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Cat keep trying to bite husband

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have a 15lb neutered male that we've had since he was 4 months old. He is now 3 1/2. He like me (the wife) and my 7 year old daughter the best -- tolerates my 9 year old daughter but has real problems with my husband.

My husband does not give him a lot of attention -- but he is not much of an attention seeking cat. The cat does like to lay on me in bed and will enjoy petting on the floor in any other room.

The problem is he keeps snapping at my husband. Sometimes in the morning, he will get on our bed and lay next to my husband seeking attention. Husband will pet, pet, pet and then SNAP! Just tonight, husband was putting the kids to bed -- cat was on my 7 year old's bed and husband went to pet him and SNAP!

My husband is not the only one he has snapped at. He has done it to a few other people that don't live at our house.

I have tried squirting him with water when he does this. The problem is I don't alway have a spray gun in my reach.

I don't know what else to do. This is causing huge animosity towards the cat from my husband -- he says our cat is "defective". It is the one and only pet we are going to have for the next 12 years so I wish he was different.

Should I just tell my husband to ignore the cat?

PS: I have heard of Rescue Remedy. Is this something that can be used everyday????
post #2 of 5
Yes, you can use it every day, put a few drops in his water dishes or add it to his wet food, or rub a small amount on his front leg, so he has to lick it off.

What is his body language like when he suddenly snaps? Are his eyes big, wide, and wild? Is his tail lashing? Is he purring/rolling around? Does he duck or pull away when you try to pet a certain region of his body? Does he allow you to touch him everywhere without incident? Is it like he snaps and then still wants to be petted & cuddled?

Some cats are prone to being over-stimulated during petting or playtime. This means he is ecstatic about the attention and doesn't know how to deal with his excitement, so he bites. It doesn't really sound like this would be the case with you cat so far, but alot can be learned from watching the body language up to and during the biting.

Perhaps he has pain somewhere on his body, and the petting is agitating the wound/injury/illness, whatever it may be. Does he have any physical symptoms or anything "off" that you can see?

Perhaps it's as simple as the cat hates your husband's body wash/motor oil stained hands/onion breath/whatever and so when he gets a big whiff of it he lashes out because it confuses him or upsets him. Does your cat ever smell your husband and then immediately open his mouth and "grin" in a strange way?

Describe his body language, please.
post #3 of 5
I like your description of "grinning". Flehmen's response. It's like an open mouthed stinky face. Using a special sensing organ in the roof of the mouth to really hone in on the smell and figure it out.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I will give you another example. Last night I sat on the couch with a book. He jumped up and sat next to me. I started petting him. Within a minute or two he rolled farther onto his back and looked ready to strike. He's eyes were big and his tail was going going very fast.

I would definitely agree with that often it is over-stimulation. At other times, however, it is more unpredictable.

One thing I noticed is that he is most relaxed being petted on the floor. When he is on the bed or couch he seems much more high strung and nervous. One time I had just laid on my bed and he watched me, jumped up and bit me. I wonder if it is territorial thing??? He startles easily when he is on the couch too. We have a lot of activity in our house because I have young kids.

Strangely, other than that, he is an easy cat for me to handle. I can pick him up, brush him and even trim his nails.

I just wish there was behavior modification I could do for this.
post #5 of 5
That really does sound like over-stimulation. Our cats all seem more wary when they first jump up on the bed or couch - they tend to prefer hard surfaces too. For instance - if there's a stack of papers on the couch, they'll sit there, rather than on the cushions. So the "soft" may contribute to the over-stimulation. The solution is to stop petting sooner. Some cats do give the warning signs in body language first.
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