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Extremely Aggressive Cats

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have had some recent problems with my cat. He has always been very skittish and nervous around other people and even displays mild aggression with me. However, within the last two months he has brutally attacked two people. Both people had pants legs shredded and numerous, deep scratches on their legs. They both had to go to the Doctor for tetnus shots. I know what triggered it--a cell phone ringing and the opening of a birthday card that plays music (apparently there is a signal in those cards that can set cats off).

Has anyone experienced anything like this? With me, my cat is as sweet as can be most of the time. But this has gotten out of control and I don't know what to do. My cat has his claws, and although I hate to do this, I am going to have to have him declawed. I feel my only other option is to put him to sleep and I certainly don't want to do that. I travel a lot for work and now I have no one that will watch him and I don't feel comfortable hiring a pet sitter because I am afraid of another attack.

Any advice you can send would be appreciated. Thank you!
post #2 of 12
Speak to your vet. I am currently having a problem with 2 of my cats picking on the other one. They receommended a spray or plug in form of something called 'feliway'. Apparently it imitates a scent that cats produce when they are happy which helps relax and calm they. I have had 2 plugged in since yesterday afternoon and I now feel more comftorable letting the 2 horrors out of the room they have been locked in as they seem a lot calmer in themselves and I am fairly confident that they wiill not be so aggressive when they come into contact with the other cat.

It is expensive stuff but I believe it will be worth it in the long run!
post #3 of 12
Just clipping the claws will help a lot. It really makes a huge difference to not have them sharp.

You can try softpaws as well, they are plastic sheathes you glue on the claws that makes them completely blunt.

I have to say I don't think declawing is a 'fix' for an aggressive cat. Odds are that he'll just start biting instead. In fact declawing will probably make it worse because it involves quite a lot of trauma both physical and psychological when it's done to a cat.

Deep cat bites are potentially very dangerous and can get infected easily. If your cat had been biting odds are that your friends would be having a course of intravenous antibiotics at a hospital rather than just a tetanus shot.

Also a lot of the deeper scratches when cats attack come from the back feet and that danger won't go away with a front paw declaw. You'd have to have the tip of all his toes amputated for the scratching 'danger' to be gone but then the cat can't ever scratch himself properly which is complete torture of another sort. That can also severely affect their balance and ability to jump and move around.

I would try feliway and soft claws and maybe talk to your vet and see if you can get a behavourist to help you. It's always better to try to fix the root of the problem rather than just bluntly chopping away at the symptoms. Especially when that's not likely to actually fix anything properly.

You may want to look into anti anxiety medication for him to try and get him to relax. I would try that before a permanent mutilation like declawing is.

You obviously love your cat and want the best for him, cudos for not having given up yet, cats in attack mode are scary.
post #4 of 12
Please do consider Soft Claws or clipping his nails before you decide declawing.

I also agree about speaking to your vet. It seems very odd for him to react to electronic music like that. Maybe there's something in his brain which makes him unintentionally react like that, maybe something related to epilepsy. I'm just going out on a limb here, of course, but it's very odd. How does he react to other forms of music?

Good luck!

Tricia
post #5 of 12
The de clawing wont help the aggression but it will help rid some of the damage they do. Ever notice how cats use their claws to latch on and steady themselves before they bite. De clawing wont give them the foundation to have a strong bite at the skin. I dont think its mean to de claw a cat if they dont behave properly on a consistent basis. It's even more mean that the cat injures your friends! Watch out, in my home state, doctors and hospitals are required to contact animal control when they cause bodily harm to an individual. My neighbors had a nice visit twice before the control officer took their dog to the pound.
post #6 of 12
I have to say from firsthand experience that declawing isn't the solution. I've seen many aggressive kitties people declawed as a solution who turn to biting surrendered into the humane society where I volunteer.

My first suggestion is a thorough vet exam & bloodwork. Is he neutered?
Try Feliway.
There are drugs that you can try, IMO sounds like he has anxiety issues & is acting out because he feels as though he has been threatened.
post #7 of 12
crazycalicos5 - this cat forum is an anti-declawing one. Please read through: http://www.thecatsite.com/Care/34/De...-Manicure.html

Declawing involves amputating the first knuckle on a cats toes, it is considered animal abuse and is illegal in most of Europe and is just not done (i.e they didn't even think to make it illegal because it's so unknown, like there aren't specific laws against pulling all the teeth out of a dog) in most of the world.

Potentially crippling a cat for life and giving them behavioural troubles is a mean thing to do. Yes plenty of cats cope just fine with their handicap just like there's a lot of happy well adjusted people in wheelchairs or dealing with a disability or another but it is never not mean to declaw a cat.

