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Violent cat attack (nothing like it ever before)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Okay it's been some time since I've posted here last, but this is the only place I can trust when I need some serious info, so , the situation:

A few months ago my family essentially split apart due to financial troubles, not too embarrassed to say, times are tough these days. I moved in with my aunt and took my cat. My dad moved in with his friend and kept his cat. Well just today he called me asking me if I could take her or else he'll have to give her up. Apparently out of nowhere he was talking to one of his friend's little children because he wanted to go for a bike ride (about 5 years old) when the cat supposedly came into the room, saw the kid, started hissing and screaming, poofed out her fur and tail and attacked him, chasing him around the room and really scratched up his legs bad. Obviously it was enough to scare the hell out of the kid and startle my dad into the point of thinking about getting rid of her so it must have been very serious. As far as I've been told she was perfectly fine with the kid, she would always play with him and stuff. Regardless my dad may be forced to make the decision because he isn't under his own roof anymore and doesn't want her hurting his friends and children of course.

I'm in no position to take the cat in since it isn't my decision. The weird thing is the cat (Lily) was honestly the sweetest cat I've ever seen. I remember the day I picked her up from the pound when she was only a few weeks old. We've had her since she was a tiny kitten and she has always been very energetic, playful, and lovable as well as very intelligent (she can get into anything and get anywhere, as well as play fetch). So to be truthful I cannot begin to imagine how this could have possibly happened. My dad either thinks she could have distemper (don't really see how, first time this has happened ever, nothing even remotely close to this has happened before) or he thinks she's jealous (he isn't around much and she cries alot when he isn't around)

She hasn't been spayed yet (she isn't even a year old yet but she is definitely due for a spaying) and she probably isn't getting enough attention. Also I think the kids may have been cruel to her, otherwise I can't really see any other reason for such a violent attack, but I don't live there and when I asked my dad he said no.

The solution I've managed to come up with is:

A) Get her fixed (will probably help her out ALOT in terms of stress and restlessness)

B) Clip her nails :P

C) Discipline her sternly if it happens again (in a productive manner, not just hitting her, any suggestions on possible ways of proper discipline?)


And before anyone asks, she's an indoor cat, always has been, never outside.

To say again, this has been the sweetest and most lovable cat, never anything REMOTELY close to this has ever happened, I've never heard of her scratching or biting anyone at all until this point.


Has anyone ever had anything similar occur? How can I fix this? I'm doing it in the interest of both the cat and my dad, I really think he'd be heartbroken if he let her go, so I'm trying to do everything I can to make sure this doesn't happen again. I'll front the money to get her fixed if that's one of the main reasons.
post #2 of 17
I've seen MANY intact cats randomly attack people/other animals. I would encourage spaying her ASAP. Disciplining a cat in a traditional human manner does not work....I would try to re-introduce her to the child after she is spayed.
post #3 of 17
I second that she should be spayed.

Is there some other friend/relative who could take her for a while if neither you nor your father can?
post #4 of 17
I saw it happen to my sister.
She went to get my Patches off the chair when she was almost 5.
Whiskers came out of no one and attacked her.
If it was not my Manx it would have been worse.
Manx pulled Whiskers off my sister and attacked her.
My sister was clawed 40-50 times.
She did see a Dr.
I have scars from Whiskers when she came after me from over 22 years ago.
Be careful she might try it again.
My parents did not get rid of Whiskers after that but she was kept in another room.
Whiskers was 7 when she attacked my sister.
She was meaner then some of the ferals we saved.
I hope the cat will stop doing that.
post #5 of 17
I may have only been 5, but I do remember when Whiskers attacked me. I went under the dining room table where Patches was resting on one of the seats and Whiskers did not like the fact that I was there and that is when she jumped on me. I couldn't find my way out because everywhere I looked were table legs or chair legs and I felt trapped. Manx came to my rescue and jumped on top of Whiskers, knocking her off of me and wrestling with her while I was finally saved by someone in my family. I remember wearing a white undershirt that was stained pink from all the scratches I had received. People are still surprised that I like cats.

Who knows why cats attack. I think Whiskers always had a jealousy issue. As for your dad's cat, it's hard to say since you said she used to play nice with the child. I hope that everything works out for you.
post #6 of 17
household? It sounds like re-directed aggression. Last summer my cats were out in their cat enclosure. They all were getting along just fine when a ferral cat walked by. Well all heck broke loose. One cat went after another. It was a mess. Scared me to death. When a cat sees another cat and can't get to it, it will go after anything that is handy, even their own housemate, or favorite human. Could it be possible the cat saw another cat out the window in another room? I have gotten in the middle of a fight a time or two and have got attacked myself. I know they didn't mean it. Something to consider. Good luck.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by farleyv View Post
household? It sounds like re-directed aggression. Last summer my cats were out in their cat enclosure. They all were getting along just fine when a ferral cat walked by. Well all heck broke loose. One cat went after another. It was a mess. Scared me to death. When a cat sees another cat and can't get to it, it will go after anything that is handy, even their own housemate, or favorite human. Could it be possible the cat saw another cat out the window in another room? I have gotten in the middle of a fight a time or two and have got attacked myself. I know they didn't mean it. Something to consider. Good luck.
That's what I thought also. Did the little girl interact with a cat before she went to your dad's place? My advice: Get her fixed and reintroduce her to the girl. But when you do, use the vanilla extract trick in the introducing new cats to old: dab the cat (chin, base of neck and base of tail) with vanilla extract, and have the girl put vanilla extract on her hands (a small dab rubbed into her hands will do). Make them smell the same and see what happens.

