can tolerate sight and scent of each other through the safety gates without any aggression then the next stage is to allow them short periods together, ALWAYS under supervision. The cat who has been chasing and stalking must not be allowed to continue that if he/she is still inclined to. Your parents must follow him/her around and prevent it happening. If he/she does become aggressive then separate the cats for the rest of the day and try again next day. Keep the contact short - it must be 'good' contact so that a foundation can be built upon. The cats need to be helped to gradually see each other in a more positive light, and this won't happen if they are allowed to be together at this stage long enough for squabbles to start. Introductions must proceed at a pace that is comfortable for both cats.

    In addition to the slow introductions, multiple resources should be provided to reduce competition. This means giving them their own feeding station, out of sight of each other (not just for now but permanently) providing multiple litter trays (at least 3 but preferably 4) and spread them around the house, not grouped together. Several water bowls and plenty of cat scratching posts and scratching mats, several to each room, and a number of cat beds so they can rotate where they sleep, and high up places to retreat to, e.g. tall cat trees or shelves proving a safe route both up and down to tops of cupboards etc.

    Having followed the above guide lines I think your parents should set themselves a target of 3 months and if the cats are not living together peaceably by then (even if not actual friends) they might want to consider re-homing one of the cats. It will be less stressful for everyone than keeping the two cats separate permanently.
     
  10. FeeSussex

    FeeSussex PetForums Newbie

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    Hi... thank you so much! So... 'stalking cat' is a 2yr old male (neutered) and rescued ragdoll is female 10 yrs old (neutered)...
    Several of the ideas you've mentioned they've already implemented though (separate areas, bowls, trays etc). 2yr old is obsessed with finding other cat--he was only cat in previous home and excessively spoilt and treated like a baby. 10yr old was with a couple who then had children who in turn terrorised the cat!
    10yr was adopted first...then the 2yr old who is indeed, acting like a spoilt child.
    2yr old has been allowed outside which he enjoys but now he goes round to the patio doors straight away (where 10yr old likes to sit looking out on the top of a sofa) and yowls at her through the glass!!!
    I was wondering about a cat psychologist or something similar??? :/
     
  11. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    By all means try a cat behaviourist. These people are good.

    http://capbt.org/findabehaviourist.php

    If your parents have insurance then it will cover the cost as long as the vet makes the referral.

    I have to say though that I feel very sorry for the poor 10 yr old female. What a miserable time she has had, having to lose her home at the age of 10 all because her previous owners were too irresponsible to teach their kids how to treat her with respect and allowed them to terrorise her! :( Shocking! :Banghead If it were me I would have been tempted to get rid of the kids, not the poor cat!

    Anyway the fact she has this sad history means it is even more vital she can now have a peaceful existence and is not bullied by the male cat.

    Do your parents know why the male cat was rehomed? The fact he was treated like a baby and spoiled in his previous home is often the way with only cats. What is significant is that he has always been used to being only cat and evidently prefers it that way. Some cats are like that and if he is one of those you won't change him no matter what you do.

    I fear he does not sound suited to sharing his home with another cat, certainly not one who is entering her senior years and wants a quiet life, bless her, not more persecution!

    If your parents have already put in place many of the things I have suggested and there has been no improvement at all then the kindest thing would be to rehome the male cat as an only cat and if they want a companion for the female choose a quiet, laid back cat who will let her live her life in peace.

    But by all means see what the cat behaviourist says.
     
  12. FeeSussex

    FeeSussex PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Chilliminx :)

    Thanks for all your help - yes, I agree with you regarding a lot of things you've said ;)
    I think that they'll try and sort it out as much as possible but in reality... I'm not sure how long term this can be in the end. I'll pass on your kind and helpful words to my parents. Thank you once again :D
     
