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Bad Gone Worse

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
So a little more than a year ago we got a 3.5 month old Maine Coon from a breeder. The breeder is reputable and the cat was very kind in it's first two months or so when he was very small.

Then his behavior began to turn sour. He did not want to be held ever, would not sit with us, run away if we pet him, even turn and bite our hands when he was really upset by us petting him. ('Us' is myself, my boyfriend, and our other female roomate.)

Around 5.5 months he was neutrered as per the vet's go-ahead. (if that makes a difference)

Since all then, it's been downhill. He is hyper all the time, bites, and refuses to be held, even a little. At first we thought it was rough kitten play. But at a year he should be getting out of the kitten hyper, or at the least it not getting worse. Beyond that what he tolerates is less and less, now even two pets are cause for him to turn and bite our hands.

Then the newest development is what is espically concerning. He'll walk up to us and just bite us. Today he walked up to my roomate and bit her. Pulled back, went in to bite her again, when she pulled her arm away he hissed at her.

We've really done nothing to this cat. We try to love him, and give him space when he obviously wants it. And I can understand that some cats aren't as love-ie as others, but to go out of his way to bite us is getitng a bit rediculous. And what's more is he bites HARD, much harder than play should ever be. He bit my boyfriend's face the other day and it bled.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions to what could be driving this cat to crazyness. Or any suggestions for how to curb it? At this point we're willing to even look into medications.
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunskitten View Post
So a little more than a year ago we got a 3.5 month old Maine Coon from a breeder. The breeder is reputable and the cat was very kind in it's first two months or so when he was very small.

Then his behavior began to turn sour. He did not want to be held ever, would not sit with us, run away if we pet him, even turn and bite our hands when he was really upset by us petting him. ('Us' is myself, my boyfriend, and our other female roomate.)

Around 5.5 months he was neutrered as per the vet's go-ahead. (if that makes a difference)

Since all then, it's been downhill. He is hyper all the time, bites, and refuses to be held, even a little. At first we thought it was rough kitten play. But at a year he should be getting out of the kitten hyper, or at the least it not getting worse. Beyond that what he tolerates is less and less, now even two pets are cause for him to turn and bite our hands.

Then the newest development is what is espically concerning. He'll walk up to us and just bite us. Today he walked up to my roomate and bit her. Pulled back, went in to bite her again, when she pulled her arm away he hissed at her.

We've really done nothing to this cat. We try to love him, and give him space when he obviously wants it. And I can understand that some cats aren't as love-ie as others, but to go out of his way to bite us is getitng a bit rediculous. And what's more is he bites HARD, much harder than play should ever be. He bit my boyfriend's face the other day and it bled.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions to what could be driving this cat to crazyness. Or any suggestions for how to curb it? At this point we're willing to even look into medications.
First off the breeder should have little to do with it unless the stud and B were very very nasty. Maine Coons as a whole are a persnickety breed, they don't realize just how big there are and need to be shown that they are doing damage to there owners.

Most as in say 30 out of the 50 I have been around do not like being picked up. At least picked up like a normal cat. If you grasp them near the chest and hold them at your side using your elbow to pin there back legs almost like a handbag you can have better luck about it. If he/she hisses hold on through until they just start to squirm and them drop them and give them a treat.

As for the biting you need to be alpha, if you allow it to happen and continue he/she hill think its ok and keep it up. Distraction is a good idea see him coming for you throw a ball with a little bell. I get skitish cats not biting ones most of the time so a good search on the site should answer that one in more detail.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
His mom and dad at the breeder were very nice cats, big, but nice.

And, for clarification, by "picking up" I mean picking up and moving to your lap or something like that. Not like just holding him in the air, they're big animals and I understand how it's uncomftorable for them. But even so, if he does squirm we've always put him down, and have never held him very long, so I don't see how it merits him turning and biting us as an almost instant reaction.

I don't know how to assert dominance without fear of scareing/scaring/hurting. I've posted on the forums before and we've tried to yelp when he bites us, showing him he's hurting us, but it really doesn't affect him.

As far as the toy thing, it's a good suggestion, and it works. But always having a toy on your person is well, impraticle. Not to mention it seems like a quick fix rather than a real solution to whatever is causing him to act like this. But I know you're trying to be helpful, and it does work in a pinch, so truly thank you.
post #4 of 16
It sounds to me like your boy (what's his name?) has mental disturbances, since the problem is escalating rather than getting better, in spite of you trying to correct, and honor his boundaries. It happens sometimes. It could be due to inbreeding, it could just be a fluke.

Normally for a cat who bites in play, I would advise the NO! ignore method.

