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need advice on how to deal with insane cat

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
This past weekend Bethany and I had some out of town guests stay over at our townhouse. Everything went well, even when we had more visitors over for drinks. The cat, let's call her Beelzebub to protect her identity, a 4 year old spayed male, wasn't shy at all - came out meowing for attention, welcomed petting from guests.

Sunday night, after the overnight guests had left, I had two friends over, Bartholomew and Beatrice (Bethany was out running errands). This time, the cat hid underneath a chair in the dining room, something I thought was strange because ordinarily he would hide in the basement or upstairs under the bed. When Bartholomew walked into the kitchen, Beelzebub went into attack mode. All the usual - crouched low to the ground, ears back, tail electrified. And my god, the guttural yowling and screaming was unbelievable to hear. I've heard cats fight before, but this was incredible.

So Beelzebub went into attack mode, completely unprovoked. I don't know if he smelled something he didn't like - Bartholomew has a dog and a cat of his own - or if he was just over-sensitized or territorial. He wasn't cornered or anything - he had an easy escape to the basement, where his food and litter is, and where he stays at night. Beelzebub was crying and basically chased us out of the house - he was even going after me.

Beelzebub was like Cujo. Every time we touched the door knob, he would jump up at the door and attack. Bartholomew eventually got brave enough to push Beelzebub back with a water spray bottle, chasing him back into the basement, where we shut the door behind him. Beelzebub continued to yowl for at least fifteen minutes before we left.

Beelzebub has displayed redirected aggression towards Bethany in the past on at least two occasions. On one such occasion, Bethany was cornered by Beelzebub for 30 minutes after he was scared by a lamp falling down. And on the other occasion, Bethany tripped and fell and while she was lying on the ground in pain, since he was startled, Beelzebub was behaving and posturing aggressively towards her (but did not actually attack), enough to scare the dickens out of Bethany.

So what should we do? If our out of town guests had brought their 2 year old child, the outcome could have been very, very bad. And I think about all the guests that we have over - we could be facing a lawsuit if Beelzebub attacks the wrong person.

Has anyone heard of this? Is the cat crazy? Bethany adopted Beelzebub from a shelter when he was a kitten, not sure exactly how old and who knows where he came from. There are certainly a lot of stray cats here in Baltimore, so maybe he came from a feral colony?

And what should we do? I can't live feeling afraid of a little 20 lb mammal!
post #2 of 6
I think you need to a professional cat behaviourist. This is not normal behaviour in a cat (obviously) and while it is well possibile that you can figure out a way to make your cat relax and stop behaving like that I think you'll need expert advice individually tailored to your exact situation.

Have you ruled out medical issues? I.e if the cat is dealing with a condition where he's suddenly in intense pain he could lash out like that and think that people are hurting him. I'm not saying it's that but it's always worth to have a vet check to rule out physical issues when there are behavioural problems.
post #3 of 6
Is he up to date with his rabies vaccinations? Has he been exposed to another strange animal or eaten something he shouldn't? When was his last checkup?
He could have been injured without your knowledge. He could have something that is affecting his sensory organs.
Sudden changes in behavior like this one especially for a cat who has been with you since he was a kitten may probably have physical rather than psychological causes.
post #4 of 6
My kitty can normally sence things I cant. Maybe he knows something you dont! You never know with them! I would check the vet to see if it could be the sudden onset of pain. Try palpating the belly to see if he's overly sensitive to this. The best answer is to check the vet though. You never really know
post #5 of 6
Have you discussed this behavior with a vet? Medical issues should be ruled out first. If it turns out that there is nothing medically wrong, there are medications that you can give him to help him deal with whatever it is that is causing him anxiety.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
We've got an appointment with the vet on Tuesday. What really scared me was my inability to stop Beelzebub from doing anything - he was going after me, too! And that it lasted for so long. I mean, I've seen cats get moody or snippy and growl and hiss before, maybe even swipe, but never a sustained, psychopathic rage lasting 15 minutes!

Thanks for all the comments so far!
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