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PLEASE HELP...! cat has gone insane.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
ok, here's the story:

-4yrs ago, i adopted a kitten from SARA society..she was 12weeks old.

-she was fixed about 6months later.

-she has been getting all her annual shots, etc. and has NEVER been abused.

-today.. 11am.. she blew up! she hissed at me, recoiled and got into attack position to attack me.. and i have NO idea how or why?

this is the routine i did today that was a bit out of the ordinary:
-i took her litter box, emptied it and washed it out with a pressure washer. i noticed she freaked out at me after sniffing
my khakis (which were sort of wet from the washing)..and that's
how it all started.

-she hid under the bed growling/hisssing/ ferociously meowing when i entered. then she ran into the bathroom and hid there doing the same. Finally.. me and a friend (3hrs later) got her outside of the house.. right now..she's crept into a bush in front of the main door.. but still hissing/growling..

-she's not limping or anything.. i have NO clue but i don't want to leave her outside and i can't capture her. The SPCA is unable to come over to get her.. they said they were "too busy"..

need input!!! if i leave her outside for the night.. coyotes will get her.. .. i've had her for 4yrs and this is the first time!..she's just plain vicious now.
post #2 of 14
You may have accidentally gotten the scent of another animal on you while you were outside. Remove and wash all the clothing you were wearing at the time you washed the litter box, including your shoes. Wash every where you walked as you may have tracked in the scent on your shoes. Keep the door open a crack to let her return to the house. Get a feliway plug in to help calm her. Do not put her outside again. She will need a quiet room to stay in until she is calm again. You can sit quietly in the room or read to her softly, but do not try to touch her or even acknoledge her in any way, let her come to you. I would keep her in from now on for her saftey. Coyotes don't hunt just at night.
post #3 of 14
First of all she is not viscious, she is scared and stressed out. Having her outside is not helping her stress level. I would take a shower and toss our clothes in the dirty clothes if you haven't already. Did you use something besides water to wash her litter box? Were there chemicals inside the power washer left over from the last time it was used? Some power washers are very loud as well.

Why did you chase her outside? Were you that afraid of her? She simply needed to be left alone in a dark room with little noise to de-stress. If you have another litter box besides the one you washed today, put it outside with cat litter in it. Put her food and water nearby and if you have an empty cardboard box, put that out there too. If she has a bed, put her bed in the box. Try and put familiar things outside that she can identify. Sprinkle some cat litter around the place, take can of cat food and a dish and go outside. Sit down on the ground and open the can. Call to her softly, if she comes out DO NOT look at her, look beyond her. Stay on the ground and talk to her. If could be while you were busy high pressure washing her litter pan she took off in the house and injured herself and scared herself even more. You need to be calm and relaxed if you are stressed out, she will be too. While she is out there, get up on your hands and knees and move away from her. Leave her and keep your front door open to see if she comes inside. Other than borrowing a trap from someone that is what I would try. You have to gain her trust back. Something happened to her today, cats always act out for a reason. It is up to us as cat owners to determine the reason and help the cat out.
post #4 of 14
Have to agree with what hissy and DragonLady have said.

Good luck with getting her back inside and earning her trust once more.
post #5 of 14
This thread makes me sad It's not the kitty's fault and I dont think she should have been shooed outside. I hope you can get her back
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
dont get me wrong.. i absolutely love my cat.. and not once
have I turned back on my commitment to ensure that she has
a long and healthy life with me. I've moved 3 times.. 2 times
pets were permitted, the 3rd time no pets were allowed but the
landlady said she could relate to my situation and allowed me
to keep her.

Anyways, back to the situation at hand.. 11pm came around.. i left my door open. Around midnight she was at the front steps of
the door and out of that bush. i did not approach
her.. then she was gone again. I went out every 15minutes
with a flashlight until 3:45am when she finally ended
up in front of the door again.. she must have been very
hungry.. so i stepped away.. left the door open and she
came in. Still just as moody though..i went to sleep and
had the bedroom and bathroom doors closed. My place is small and
there are not many "isolation" rooms. This morning.. she
was still moody.. i 'ignored' her and did my "get up and go to
work routine".. kept the bedroom /bathroom doors closed though
because thats where she went to hide out. Anyways, am at work
for the next 8hrs.. and hope she cools down.. i vacuamed my house
3 times.. had some air freshener action going too..
.. will keep you all posted. But at least i can relax knowing
she's safe and has the house all to herself.
post #7 of 14
I am glad she came home! Please understand her moodiness could be the result of an injury. If she continues to growl and threaten you, goes off her feed, misses her litter pan or does anything else not like her, please take her to the vet immediately!
post #8 of 14
Well I'm glad she's home now! I agree with hissy.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
well.. am at home now after 9hrs away.. she seems quite
tame.. approached me 3 time already but i'm still using the
'ignoring' technique.

she seems ok.. probably be better when i feed her her fav
dinner: fancy feast whitefish & tuna (relax, i only give this to her once a week).

here's the little troublemaker herself (pumpkin):

post #10 of 14
Ah that explains it she is a calico! Gotta love em!
post #11 of 14
Ah that explains it she is a calico! Gotta love em!
lol That's so funny....
It's not true is it?
Was it the first time you used a pressure hose?
It took ages for Nikkie to calm down the first time she heard my epi-lady.
She nearly had a heart attack!!
post #12 of 14
How is Pumpkin today?
post #13 of 14
First, you got good advice from senior cat handlers (hissy and dragonlady).