For cats who have not yet been socialized, I also would use an ignore method, but use a squirt bottle too. That is how I socialized Mazy, she was a vicious out-of-the-blue biter and ambusher. Every time I cured her of one bad habit, she'd come up with another. (run up behind me and bite me in the leg, ambush me on the stairs, fly at my face with teeth and claws out, and so on, the spray bottle was a permanent fixture in my hand for the first two years she lived with me) she is a sweet Lovey now.

But your cat sounds like he's turning unsocialized, after having a normal loving up bringing, which is what makes me think there is a wire gone wrong in his brain.

Have you discussed these problems with your vet? Has he had a complete check up to rule out physical problems?

What do you feed him?

You might start with a couple of feliway plug ins and some rescue remedy before going the medication route, but if you did end up medicating I would suggest trying amitryptiline.

Another question..are there any other strange symptoms? does he seem to run around chasing invisible things, or run into walls? Does he bite himself (especially flank or leg) or the floor? Have you ever observed his skin "rolling" or twitching?

I'm thinking seizures or FHS (Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome) with this line of questioning.

There is also a rare condition called Limbic Rage Syndrome.

.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
His name is Cornelius, or Neil for short.

He hasn't had a check-up in the past few months, about 5? He had a follow-up about two months after his neutering, everything checked out.

We do use the squirt bottle on him, to deter him from going up on the kitchen counter where he can hurt himself. And we have sprayed him sometimes after his biting behavior has been particularly poor, but the spray bottle isn't always accessable, so it hasn't been as regular as it should be. Otherwise we've only ever sprayed him when he was little and chewing on electrical cords, another big no no for obvious reasons.

His diet has switched recently, which I don't know, could be the cause of the bad behavior, but it's been getting worse a long time before then. We switched his food when he became a year old from the Royal Cannin kitten formula to the bigger Maine Coon formula. We also switched his wet food from wellness kitten to fancy feast. I know it's not as wholesome as wellness, but he only ever gets a can once every two or so days, it's not his primary food, but more like a treat/extra protein.

As far as the symptoms go, the only thing he does is he'll sprint around the house. But he seems like he's running away from us, like he's playing a game, or running to get something. The only other thing that sounds remotely close is that sometimes he'll stare off into space and bob his head around like he's watching something. Which we can never find. But we kind of assume it's some bug or something we can't see, and he rarely does it. Other than that, he's very cordinated, and his skin doesn't seem to be twitchy, at least beyond a normal twitchy (aka once in awhile).

I read into it, and my roomates agree, the symptoms don't sound like him...

I tried to look up Limbic Rage Syndrome, but I didn't find anything, is there another name?

I don't really want to medicate him to be honest, but it's really beginning to get out of hand. Honestly, sometiems he seems bipolar to me (I don't even know if that's possible in cats!). Sometimes he hops into bed, and will curl up against me and sleep with me for like hours. Then, I move to pet him and he flees quickly and/or gets bitey. Like there's two cats in him, the nice one, and the mean one.
post #6 of 16
I would absolutely get him checked out. This is definitely not normal. Good on you for being so patient with him. Keep us posted.
post #7 of 16
I'm really sorry you're having to go through this. It sounds like you really want what's best for your kitty. First of all, he needs to be seen by the vet to rule out anything medical (mouth ulcers, teeth problems, and other health issues). It is a possibility that he is allergic to something in his food, but probably not likely. There are some non-medication things you can try. You might want to get a Feliway diffuser and plug it in. Give it a good 30-60 days to see if it helps calm him down some. Rescue Remedy is another thing you can try.
post #8 of 16
Has he been declawed?
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
No, he's not declawed. I would never declaw a cat, I firmly believe it's inhumae and nothing short of surgical torture. I'm sorry if I offend someone by saying that, but I just think it's so horrible to do to an animal and I can't believe people would do that.

I think he has a yearly check-up coming soon, and I'll call the vet to see if they feel it's pertinent to see him sooner.

He just seems like such a calm happy kitty when no ones botherting him (minus his recent development of walking up to bite us for no reason), but the second one us comes too close, or begins to pet him he's suddenly pissed off. I've tried everything to see if it's something we're doing, but the only thing I could think of is once in a blue moon my boyfriend will hold him a little longer when he's trying to get away, trying to pet him, but he's stopped doing that for months, and it's still gotten worse. Other than that one thing, everyone has a gentle, loving, hand with him.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunskitten View Post
No, he's not declawed. I would never declaw a cat, I firmly believe it's inhumae and nothing short of surgical torture. I'm sorry if I offend someone by saying that, but I just think it's so horrible to do to an animal and I can't believe people would do that.
I wasn't suggesting you declaw him, just asking if he was already declawed. His behavior is somewhat like that of a cat that has been declawed and is in hyper defensive mode.

