or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Please Help - I'm Desperate!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Please Help - I'm Desperate!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I adopted a poor little abandoned kitten last summer (he was about 4 weeks old, we think), who was sick and about starved to death. He had a bad eye infection, was covered in fleas and had horrible ear mites. After taking him to the vet for medicine, we decided to keep him. We named him Monty, and he was an outside cat until we were able to get rid of his fleas.

A little while later, we noticed that Monty was a very frisky kitten. He liked to play a lot. The problem was that sometimes he played a bit too hard - and I have the scars to prove it. Our vet said that he would probably be less aggressive after being neutered. So, when he was old enough, we had him fixed, but it did not help the agression at all.

We've had him for almost a year now, and not only is he aggressive, but he is almost NEVER affectionate or nice at all. He is mischievious and just plain BAD sometimes. He knocks things over, he misses the litterbox, he attacks my 7 year old daughter at random (and today he REALLY hurt her - he slashed her finger open, and it's pouring blood) and he will not allow us to pet him half the time, and brushing him is out of the question (and he REALLy needs to be brushed - he's shedding everywhere and it's killing my allergies).

I have no idea what to do. I don't want to get rid of him, but he is causing way too much stress for me to handle. Believe me, I've got plenty of stress. I'm a single mom, graduating college this semester (I should be writitng my thesis paper right now), and I just landed my first professional design job.

Thinking about getting rid of this cat just makes me sick, because we do love him - but I'm wondering if this is just his personality. Maybe he's not right for this family? Please help me - is there anything I can do? Or is it a lost cause? I absolutely cannot have him hurting my daughter anymore. But he sneaks up behind her and jumps on her back and bites her! She probably does provoke him sometimes, but he attacks her even when she doesn't. He does the same thing to me, too.

What should I do?

When we got him he was so sick and docile - now he's just a terror.
post #2 of 9
Originally Posted by zesty View Post
I'm a single mom, graduating college this semester (I should be writitng my thesis paper right now), and I just landed my first professional design job.

If he was as young as you think he was when you found him that would be the problem, he didn't have a mother cat to teach him to behave. You really should have worked on teaching him when he was a younger kitten, was he played with roughly at all? or worse, with hands?

It might be a bit difficult to break him of the habits, but with some work you should be able to. When he attacks the back of your daughter's legs is he ambushing from behind furniture or something? If you can predict when and where he'll do it then maybe using a can of air, without the straw and try not to spray him in the face, this will sound a bit like hissing and will startle him.
When he bites, say "NO" loudly then have nothing to do with him, attention after being bad only teaches him that it's ok.

I don't know that to tell you about him not being a snuggly touchy feely cat. Some cats just don't like it. Maybe treat bribes would work, be very careful to watch his body language. Ears back, eyes wide, jerky movements or tensing, and strongly swishing tail is a good indication that he may bite or swat at you. Instead of trying to pet him a lot at once, just one or two pets, or a light pat then back off.

If he's like Max, my outdoor kitty, he may be very easily simulated. Simple petting is taken as an invitation to play and Max does not play gentle. I'm very careful with his body language and back off if I think he's getting too worked up.
post #3 of 9
I like the idea about the can of air. If you use their language they're more likely to understand you. My grandmother once had a cat who was taken from his mother inexcusably early. He demonstrated many of these same behaviors with everyone except my grandmother who he liked. After my grandmother's death my sister had success in winning his friendship. I simply don't have the words to describe how much that cat hated me.

One thing that worked with him was that my cat Friday and I moved in with them for a couple of months. Snowball (my grandmother's cat) couldn't stand Friday, but Friday was a kitten and fearless. He'd bounce off of Snowball and Snowball would get furious and smack him and Friday would only jump on him again. Eventually, Snowball gave up fighting and started playing. It was like he finally learned that he was a cat. He even began to let me pet him.

He never did become very affectionate but he was much more manageable.
post #4 of 9
I was in the same situation with Wolfy who was a few months old but luckily I had two adult brother and sister. The sister, Marina, told taught him who was boss. I guess he needed her as the mother type to teach what to do. I played with him but never with my hands until he learned and now he is a good kitty. But he still is a little trouble maker by climbing on all the furniture. We made cat walks on the walls but he still climbs. But he still learned from another kitty to watch his manners I guess. So in that respect it helped me out too.

The other posts discuss Feliway. Look into that to start off with and see if that helps the aggression. That's about all I can say in this respect. Good luck.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help

I was pretty overwhelmed earlier today...I'm feeling more collected now.

