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Cat is nuts, need help!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Okay this is a strange one folks...

I got a kitten from the SPCA when he was about 7 weeks old. He was abused I could tell, full of fleas, very limp. He had a hernia and a lump inside his mouth.

We had both those issues fixed.

Now I live out in the country and most of our cats have been indoor/outdoor cats however I wanted this one to stay inside, so that is where I kept him.

Now he is about 8.5 months old. About 2 months ago I decided I would take him outside a bit, just to let him get some air and roam around a tad...

Well within 5 minutes he started to hiss at me while outside, very abnormal seeing as he is very friendly inside and has never got mean on me. I took him back in right away..

The second time I took him out he did it again, this time sooner than before, again I brought him right back inside.

The third time was even sooner and this time he absolutely changed personalities and did not seem to recognize me at all, he was acting like a scarred stray cat. I tried to pick him up and he clawed me and tried to bite me. He was constantly growling spitting and hissing.

I had to go to the ER for a hand infection that resulted from the clawing, it was not good.

Well since then another family member has taken him outside and had the same thing happen and got bit, and infected in the hand. I guess it takes more than telling people NOT to take the cat outside...

What the HECK is wrong with my cat? Why does he act perfectly normal inside but flip out when outside?

Now the scary part is.. today he heard our other cat outside, she is a female and was walking up to the house with a mole in her mouth. She was making noises while carrying the animal around, like a mother cat does for her young... she always does this...

Anyhow he heard her and just had to see what was going on, ran from the window to the door.. I picked him up to show her to him and as I went to put him down he flung his head back at me and started to hiss and growl.

So now I am worried this may turn into an indoor issue as well... I just don't understand this and have never heard of this problem before.

It's like he just stops recognizing you and gets extremely mad, no different than a pinned down stray wild cat would do. When brought inside it takes him from a few minutes to an hour or so to calm down and go back to normal.

He is VERY friendly indoors with the exception of today while looking outside at the other cat...

Anyone have a clue?
post #2 of 19
There's lots of strange sights and smells outdoors, and he was probably scared. Just like the sweetest cat in the world can be a holy terror at the vets' office, just being in a strange environment.

If he's happy and calm indoors, I'd leave him stay indoors. He can get fresh air from a screened window.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Do you think it's possible to get him used to being outside? What if he flips out and I just leave him out there on a leash? I am worried if that causes a permanent state of mind, I would have to have him put down.

If he does this at all inside again I don't know what I will do with him.
post #4 of 19
What is wrong with just letting the cat stay inside?

Leaving him outside on a harness is a very bad idea; he won't have any way to defend himself, and he could quite possibly escape and die outside (as he doesn't sound likely to be able to hunt and take care of himself outside).

He hasn't caused anyone any damage while inside, yes? Just leave him inside! don't try to pick him up when there is anything at related to the outside going on. As a general principle, never pick up a cat who is tracking, hunting, super interested in anything, scared, or acting territorial without expecting to be hissed at, clawed at and bitten. Use towels/gloves/good handling techniques to protect yourself if you really must pick up a cat in any of these situations.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyOzzy View Post

He is VERY friendly indoors with the exception of today while looking outside at the other cat...

Anyone have a clue?
I suspect that when he goes outside, he smells other cats that have "marked" the territory, and he becomes aggressive and fearful while trying to protect HIS territory. If he sees a cat he knows on the outside, while he is inside, he really may not recognize that cat because he isn't smelling them. I'd recommend keeping him inside and getting him neutered as soon as safely possible.
post #6 of 19
Yer cat's normal The behavior he exhibits is called re-directed aggression. He sees something that upsets him and takes it out on the nearest creature. The odd sights and smells make the cat so afraid they totally forget you (and other people, and even their siblings and other household animals). He will become more normal once he is used to being outside.

However, I agree with the others that he is just better off inside unless you've got an enclosure. An outdoor cat's lifespan averages to something less than 5 years. An indoor cat's is more than 10. Outdoor cats have to worry about being run over, encountering abusive people, aggressive animals, diseases and getting lost.

Btw, is he fixed?
post #7 of 19
Is he neutered? I was attacked by a male I used to own when he was outside prior to neutering (on a harness), he was sniffing around them started hissing and attacked. Once he was neutered, he enjoyed going out and hadn't attacked since then.
post #8 of 19
I would just put him outside for awhile so he could get used to it. It seems that he has a bit of cabin fever lol
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies first of all...

