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Strange/Aggressive Behavior... help!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Sorry, this is a long post, and I appreciate anyone who can read it all and give me some feedback.

I could use some help correcting the behavior in my cat. I got her at 8 weeks or so (she's almost 3 now). I've never done anything to harm her, and neither have any of my friends (as far as I know). About a year ago, she picked up a very distressing behavior though.

She did it the first time in front of me. She was always a lap cat, and would sit on just about anyone's lap; I was out running errands and a friend of mine was at home. I walked in to see her sitting on his lap. She jumped up to greet me, I pet her a bit and my friend moved to the couch to give me the chair (so I could get on the computer). About 45 seconds later, the cat flipped for no reason I could see. She starting growling EXTREMELY aggressively, spitting and getting into a posture where she could use all of her claws in defense. I tried to figure out what was wrong, but the cat became so terrified that she emptied her bowels under one of my tables before I finally got her isolated (in a large walk-in closet with her litter box and food/water).

Since then she has periodically demonstrated this behavior, usually around a new person who she doesn't like. She gets extremely defensive and sometimes it takes days for her to calm down. I attempt to leave her alone as much as possible during this time, but at times, she will sit in the middle of the hallway leading to the bathroom/bedroom and will NOT move, only sit there growling, spitting and ready to attack. Many times she will still empty her bowels when she's scared. She also gets louder than I've ever heard a housecat get, it literally sounds like someone's hurting her.

I've kind of been at a loss for what to do about this. Last night, she started this up when only myself and my girlfriend were in the apartment (both people whom she trusts, or at least HAS trusted in the past). The only time she's ever been harmed (or as I think she would see it) in her life was getting declawed and neutered at the vet when she was 6-7 months old). Either way, that was a good 6-8 months before her first incident... during the time between getting fixed and the first incident, I'd had people over and although she was never very social, she was never aggressive with them.

It's happening more and more often these days as well. It's extremely frustrating to deal with this; I love this cat alot and it hurts me to see her terrified for her life from two people that care so much for her.

As for what I've tried, ignoring/isolating her both have proved pretty ineffectual. Aside from spending the night away from home, nothing really seems to calm her down. Tonight I started using a spray bottle out of absolute frustration, while it doesn't seem to calm her down, it at least moves her out of my way if I need to get somewhere that she is (as well as quieting her down a bit).

I'm really at my wits end with this... please help!
post #2 of 6
Could you take your furbaby to a vet - its been mentioned many times here, if there is a change in a cat's behaviour, then it is trying to tell you that something is wrong. Please take your sweetheart to the vet.
post #3 of 6
You say you live in an apartment? Has there been any strays or new cats in the area? You could be tracking in the scent of another cat and she is trying to protect her territory. This would explain why she doesn't recognise you as a friend. Try removing your shoes before entering the apartment and see if the behavior changes. I know there are products that will neutralize these smells and someone will post it for you. Look up threads concerning introducing new cats to the household. Then there is the declawing, this often changes the behavior of the kitty. It sort of sounds like panic attacks due to the fact she can no longer defend herself. Cats also suffer fron phantom pain like people who have lost an arm or leg so this could be a manifestationn of that pain.Let us know how things turn out or we will worry! Thanks!!
post #4 of 6
I echo the thought of going to vet immediately. This person who had her in their lap- could they have hurt her? Do you trust this person? I would be highly suspicious that this is one of those cases where someone presents themselves as loving cats, and the minute the owner is out of sight, the cat is subjected to painful stimulus. The owner appears, the harassment stops, the person looks innocent.

Sorry, but those are my thoughts, especially now that the cat does not trust strangers and did before.

But please take the kitty to the vet.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I don't *think* he hurt her, he has had cats all his life as well. As I said, she was sitting comfortably on his lap when I got home. It really just seems that she's responding negatively to something that happens, she hasn't demonstrated any health problems or signs of health problems for as long as I've had her... she just seems irritable.

I'll probably end up making a vet appointment; I've read a few places that they have anti-anxiety meds for kitties. Honestly, it seems like she is a very anxious cat; she always has been. Ever since I got her, she has to be within a couple feet of people. If I lock her out of the bedroom, she'll meow all night (literally). Regardless of where I sit in the house she likes to be leaning against me. Just wondering if this could be a solution to her problem.

Unfortunately, I can't take her in until she calms down. She's calmed down a little but she's still flipping out some... she's hiding inside the couch now (yes, inside the couch). I can't conceive of a way to get a cat out of a couch when she doesn't want to come out.
post #6 of 6
I had a kitty that was shipped to me from California and when Nikita first arrived she hid under my sofa, in the sofa arm, in under the ledge of the sofa! I finally got a couple of fireblocks and tipped the couch completely over on it's back, propped up by the bricks and extracated her from her hiding place, put her in a carrier, put the couch back the way it was and stuffed it so she couldn't get under it. I released her and she dove for the couch and vanished underneath the cushions!

I would take this cat to the vet. Stick a towel over the carrier to make it dark so the cat will be calm and get her in to get checked.

I can reccomend a good book by Annie Bruce called Cat Be Good. It has several pages of information on how to deal with this type of behavior. Good luck!
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