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Mood Swings

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I really hope someone can help me with a problem I am having with a kitten called Cleo.

I don't know much about her history, apart from she is about 3 months old and was found abandoned in a flat. She has been given an all clear health wise from the vets

When she sees me or Richard first thing she is the sweetest cat, she comes running to be stroked, starts grooming us, then after 5 -10 minutes she changes completly and starts to attack us. It seems to be getting worse as she is really biting down hard and is almost breaking the skin with her teeth.

We havn't been playing chase with her hands or feet, and I have tried the making an eek sound when she does it, which seems to make her let go a bit quicker but after a couple of seconds she does it again. I have also placed her in the bathroom as soon as I see her getting ready to pounce, which works in a way that she goes back to being affectionate for a while then in attack mode.

I think the cause of it could be she must have been very young when she was taken away from her Mum and that she hasn't had a chance to learn how to play fight without hurting. I did read up on biting / scratching but she is just getting worse.

I do want to be able to help her, I just don't know how

Any help would be appreciated

post #2 of 8
Some kitties get over stimulated when petted for too long. Get a stuffed animal she can take her aggressions out on and other toys she can attack with impunity... My kitties love the feathers on a wand, or a lazer pointer to chase around. This way she can let off steam and get rid of pent up energy without hurting the ones she loves.
post #3 of 8
I agree...it sounds like Cleo attacks due to being overstimulated. There is a solution for that, but it takes a little work.

The first thing you need to do is to learn her pre-bite signals. I have a cat who gets overstimulated....he always twitches the tip of his tail real fast before he slaps with his paw... Look for anything that can cue you in that an attack is about to happen. Each cat has his/her own pre-attack signal, so you will have to learn your cat's signal. But I guarantee you that she DOES do something to signal an attack. (Watch her tail, ears, and eyes for signals)

Now that you know her signal....the very instant you see the signal, stop whatever you are doing and just ignore her. You can walk away or just sit there, but give her no attention at all.

Wait at least 5 minutes and then play or pet her again. Make sure you stop playing or petting the instant you see her signal so that she never has the opportunity to attack.

What will happen across time is that she will learn to better tolerate the stimulation because she knows you will stop before it becomes too much for her. But....she probably will always be prone to overstimulation, so you will always need to watch for her attack signals.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advise, I have been trying to ignore her when I see her tail starting to swish. I guess it is still early days and I will do my best to help before she gets rehomed. I have tried the stuffed animal but she got scared of them all

One question, I understand about stopping playing / petting when I see her signal, but what do you do when you aren't doing anything and then the cat attacks? As that is what Cleo does the most. You can be stting quietly reading a book / watching tv and she will come running and climb up your leg to bite your hand.

post #5 of 8
I have one that used to bite. I got her to stop by screaming and making a big fuss, (more than really necessary) and scaring her. It didn't take but a few really loud screams to make her stop.
post #6 of 8
I would start adding Rescue Remedy to her water, and see if that helps calm her down. She is simply acting out because of abandonment issues. I have one muted tortie that is just like your kitty. Karma has been with us now for 3 years. She was abandoned by a previous owner and found her way to my place. If we pet her for over 30 seconds, we will get bit. She is quick too. If I am sitting at the computer and she bumps my leg, I get bit. I started wearing heavier socks that come up further on my leg. She has a serious kneading problem as well and really digs her claws in. Lord love her, I tried to find a good home for her, but she has always come back to us- hence her name Karma. She is ours now for life and we just deal with her quirks and learn as we go along.
post #7 of 8

Russell did that to me....usually when I was doing the dishes...

I used the stuffed toy trick. I got him one which was about his size and everytime he was about to attack I shoved it in front of him and
let him go nuts on it. If he got me, I meowed like a cat in pain and even hissed at times so he knew it hurt....even when it didn't.

He got the message in the end.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well Cleo has improved a lot

We were told by the woman who runs the CPL branch that she allows some of the foster kitties to play with her own cats, so as Cleo is vaccinated and had a health check recently I began to slowly introduce her to Corky and Jinxy.

She seems to really enjoy the extra room, and having kitty friends to play with. She still takes swipes at us, but not as much and not as hard, this makes it easier to ignore her when she does attack. Cleo is also able to tolerate being petted for longer than she used to, and now when she doesn't like to be stroked anymore she just moves away instead of trying to bite your hand.

I have also learned not to brush my hair / get dressed near Cleo as thinks movement like that is an open invitation to attack.

Thanks for the advice, as always

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