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New cat is sweet most of the time, but sometimes lashes out (sorry, a little long...)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I am in the process of integrating an adult stray cat into my home. I already have an older dog (who's good with cats) and a 9 year cat that I adopted from a shelter about 5 months ago. My brother is also currently living in my home.

I've had the new kitty for about 2.5 weeks, so he's still getting adjusted to his new life. He's mostly doing pretty good and my other pets are adjusting too. I'm still keeping him confined in a spare room at night and when I'm at work in order to take the feline introductions nice and slow (the 2 cats are still in the hissy/growly stage with each other although they are making progress).

I do have a few issues with the new guy that I'm hoping to get some suggestions for.

He's quite sweet and affectionate most of the time, but gets a bit overly stimulated and has bitten me a few times. He hasn't done this in conjunction with me petting him; he seems to do it out of frustration.

The first time was over the weekend when I was getting ready to shut him in my spare room for the night (he is not at all fond of being confined, and has even done some damage to my carpet trying to dig under the door). I was in the room with him and shut the door with the intention of petting him for a few minutes before exiting the room. His tail started twitching and he suddenly hissed and bit me.

Tonight we had another incident when my brother took the dog out for a potty break. The cat is very curious, and also used to living outside. He has started showing a lot of interest in my front door and I don't doubt he'd dart right out if given half a chance (I want him to be an indoor kitty). He was right at the door sniffing and pawing at it after he saw the dog go out. I didn't want the door to hit him in the face when they came back in so I scooped him up planning to hold him until they were back in the house. His body tensed up, his tail started twitching and he hissed and dug his teeth and claws in. I made the mistake of reacting with a little swat on his head and raising my voice which didn't help of course! Before the situation could escalate too much, I was able to get him to his room and let him have a brief time out period. Within minutes, he was purring and rubbing against my legs.

A little later, the dog wanted to go out again. Once again, the cat was right at the door. I didn't pick him up this time, but tried to gently nudge him away from the door, speaking in a soothing voice and trying to distract his attention. I sort of propelled him away from the door gently with my foot, and he suddenly hissed and swatted at me.

In all cases, he reacted when I tried to prevent him from doing that he wanted to do.

I'm a bit concerned about how to handle these little outbursts. I'm also worried that this fiesty side might spill over towards my other cat or dog. I guess I've been lucky in the past to always have had cats that were pretty laid back. I've never had anyone bite me because I tried to keep them away from the front door!

He's a really cute little cat otherwise, so I'd love to have this work out. I just don't want him to get increasingly aggressive as he becomes more settled in. I'm hoping that the opposite will happen and that he'll become more mellow as he becomes more comfortable.

Anyone have any suggestions for me on how to deal with this the best way?
post #2 of 4
I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you. But it will bring your post back up to the top so others will see it, I'm sure you will get good advice soon. Good luck.
post #3 of 4
I recommend reading this fixed thread about cat aggression toward people:


The techniques in there are very helpful in minimizing and eventually eliminating aggressive behavior.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. I have read the aggression article and it offered some useful tips; although I think my new cat is motivated by an occasionally pissy mood as much as anything!

The new kitty does seem to be mellowing out a bit. I've been letting him have run of the house at night and he's happy to have that extra freedom. He's still a bit uncertain of my older cat. They'll be a few feet apart several times, basically ignoring each other, and then on the fifth or sixth meeting, the new guy will hiss (which stimulates the old guy to hiss...). Likewise with the dog; the new cat is fine with him 9 times out of 10 (has even rubbed against him a time or two), and then will hiss at him the next time they meet.

My older cat who has been so timid since I adopted him 5 months ago, is suddenly coming out of his shell! He was totally traumatized when I first brought the new cat home, but last night was making what I think were playful overtures to the new guy (new cat wasn't having it!). I'm sort of blown away by this. I hope it continues and that the new guy will eventually respond.

Thanks again for your responses!
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