I'm glad you're opposed to declawing. This site is officially anti-declawing.

Quote:
I think he has a yearly check-up coming soon, and I'll call the vet to see if they feel it's pertinent to see him sooner.
That would probably be a good idea. A change in behavior, especially becoming aggressive, is sometimes a sign of illness.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
I'm glad you're opposed to declawing. This site is officially anti-declawing.

.
I am very glad to hear this. I saw some posts while browsing that made me wonder. Whew!

I hope you can find a solution to Cornelius. Let us know how the vet visit goes.
post #12 of 16
I had a cat that was very similar to yours!

Her name was Emma and we got her as a rescue at 9 weeks old. Prior to that, she was in a foster home with children and dogs and she came home to us being a very lovey dovey, friendly cat. But as time went on, she got proceededly less social up until the point that she hated seeing us. A lot of the similar symptoms you described came up.

I brought her to the vet, they checked her, nothing was wrong physically. We tried anti-depressants, they didn't work, we tried relaxing scent things, they didn't go. We tried giving her space, she enjoyed that but never came around, we tried forcing her to get used to us, she would bite hard and hiss and growl.
She got to the point that she wasn't even fit to be around but we loved her and she ended up staying with us for quite some time.

But as most people are, I am sending you good vibes, however, you should be prepared for the worst and hoping for the best (it's a lot easier to prepare yourself for the world possible thing ever and then have your expectations not met, because then you are not heartbroken, more relieved). Living with an unsocial cat is difficult, but eventually, if it comes to it that this is your cat, you will learn to love them even with their differences.
I am hoping, I know it sounds horrible, that there is something the vet can find wrong with him that can be fixed and make him feel better towards you. Maybe he has a broken bone or toenail or something making him cranky? I am not sure.

But keep me posted please,
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your thoughts.

In a couple of months, around Christmas time, he's going to have to go to my boyfriend's mother's house. We're all leaving the country for a few weeks, including my family, so he's got nowhere to be.

The point of mentioning this is that her house is much much bigger than ours. And she also has other cats of all temperments (when I say this they're all calm cats not mean cats but some are playful). So we're going to see how he fares there. I was thinking perhaps he needed more space, and playmates. If he adjusts well and becomes a very loving cat then he might go and live there. If the other animals smply scare or upset him further the house is big enough that she can give him half the second floor to run around in and close it off from the other animals until he comes home.

We're trying something new now, just began yesterday. We're trying to scruff him (not pick him up, he's WAY too big for that) and hold him immoble for a few moments hen he reares back and bites us. Or if we pet him once and he does it. Trying to show dominance by saying "we're bigger and we can hold you down and we don't like that"
post #14 of 16
That sounds like a good idea...to hold him down by the scruff until he sort of submits. When you let him go....try to have give him a treat and say...Good boy, or Good Neil......so he associates being held by the scruff as 'uncomfortable' and then being released and behaving (even for two seconds) as being acceptable and rewarded.

I had to do that with my Wayne. He was a big boy too...over 20 pounds and looked like a Maine Coone, but with unknown parentage. He'd charge at me and bite me, then rear back and do it again. He did give signs....twitchy tail, big pupils in his eyes.....he was actually hunting me and attacking. My husband.....he was butter in his hands. He would get home from work, Wayne would leap up on the coach...they would play rubby heads for a bit, then Wayne would flop down into the crook of his elbow.....traitor...LOL !!!

I would also get Wayne by his scruff when he attacked, hold him down with a sharp NO....then release him....usually he walked away...if not, I'd repeat the procedure.

Good luck with Neil.....I"ve always heard that Maine Coons were loving cats, gentle and very family oriented. I hope the Vet can help find the problem.
Biting is not to be tolerated, though. That can do real damage...imagine if a child got too close...I shudder to think of the ramifications....legal and emotional.

Keep us posted!! Sending helping hugs
post #15 of 16
I have a Ragdoll that is not quite what I'd expected of the breed, but it's just that he's not a huge cuddle-bug - nothing like what you're going through.

One thing I've learned is that larger breeds mature much more slowly. Smudge won't be full grown until about another 6 months - when he's 4 years old. He's also a kitten still in the brain, LOL, which your cat most likely is too.

I hope some of the behavior things work, but I've heard Buspar is a great medication for these kinds of behaviors. I'm sorry he's having such a hard time.
post #16 of 16
You've been given some great information, but I do want to say that you should never use water spray on a cat. All it does is make them afraid of you and if you accidentally get some in their ears they can get an ear infection.
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