After doing some research, I found out that Monty is probably easily overstimulated. He's always streaking around the house, for no apparent reason that I can see. My daughter and my older brother DO torment Monty quite a bit. I can discipline my daughter, but my brother? Hopefully I can get everyone to respect the cat's feelings a bit more.

I never thought about him not having a mother to teach him! That's a very good point. I wonder if he's still young enough to learn - will it be harder now that he's older to train him? I thought that maybe since he was neglected as a kitten that he just had a mean streak - but he just may not know any better - and I certainly didn't know how to train him.

We've tried giving him time-outs (in the basement) and using a water bottle to train him, but the only thing that has worked was when we trained him not to climb the christmas tree by shaking a metal canister with a few coins in it when he tried to climb the tree. Everntually, he didn't try to climb the tree anymore...Now...if we could train him not to get on the kitchen table, we'd be in business.

I did purchase a bottle of Feliway today - we will see how that works. If it doesn't, I may try the air can idea.
post #6 of 9
I think he may also be a very strong alpha cat who is determined to dominate someone -- and since there are no other cats around, you're it! Our Dylan was that way, and it was only when we brought home a beautiful calico companion for him that he began to settle down. Today, he's five years old, non-violent, and an absolute treasure in every way.

Feliway is great, especially the diffuser kind (which is called Comfort Zone). But I would like to discourage you from using canned air -- negative reinforcement rarely works with cats, and canned air can actually do injury.

There are some excellent articles in Hissy's "Look here first" sticky at the top of this forum -- I'll bet you can find some great ideas in there, too.
post #7 of 9
We have a cat that's very much like this but he has started settling down now around his first bday. We found him in the backyard at 2 weeks of age and are pretty certain he's from a wild mama in the neighborhood. Around 10 weeks of age it became clear that he was very male, very hunting oriented, extremely frisky, ran wildly around the house, and not a lap cat at all. I've often wondered if he wouldn't have been a lot happier living the short life of a wild outdoor cat than being cooped up in the house being well cared for.

He is also very bitey (not uncommon for orphans, I believe) with everyone except my husband who wasn't about to let a cat be top dog and would thump him on the chin whenever he bit as a youngster. I don't know how mama cats take care of that but his littermate that was taken from the mama at 6 weeks of age isn't bitey at all.

I think what has made the most difference are first of all respecting our cat for who he is instead of the kind of gentle cuddly cat we all anticipated, and secondly, constant human companionship. He gets quickly stimulated but there are two times when he likes petting: when he comes and flops at our feet and when he's just waking up. Other than that we usually don't even try but respect his boundaries and we stop when he's not enjoying it anymore. I am absolutely INSISTENT that my kids treat this pet well but on the other hand I did take steps to protect my young daughter who he continued to ambush coming down the hall long after he gave up on everyone else. I'd make sure I was around or else I'd put him away in the pet taxi when he got too out of control. I don't think that deterred future behavior but it did calm him down like a time out might.

That's something you can control but I know how much time you have to spend with him isn't--I'm an at home mom so there is someone at home most of the time and while he isn't a lap cat, he is very attached to me. He follows me around most of the day and sleeps as close to me as he can get without touching.

Good luck with your "full of vim and vigor" cat! I do agree that a cat with this temperament isn't right for every family (we have a difficult child so it came naturally to us) but I hope you'll be able to address some of these isssues.
post #8 of 9
He must be around the same age as my lovely Radar. I call Radar my 'bonkers cat', one of his favourite games is to hide and ambush as you walk past. I have on more than one occasion shuffled across a room with him wrapped around my lower leg trying to kill it!

I may laugh about it but you do have to be firm with them. Cats that weren't with their mother and siblings for long enough (Radar was only 8 weeks when we got him) don't get taught when play gets too rough and hurts. With Radar I say NO!, blow into his face, and distract him with a toy that is on a wand or a length of string to keep his play away from my hands. I also keep his claws trimmed, which helps a lot.

Their behaviour can be changed as long as you are consistent and patient. Radar is a hundred times better than he was, and neither of us have been bitten or scratched for a while - I should point out that Radar is not a mean cat by any means, he just gets very overstimulated and plays too rough, he doesn't intend to hurt, and I don't think your cat does either.

But I have to say the charging round and knocking things over is normal behaviour for a young cat, and even older cats still have their 'funny five minutes' and dash about like mad when the mood takes them.
post #9 of 9
Is he neutered?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Please Help - I'm Desperate!