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Advice, please (long, sorry)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
DH rescued a cat from the animal shelter and we had her spayed before bringing her home. I don't know much about her history; she was staying at my Bil's place of business before being picked up by the pound. She has been through a great deal in a short time. I wrote a post about her earlier in the week. Her name is Daisy.

Well, a few days ago, she attacked me. I've been bitten numerous times by numerous cats, but never in such a viscious manner, if that makes sense. Any other time, I've been doing something to get bit, like trying to break up a fight or trying to pet Smoke (RIP). But Daisy just screamed like a mountain lion and ran across the room after me. I ended up with a painful bite on my calf.

Sometime during all this, Daisy seems to have fallen in love with me. She wants to be with me all the time and she seems so happy to have a home. I was sick the other night and I bet she got up each of the 15 or so time I did. She sleeps on my lap, has already learned her name, and sits up like a prairie dog when I snap my fingers.

The problem is, now that she's been so aggressive towards me, I am afraid of her. It is very uncomfortable when she jumps up on my lap and I'm not sure what she's going to do. She wants to touch noses and give me kisses. I pet her and give her a lot of attention, but now that I know what she is capable of, I worry. I don't want to get hurt again and I don't want my tame cats to get hurt. How can I warm up to this cat? (We are keeping her, so I've got to figure something out.)
post #2 of 15
I'm speaking from experience here. I've been badly bitten by one of my own cats and as a professional pet sitter, I get chomped from time to time. I totally understand what you're feeling. Being bitten like that hurts badly and instinct takes over for us just like it does for the cat. I can tell you that in time you'll adjust. Imagine that you are a cat who's been badly scared by a new home. You'd allow the cat plenty of time and room to adjust. You have to do the same for yourself. Give it time, that's the best advice I can give you. Kit, my cat who bit me as hard as she could, and I are back to normal with lots of love and kisses. Heck, one time pet sitting I was bitten by a Rottweiler. I was able to continue caring for him and he became one of my favorite dogs to sit. Hang in there. It gets easier.
post #3 of 15
Was this right after she came home, or back from the vet?
It sounds to me she is a very loving kitty, and something on that moment startled her, and she felt threatened.... She felt that she had to defend herself...
That's my feeling... I wouldn't be afraid of her... Not when she is acting so lovingly towards you
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you both. I hope I can work through gradually. I think Daisy is going to be a really good pet once everybody adjusts. She's just a tiny little thing, to be full grown. Most of our cats have been huge, averaging 20-25 lbs. A friend at work calls me "Cat Woman". He would die laughing if he knew I was afraid of her, especially as little as she is.

BTW, Carolinalima, how are things with Lucky and the new ragdoll? He is gorgeous.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nurseangel View Post
Thank you both. I hope I can work through gradually. I think Daisy is going to be a really good pet once everybody adjusts. She's just a tiny little thing, to be full grown. Most of our cats have been huge, averaging 20-25 lbs. A friend at work calls me "Cat Woman". He would die laughing if he knew I was afraid of her, especially as little as she is.

BTW, Carolinalima, how are things with Lucky and the new ragdoll? He is gorgeous.
HI Nursealngel! Thanks for asking They are doing fine... He brought out the best on Lucky. Since he came home she has been more active, cuddly, eating better, etc. They hang out a lot, under the bed especially ... They chase each other quite a bit - I was nervous at first, but then people in here said this is perfectly normal... They are both traumatized from a vet visit today, so both back under the bed! It has been 6 days, no intro (my bad, his cries just broke my heart), and only one hiss since then!
I hit the kitty jackpot.... He is a love bug! And she is my love!!!
post #6 of 15
You have experience with other cats, which will help. What you need to do is pay attention to her body language. This will help you predict, to some degree, what's she's thinking. Twitchy tail, ears going back, quicker movements, and eyes very wide can all be signs of aggravation.
Stiff body, staring, and tail violently swishing means a cat is definitely wanting to do something about a threat.

Hopefully that attack was just a one time thing due to still settling in to a new home. It does sound like she's becoming more trusting of you.

You also need to watch your body language. Don't engage in anything that would be interpreted as a threat - staring her down, looming over her (while staring), or making what could be seen from her angle as an aggressive posture. Running may also trigger her to trying to pursue/chase off and defeat her opponent.

There's two types of cat, those that will respond to signs of dominance from you with the same, and those who know who's bigger. Luckily I've only had to deal with those who know they don't stand a chance - it makes breaking up potential cat fights very easy when I can walk up, give them the look, and threaten to "put a knot" in their tails (southern saying).
post #7 of 15
Stupid question, but were you getting sick at the time of the attack? Maybe she sensed your impending illness (which it doesn't sound like you had much fun with). Perhaps that could set her off?
post #8 of 15
I'm not there to know of course how Daisy appears when she is about to bite. I'm sure there are nuances so it is hard to know where she is coming from (from reading).

