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cat - eating behaviour problems - HELP!!!!

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
About 2 years ago I rescued a cat out of a bus shelter in Toronto. He was almost starved to death and this pitiful little guy was abandoned (who wouldn't take that darling thing home?)
When we first got him, after feeding the crap out of him, he never stopped purring! He was so cute and affectionate!

As a kitten my husband played with him pretty rough (never hurting him though) and I didn't play except with toys, he knew he came to me for nice stuff like getting pet, to sit on my lap, etc. We feed him a few times a day, a nice scoop full, of a good cat food.

Fast forward a year: my cat attacks me, tries to bite me when I pet him, he swats at me whenever I walk by. I've never had a mean cat like this and it's pretty disturbing, he's ALWAYS being bad. He gets along better with my husband and still plays with him and doesn't really attack him & is nicer to him.

Now, the food thing is WEIRD. He doesn't like to eat unless we are in the kichen with him, and when we are he wolfs down his food so fast he pukes it up again. He's constantly begging for food no matter how much we feed him and I describe it as a 'starving kitty mentality'.... like he thinks he's still an abandoned starving kitten.

I don't know what to do. I've given up on him and don't bother trying to pet him anymore and have to watch when/where I step so as not to get my legs ripped up & bit. He's sooooooo mean, and I know he doesn't like me which upsets me a lot, considering all the cats in shelters that would LOVE to live with me permanently in a wonderful big home!

I'm considering getting another cat (even though my husband doesn't want me to) just so I have something to balance this whole mess out. I want a PET I can actually PET and LOVE! I'm at the end of my rope here and don't want to go home anymore (so I don't have to deal with my cat!)!

Any suggestions? Please help!
post #2 of 22
Hi there. First of all, please calm down. I understand that you are upset, but sometimes we can't think straight when we are upset.

I want to commend you for saving this cat. You also have to understand that because of his starving condition, his brain may be a little off.

About the food....perhaps you can try giving him a number of small feedings, if you are using wet food, just a a tablespoon or so and let him wolf that down.

an hour later, give him a little more. Hopefully this will help with the bolting of food and then tossing it.

If you are using dry food, put some large stones....yes, I said stones in his bowl. It will make him hunt around for the food and not bolt it so fast.

If I understood the behavioral problems.....you DID or you did NOT play with him when he was younger? Perhaps you might start talking to him a low, soft voice.....don't do that......I'm not going to hurt you, etc.

Please, give him time.
post #3 of 22
Try some interactive toys with him - string toys, laser light, etc. Bringing in another cat may or may not work. If he's an aggressive cat, that could mean trouble to the cat you bring in.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi Kiya, thanks for the quick reply!
I'm not 'heart beating fast' crazy upset at this moment, just the whole situation is really upsetting, but I'm sure everyone here would know what that would be like!

I've tried small feedings (he only really eats the dry food, wet sits there until I throw it out). Problem is when we are not there (during the day) I can't keep that up. Typical day, the hubby feeds him in the early morning (6am), then I feed him again at 9am, then hubby at 4pm, then a few times during the evening. I've also tried a MASSIVE bowl of food so he can eat as much as he wants (which he ignores until we are near the kitchen, then SCARF!).

I'll try the stone thing ASAP, thanks for the tip!

I did not play with him much when he was younger...... except for mostly with toys (strings with stuff on the end, the long finger gloves, etc). I allllways talk to him in the low sweet 'baby' voice..... unless I am speaking FOR him, then he somehow gets an English accent ......."dahdee! pehhhht meeee" lol

The only thing we could think of is that he thinks I'm not the boss of the house (that the hubby is) and I am below my cat. Reality is I AM the boss, top cat if you will, and I need him to know that (the hubby has learned, why can't my CAT?? ). I don't want to spend a few more years with a cat that treats me like dirt, only to find out he won't change.

Will another cat help? There's so many that need help out there, I'm sure there's one out there that would be perfect for everyone in our family! I'd like an older female, I've heard they interact well with younger (fixed) males.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
see why I can't help loving him though?



He's my little kitler! (He's about 6 months here I think)
post #6 of 22
Is he neutered? (I skimmed posts, so sorry if I missed it!)
Had a vet exam in the past 2 months?
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Is he neutered? (I skimmed posts, so sorry if I missed it!)
Had a vet exam in the past 2 months?
Yup, chop chopped! Here's him looking not impressed a day or so after neutering:

man did he ever hate that cone! lol
post #8 of 22
If any drastic behavioral changes occur suddenly, I always advise a vet visit. Even in this case, I would take him for a full exam & blood panel....specifically address this issue with the vet.

Have you ever tried Feliway?

If you get another cat, chances are good he'll just attack the other cat. You need to find a cause for his behavior before you change anything!
post #9 of 22
I don't mean to upset you, but as wonderful as the advice you can achieve through this board is, you need to get your kitty to the vet. The tempermental personality might be behavior, but the vomitting up of food sounds serious. I now have 21 cats, so I'm constantly on guard for sickness in mine, due to the odds of sickness being higher and if one catches something, the rest follow.

