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is he feral or just insane?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
About 3 months or so ago my roommates and I randomly acquired a young male cat from one of our friends. The friend had found him after he was hit in the head by a car. The original owner was an elderly woman who had apparently kept the cat inside, but she passed away. Her neighbor then started feeding the cat for a while, although I don't know how long before the accident.

After he was hit, out friend took him to the vet to get him checked out. He had a cut on his chin, but other than that was fine. So our friend brought the cat over to our apartment because she couldn't keep him. We took special care of him for a couple weeks while his face healed. He was so sweet at first; he would come over and lay on your lap and let you pet him for forever.

We do have another cat, an older spayed female. I think she is about 5 now, belonging to one of my roommates. When we first brought the male in they were in separate rooms for about a day or so, and after that they kept distance from each other. They would sit on opposite sides of the room, crouched down, staring intently at each other. They never really got very close, and after a while they seemed to get along. They even played on several occasions.

But in the last month or two, the male's attitude and behavior has changed considerably. He seems like he's just mean. While playing with him he'll suddenly get very aggressive and bite/claw really hard [ i have scars on my hand], and last night when I tried to move him off the bed he latched on to my arm and started biting frantically. Also, if he is in one of the bedrooms and we close the door, he'll start wandering around, meowing, and will vomit and/or defecate. This seems very strange to me and I don't know why he would freak out like that.

Also, when he gets near the other cat, she will often hiss and run away. Sometimes he chases her and they fight briefly. I've seen him with clumps of hair in his mouth a few times.

I really don't know what to do with him. The friend that gave him to us is going to get him neutered soon, and she said she'll ask the vet about his strange behaviors (mostly the enclosure issue).

Other notes: he seems to have no problem using the litter box. Both him and the other cat do all their business in there and we do our best to keep it clean for them. But every once in a while the male will go and poop in our bathtub. It doesn't bother me much because it is easy to clean up, but I thought it was kind of strange. Also, sometimes he'll go into the litter box and start scratching at the sides and the lid of the box .... for several minutes at a time. He's done that 3 or 4 times in the last hour and a half today.

he also will paw at the most random things around the house, while the other cat simply ignores most items other than toys...

I would really appreciate any thoughts or advice!
post #2 of 22
Problem is most likely the fact that he's isn't neutered. Getting him neutered, then giving him 2 months to settle, should resolve most of the issues.

The litter thing though....I suggest getting him vet checked ASAP. If he has a UTI, it can become severe enough that he blocks up & dies. I am not just saying that to scare you, it happens.
post #3 of 22
Every indoor cat needs a box all to itself - one per cat at least, so try that as well and see if it helps anything. He may have a bit of left over 'damage' from being hit by a car, it's not something a vet would be able to necessarily 'see' on examination, but if you've ever had a concussion, you'll know you may feel cranky for months afterward.
post #4 of 22
It does sound like unneutered male behaviour, they tend to be very territorial and rough until neutered.

I would get him checked for a UTI or other problems

If he is scratching the litterbox, it is often their way of saying it is not clean enough for them try adding another box
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your insight
It's the first time that I've lived with an unneutered pet, so I wasn't really expecting him to act like that, although it's not surprising. My boyfriend has lived with lots of cats that had free reign over everything, so he pretty much disregards everything that our young male does. I can understand that he is used to cats doing things like that and much worse, but I still say that that doesn't mean that our cat should be allowed to run around and terrorize the household.

But anyway, he should be neutered soon, and I'll talk to my roommates about getting another litter box.

Thanks again
post #6 of 22
It is so great you have taken him in! And yes - neutering will help more than you think it possibly could! Seriously - amazing.

Just remember - it will take between 1-2 months for all the male hormones to work their way out of his system AFTER the neutering, so the change will be a bit gradual. We have three former feral kittens that we took in three months ago and the two males were done about a month ago. The change has been really noticeable, and we have had no peeing outside the box issues since we got them done (knock on wood!).
post #7 of 22
He sounds like a cranky intact male.
I would separate them some more though because it is not fair to the other cat to have this new guy come in and take out tufts of her fur. She could end up with behavioral issues.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by CC12 View Post
He sounds like a cranky intact male.
I would separate them some more though because it is not fair to the other cat to have this new guy come in and take out tufts of her fur. She could end up with behavioral issues.
They pretty much keep themselves separated; spending most of the time in different rooms and usually out of each others' way. But sometimes their paths cross, and she usually just runs away from him... but every once in a while he'll chase her, and even less often then that does he get a clump of fur.
post #9 of 22
does he really make himself vomit if he gets locked in a room? i'm not sure they can do that! in general, i too think neutering will help a lot. as for the litterbox thing, my cats do that scratching thing, even when the box is totally clean. oddly, they rarely actually scratch the litter itself, they just scratch at the walls of the box.
post #10 of 22
oddly, they rarely actually scratch the litter itself, they just scratch at the walls of the box.
I know! Ours do the same thing, in particular Paddington and Conor. I think they just like the sound (I had just done a total clean of the box today - new litter, good scrub of the box, and still...scratch, scratch, scratch...). Of course, Paddington has a lot of very strange litter box behaviour, so I am not too concerned (as long as he still uses the box, that is!).
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by jimmylegs View Post
does he really make himself vomit if he gets locked in a room? i'm not sure they can do that! in general, i too think neutering will help a lot. as for the litterbox thing, my cats do that scratching thing, even when the box is totally clean. oddly, they rarely actually scratch the litter itself, they just scratch at the walls of the box.
He doesn't vomit every time, but he did once on my roommate's bed oO

and yeah... our cat scratches at the sides too whether or not we just cleaned it
post #12 of 22
Definitely getting him neutered asap should clear up some of his issues. It does take some time after surgery for all the hormones to clear his system, but you should notice some difference within a couple weeks. I would also have him checked for a urinary infection.