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  13. E AW

    E AW PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Luisa,

    Thanks a lot for your post, it was quite informative!
    But I was wondering if you could also advise on our cat sudden change/aggression...
    He is a 9 year old male & we have been taking care of him since he was born. He is quite friendly & would never dare to hurt or show any kind of aggression even if you spank him.
    Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago the building where we used to stay in caught fire & luckily the firefighters saved our cat as we weren't allowed to get in & save him.
    We took him to the vet the next day & thankfully they took good care of him & assured us that he is sound & healthy with no affect to his lungs by any smoke.
    He is staying with my mom now (since a week or so). She has a female cat that is not showing any kind of aggression or rejection to his presence.
    Two days ago, my mom was tiding up something when our cat had suddenly ran to her & bit her arm pretty badly where she had to rush to emergency for stitches.
    We were absolutely shocked & confused as we can't figure out what triggered or provoked him to do so. Mom is 100% sure that hasn't made any sudden loud sound or movement & even if she did so, still he is not the kind of cat that would attack someone for any reason.
    We are not sure if the fire incident has traumatized him or if it has any role in his sudden behavior change. If so, what could we do to correct this as we have no cat care centers here.
    Please note that ha has always been peaceful & friendly whether he staying alone or with other cats around him. And would never even try to scratch let alone bite!
     
  14. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @E AW and welcome to the forums. :)

    I am hoping your reference to "spanking" the cat is meant as a joke or a humorous exaggeration, and that of course you would not dream of doing anything so dreadful as hitting your cat to chastise him!:confused: As I am sure you know cats do not respond well to being physically hit. (Neither do dogs, but that is a different topic)

    Your poor cat has been through a huge ordeal recently - caught in a house fire, which he had to be rescued from by a stranger, then being at the vet, then going to a strange place (your mum's house), and having to adjust to living with a new cat! I should imagine he is probably shell-shocked, bless him!

    How did your mum introduce the two cats to each other? I hope she did not just put them together and leave them to get on with it.:( They should have been kept in separate parts of the house for a week and then gradually introduced to each other for short periods every day and supervised the whole time they were together until it was certain they were safe together and neither viewed the other as a threat. .

    I am sorry your mum was bitten. I know from experience how painful and nasty cat bites can be, and your mum was right to go to A & E for treatment, as bites can become infected because they are puncture wounds..

    Basically your cat attacked your mum because he is feeling hugely insecure and anxious at present. From his POV he has lost his territory (your home), his main source of comfort and resources (you and your family) and he has been uprooted and put into another cat's territory and is expected to share her resources. No wonder he is upset!

    I assume your cat is a singleton (an only cat) normally, and so he does not like having to share territory with another cat. Evidently he is unhappy with the other cat and so he misdirected his anger onto your mum. If there was no other cat in the house, I am certain your cat, with his history of being placid and always tolerant of your own family, would not have attacked your mum like that.. When they are very stressed, cats can behave out of character. I have seen it in cats at the Shelter.

    Your cat needs to be treated with kindness and patience to help him get over his ordeal of being in the fire and being uprooted from his home. He needs to be given his own space at your mum's house, a room he can go to where he has his food, his water, his litter trays, his bed, his scratch post, his toys etc. It can be a room he shares with humans, but not with the other cat. I am not suggesting at all he is shut in the room all the time without company, but that he has a room to go to as a retreat so he can be quiet and try and recover from his recent stress.

    If your mum wants to introduce your cat to her cat then it must be done slowly, taking several weeks over it. So that neither cat feels threatened by the other one.

    If it is envisaged your cat will only be temporarily with your mum for a couple of weeks, then it may be wiser to keep the two cats separate permanently. It will be less stressful for everyone that way. But if he is going to be with your mum for months, then she will want to integrate the two cats with each other. In which case, as I say, it must be done gradually with say half an hour's supervised exposure a day.

    Also multiple resources need providing once the cats are spending time together so there is less competition between the two of them. Resources are : separate feeding stations at least 10 feet apart from each other, and preferably at different heights in the room, separate water bowls, at least 3 litter trays, cat scratchers and scratch mats in every room, lots of cat beds so the cats have a choice of where to sleep, and plenty of high up places (tall cat trees or shelves) and hidey holes to go to when they want to be alone.