I mention that, because Smidge bites on occasion. I dont "hold it against her" because I understand her position. She is a loving cat, which I say with confidence, because I've known her long enough to know she never intends to use the bite as a viscious action.

She does it when she gets overstimulated from pettings. She overstimulates very easily. At times I miss that line because it seems like it was too quick. Lately she has been enjoying the fleshy part of my upper arm - she really takes a chomp out. I think she "cant help it" really, this urge to bite while I'm bpetting and she's rolling around purring and seems to love it.

She also bites when she is in full-blown crazy cat predator mode. My feet or hands are dangerous enemies she must destroy! muhahaha! It is instinct so it doesnt bother me.

I helped foster a v. young darling kitten. She would bite and hold your lip in quite a painful way. I couldnt believe something so tiny could cause pain that lasted almost an hour. I think it was a failed suckling attempted. She was a biter somewhat by nature but I think it is because she was taken away from mum too soon. Another abandoned kitty from the same group of dumped kittens (not sure if they are related) was not a biter. The biter though was v. sweet, loved all ppl and creatures and demanded to be held while you were around the house doing ordinary things. She cried for her various mothers constantly. Again, nothing meant by the biting attack.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
I was attacked three more times today. The first time was when someone came to the door and DH went to answer. I think she got scared and turned on me. The second time was completely unprevoked, as I was standing at the kitchen sink getting a drink of water. I didn't even know she had walked up behind me and then she was all over me. Bit the same leg, only lower. She let go when I started screaming. I went into the living room to try to get away from her and she followed, attacking again. Speck was asleep in the bedroon and ran in to defend me. So she kicked his butt, too. I've just never met a cat quite like Daisy. She is right now asleep on my bed, purring like a baby kitten without a care in the world. I'm glad my parents never gave in to my childhood dream of owning a pet bear...from this experience, I've learned that I'm not the pet bear type of person.
post #10 of 15
You know a vet check wouldn't hurt just in case but it sounds like fear on her part. The one where someone rang the doorbell makes sense for that. When you were in the kitchen there's no telling what she saw.

When Kit bit me, Seti had gotten his leg caught in a paper bag strap. He FREAKED. I was helping him when Kit bit me. I didn't hold it against her since she really hates Seti and I figured she was trying to finish him off. You know what's really funny? She bit me right on the butt. And I know, TMI, but I sleep au naturale so when I flew out of bed to help Seti I was wearing nothing but the skin God gave me. There's still a blood stain on my carpet and I don't think I sat down for days! The vet gave me kitty Prozac. She took it for a week but it spaced her out so much I quit giving it to her. I don't know how this addresses your question but I figured a good laugh wouldn't hurt!

Have you tried some Feliway? It might be the extra weapon in your arsenal to get her settled in and chomp free!
post #11 of 15
Holy cow! That would scare the heck out of me. I know I'll probably get flamed for this post, but here goes anyway.

The kitchen sink incident sounds to me like she either thinks that she is dominant over you, or doesn't know how to play (likely both). I would wear long pants and long sleeves for awhile, and if she tried that again I would let her know who's boss with a yell instead of a scream, and go toward her instead of away. Sorry, but I think a little fear (on the cat's part) is highly underrated. At least that's what my vet says.

I have yelled at my cats on occasion, and the odd thing is afterward they always want to jump on my lap and cuddle.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nil4664 View Post
I have yelled at my cats on occasion, and the odd thing is afterward they always want to jump on my lap and cuddle.
I've yelled at mine too. Anything less and Friday doesn't believe you're speaking to him. Let me tell you when he was a kitten he could pack a bite. I've noticed the same thing with my kitties. After a yell, Friday comes and kisses me right in the face.

In this case, I'm not sure that would be beneficial though. If the cause of the cat's behavior is fear then yelling might only make it worse. That's the real trick though. Figuring out what she's thinking. After you know that you can proceed. Sometimes it takes a while to figure them out.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
The vet had suggested some kitty Prozac and I may take him up on it. I really don't want to alter her natural instincts and have always resisted this type of thing for aggressive cats before, but I was never getting chewed up on a regular but unpredicatable basis like I am now. Daisy detests Speck, our neutered Tom. He is a big, tame sitting duck who is no match for a wild cat. We are fortunate that Daisy and our elderly Siamese ignore each other. Any misdirected aggression toward Siamie could seriously injure her. We haven't been letting Daisy outside and she hasn't really asked. That Prozac is sounding better and better all the time...
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
The Feliway is on its way!

Daisy definitely wants to be petted and loved on, making her different than the feral kitten and semi-feral cat we took in. I had to pick her up today and all she did was give me a meow of protest. She is also getting interested in Speck's toys, which I take as another good sign.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nurseangel View Post
The Feliway is on its way!

Daisy definitely wants to be petted and loved on, making her different than the feral kitten and semi-feral cat we took in. I had to pick her up today and all she did was give me a meow of protest. She is also getting interested in Speck's toys, which I take as another good sign.
That's really good news. I bet the Feliway helps. I SWEAR by it!
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