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Aggressive Cat facing being sent to the Pound! Please help!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I live in a 3 family house.

My two elderly landlords and their daughter live on the 1st two floors
and I'm on 3rd floor.

In January, their cat (which I had basically adopted out of love/karma)
passed on.

They said they'd never get another cat. Then they started seeing
mice in the basement/kitchen area. So...they decided to get another cat.

They got a 4 week old kitten from 'a lady down the street'.
Probably not the best place to get a cat, but...ok.

So I come home from vacation and they have this tiny, SUPER
cute kitten. But...I can see they really don't know too much about
kittens or a kitten's specific needs.

I think they thought they would just feed it cat food and it would
be like our other beloved cat around the house.

I did EXTENSIVE internet research which I shared
with them both verbally and in writing...The correct food,
vaccinations and most importantly BEHAVIORAL training.

I communicated to them that it is CRUCIAL that a kitten be
socialized correctly and early...before he grows too big and strong.

I was very clear about the dangers of not doing this behavioral
training...but I don't think they were prepared for all that was
involved with a new kitten.

They were letting her bite and scratch and it was all fun and games.
I kept saying...no, no, no...this is not gonna be good. But anyway...
It's not my cat and I'm really not home enough to do this kind
of training myself.

Fast-forward...The kitty's now a big guy...Almost 6 months old.
A beautiful cat!

But...he's freaking nuts. Aggressive. Jumps. Bites. Scratches. etc.

I pet him when I leave the house in the morning...the poor thing's
starved for attention because they've basically banished him to
the basement and hallways.

I can pet him for a minute or two before he rolls on his back
and starts biting and scratching....playfully, but still...not good.

He also leaps and bites people!

The poor thing just doesn't know any better.

Oh...and when they took him to the vet...It took two people
and him wrapped up in blanket in an attempt to take blood.

I think they eventually gave up!

They are at their wits end. They can't let their grand-children around it.

Instead of contributing another cat to the shelter system, I wish
they had rescued a nice, tame 1 or 2 year old cat from there.
But...that's in the past now.

Is all hope lost?
Is he locked in with this aggressive behavior pattern?
Will he mellow out on his own in time?
I wonder if part of his behavior is just his nature?

I've read the STICKY on 'How to stop Cat Aggression'.
Great information...but I don't think these folks are ready
for that kind of training regiment. I've already tried to
communicate these things to them. It's very frustrating.

They are looking to me for advice and I want to say...

But that's not helpful... :-)

My fear is that he's going to end up being put to sleep
which is very, very sad. It would be hard to give this cat
to someone else because of his aggressive behavior.

Any suggestions? thoughts? advice?

Thanks very much for listening...it feels good to vent!

post #2 of 13
Since he is not your cat, I really have no advice for you, but if they do end up giving up on him, please, make sure he gets to a no-kill shelter and not the pound.

He's still only a baby, and if someone had the time to give him, he could still be a very wonderful cat.
Heck, I've tamed completely wild feral adult cats and you'd never know they were ever wild, but it does take a lot of time, patience and commitment.
post #3 of 13
My suggestion would be, since they're not willing to train him and since you say they're planning to give him up, offer to take him. You can do the work to socialize him (it sounds like he's basically feral) and then find him a new home, better than the current one. Or you can give him to a no-kill rescue group.

Six months is still very young and very trainable. A lot of the energy he's displaying may still be kitten hunting/playing energy, which will decline over time and also as he's taught limits.
post #4 of 13
Kudos to you for helping this cat out! That's awesome of you and it sounds like you've got a great attitude about it. You're not focusing on human mistakes but focusing on what's best for the cat. We need more people like you.

Like someone else suggested, see if they'll just give him to you. In exchange for taking him and working with him suggest that they let you select another cat for them that's appropriate to their needs. It sounds like you've got the tools and info to work with the first cat and if they agree you'll be saving two cats, not just the one!

post #5 of 13
How awesome of you to think ahead and think about the life of this kitten. You are smart to take action now while it is still young and try to help. Confining the cat to the basement is another contributing factor. They are making him into a feral cat like others mentioned. Key factor is he is young and can be helped out of this behavior with some time and patience. They cannot continue hiding the cat from the grand children and visitors. The vet visits will get worse.

You said they were elderly, they probably aren't able to do much. If they cannot take care of his needs, it is cruel to leave the kitten in this situation.