    And I would give your cat a calming herbal supplement called Beaphar Calming spot-on. It goes on the back of the cat's head, once a week. It is a cheap and effective way of calming anxious, stressed cats without making them sleepy or dopey. I have used it on my cats before their vet visits and travelling and it really works.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beaphar-Cal...8-1&keywords=beaphar+calming+spot+on+for+cats
     
    #94 chillminx, Apr 15, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  15. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

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    The original advice in the original post , Know your cat , was posted five years ago and some of info sounds like the type of stuff I read back in the late nineties / noughties. I wondering if more recent information could be provided that doesn't include advice about shaking cans of pennies etc .
     
    #95 kimthecat, Apr 15, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  16. Quartermass

    Quartermass PetForums Senior

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    My cat has done a bit of aggression I can't make sense of a couple of times.

    He's laid down in the hall, blocking it, and as I get closer he stretches his legs out, and the claws come out. If I try to go around or over the top of him he attacks me. Twice I've just backed off and he's got up and stopped, but just there I thought I'd see if he'd follow through, and he did. He attacked my leg. I don't know why but he didn't seem angry, his tail was wagging but in the way that's usually indicated he's happy, the hair wasn't sticking up. Immediately afterwards he was head bumping my legs as usual. About 10 minutes before this I got the ball wand thing out to play with him thinking that was what he wanted, but he wasn't interested.
     
  17. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Quartermass - he's trying to play with you when he does that. Two of my cats often grab me playfully when I walk past them, or step over them if they are blocking my path. It's not aggression, it's just high spirits, especially in a young cat like yours.

    I don't mind it when my cats do it, as it amuses me.:) But if you don't want to play with your cat that way then do as you did - move away, or just stand still quietly until he lets go. He will realise then you don't want to play.

    Try distracting him with an interactive game when he does it. Throw some ping pong balls for him to chase, or have him jumping after Flying Frenzy fishing rod toys.
     
    Quartermass likes this.
  18. Quartermass

    Quartermass PetForums Senior

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    Thanks - it didn't seem like anger/fear aggression but he didn't seem to want to play other than leg shredding. As I get more toys I will find things he's really into. Or I might put on a pair of jeans and tuck them into my wellies and let him get stuck in!

    If it's play then he'll know not to do any real damage I suppose. I can live with scratches, claws and bites but I'd be unhappy if he did enough that I needed to dress the wound.

    Main thing is that it's not some kind of territorial/stress/psycho thing!
     
  19. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    No it wouldn't be 'territorial' behaviour addressed at you. You are his main resource, as you provide food, water, warmth, comfort, a safe place to live, litter trays, cat beds, cat trees, cat scratch posts. Cats value their resources greatly and therefore you are very valuable to him.

    He scent marks you as "his resource" by rubbing around you. He has scent glands on his cheeks. Some cats have a gorgeous musky smell around their necks and cheeks - males more so than females. All 3 of my neutered males smell wonderful, better than expensive perfume !:)

    Your cat's main concern at present is pleasing you, so that you will be a kind human and let him stay with you. This is why he has been very friendly and affectionate to you from the start - he is in effect saying "I am a nice cat, I will be loyal to you, please let me stay".

    Once he has got to know you and fully trust you then he will develop genuine affection for you. But naturally this takes time.

    You are likely to get a bit scratched if you let him grab your legs and play, but if you don't mind it that's fine! I don't mind when my boys are a bit boisterous with me, as it makes me laugh, but if it gets too painful then I give a high pitched "ouch" and they let go immediately. ;)
     
  20. Quartermass

    Quartermass PetForums Senior

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    Yeah I'm hoping he uses his scratching post because at the moment his claws are knife sharp. I've twice let him have a go at my leg and it still hurts!

    [​IMG]

    He's been a very naughty boy too... I lay in bed blissfully hearing him using his scratching post. Except he wasn't, he was shredding open the bag of treats in the kitchen. Thankfully he'd only got about 1/3 of the bag before I separated him from them. He's already learned how to open the bin, and the drawers in the spare room. I hadn't expected to have to outsmart him so fast. On the other hand he's now peed in his litter box, so tomorrow I'll wash the carpets and hopefully that'll stop him repeating.
     
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