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Miserable cat with aggression issues...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi, this is my first post but I've been lurking here for a bit...

Now, brace yourself. I like to ramble. But this way you guys can get the full story!

I have a bit of an issue with my gorgeous cat Tobi (Obviously my forum name is in honour of him).
He's a Domestic that I got from a sanctuary when he was about 8 weeks old. Now, he's about 6 years old.
To begin with, Tobi was a lovely cat. He got along so well with the other two cats we had at the time (A Persian cross called Jayjay that we got from the RSPCA as an older cat, and a beautiful Manx called Molly who we got from the RSPCA as a kitten.)
He was a gorgeous kitten. So well behaved and social. The perfect cat in every way. We moved house twice with him and the other two cats, and everything was fine.

In our old house (I'm looking at about 2 years ago here) he was very happy. Then our gorgeous Manx, Molly, got mauled by the dog next door who had escaped his yard. Unfortunately she didn't live to tell the tale. I think Tobi was confused about the death of his big sister, but he still seemed fine.
I live with my mother and her partner, and my sister. Molly was my sister's cat. She doesn't believe in mourning periods and insisted on getting another kitten immediately! So we got another kitten called Milo from the RSPCA again. We lived right near a creek and he got out one day and was bitten by a snake, after we had him for about 4 months. Really bad luck, but unfortunately there's nothing to blame but a wild snake and an escaped dog. Of course, another cat was needed immediately! (I don't particularly approve of this by the way. I was so sad about the two cats dying that I thought we should definitely have waited a lot longer before getting another kitten, but no one can tell my sister what to do!) This time we got the most beautiful cat. A longhair of some sort. He was a rescued kitten and handraised from a few days of age, so he's VERY affectionate. Tobi and Memphis (the new cat) got along fantastically!

We moved house a few months later to where I am now. Tobi didn't like the move very much at all (even though we'd moved twice before with him and he was fine with it). Old Jayjay died at the ripe old age of 16 human years with something we suspect was cat dimensia (She went a bit crazy in the end, poor girl) and I think Tobi was a bit confused, but didn't seem to care much at all. They weren't exactly buddies, they just lived together. A few months after living here, he started acting slightly odd. We let him out when he wants to go out through a doggie door. He started acting very shaken up. I suspect he's had a big fright or something. Then he started to get into other cats on the street (At least this is what I suspect. He often has scabs and scratches on him.)

To make matters worse, then my mother's partner moved in. Guess what came with her? A lovely Bichon x Poodle puppy! Tobi didn't like this much at ALL. Tobi started staying out longer, even though he has the entire top level of the house to himself and can sleep in my room uninterrupted every night. We had to start taking his food to a different place in the house because he wouldn't go near the dog. Things have gotten so bad that he's gotten really large cuts on him (The vet gave us antiseptic cream and told us that if they got infected to come back, but that the best thing to do is just let it heal over, as it's probably just from a fight) and when he comes inside, half the time he will jump on my lap and want to be petted... and the other half of the time he sits on the stairs and attacks anyone who walks past him. He's got some good claws and teeth on him too.

Now, we're moving house soon, in January, and we'll be moving into flats, so I'll have my own flat, as will my sister and my mother (and the dog!).
I'm hoping that this will help him out, but he already has the top level of the house to himself now so I'm not sure what difference it'll make.

I just have no idea what to do. The worst thing is that my aim is to work with animals and that I pride myself on my knowledge of dogs and cats, but then my own cat has issues and I haven't got a clue what to do!

When I move I'd love to get myself a new kitten and a puppy but I'm worried that Tobi will react to this badly and I'd never do anything to make him upset, so I can wait if I have to (even though I'm terrible at being patient!).

Please help me out with this. I just haven't got a clue what to do...

I'm so sorry about the length of this post!

Alex (Which is, of course, my actual name. Not Tobi!)
post #2 of 5
I'm convinced that, like people, the older a cat gets the less happy it is about adapting to change. Tobi's been through a lot and is probably a little unhappy about it. If he's been getting into a lot of fights outside, when you move you may want to make him an indoor only cat -- switching during a move makes it *much* easier.

also, even though you guys may not notice it, I'm sure the puppy and the new cats are getting a lot of attention, and he probably feels that he went from a "top cat" to just a cat. Try playing with just him, not the kittens or the dog, and see if he perks up.
post #3 of 5
As with any behavior change, I highly reccomend a vet check. Cats hide pain well....and something major seems to have unnerved Tobi.
post #4 of 5
He's obviously unhappy. He needs some stress free areas in his life. I agree, making him indoors only will ensure that you will keep him for a long time.

Cats like to go outside, but I see it as a situation similar to having teenagers; they would love to run loose in downtown Manhattan, but we don't let them if we love them.

Cats get aggressive when they are fearful. He's had upsetting events which are closely followed by more creatures that he has to deal with. When you move to a quieter place, keep the quiet times going so he can develop his equilibrium again.

I have written about aggressive cats here:


and maybe you can find some hints that would be helpful.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
I hadn't thought about making him an indoor cat only when we move. I considered it here but it'd be next to impossible... We don't really have windows, only big glass doors, so if we kept them all closed it'd be stuffy and boiling hot inside (I'm in Australia, remember. VERY hot summers here)

I give him as much attention as I can. This is the thing. Nothing I can do will fix it. (At this stage anyway). Every time I see him and he's next to another cat or dog, I'll make sure he gets the majority of the attention. I'll choose to go over and pat him, and whenever I see him I call him over. Without exaggerating, 90% of the time when I see him and he lets me pat him, I do. And not just until I feel like stopping. Until HE feels like stopping, and runs away.

I will take him to a vet asap. I had considered this, but the last time I took him to a vet because of the same issue all she did was give us antiseptic and said he'd be fine.

I honestly believe that the attention thing is not the issue here. If it is, he's deluded, because he gets the priority as far as attention goes because everyone wants him to get better and be his old self again. I think he's acting out of fear. He seems terrified of the dog. But him and Memphis used to be the best of friends, now he hisses and swipes at him.

Unfortunately I can't stop moving. I live with my mum now, but I plan on living in our new place till 2009 or 2010 when I will live on my own. Even if I don't move out, we're the sort of family who can't stay still. I never considered this wouldn't be good for the cats because our other cats have always handled it so well. I'll try to stay put once I'm out on my own for future pets' sake

Thanks for your help. Any additional info would be great.
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