I've seen a variety of things in my time, and due to having an entire family line of cats in which the grand-mother and great-aunt of my 5 month old kittens came to me infected with cat flu so they've all had it - I've been in and out of vets for a variety of symptoms, behavioral and medical - so I've seen a lot of different behaviors and had a lot of vet advice for mine. I have to be so vigilant. The vomiting does not sound normal.

I also had an adult cat die last year - she became REALLY thin, she purred REALLY loudly, she would growl at you, and she'd litterally jump into your arms, she was on edge and I thought it was behavioral that she was eating very little unless I was in the room, that she was so hyper....she was still so aware to the end, so I diddn't know, I finnaly realised when she let out this haunting yowl, and rushed her to emergency night-care. 3 days later, she needed to be euthanised as she had some sort of cancer and was very anaemic, they couldn't even put intravenus in.

What I'm trying to get at, is something can seem odd yet sort of normal but it could be much, much more sinister.
post #10 of 22
Your cat is not 'mean', he's terribly distressed, whatever happened to him in the past, and your attitude towards him, rather than being nurturing and understanding, is impatient and childish. He's a cat for crying out loud, he has no natural animosity towards you, just confused, frightened of so many changes thrust on him, possibly allergic to his food (or plain doesn't like what he's given), and very much feels the stress in the home of your making him the focus of your competition for him with your husband. He does need to be assessed properly all around, and then treated well consistently, which will make him feel secure and happy. Give him a chance!
post #11 of 22
The stones are a good idea - you might try a golf ball instead though, that way it rolls around, and slows them down that bit more

Have you tried hand feeding him treats? Maybe you can try that every night, and not let your husband do it, so he starts seeing you as the "treat person".

If you can get the cat toy "Da Bird", cats love it, and it's another thing that may win him over. Getting Feliway (it's also known in stores around here as Comfort Zone), as was mentioned by someone else, can also help calm him down.

It may take a bit of work, but I think it's worth it in the long run. I used to have a psycho cat who would attack me regularly - as he got older he mellowed out, and I wish I had have known these techniques then!

I wouldn't get another cat until he's calmed down a bit, and an older female may be a little crotchety, and not appreciate a young hyperactive kitty.

Good luck!!!!
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
Your cat is not 'mean', he's terribly distressed, whatever happened to him in the past, and your attitude towards him, rather than being nurturing and understanding, is impatient and childish. He's a cat for crying out loud, he has no natural animosity towards you, just confused, frightened of so many changes thrust on him, possibly allergic to his food (or plain doesn't like what he's given), and very much feels the stress in the home of your making him the focus of your competition for him with your husband. He does need to be assessed properly all around, and then treated well consistently, which will make him feel secure and happy. Give him a chance!
i have to say that i agree with larke. tabitha, who i have had since she was 8 weeks old, has never really been affectionate to me. infact if i push my luck, as in stroke her for too long , she will bite me. but that is tabitha. she prefers the company of my daughter. well that is fine by me. i would never try to 'force' an animal to do anything, let alone be my friend.

if you feel that opposed to having a cat that doesn't fulfil your needs then maybe you should consider rehoming him, therefore giving him the opportunity to find an owner who will let him be himself.
post #13 of 22
I think you two are being a little harsh to catwalk, the fact that she cares enough to rescue the kitty, and actually ask for help to change his behavior, instead of just chucking him out on the street shows that she loves her cat.

I know how hard it is to live with a cat who attacks you. My last cat attacked me and my parents, to the point that i used to get really panicky if my mum put her on my bed (i was 6 when we got her) because I knew there was a good chance she'd bite me. We couldn't have guests over because she'd bite them. She mellowed out eventually, but it took 9 years.

I think there's a sticky for redirecting aggression, and my laptop is fast running out of batteries so i'll have to be brief.
Feliway really works! It mellowed out my Tilly when she broke her leg, but it does take a while to kick in. I think you can now get a spray Feliway as well, for a faster effect.
Only use cat toys around him, and maybe play with him more. Boredom can manifest itself in a variety of ways. My Archie gets a bit free with his claws when he's bored.
And I agree with taking him to the vet. When my last cat mellowed out we took her to the vet, and it turned out that she had a tumour, and that was why she'd been acting differently.
i realise my post may sound a little depressing, but i didn't know about thecatsite when I had my last cat, and i'm sure that i could have sweetened her personality if i had! Good luck
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Seriously, some of the replies are pretty... absurd. I'm really surprised actually.

My cat is not sick. My cat is not scared and confused. I'm not jealous of my cat. My cat is weird, a little quirky, and a jerk sometimes. JUST like a person, sometimes a cat can be... not nice.... and other times be great. But he's happy and healthy which is the best way to be.

So, thanks anyway, I guess.