Good luck!
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Eh... he's been wandering around meowing a lot today... I don't know what he wants. I looked in the sticky about behavior issues ("Look here first") ... and there was a link to an article about meowing, but when I clicked on it, it took me to an article about spraying

But yeah... just wondering what the reasons would be for a cat to wander around meowing like that =/

the other one never does it.
post #14 of 22
he's bored and he wants to get his freak on!
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

I guess that would make sense... he's still unneutered, and keeps jumping in the windowsill
post #16 of 22
Don't let him outside. He is smelling all those invitations out there on the bushes and his instinct is telling him he can have a good time out there. If you let him out, he will add to the problem of more kittens in the world, not to mention, he may get into a bad fight with another territorial male. About his litter pan habits, he is telling you two things- your litter pan isn't big enough for him, the litter isn't deep enough or clean enough for his liking. Try graduating him to a large rubbermaid container with at least 2 inches of cat litter inside. Don't use scented litter, just plain clay litter and see if that doesn't stop the bathtub assaults. Get him neutered quickly or you could have a problem sprayer on your hands soon.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Hissy. He won't be going outside! They are both inside cats... although Sass, [the older spayed fem] will walk out the door sometimes while I'm standing there talking to someone. She just walks along the balcony, sniffing the ground and rail... we live on the second floor... lol

But yeah, the male should be getting neutered sometime this week, but I'll have to check with our friend to make sure.
post #18 of 22
It was very considerate of you to take on this cat... i wish everyone in this world was so goodhearted.

idk about any of his issues. but dont worry too much about him scratching at the sides & cover of the litterbox. to me, that is normal, since Monster does that everytime he is using the box. he is an agressive digger, sometimes he digs like 3 holes before he decides that one is good enuff to do his business in. then he covers it all up completely, then scratches the sides of the litterbox for like 10 minutes, i guess untill he is satisfied that his paws are litter free, & the sides are clean enuff.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Sass does some strange things sometimes... Like just now, she was sitting on the very top of a chair in our living room, just staring straight up at the ceiling oO

Sometimes she'll get on top of the bookshelf, stand on her hind legs, and paw at the corner. She can almost reach the ceiling up there..... and I thought that was the weirdest I've ever seen a cat do. o_o
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Is it normal for an unneutered male to be purring while getting affection, and then without warning bite hard enough to draw blood? My roommate was holding Socks the other night, and he was purring... then out of nowhere he bit my roomie's hand, causing him to bleed.

Also, if Socks is just laying around the house, or even if he comes up to me or my boyfriend, and we start petting him, he immediately turns his head toward our hand like he's going to bite. I read the article about aggression toward people, and the petting issue, but he turns aggressive as soon as we touch him or move a hand towards him.
post #21 of 22
How wonderful of you to take in this little unwanted boy!

It's the season for him to smell females in heat, and he's not into petting right at the moment. The neuter will help him calm down a lot.

If you don't want to wait for your friend, I looked up the zip code for Martin, TN, and I found this:

Originally Posted by pets911.com
Carroll County Humane Society
396 Euclid Avenue
McKenzie, TN 38201
23.8 miles
(731) 352-9950


Hours: Our hours are Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 10am to 12pm, Saturday by appointment, and closed Sunday.

We're about a mile from the square in downtown McKenzie. From Highway 79 or Highway 22, take Highway 124 West (Cedar Street to 4-way Stop, TURN LEFT onto Magnolia) to the Little General Store (BP Gas) and flashing, hanging, yellow traffic lights and TURN RIGHT (Elm Street) - immediately TURN LEFT onto Euclid. Follow Euclid about a quarter of a mile - we're on the RIGHT at 396 Euclid Avenue.
You'll have to call them to find out how much it is.

If you want to try for other searches (since you know your area better than I do), this is the link I used: http://www.pets911.com/veterinarians/ and click either on local spay neuter services or low-cost spay neuter services.

But I would discuss with them the possibility of a vet appointment as well. Though the pooping in the bathtub may be territory-marking, it sometimes indicates discomfort while pooping. He may have food sensitivities or colonitis, which can be easily corrected with a diet change. But a vet would have to make that determination. Getting a poop sample in for that is important though. I'd also think it would be important to have him checked for parasites, worms in particular. They're also pretty easily treatable, but he was outside on his own for a while, so it would be likely. One treatment doesn't do it, because any of the meds only kill the adult worms, so at a minimum a second treatment is required about three weeks after the first. Again, this is medication that a vet would prescribe and you can give him at home.

Hope all is well with your little boy and it's just that he needs a neuter and a bigger box!

post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your help

But unfortunately, I will HAVE to wait for my friend's mom to take Socks to get neutered. She runs a cat shelter in a neighboring town, and will take him with another group of cats to get the surgery.

I would take him somewhere myself, but I have virtually _no_ money. And as far as I know, there aren't any places nearby that are doing it for free. I really am broke here; my roommates and I have been living on cheap bread and lunch meat recently, and yesterday my boyfriend "splurged" a few dollars for cat food.

We always put their needs first, like spending grocery money on their food instead of ours; but right now we don't have money for a neutering... what little bit of cash we get needs to go towards bills so all of us will have a place to live.

It should be done soon, but I don't know when. Also, I was wondering if there was a way that I could get him to stop chasing Sass. Earlier she was lying by my computer, and he was nearby, looking like he was about to attack her... so I grabbed a toy and distracted him with it. It worked that time but not always... most of the time he just chases her and pays no attention to me or anything else.
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