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Biting

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am new to the forum and fairly new to cats. I have had a few cats in the past but none for an extened period of time.
We got our kitty Suzy about a year ago. She was 8 weeks when we got her and the person we got her from said they had just aquired her (she did not say from where) and that she was sleeping with her baby and that scared her so she couldn't keep her.
When I brought her home it became apparent that her "story" was more than likely untrue. Suzy is vicious. She was a biter from day one. I assume after living with her that she might have been an unsocialized farm cat. She would attack my children constantly and draw blood as they were walking.My children are older and were not pestering her at all.
I insisted that we keep her becuase she would grow out of it. She has never been a social cat. She doesn't like to be touched but likes to be around us. If you try and pet her she sinks her teeth in. She also never purrs which I assume is ok...I don't mind that she doesn't want to be touched or petted.
In January we got another kitty that was a stray. She is a doll but the problem is she is now the one being attacked by Suzy. Pixie (our new cats name) takes it in stride however it isn't fair that now she is the one being bitten.
My vet told me that Suzy is a biter becuase she is a cailco kitty. Not sure if there is any truth in it. He also told me to watch the two of them because he had a feeling that Suzy would bully Pixie. Pixie has been slow to heal from being spayed as well becuase of Suzy's constant abuse. I feel horrible becuase I always hear Pixie scream when Suzy bites her.
I would just appreicate any advice. I want to keep her but I feel like a prisioner in my home. Also we live in ND and are semi rural. I don't want to let her go outside becuase around here cats are viewed as a pest and I have her horror stories of people shooting them. Please give any advice you have.
Thanks!
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinser4 View Post
My vet told me that Suzy is a biter becuase she is a cailco kitty. Not sure if there is any truth in it.
Did he say this with a straight face? Because that's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.

The first thing that jumped out at me while reading your post is, if you got Suzy when she was only (supposedly) 8 weeks old, she probably didn't spend enough time with her mother and/or siblings. This is why most knowledgeable people recommend that kittens stay with the mother for 12 weeks. It's very important to their development. Of course sometimes this time frame is not possible, but it sure seems to make things easier down the road.

What I'm getting at is, it sounds like Suzy never learned how to interact properly with other cats, which could be one reason why she's attacking Pixie. See, when kittens first begin to play wrestle and interact with each other, they quickly learn from the reactions of their playmates what behavior (such as frequency and intensity of biting) is acceptable, and what is not. And ideally the mother cat is there to hiss and paw their heads when they get out of line.

It also sounds likely that Suzy was not properly socialized with human beings, or maybe she was mistreated by humans and is now distrustful of them. If kittens are not handled by and living in the proximity of humans, it becomes very difficult (but certainly not impossible) to get through to them once they mature.

I'm also curious as to exactly what steps you took when introducing Pixie to Suzy. If you click on the Cat Behavior hyperlink at the top of the page, you'll find this article if you scroll down. This informative article pretty much covers all the bases as far as the recommended procedure is. Many people who are fairly new to cats, like yourself, probably wouldn't otherwise know about these things. If instead you just did something like put Pixie in the same room as Suzy and walked away, well, that's a potential recipe for disaster.

When was the last time that Suzy was brought to the vet? Perhaps she is in pain from something and this at least partially explains her irritability and unprovoked aggression.

The last thing I'd like to mention is Feliway. You might want to try using a Feliway diffuser or a spray. Feliway is a product which mimics the pheromones found on a cat's cheek --- the same ones that a cat uses to mark objects in its territory. It was originally developed to combat inappropriate elimination but it also seems to calm some cats down and put them in a better mood. It is completely undetectable by humans and is totally safe. It doesn't have a 100% success rate, naturally, but what product does? There is also something called Rescue Remedy, a calming agent which can be added to water or food, or rubbed onto ears (though I suspect that Suzy will NOT allow that).

I know that I rambled but I barely scratched the surface. I'm sure others will be along shortly with more helpful tips.
post #3 of 12
RobertM has given great advise.
Please inform your vet that although calicos tend to be dominant they are not THE cat biters. It's wise to stop the lie for the sake of all calicos.
To the above post, I can only add that you should start by keeping Suzy separated from Pixie until you find and hopefully solve Suzy's aggressive behavior. Health issues could be involved here. Give Suzy the attention and care she needs but do not force yourself on her.
Good luck!
post #4 of 12
if you go for the Feliway, splurge & get the diffusers - they work better than the spray, IMO.
Rescue Remedy is available many places - here's one.
definitely have the vet check her, just in case... good luck getting her in the carrier! try scruffing her - most cats go limp when you do that.
& i agree w/separation, especially while Pixie's recovering from her spay.
oh, & that calico thing - i have a calico, & she is the sweetest cat i have - never bites, very non-dominant.
post #5 of 12
I had a kitty similar as your description the huge difference being I don't have children living in my home - they are grown. We found a small abandon kitten who wasn't even weaned and he was a bitter - when he got out of hand here I would have to restrict his movement within my home. I noticed he was worse when there was a lot of stimuli - a new kitty would be a stimuli -

For LS too much stimuli that would cause his behavior to get worse was changes in our schedule and company When LS {short for Little shhh stinker} got out of hand I would put him in the back bedroom for a while -

This was his room when he first came to stay with us. Our bedroom was where we first introduced him to our home - as he got used to us and bigger we gradually let him have more and more access to the home until he had free roaming - except when he got out of hand and he would be placed in the back room where there was food, water, his toys and a litter pan that was his - he would pick at our older cat which some times landed him in his room . . .