(to cata_mint - THANK YOU, best reply and restored my faith in these forums! As long as there's people like you here, at least there will be a voice of reason)
post #15 of 22
No offence but how do you know your cat isn't sick? How do you know your cat isn't scared or confused? Please don't raise your defenses and shun all possibilities. Just because the words weren't said with the nicest tone doesn't mean it doesn't have a ring of truth to it
post #16 of 22
I personally think you may have made a pretty good suggestion yourself, and that is to get another cat that your current cat can exercise with.

Who can figure out what goes on in these little peanut brains?
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
I personally think you may have made a pretty good suggestion yourself, and that is to get another cat that your current cat can exercise with.

Who can figure out what goes on in these little peanut brains?
ok, ok, point taken. guess i should take a breath before posting sometimes.

good to hear your last comments catwalk. i know how life with cats can be difficult at times. please remember all the comments would have come from the right place. good luck with your kitty and i hope you find some solution to the problems.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by catwalk View Post
Seriously, some of the replies are pretty... absurd. I'm really surprised actually.

My cat is not sick. My cat is not scared and confused. I'm not jealous of my cat. My cat is weird, a little quirky, and a jerk sometimes. JUST like a person, sometimes a cat can be... not nice.... and other times be great. But he's happy and healthy which is the best way to be.

So, thanks anyway, I guess.



(to cata_mint - THANK YOU, best reply and restored my faith in these forums! As long as there's people like you here, at least there will be a voice of reason)
Thanks, I hope I didn't come across as too mean to anyone, I was just pitching in on your behalf.

If you really want to see a change in your kitty I'd read this thread:
http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20837
And decide which form your cats aggression takes. You'll need to consider things like:
When did the aggression start? Was it sudden onset, like one day he flicked a switch and became the cat he is now? Or was it gradually, in increasing amounts? Did you accidentally traumatise him somehow? I know the last one sounds odd, but it can easily happen. One of my cats is quite sensitive and the slightest upset can make him behave differently around us for days.
The thread contains a variety of helpful ways to treat the aggression, which are far better than any I could suggest.

How much do you play with your cat? Only cats do need more stimulation from their owners. I'd buy a variety of luridly coloured, feather filled toys, and play with him in 15min bursts throughout the day. Even once before work, once when you get back, and once before bed can really make a difference. The happier he is the less aggressive he'll be.

Shower him with treats when he's behaving well, I use smelly whitebait treats which I can smush up in my cats food to encourage them to eat.
It sounds as though he doesn't feel safe enough to eat unless you're with him. Maybe providing him with a covered space, somewhere he feels safe (under the bed?), and placing his food bowls there, will encourage him to eat. I'd also consider trying different brands and kinds of food, to tempt him.

I'd also take him to the vet, even if its just for a check-up. With the eating problems you need to make sure he's the right weight, and the vet can also suggest medication to relax him. I have heard good things about St John's Wort.

Good Luck! And keep us updated.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by catwalk View Post
...I'm not jealous of my cat.

...So, thanks anyway, I guess.


Where did "jealous" come from?
She came up with that one on her very own.
post #20 of 22
My advice in the following steps:

1) vet check (the most important thing in the world, I had a kitty change behavior & got a vet exam, saved her life)
2) No other cat, he'll attack you, chances he'll do the same to another cat
3) Lots of play time, perhaps he's just more active than the average cat
4) Bitter Apple spray, might deter him from attacking

It's possible your kitty was semi-feral or along those lines when you found him & as I've found out with Ophelia, some of the "attack" never goes away. I've got the scars to prove it!

Yes, I am re-iterating.
post #21 of 22
My cat Bea is like this.

she's a jerk. period, just like people can be.
some cats are like that.

She's healthy, she has a warm home and bed (in my sock drawer) and she's spoiled. I can't help it I love her.

but she's a jerk. she bites, she hisses and growls, she swats at me and the other cats. She likes my SO more than she likes me.

I actually got the kittens because she wasn't affectionate, i wanted affectionate cats. She wanted to be left alone, so I left her alone. she doesn't like the kittens either but they don't fight. so now I'm not annoying her all the time with my snuggles and I can give loves to two other rescue kitties.

Try treat time . This (besides feeding time) is one of the only times she likes me . I also pet and snuggle her while she's sleeping until she swats at me

I just let her be herself. I would never consider re-homing her.
post #22 of 22
When we bought Dillon home as a kitten. He pooed on the settee every morning. He grabbed my legs as I came into the living room and bit me and held on as I walked to the kitchen, he was naughty and into everything. He wore me out. I used to play with him all morning, then stuff him full of sardines and he would be asleep when my husband came home and I was exhausted, usually laying on the couch still dangling a piece of string. We got another cat, sensitive Toby, poor Toby didnt know what hit him, Dillon jumped on top of him as soon as he saw him, so for the first few nights we separated them, within a week, they were sleeping together, together all the time and Toby even tried to cover the poo on the settee that Dillon put there. I got big cardboard boxes, put holes in them, joined them together and they spent hrs playing with each other going in and out of the holes and chasing each other up and down the stairs. It worked with Dillon. He got calmer as he got older anyway, but he still had mischief in him which turned into a book of funny memories, far too many to write here. He had such a character.
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