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Cat bites me

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have a calico that I took in about 5 years ago. She would bite when something was dropped or someone was yelling. I was in the fridge one day, dropped a can of coke and was bitten in the back of my leg hard. Over time this had gotten better but now it's starting up again. The other day I was sitting at the computer and she came up and bit at my leg. I can't stop her, she will continue to try until she has "got me" then she goes on her merry way while I'm left nervous. She never does this to my daughter, only me. I'm the one that feeds her and sets up her numerous perches for her, but my daughter is her main person. I could see if I was mean to her, but that's not the case. She was already declawed when we got her which I think causes her to use biting over scratching. We used to have two cats but lost one last year. Is she bored? Am I the substitute cat? I would get another cat to keep her company, but with her current disposition that would be cruel to the new one. Sorry this is so long. What I am asking really is what to do when she attacks, and what can I do to keep her from doing this?

p.s. Vet figured she was about three years old when we found her. Who knows what happened to her in those three years!
post #2 of 9
Wellcome to our forums novice333!

Well, you obviously have a nervous kitty on your hands (and ankles )...

Let's see, I have a few questions before I can give you my opinion.

How does she behave just before she attacks? Does she hiss or growl? Does she looks scared or playful (are her pupils dialated?)

How would you describe the bite? Is is a playful light one or a serious one? Does it make you bleed?

How do you respond when she attacks? Do you yell at her? Jump away or what?

Sorry about the long list of questions... but I want to try and help you figure out why she does it and how can you prevent this misbehavior. My guess is that you're right about the declawing - she's probably become a biter instead of a scratcher. I wonder why she attacks at all though.

Oh, have you read the article about cat aggression in this site? Maybe you can find some clues in there as well.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
"How does she behave just before she attacks? Does she hiss or growl? Does she looks scared or playful (are her pupils dialated?)"

I don't usually see her before it happens. The time I was at the computer she was "suddenly there". One night I got up to turn off the tv after I had fell asleep and was walking carefully because it was dark, and she did it. When I've made a loud noise she'll come out of another room to "punish" me for it.

"How would you describe the bite? Is is a playful light one or a serious one? Does it make you bleed?"

When we first got her they were worse. She once bit through my jeans. Now it's more like biting down but not penetrating. She stops immediately once she connects. But if you prevent her from connecting she will continue to try. She acts like she's going away then comes back if you turn your back.

"How do you respond when she attacks? Do you yell at her? Jump away or what?"

I jump and sometimes holler for Jess to call her cat! This morning I tried the face push, gently pushing her face when she came toward me and that seemed to work that time. I think she knows I'm nervous about her. Jess can do anything but I feel like I'm always watching and being careful around her. Most of the time she's okay, particular about how you pet her but usually fairly sweet.

The biggest trigger is noise. Maybe I was rolling my chair too much that time at the computer, it was early morning and everything else was quiet. I would appreciate any ideas, and I will read the article. Thank you.
post #4 of 9
Well, she sounds a lot like my Mishmish

Mishmish is a tortoiseshell, so she has the tricolor temper... (have a look at her cat page!)

Now Mishmish will punish (we call it "teach") anyone of us who really misbehaves (especially shouts or makes a loud noise around the house ) Her favorite method is "the swing of the paw" (possibly with claws extended) but she sometimes will try the old "bite your ankle" routine.

Yesterday was a point in case... We brough home my brother-in-law's playstation and had a few wrestling matches. Now, you may go ahead and laugh, but I really do get into these things, shouting my way through the match and making the strangest victory howls Mishmish was with me within minutes, obviously very concerned about this violations of her house rules She started biting my arms and legs and became more and more aggressive until I had to quit the game (no fun playing if you can't shout to your heart's content...)

But, as we're generally well trained (hubby and me), we don't make a lot of noise and she's very happy with us I think.

As for other family members, well, here you might find something that will help you. MIshmish had taken an aversion to my brother-in-law (who visits often) and also to a very close friend (also visits quite a lot). They used to call her "the terrorist" because she would generally attack them without warning and for no apparent reason, give them a nice scratch or bite mark (only skin deep but it does hurt).

I noticed that both of them would jump and shout whenever she did it (okay, I guess most people would ). It began to look like some kind of vicious circle. She knows that they're those irritating noisy and jumpy people so she attacks in advance (even if they're quiet at the time). Then they jump and shout, which reinforces their image. The more she does it the more nervous and jumpy they became (getting angry with her if she as much as goes near them). The more nervous they get, the more she's upset around them.

Now comes the interesting part. I decided to try something out and my brother-in-law agreed to give it a try. I had him sit on the floor, so as to be less intimidating, and brought her over. She was as apprehensive as usual and we could see the attack coming. Only this time, I told him to remain very quiet and calm whatever she did. She grab hold of his arms several times, biting and scratching, but he never winced. He just kept looking away from her face (so as not to threaten her) and talking to her in a very low and soothing voice.

It worked like a miracle! She has never attacked him once since that strange therapy session! She's become very used to him and will now come to him to be petted. He feels very comfortable around her and picks her in his arms occasionaly (unheard of before).

The friend refused to go through this and he's still in the same situation regarding the cat (could that be why we've been seeing less and less of him lately? )

Now, I want to make this very clear! I am not a cat therapist and this is not a foolproof method. In fact it worked for us, but that was the first and only time we've tried it and I haven't read about it anywhere.

Tell me what you think about the whole thing.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
OMG it's so good to hear I'm not the only one with a cat like this! People look at me strange when I try to describe it. IT IS like she is trying to "teach" us. I even get a lesson if I'm speaking loudly so my my daughter can hear me in the other room. As for yelling we just never do it! Mishmash is gorgeous, hard to believe she can be grouchy like our Daniella. This is Danny on her throne (hope this works) http://www.zing.com/picture/p5ac821c...2/ffd52302.jpg
It is a relief just to hear your story. I have to admit I don't seem to spend as much laying around quiet time with Danny like my daughter does. I'll work on this. I'll also try not to jump as much, though it's hard when it's a surprise attack!

Thanks again!
post #6 of 9
Oh she looks sweet (with an attitude too )

Would you like to have a cat page for her? It's really simple to make. Just follow the instructions here and upload the picture from your computer.

post #7 of 9
I would never live with an aggressive cat if the behavior didn't change. They are not suppose to be higher up on the totem pole than we are. They are supposed to be here for our enjoyment, and not to cause stress in our lives. Try different things to put this cat in her place. Her place is not at the head of the household, and everyone walks on eggshells. Poo to that, I say!
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've always believed pets are for the long haul. This is a behaviour problem that I think I've been contributing to. I'm willing to work it out. Although I've mostly discussed her aggressive behaviour, this is not her only trait. She's a sweetheart with my daughter and most of the time with me. I've tried the suggestion of staying calm and it's seemed to help. She did do it again yesterday morning, but again I stayed calm and it turned into her rubbing her head in between "bites". I think I've taken the sport out of it by not reacting.

*She is not high person on the totem pole, my daughter took that title long ago! LOL
post #9 of 9
Sometimes love bites can get very strong. I've had to teach mine to hold their emotions in check.
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