LS bit me once when I was picking him up and he was placed into a near by cat carrier and then taken to the back . . when we first got Ferocious our farel I would have to carry a thick towel and pick her up using it . . . because she would bite but her bitting was out of fear not an attempt to play.

Any way LS when he was placed in our room didn't stay in there alone forever but we found leaving him to settle down for an hour or so would help a lot . . . then we would open the door and let him come out on his own. . . some times he came barreling out other times he would finish his nap. I love the little bugger but I can not be a prisoner in my own home - and I wanted to continue to love him not resent his presence. This worked well for us and LS.

I read some where that Robert is right the behavior was due to LS's lack of being around his siblings and mother kitty long enough - I ended up getting a stuffed toy about LS's size and played with the kitty using the toy to save my hands from biting - I let him bite and claw the toy but if my hand was bitten or clawed I would immediately quit playing and literally turn away . It seems to me like cats are very responsive to body language and tone of voice - loud noises and fast movements would set LS off - he didn't get mad it was like he got too wound up and rough but he would pick on our older kitty some times too . . . Cats act like they have a heichray thing where they have to figure out their "place" . . . I let them do their thing with in reason but even now when I have a kitty get out of hand they are isolated comfortability until they cool down . It worked with my children and being a human Mommy is the only kind of Mommy I know how to be . . . so I adapt and modify my approach to fit kitties. . . .

Any way in order to help socialize your kitty they have to have some regular interactive play time - like the toy or string some thing where the kitty is interacting with a person - it takes time but LS got to where he would sleep on our laps and at the foot of our bed. He was never completely tame but he was tolerable. . .

PS individual temperament has a lot to do with their social skills. Mr. Mischief has been with us for years and he has never been a social kitty - where Ferocious was my feral baby - We caught her Dec 30 2007 and she is a very social baby with me . . she socializes with Gary if food is involved and she and Fussy play - LS was not as social as Ferocious is even though he was younger when we got him. . . so the cats seem to come complete with their own personality we can influence to a modest degree but not necessarily change completely

I hope this helps
post #6 of 12
You've gotten some great advice here. One other thing I might suggest is trying Prozac or Buspar. I'm afraid your vet might not be up on the use of antidepressants for aggressive cats because of his calico remark. (Although there are many people that believe that - it doesn't seem to be a very "scientific" remark that I would expect from a vet.) But it would be worth a search through these forums on "buspar".
post #7 of 12
Quote:
try scruffing her - most cats go limp when you do that.
I agree MOST cats go limp but NOT Ferocious - she keeps fighting - I do know how to do it is just that Ferocious was well Ferocious. That is why I mentioned the thick towel - that was the only way I could pick her up for a while the first couple of weeks she was here heck the first day it was thick leather gloves and a thick towel . . . now I can pick her up bare handed and she tolerates being carried briefly but she doesn't care for it.




Quote:
if you go for the Feliway, splurge & get the diffusers
Where do you get this stuff ? Can one buy it at a store or do you have to go some where on-line? I have not heard of it before coming here but it sounds wonderful for up tight cats!
post #8 of 12
You should be able to get Feliway at PetSmart or like stores. Or online if your PetSmart is lame...
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you all very much for your advice. I will go to petsmart this weekend and look for that.
I just have to say that I love Suzy very much and she can be a good kitty once in awhile. She follows me around and does love me very much but I am so sick of her biting me. I think as she has gotten older it has gotten a tish better. I think she just wants to play with Pixie but is going about it the wrong way. I then think she gets mad and bites her.
Also to the question on how we introduced them...
Pixie as I mentioned was a stray so we isolated her for the first 2 weeks in a back bedroom. I took her to the vet the day after I got her to get her up to date on shots and worming. I then slowly started to bring her out every night for a little while but she slept in that room. It was a good month before she was left out.
Pixie isn't unhappy and has for the most part healed but I think it was just slow going due to Suzy.
They both lounge together on the back of the couch during the day and I have seen them go nose to nose which I think is a good sign. Suzy isn't constantly attacking Pixie but when she does she is very mean about it. They are both lazy cats the lay around in the same proximity most of the day. Suzys favorite place to lay is on top of my china cabinet in my dining room my husband put a very nice piece of carpet up there and Pixie has learned to get up there now and they have been up there together with no fights.
I just hope in the future she settles down a little with her biting. I accept the fact she might never like to be petted. She does however love to walk around my legs rubbing up against me so I know she loves me..
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Also Suzy was just in to the vet for her routine exam and shots and everything seems to be fine.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
You should be able to get Feliway at PetSmart or like stores. Or online if your PetSmart is lame
I live in BFE - but next time I go into town I will have to check that feliway out. Thank you for the response -
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinser4 View Post
I am new to the forum and fairly new to cats. I have had a few cats in the past but none for an extened period of time.
We got our kitty Suzy about a year ago. She was 8 weeks when we got her and the person we got her from said they had just aquired her (she did not say from where) and that she was sleeping with her baby and that scared her so she couldn't keep her.
Totally off topic here but I just wanted to laugh at how ironic people can be. The kitten wasn't clawing at the baby, wasn't peeing or spraying the baby, wasn't even being antisocial because of the baby, just calmly sleeping with the baby and that makes the mother get rid of it. People don't make sense.

Anyways, you have received great advice. There are a number of sites you can order Feliway from, just google it. good luck!
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