Second, cats, like people, react to what they see as traumatic and threatening events. I rescue street cats -- mostly they come to me as young kittens between 3 days old up to around 4 months old -- and they enter a household that normally has between 15 and 25 cats of various ages and temperaments and 6 adult dogs (although at the moment I have two puppies from the street as well).

This kind of household, since all the cats and dogs are uncaged except for the perimeter fence, can be a big shock to older cats. Except for the very young cats (who, like children, tend not to remember their earliest experiences), almost all the cats have had some kind of traumatic experience, and since they are ingenious about getting out of the garden, they also add more contemporary trauma to the old. They respond very much like your cat. The most important thing is to be patient, and then again patient. Then you try to figure out exactly what stimulated their fear. It can be another cat trying to put its temper onto younger, less experienced cats. Other times the cat has been chased by a dog outside the garden, or been confronted with a sudden change in its environment -- even moving a piece of furniture the cat is used to jumping up on will set off some cats for a time. But most often in my household it is pure irritation about the introduction of yet another strange cat or puppy.

Every time I introduce a new cat or puppy, I go through the routine of putting the newby into a large carry-cage near a wall (not in the thoroughfare) so all the cat and dog family members can get accustomed to the newcomer's scent. The first day or two, depending on the age and disposition of the new cat (or the perennial jealousy or fear of an older at), there is a lot of hissing, approaching and backing up, fierce eye-to-eye contact, etc. Sometimes older residents will hiss at me, or take a swipe at me when I am feeding them, or ignore any overatures of affection from me. This is all normal. The oldtimers can be just as traumatized by seeing strange cats on the wall that surrounds part of the garden.

The best case is that they hiss a little for a few days and then just keep their distance from the newcomer for a few more days or weeks, and then either ignore the newcomer (as not one of THEIR circle) or decide it's OK to sleep together in the traditional cat and dog heaps on the bed during the day. Sometimes they will accept the newcomer and then a year later (still holding a grudge for its arrival) wander off to live with a neighbor for a while in case I didn't understand how irritated they were with me.

Patience. In my experience, half of the cats who go off and find new caretakers come back after a time -- one cat recently returned after 3 years. So it is clear that cats remember their friends, and also remember upsets and emotional hurts, and that they, like humans, have to think the situation through before they accept it.

And finally, YES, calicos in my own experience, and in comparison to all the other types and colors of cats I have cared for over the years, have very uncertain tempers, can be insanely jealous, and can bear grudges for years. The longest jealous grudge was held by my calico matriarch (the first female cat I had here in Israel), who took offence when I started to rescue the many abandoned kittens in my village. From the first day until two years later, I could not touch her at all. Then over another two years I gradual worked up to very brief pats on her head, then her shoulders, and then her back. To this day (now almost 6 years later) she will not permit me to touch her stomach, or under her chin, or near the base of her tail, nor can I pick up her feet. On the other hand, she shows in many ways that she understands my affection for her and appreciates it. But her bottom line is that I severely wounded her pride and she simply can't let it go entirely.

She is always the unstable element in the family now, lashing out for no reason at all at one of the other cats or dogs who pass too near her when she is resting, but she has stopped lashing out at me directly. It is sad that I can never hold her again in my lap, but I have tried in every way I can think of over the years to give her as much or more attention as she will let me. And at night, she has begun to sleep on the bed next to my pillow. I had to put away my own fears of getting her claws in my face at night. That took me a lot of self-control. But I was right to brave it out -- this change of her sleeping place heralded a forward positive step in her behavior toward me). I put a towel by the pillow, and she immediately accepted that as a signal that she was welcome. Woe to any other cat who inadvertantly puts a foot on the towel. But vast improvement all around.

So patience, the constant emanation of love and affection (not just the words and your voice, but the feelings, since cats can usually figure out what you are thinking), and more patience.

With other cats, the job is usually not as difficult as it is with an offended calico.

A word about other traumas. I can always tell when the cats have had a run-in with a neighborhood dog, because they come home and shy away or hiss at the dogs in our family for a few days. Usually the older dogs, who have all taken turns as surrogate moms (even the male dog) for one or more of the cats, are touchingly patient and gentle, and the situation is OK after a little while. They can be shocked into several days distrust by loud noises, inappropirate happenings (like my inadvertantly turning the garden hose on them), and the smell of strange animals. We have had jolly aftermath temperament when I rescue hedgehogs, birds (mostly young egrets who fall out of their tree nests), and snakes.

So a lot of things set them off, and many times you don't have a clue about what it is. You just have to love them enough to give them the space to think the situation through, and then the patience to reestablish the trust you share with each other.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
hey catspride, thanks for the information...and yes, pumpkin has always been somewhat moody or off on another tangent. She tends to sniff people who happen to be at my place and then walk away.. i guess somewhat anti social. BUT.. i sorta know her personality and i dont mind one bit.

other than that, she seems fine now..although still being a bit
cautious with her and not permitting her outside for a little while.

anyone else notice that white fur on cats is always the softest
compared to other colors???

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