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Aggressive Intact 9-month-old Male

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am fostering a male cat, Tiny, who is 9 months old and not yet neutered. Naturally I was at first worried that he would spray; but he doesn't do this.

What he does do is attack me--feet, hands, etc. Most of the time, it's play; and that's easy to head off by dangling a toy instead.

But sometimes, he does it when he's just keyed up, tense, and needs to take his energy out on something. For example, today I clipped his claws--just two claws, actually, which needed it--and this made him very annoyed. Also, he can smell the female cat--Baby--who is currently bunked down in my bathroom. All of this gave him a lot of nervous energy.

I'm wondering whether, after he's neutered, he'll mellow out a little. I can understand the play aggression as simple kittenish energy; but his taking out his nerves on my ankles, I don't like.

I can redirect him with a toy when he's nervous, as well. In these cases, he usually tries to bite and claw the toy to death--a violent sort of play that's quite different from his usual play style, which involves a lot of stalking and batting. That happened after today's claw-clipping, which I think was the last straw for him. He viciously mauled a washrag-on-a-string (which is his favorite toy), then proceeded to go to sleep on the computer desk next to me.

On some occasions, the aggression seems to be his way of communicating, "I'm annoyed. Don't bother me."--to the point that I hesitate to call it aggression at all. He'll grab my hand in his jaws, gently, and smack me with claws in. That kind of thing happens when I'm handling him, for example to check his fur for fleas or to put him in the bathroom while I'm gone (where Baby's staying now, so he'll have to be good in the house.)

He doesn't "talk" much. His voice is very soft. I've never heard him hiss or growl, even when Baby hissed at him. So perhaps he is "biting" rather than "barking". If he could learn to be more "vocal"--either with tail-lashing or with soft, annoyed mews--then I could back off before I annoyed him too much. But his overload signals are pretty weak, and it's not long before he resorts to that gentle "bite-and-bat" routine to get me off his back.

The trouble is that he's a foster cat. I could deal with this behavior pretty easily; he's already easing off on the play-aggression because he knows now that I don't like him pouncing on me. And the nerves thing should ease off as he feels more at home, and knows that I'm not going to hurt him. But for him to be adopted, he can't be pouncing on a prospective owner...

His attacks on me have not been serious, and never drawn blood (except for one occasion, today while I was clipping those claws). He inhibits his bite well.

First: Will the neutering help? Will he mellow out, with less kitty-testosterone in his body?

Second: Besides watching for overload signals and redirecting with toys, is there anything else that might help? I'm looking for strategies here, not stuff to buy, because I can't afford any more stuff!...
post #2 of 7
I do think that neutering will help. And better to do it asap because the second the spraying starts, it won't stop and it still might not stop after neutering...

He is also a kitten still, so the kitten crazies might last longer. Just don't ever use your hands to play with him like toys.
post #3 of 7
I don't have any great advice. Just wanted to say that you are awesome for fostering!
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yeah, he'll get neutered as soon as SICSA can schedule it. I sure don't want him to spray anything! That's about the best way for him to get kicked out of somebody's house. Even a cat-lover can only take so much eau de tomcat.
post #5 of 7
Originally Posted by Callista View Post
Yeah, he'll get neutered as soon as SICSA can schedule it. I sure don't want him to spray anything! That's about the best way for him to get kicked out of somebody's house. Even a cat-lover can only take so much eau de tomcat.
eau de tomcat!

Yeah my Sophie is ridiculous. His neuter appointment is Friday, we figure it might calm him down a little tiny bit, as he's just starting to notice the female in our spare bedroom by making weird noises and trying to paw the door.

It scares me, I don't want him spraying either!!

eua de tomcat.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hehe I didn't make that up; just heard it somewhere and thought it funny myself.

I'm gonna have to play with him more... nowadays it's about 20 minutes, scattered around for 5 minutes at a time... Double that, probably. Defuse some of that energy before he uses it for ankle-pouncing. Especially since he has to be in the bathroom some of the time now, so Baby can get a chance to get to know me, and so I can switch their scents around.
post #7 of 7
Neutering should help but it needs to be done very soon before he gets any worse or starts spraying. It will take about a month before all hormones are out of his system, so be patience with his actions/aggressions.

It may be that the hormones are kicking in and he's frustrated that he cannot breed! And during the time after neutering do NOT allow him contact with any female that is not spayed - he still can get them pregnant.
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