So, what can be done that is best for everyone. Can you either take the kitten and work with him (lots of kitten behavior going on, too) or get him to a no-kill shelter letting them know the situation so he can be fostered. This will not solve itself. Bless you for caring. Sounds like whatever you do will be better for the kitten than being in that situation. Maybe suggest some other type of mice control.....they do not need a cat to live in solitude.
post #6 of 13
You sound like you would be perfect for this baby!!. Can you not take him in instead?.
post #7 of 13
Is he neutered? If not that will explain some of his aggressive behaviours.
post #8 of 13
It doesn't sound like they want a cat, as in a family member or pet, but rather that they want a mouser
post #9 of 13
My Spooky was a lot like that when I first got him. He was “somebody’s cat†but when he was weaned they just tossed him outside to fend for himself – so he was basically feral. When he found me he was 8 months old (we later found his old “owner†and learned the story) and while he was “friendly†in that he wanted to be with people and petted – he showed his affection by biting, clawing, kicking and jumping at any hands or feet that came too close – it was playfully, but he had no idea how not to be rough so I still ended up with stitches.

After a neuter and a lot of patience in training him he is the best cat I’ve ever had. I got him in December 2007, and it was probably April 2008 before he calmed down, but it wasn’t THAT long. Now he is very laid back and loving – wants to be petted and cuddled all the time. I think its probably a combination of his neuter, socialization & training, and just age (since now he’s 15 months old). It is not too late to train this kitten, just maybe a little more difficult and risky (since he’s bigger and could do more damage now, etc.)

I would say if they are not going to train him, if there is any way for them to give you the kitten to train and raise him, that would be ideal. Otherwise see if you can find a rescue to work with him. At least try to convince them not to take him to the pound!
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much for all your kind, compassionate
and informative responses.

The folks I live with really mean well...but they were not
prepared to do the 'work' involved with properly socializing a cat.

As far as me adopting the cat, it's not a workable option.
I leave for work early in the morning and I often don't return
home until very late in the evening. It would not be very kind
or helpful to leave a cat alone all day and evening long.

After reading your insights and suggestions...I approached the
landlord and tried to make it as clear as possible. They have two options:

1. They can get on board and work with the cat on a daily basis.
This involves touching the cat...playing with the cat...picking her up
to get her used to that, etc. etc.

2. They can find the cat a home with someone willing and capable
of doing this kind of training.

I told them that the cat is not a 'bad cat'. Her behaviors are normal
kitten behaviors and that she needs consistent training and play time
to channel those energies properly.

He told me he would 'talk to the vet' and that he understood.
'She needs to go to school', he said. (English is not their first
language so there's always that issue as well with communication.)

I also got them a toy. (Pole with a string and a pom-pom on the end.)
I explained that she has a lot of energy to expend and also that the
toy would give her a proper thing to play with. (Not someones hands
or feet which she seems to like to pounce on.)

Last night when I came home, they asked me if I knew someone
that would take that cat. They are afraid of her. She seems
increasingly aggressive to them. I'm sure the lack of physical
attention must be accentuating this behavior. She needs an outlet.
According to them, she 'destroyed' the toy I gave them.

Ok...my cat friends...so now I ask for your help again...

Please let me know how to go about finding this (beautiful) cat a
good home. Are there websites I can post to? Any cat/animal
protection agencies that specialize in connecting people with
cats that are in bad situations?

And of course...is there anyone on this forum that lives in the
NYC area that is interested in finding and helping out a new feline friend?

Any other suggestions/thoughts would be appreciated.

I'm glad there are so many people out there that really care
about animals like you all do...

Thanks for your help!

post #11 of 13
Try Mighty Mutts. They bring cats up for adoption to Union Square every Saturday. They run an "adoption store" called Ollie's Place in the East Village; I think you can find them at olliesplace.org There are lots of no-kill shelters around here. Just don't take her to the ASPCA or the CACC. The ASPCA does wonderful work, but I'd be worried that they still funnel off animals to the CACC, where they may be euthanized.

I live in NYC but I have my hands full catwise. I will keep thinking though.

It's possible if you could keep her, even working long hours, and got her a companion cat, that would work. An older cat might even help socialize her, in that they usually learn to appropriately withhold agression by playing with other cats. I'm not 100% sure of that, so someone here who knows more can verify or contradict that.

If you can take a trip to California this animal sanctuary sounds incredible.

It sounds like she might just be desperately lonely for companionship and play. Cats, despite their reps, need companions -- humans and/or other cats.
post #12 of 13
Contact North Shore Animal League. They're a bit outside the city, but worth it... one of the biggest and best no-kill shelters in the area.
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by Shanynne View Post
It doesn't sound like they want a cat, as in a family member or pet, but rather that they want a mouser
The two are not mutually incompatable, but having only the latter is only acceptable (and barely so) in the country, not in the city.
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