Yes he is neutered. I have also had indoor / outdoor cats who have lived to be very very old, as well as a totally indoor cat that just passed away last month that was around 20. I don't like keeping cats outdoor only, it's a sure way to a short life.

The reasoning at this point getting him outside a bit is basically to make sure that if he darts outside and somebody has to grab him that he does not go wild and bite anyone causing an infection. Two people, myself included have been bit and it resulted in an ER visit and an IV, not cool!

And if my niece were to get bit it could be a huge problem not only for her health directly but for custody issues as well.

Now I did not have much problem myself keeping him in only and not worrying about the outside until the other day he freaked out a bit while inside the house and only looking outside at the other cat...
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
And he just now snagged me while sitting on the window. Was purring and started playing then he just growled and tried digging in with claws and biting me. So frustrated.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyOzzy View Post
And he just now snagged me while sitting on the window. Was purring and started playing then he just growled and tried digging in with claws and biting me. So frustrated.

??????????????Why are you 'so frustrated' ???? HE DOES NOT WANT TO GO OUTSIDE. I wouldn't worry about him darting outside and worrying that someone has to try and bring him in. Unless he stands near the door and appears ready to run out, don't be concerned (and from your description, I do not think that is the case). Not all cats want to go out, we have 3, 2 of which run the other way when the door's open, and the 3rd just cozy's up to whoever comes in thinking she'll get food or a pet. If you cat is happy inside and NOT happy outside, I think the obvious solution is to keep him inside
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mauld View Post
Not all cats want to go out, we have 3, 2 of which run the other way when the door's open, and the 3rd just cozy's up to whoever comes in thinking she'll get food or a pet. If you cat is happy inside and NOT happy outside, I think the obvious solution is to keep him inside
I agree... this really isn’t a big issue. If someone kept putting me somewhere I didn’t want to be damn straight id turn female dog on him or her. I have two boys, both who never want to go outside, ever. Bugsy tried once, I let him sniff around, something startled him and he never even snuck a peak out the door since. Capone couldn’t care less if the front door was open for hours, wouldn’t go near it.

I think you making a big deal of this, talking about putting the cat down and stuff, why? Also if that slim chance that your cat does run out just tell the younglings not to grab the cat. I’ve never had a problem telling kids not to touch my old crusty cat or my old dog in certain situations.

I see no problem with leaving him as an indoor cat. How would you like it if you just wanted to relax indoors and someone kept grabbing you and making you go outside where things upset you.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
THE CAT WANTS TO GO OUT! Maybe I did not make that clear. He sits and watches outside from the window and when the door opens he runs over to go out. Eventually he WILL get out, he has before on his own and I do NOT want anyone getting hurt.
post #14 of 19
Oh, I'd certainly not understood that the cat was trying to get out! That's quite a quandary.

There is an aggression thread in this forum, which you've probably already read.

Although I've never dealt with a situation like this and am not an expert on cat behavior, I'd suggest getting a portable outdoor run (essentially, an outdoor cage) and sitting outside with your cat in the outdoor run. I'd put special treats in the run that the cat really likes and only gets in the run. Never leave the cat outside in the cage unsupervised, but bring a book and do your reading, or do gardening, or whatever. That way, you can get the cat used to the outdoors, where you can pick up the cage and not touch the cat. This might even work with a carrier, although the cat will be even less actually outside, it still might help.

If you want to try the cat-on-a-lead thing, do use a cat harness instead of a leash on a collar. The collar will choke the cat and/or the cat will just slip right out of it. (In fact, a panicked cat is essentially guaranteed to slip a collar with a leash.) Cats can even get out of harnesses, though, and then you'd be left with the panicked and aggressive cat outside again, so it doesn't seem like the best solution.

Do you trim this cat's nails? It would reduce the chances of anyone getting injured if you regularly trimmed the nails. There are plenty of advice threads on trimming cat's nails, and since your cat is often friendly and easy to touch, it should be quite do-able.

On the other hand, if the cat's behavior is changing, it could be a health thing. It seems a little strange that bad behavior that appears to be caused by the outside could be due to a cat's health, but it is possible. My cat was pretty moody when playing with her sister due to her feline asthma; I think whenever she got to doing any physical activity, she started coughing or otherwise hurting, so she got aggressive. So he could have a new health problem that bothers him only when he gets excited.