I've only witnessed 2 cat attacks in my life. One was with a cat that was highly stressed by being dumped into a strange environment with other cats. The other was with a cat that was actually brain damaged and attacked everyone other than his immediate owners (my brother). Lucky me used to house sit him because for some reason, he didn't attack me as much as others.
post #8 of 17
My first thoughts on this are similar to the others - stress, redirected aggression, jealousy and possibly the girl inadvertently hurt her at some point in time and the cat was reacting out of fear.
post #9 of 17
This may be a case of redirected aggression, as others have said. A female that is not spayed, can be territorial. Something as simple as an outdoor cat walking through the yard, could set her off. Since the cat in question can not go after the outdoor cat, they go after someone in the room. In this case, the small child. (This is the redirected aggression we are speaking of) However, this seems to be an extreme case. Most times, redirected or misplaced aggression is shown to other animals (cats or dogs) not people. Spaying should be done ASAP.
Quote:
Discipline her sternly if it happens again (in a productive manner, not just hitting her, any suggestions on possible ways of proper discipline?)
Hitting her is NOT an option, this will only make things worse and you will teach the cat to hate you and other people as well. Loud verbal commands, such as a loud NO, can work. Also, a spray bottle filled with water can help. When the cat starts acting out in an aggressive manner, use the loud verbal command and a spray of water.
post #10 of 17
Some people don't like the water spray idea because if the water gets in the cat's ears it can cause problems. Also, if the water gets on furniture, draperies, etc. it can cause damage.

Some people suggest taking an empty soda can, filling it about 1/3 full of small pieces of metal--ball bearings, BBs, nuts and bolts, pennies, etc.--and taping the hole shut, producing a rattle.
post #11 of 17
Kids being kids, is it possible he's annoying the cat when there are no grownups around?

Also, how old is she? A while ago there was a poster here who's loving cat suddenly began having violent episodes and then died. It turned out to be some kind of brain lesion.
post #12 of 17
I don't think cats go through sudden behavior changes without reason, even if we can't see what it is. My sweet cat flipped out when I made the mistake of having a housecall vet come to the house (he was actually trying to protect my other cat from the vet!) and it took him about 36 hours to get back to normal because he was so upset.

So there is something, I believe, that sets off an otherwise sweet cat; they don't just flip for no reason. If your dad can figure out what the stressor was, that may solve the problem.

I also respectfully disagree with disciplining her if this happens again. That will just frighten her more. The best thing, I think, is using a towel or whatever, get her into a room by herself and shut the door. She needs the adrenalin in her system to dissipate, and "discipline" will only bring on more adrenaline.

My money's on the child or another child having bothered her, pulled her tail, etc.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brokenheart View Post
My money's on the child or another child having bothered her, pulled her tail, etc.
I was thinking the same as well.
post #14 of 17
I am thinking it is a combination of stress from moving, not being spayed, and yes, I do think the child probably hurt the cat in some way and she was reacting to that as well.
I have been the victim of an un-spayed cat attack, I was on the toilet! Lived alone and the bathroom door was open. Out of nowhere she came at me like being fired out of a gun and did a lot of damage to my hand, very viscious bites, as I attempted to protect myself, was kind of in a vunerable position at the time, lol. She was in the stage right before full on heat hit, cat PMS?
post #15 of 17
I suspect the change in environment played a big role in this. We all have sweet cats at home but we know when we take them to the vet they behave differently. I don't necessarily agree that the child or any child has hurt the cat. If it is redirected aggression then she would have attacked anyone yet a child would be the most likely target because they are smaller than an adult who's sheer size may stop the cat. In other words, a child is an easy target.

Yes to a spay and general vet check. Speaking as a woman, I'd like to say that raging hormones are no laughing matter and checking hers may stop the problem entirely.

Finally, discipline is the wrong word. Making a loud noise, squirting the cat with water, etc. are only going to escalate her emotions. Better to firmly scruff her (yep, you'll probably get scratched) and calm her down by asking her simply to be still and talking to her in a soothing voice. Let her see there's no reason to fight. The things I listed above will only reinforce her belief that she needs to strike out, it won't stop it.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
Finally, discipline is the wrong word. Making a loud noise, squirting the cat with water, etc. are only going to escalate her emotions. Better to firmly scruff her (yep, you'll probably get scratched) and calm her down by asking her simply to be still and talking to her in a soothing voice. Let her see there's no reason to fight. The things I listed above will only reinforce her belief that she needs to strike out, it won't stop it.
Using a squirt of water or the loud noise will not escalate her emotions. Hitting her will, but these other techniques will not. These techniques work very well with my big cats as well as my domestics. Yes, if your cat is upset about something, talking to them in a calm voice is a great way to get them to relax, before they act out physically
post #17 of 17
OT, but I've sometimes thought that I might want to name my next cat 'Robert;' that way I could say I had a 'Bob Cat'.
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