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Help with my cat that I've had for 4 1/2 years!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Okay, Hi Everyone!
First off, this is long but I want to give as much info as I can so I can receive ya'll's advice.
I really need some help. My husband and I adopted our cat , " Baby" around 4 1/2 years ago and she was about 9 weeks old. The place we got her from said that they had rescued her and her siblings from a farm and were born from a feral cat. She has been nothing but a joy to us! We have moved 3 times, we have always lived in apartments and she has never had contact with other animals and rarely small children. In September, we moved to a very rural area, to a house. There are plenty of other animals to see running about and though she was interested she never seemed too perturbed. Around the same time, my husband has had to travel during the week and is only home on weekends. I have noticed a difference in her behavior but not in a bad way... until the last month.
The first attack was around Xmas and I had shooed her out of the Xmas tree where she decided to perch. Not immediately, but as I came through the door from outside she flew at me and began viciously attacking my legs. She scratched quite deeply and drew blood, was hissing and screaming like a banshee. I grabbed a pillow form the couch and herded her back towards a bedroom, all the while , she kept attacking the pillow and screaming.
I was worried but let it go after she calmed down. I started to notice that she was always lurking around the entrance door ( our front door is a sliding glass door) and seemed to be searching for something as well as trying to get out. ( She has always been a strictly indoor kitty ).There are other neighborhood animals that come around our porch are every now and then. She would sometimes hiss and swipe at me but I would baby talk to her but at this point, I am feeling uncomfortable, her eyes get wild, she prowls and seems ready " to go ".
This past Saturday, after a morning of laying around and cuddling, I went to the kitchen to remove the trash, as I stepped back, she came flying at me out of nowhere and attacked my legs so bad I had to go to the E.R. My husband had to herd her back to a room and she was going completely insane.
When we came home, I tried to let her out and be around me but was so petrified and because she sensed my fear , it made her kind of stalk me. I was shaking so bad every time she would come around a corner that my husband said we had to get her out of the house because we could not risk this type of attack while he is gone.
Unfortunately, I called the local Animal Shelter, who said they could house her for a 10 day evaluation, until we decide what to do next. I felt that I had to remove her from the house for now because I am completely uncomfortable with being alone with her and I didn't want to keep her locked in her room.
I absolutely refuse to give her up, this has been such a horrible 24 hours , I don't know how I will make until next week.
I really need some advice, I have talked to mutiple vets, the Humane Society, the sheriff who picked her up and EVERYONE is at a loss.
Why is she turning on me? I am the closest to her, I have read all kinds of info on redirected aggression and all I know is that it could be a mulitude of contributing stressors.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
post #2 of 10
I would bring her home as soon as possible. Have a room set up for her, somewhere she possibly was already comfortable with all her familiars, blanket, bed, litter, maybe some new toys, food, water. I think possibly what is happening is the previous owners may have had animals and there is an extreme scent that is causing her to feel a lot of discomfort, this also could be caused by the outside roaming animals. Obviously she is very uncomfortable with the move and feels very uncomfortable, this agressive physical behavior is probably confusion and feeling of displacement, retaliation of feeling punished possibly. I don't agree with emotional drug therapy for animals, this is sappose to be a temporary treatment with humans and we have the ability to communicate the reactions we have with these drugs. How can you know what the effect is truely on your pet if they can't communicate what is actually bothering them to begin with? I would definitely get a thorough vet check, during visit get her claws trimmed. You are absolutely correct thinking she can feel your fear, but aggresion is not a normal behavior, so try to remember there is something behind all this and take precations when you feel she is showing aggression. It will hurt her more to be boarded in a strange place, then scolded or whatever precautions you need to take for your safety while finding out what is wrong...........Definitely keep her in a smaller confined area for a while, this should help both of you during this process. I could be wrong about the drug therapy, but I would'nt walk in requesting it.
post #3 of 10
Several thoughts, and really shooting in the dark here because I am not there to witness these attacks:

Is she spayed?

Invest in a black light and then late at night, douse all your outside lights and shine the black light on your doors, windows and around the outside of your home. If you see flourescent green streaks and dots, you have an animal spraying your home and this might set her off.

Also use the black light inside your home, you might have past animal stains working their way up out of your carpet or flooring.

Invest in several comfort zone room diffusers- start running them in various rooms.

Take her to the vet for a complete check-up and bloodwork, urineanalysis etc.. Aggression can be a reaction to pain.

Something could be stimulating her, smell, sight, sound.

She could just be territorial. With so many animals within sight and sound of her, she could just be establishing her territory. Because she doesn't have another cat she can attack, you are the cat-surrogate. She will attack the person she is the most bonded with. This is just how cats are.

I am curious what her posture is when she attacks you? Is her head drawn back? Are her claws splayed out, ears tucked back?

Have you hurt her recently without meaning to? Stepped on her in the middle of the night, caught her tail in the door?

I would keep her routine the same with no surprises when she comes home. If she senses you are afraid of her, you will be toast in minutes. Keep your breathing even, think happy thoughts, avoid eye contact with her. Wear several layers of clothes,thick socks, boots in case she attacks again.

Don't take this personally. When a cat gets scared or angry about something, sometimes they just withdraw. Then they attack later, without warning after they have worked themselves into a state.

It is also possible that something neurologically could be wrong with her. She might have whiffed a toxin, gotten into something that wasn't quite right. I would ask for a tox screen to be run.

Sometimes, they just are trying to tell the person they are closest to that something is wrong with them. If we don't listen, it can be a bit intense before it is over.

I work with aggressive cats all the time. You are welcome to PM me if you just need to unload. I have been in this situation many times, it can get a bit intimidating if you let it.

Good luck
post #4 of 10
I am very happy to see Hissy's post! This is everything I was trying to say and more! The environmental surroundings have so much to do with behavioral problems in our pets and many people just don't see that or take the time to find the source. Goodluck and take Hissy's offer for personal help if needed!
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate you taking the time to offer suggestions. They are all great. I spoke with the owner of the shelter this morning and she maintains that I need to talk to a behaviorist. The shelter vet did a once over and could not find anything physical but she is scared to death! I feel so horrible. I made a vet appt. and I can't wait to get her home. I know we will have to get used to each other again, but I love her so much, I am willing to try. Thank you again and I am definately going to contact Hissy.
post #6 of 10
I'm glad to hear you are going to try to work things out between the 2 of you. Bless you for trying. Hissy is wonderful and if she doesn't know something it probably isn't important enough to be known anyway.

Please keep us posted on how things are progressing.

Hugs and good vibes to you.
post #7 of 10
Just got you PM Thank you for making an appointment to get her spayed. That will more than likely stop the problem. It won't go away overnight, but it will help to calm her down some. I believe if you do buy a blacklight/flashlight you will see cat urine on the outside of your house.

Yes, kittens are cute. But her behavior needs to stop before you end up in the hospital for more than just a quick visit.
post #8 of 10
Good luck! I hope it works out. I can tell how much you love her.
post #9 of 10
Oh yes, getting her spayed is going to help her so much! Cats going into heat intensifies there senses beyond our imagination, I compare it to menopause side effects that women feel plus 1000 times our periods! She is probably terrified being at the shelter with the other animals, this should only make her so happy to get back home with you! Please keep us informed
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for the wonderful messages! Today has been the first day that I have felt positive and happy since this all happened. I can't wait to bring her home next week! I will stay in touch and find some pics to put on here for everyone to see her. And BIG thanks to Hissy- you've been awesome!
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