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My cat went from sweet to evil

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Semi-long story short:

I've had my cat for about 2.5 years. Hes always been the most loving, perfect little kitty. Then I gave a stray cat outside my house some attention, apparently getting his/her smell on me. I take this smell into the house and my cat is acting like normal, then he gets a smell of the other cat and attacks me! He is popping, growling and hissing at me. After he got done trying to murder me, I tried to reason with him, saying nice things, crouching etc. It didn't help at all, he was on guard keeping me in the kitchen so I sprayed him with water =/... bad move I guess. Now a few weeks later, I can't do anything with him. If i walk into the house, he hisses and attacks and acts very scared, even though I've done nothing since the water squirting.

My wife can pick him up, even mid attack/hissing and he is just fine with her, but hates me it seems. I consider this cat to be a son, and I'm not sure what to do.

A couple other little notes:

He will (most of the time) be fine with me if I'm sitting down, but turns very aggro if I'm standing. Though sometimes he will come up to me while I'm sitting, he will act all lovey then attack at what seems to be random. I've been trying a spray that is suppose to calm him down, this doesn't work very well for me.

(yes this is the short version) =D

thanks!
post #2 of 12
I'm so sorry your kitty reacted like this. It kinda sucks to learn things the hard way sometimes, but we definitely discourage using water for bad behavior or aggression. This is what can happen (instead of associating the bad behavior with the water, they associate you with the water). IF it ever happens again, use a loud noise to "snap" him out of it - spoon on a pan, loud clapping - we keep an empty can with coins in it around to shake (our kitties scrap with each other sometimes).

I was kind of stumped reading this one. I'd have thought that after a couple of weeks, he'd have gotten over it by now.

Gary came up with what might be a great suggestion: vertical space. Since he's OK with you when you're "not threatening" (e.g. sitting down), get him a cat tree that will let him get as high as you (or higher).

In the meantime, just work on being "not threatening" and more-or-less treat him like we would treat a kitty we were trying to socialize - get him (once again) to associate you with good things.

Get a couple of t-shirts REALLY good and sweaty. Put one under his food dish. Will he play with you with an interactive wand toy? If so, work off some of that stress he's still got with a lot of play, and after a good play session, put treats down on the other sweaty t-shirt.

If he's got a favorite place to sleep, sweat up another t-shirt, and put that where he sleeps.

And when he attacks you, say "OW" really loudly, lean down and blow a short, sharp puff of air in his face (the human equivalent of a hiss), and grab something appropriate for him to bite (when kittens are teething we recommend bendy straws - they're great, so maybe buy a box and keep some handy) and then ignore him. If he doesn't let up, get wife to put him in the bathroom for a 5 minute "time out." When the time's up, just open the door without saying anything or looking at him.

Cats learn from positive reinforcement more than anything else, so while making it clear that biting and attacking you are not OK (and, in fact, get him ignored by both of you), praise him and reward him when he's around you and not attacking you. Give him treats and tell him WHAT a good boy he is.

...and just work on "re-associating" good things (to him) with your scent and generally being non-threatening (from his perspective).

Also, don't look him in the eyes (if you have been). At this point it's probably being taken as a sign of aggression by him. Look at him on the forehead, or over his head. Another good thing to help rebuild that trust is "looking" at him with your eyes closed. Look at his forehead (best if you're not sitting directly facing him) and close your eyes slowly - and leave them closed for 15 - 20 seconds - slowly open them, again, making sure you're not making direct eye contact. The slow eye blink, over time, is a great trust builder (well, in this instance, re-builder). If you're sitting around watching TV and he's hanging out on the floor, get down there too. Sit on the floor kind of sideways to him, and do stuff like yawn, stretch - and the slow blink.

I'm sure with a little time he'll come around.

Laurie
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Wow, what a response. Thank you so very much for taking the time to write that!

He will play with me, we usually play this game where I'll hide around a corner and I peek around then move back really quick like, he loves it. Also, with a plastic stick and a string attached, he likes that too.

again, I really appreciate the advice. I'll use it
post #4 of 12
Let us know how it works out.

Laurie
post #5 of 12
One last thought.... you may want to do something for that stray.

Things to consider:

Taking a picture and putting up a poster around the neighborhood and at local vets and shelters to see if you can help find his home;

It's kitten season, so the shelters and rescues will be full (most likely). You can try calling around to see if you can find a shelter or foster network that will take the kitty to rehome him/her (http://www.pets911.com, or scroll through all the http://www.petfinder.com listings - each cat has an org, and each org has a contact info page)....

Or... you can trap or crate kitty, get it to a vet or clinic, have it spayed or neutered, and provide it food (don't feed unless you're going to sterilize) until a space opens up at a shelter or in a foster network.....

Just a thought.

Laurie
post #6 of 12
P.S. If you ever smell like that cat again, you may want to have a change of clothes ready!

Laurie
post #7 of 12
^Plus, when you pet or hold strange cats you do not know what you could be bringing into the home! Change out of those clothes and toss them in the washer (they can be sorted out later, but a washer with the lid down is safe from a curious cat). Thoroughly wash your hands and forearms (think of a surgeon scrubbing up).


What you did, simply put, is came in smelling weird then challenged your cat. You seem to have a very territorial one who didn't like you questioning him! The water only gave him a reason to be afraid and not trust you as much.

You'll have to reestablish you place in the household and try to avoid any problems that might set him off again. If the stray is hanging around and spraying/peeing around the house, that might be a problem.
Take it slow and use those old favorites of his - toys and food.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok, So far so good. It seems like we are making progress! Still when I come in the house he is hissing, but hasn't attacked me since I change a few things.

1) I put the shirt under his food bowl like suggested (ty again)

2) My friend at work suggested me to rub kitty treats on my hands and feet, so maybe it will cover up some of what ever I'm picking up outside he doesn't like. As soon as I come in the house, I bend down and push a treat towards him. Me sniffs my hand and treat a bit, then eats the treat. I immediately grab his favorite toy and start playing as I'm walking the rest of the way in the house. After he gets relaxed enough to start playing around with the toy, I'll start relaxing too. I sit and avoid him pretty much, letting him rub on me etc. I talk to him but I still think its to early for me to attempt to give him lovin'.

3) I had a few stray kittys outside but they are all gone now, I'm not sure what happened, maybe the pound? So no worries about that anymore.

Looks like baby steps may work. I'll give another update in a couple days!
post #9 of 12
Smelling like treats! What a great idea! Glad things are getting better.

Laurie
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
What you did, simply put, is came in smelling weird then challenged your cat. You seem to have a very territorial one who didn't like you questioning him!
Imagine a man coming home reeking of a perfume his wife never used, with lipstick on his collar NOT in a shade she ever used, and she goes upside his head with a frying pan.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane's Pal View Post
Imagine a man coming home reeking of a perfume his wife never used, with lipstick on his collar NOT in a shade she ever used, and she goes upside his head with a frying pan.
It's a good thing cats can't hold frying pans!
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane's Pal View Post
Imagine a man coming home reeking of a perfume his wife never used, with lipstick on his collar NOT in a shade she ever used, and she goes upside his head with a frying pan.
A good analogy!

Laurie
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