Hopefully other people will also have more/different advice now that we know that the cat is trying to get outside.
post #15 of 19
Hi,

I am having a very similar problem with our cat. We got him when he was just 3 weeks old with his littermates and his mother, who were abandoned by their owners. We kept them all together until the kittens were about 5 months old and his mother and sisters got adopted. "Sox" was neutered when he was old enough and has always been extremely friendly and gentle. He never used to bite or scratch, growl or hiss at anybody. He is an inside cat but we would let him out every so often, supervised on a leash, which he quite enjoys.

Sox is now 5 years old, and a few months back started displaying the same behaviour as your cat. However, it started when he got scared a few times. Once he tried to jum on a railing in our house and fell off. He did not fall very far and did not injure himself (we had the vet check), but he spooked himself and got all puffed up. My husband happened to stand nearby and Sox immediately hissed and growled at him, even charging him and swatting at him. This happened again when my husband accidentally stepped on Sox's tail. His hostile behaviour then was directed entirely at my husband and he was friendly to me as always.

In spring, we started taking him outside on his leash again (around the same time as those incidents happened). He really loves going outside and will cry at the door. We usually tie him up on a long leash and do some gardening or so. ONe day he was sitting on the lawn, half asleep, when I approached him. I did not startle him at all (he saw me coming), but all of a sudden he looked at me and hissed, like he did not recognize me. He growled and hissed and then charged. Once inside, he would continue this for a while and then hgide under the bed. After a few hours or a day he usually returned to normal.

These episodes have become more frequent and have turned into aggression with strangers (at first he is friendly for hours, then attacks out of the blue). We have observed that he usually breaks into this behaviour when he is startled, scared, goes outside (not always though), or when we try to do something he doesn't like. For instance, when he jumps on the railing and I gently try to push him off, he sometimes startes growling and hissing.

Sometimes he will be in this mood for several days. At night, he comes and sleeps on the bed and is super friendly, until I get up - then he starts hissing again. We have had him vet checked and the vet has no clue what might be his issue. He is healthy. Since this has been going on for a few months we have had some time to experiment with it. We have tried to walk away when he has one of his episodes, but he will often stalk us and then sit in the halway and not let us through. So we don't think his behaviour is entirely frea driven, as he does not always go and hide when given the opportunity. We have alleviated this by having a spray bottle on hand, as we can't be confined to one room because of the cat blocking the door . Between his episodes he will sometimes go for weeks being completely normal and friendly.

We are sort of at a loss as to how to deal with this but have made a point of never trying to touch him as he will bite and swat hard. Our key focus is on keeping things calm during his episodes and minimizing the risk of injury to us.
We still let him outside because he loves it but when he starts acting like this we don't let him out for a while till he's back to normal.

Sorry for the long post but I feel like our cats are displaying very similar behaviour. I really hope you find some way of dealing with this.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
That's really interesting. Thank you, and everyone else for posting a response.

With the recent scare in cat food I wonder sometimes exactly what we are feeding them and how it may effect them mentally.
post #17 of 19
This might sound dumb but... I wonder if he might be aggressive towards you because he wants you to interact with him, and this is how he gets attention from you. It might just be that he needs companionship. I have only seen this behaviour of regular aggression towards humans in single cat households. Has anyone seen it in a multi-cat household?
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by furbum View Post
This might sound dumb but... I wonder if he might be aggressive towards you because he wants you to interact with him, and this is how he gets attention from you. It might just be that he needs companionship. I have only seen this behaviour of regular aggression towards humans in single cat households. Has anyone seen it in a multi-cat household?
I highly doubt it, he gets more attention than he wants and I work from home so I am here all day long with him. He's also done this with others so it's not just me.

It definitely seems like it's not in his control at all.
post #19 of 19
you might try putting him outside in a kitty carrier. He can get used to noises, smells, etc. He might even freak out, but in a safe haven. You will also be able to carry him back in without putting yourself in harms way. I do this with all my cats so they are used to different environments so when I have to take them to the vet they are calmer. I also teach them to walk into the carrier on their own, so they feel it is a safe place. If one of my indoor cats gets out accidentaly they will almost always return to their carrier, with little stress. It will probably not be a problem solved quickly, but over time with consistant behavior from you, he should come around.
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