Also in addition to biting there are other side effects that can happen, this includes not using a litterbox and arthritis in addition to becoming timid and fearful. Also any amputation can result in phantom limb pain. Cats are very good at hiding when they're in pain though so often it's not noticiable for quite a while and any sign of discomfort should be taken very seriously.

knicky44 - The strong anti-declaw talk isn't aimed at you specifically, yes I know you're thinking of doing that to your cat but you are in a difficult situation and I empathise with that. My point for your specific cat is more that it almost certainly wouldn't help the problem and in fact may make it worse. I would go see the vet, have your cat checked out (some conditions which cause the cat to be in pain can make them lash out), try using feliway and talk to your vet about drugs that you could put your cat on temporarily to see if it helps.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycalicos5 View Post
The de clawing wont help the aggression but it will help rid some of the damage they do. Ever notice how cats use their claws to latch on and steady themselves before they bite. De clawing wont give them the foundation to have a strong bite at the skin. I dont think its mean to de claw a cat if they dont behave properly on a consistent basis. It's even more mean that the cat injures your friends! Watch out, in my home state, doctors and hospitals are required to contact animal control when they cause bodily harm to an individual. My neighbors had a nice visit twice before the control officer took their dog to the pound.
All I can say is Uh Oh. I think it's mean to maim a cat (declaw) for any reason. There is a reason for this cats aggresiveness and declawing it wont solve the problem.
post #9 of 12
didnt know this site was anti declawing. sorry bout that. i respect people feelings on declawing and I appologize. I just know that the puncture wounds cats create can be extremely dangerous and even fatal in some cases. My mother is a retired ER nurse and had a case where someone would have died if they hadn't gone to the hospital because of their cat putting a claw to the toe. She wanted to get my old cat de clawed after but I convinced her not to. Cats claws can be loaded with bacteria, especially outdoor cats....and fecal matter!! Ew! Think litter box. Even more so in older cats because their claws begin to tear or rip over time and it holds more bacteria. I guess my point is a cats clawing issues shouldn't be taken lightly. I also dont believe in using behavioral medication on animals so in my case if all else has failed, it would come down to asking myself whether its more humane to declaw a cat or put them to sleep. Personally, I hope to never have to do either if it were my choice! I wish my kitties could live as long as we do!
post #10 of 12
No worries, I know that cat puncture wounds can be really serious. Cat bites are even worse than cat claw puncture wounds though (doesn't mean the claw punctures are good though) and both need to be taken seriously. Cat bites even more so.

I had a friend and her cat bit her on her thumb and she was drunk and partying and didn't want to go to the hospital. She waited 24 hours before her friends dragged her off to the hospital and she ended up being admitted to the hospital for treatment and she almost lost her thumb.

Basically when you have a cat that's already showing signs of fear aggression and being neurotic over loud noises etc. I would really not do anything that even slightly increases the odds of the cat biting and with the case of declawing, doing that to already fear aggressive cats is quite likely to make them start biting for real. Yes scratches and claw punctures are bad but the bites are even worse.

Behavioural medication is not something that should be tried lightly but I think temporary trying that out is better than putting the cat to sleep or declawing, it doesn't permanently alter the cat and plenty of cats get better and can then be weaned off the drugs.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycalicos5 View Post
I also dont believe in using behavioral medication on animals so in my case if all else has failed, it would come down to asking myself whether its more humane to declaw a cat or put them to sleep. Personally, I hope to never have to do either if it were my choice! I wish my kitties could live as long as we do!
As much as I love my Chester, I am so opposed to declawing if I had to make the choice between the two I would have him put to sleep. It would be painless where as the damage from the declaw would cause him considerable pain and the after affects could make his life miserable.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycalicos5 View Post
I also dont believe in using behavioral medication on animals so in my case if all else has failed, it would come down to asking myself whether its more humane to declaw a cat or put them to sleep. Personally, I hope to never have to do either if it were my choice! I wish my kitties could live as long as we do!
Wait until you're in the position to kill your cat or use meds to judge that.

Ophelia Rose has some fairly severe behavioral issues, which have been helped greatly by Buspar. After 6 months on Buspar, I've taken her off & she's finally settled. Calm, less aggressive. She still has her issues, but she has a quality of life. Buspar is non-addicting, meaning I quit it cold turkey. The only side effect was she was very cuddly/rubby & woke me up at night a lot for pets.

She was aggressive, attacking me, the dogs, other cats, herself even. Tried Feliway. Knew declawing was never an option. Neither was giving up & putting her to sleep. I fought for her.....we tried several meds & came up with a solution. She's now sleeping in the chair next to me. Periodically I reach over & rub her tummy.

Meds are by far easier on the cat than mutilating them & cutting off their toes.
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