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Going out in public is embarrassing...

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I look like I've been through a war. Right now I have scratches on both legs, both arms, and my face. Today was a good day. I haven't gotten scratched or bitten yet and it's around 8:00 PM. Yesterday was a nightmare.

His name is Mikey. I first saw Mikey in a cage at Petsmart. He was practically standing on his head whistling Dixie to get attention. It was love at first site. I knew he was going to be a handful, but I've had cats all my life and was confident that I could handle this little guy. At the time he was three or four months old and I was told he had been bottle fed and his litter mates had died. They said he had been alone and was used to playing by himself.

The first morning Mikey jumped on the bed and started biting and scratching my arms. (An awful way to wake up.) We quickly discovered that we couldn't pet him. If we moved our hand towards him he bit and scratched. Instinctively I knew he wasn't being mean. He loved being with us and followed me all day from room to room like a dog. I knew he just didn't know how to act. He also never purred. I realized I'd have to work on calming him and decided to speak softly and pet him when he slept or ate. Those were the only times he wouldn't turn and bite and/or scratch. When he jumped and attacked I walked away. If he followed and continued biting and scratching I gave him a time out. We have a large cage in the kitchen and I'd put him in there until he calmed down. It seemed to work like a charm. In two days he was a changed cat. He started to purr and enjoy the attention. I patted myself on the back. I even called myself the Cat Whisperer. My family joked about how I must have gotten a new cat.

We went back to Petsmart and got another kitten so Mikey would have a companion. Mikey and Murphy get along very well. You would think they were litter mates. Once in a while Mikey gets a little too rough, but Murphy is no shrinking violet. She lets him know when he's gone too far. In the last few weeks they've started grooming each other once in a while. They don't curl up and sleep together, but they do seem to enjoy each other's company.

Everything was fine for a while, but in the last few weeks Mikey has gotten too darn rough again and I'm usually the one that pays the price. It's strange because he's very devoted to me. As I type this he's sleeping next to me. If I leave the room he'll cry and follow me. Yesterday he was so wild. I was holding him and he turned on a dime and scratched my face.

I just can't help but think that there must be a better way to handle this cat. I felt like crying yesterday. What am I doing wrong? I actually feel sorry for him. He often lies in a ball and sucks his back leg. I'm sure that's because of his past history. He kind of reminds me of the socially misfit kid on the playground who wants the other kids to like him, so he runs over and gives them an enthusiastic hug, knocks them down, and then wonders why they're crying.

Don't worry...Mikey will have a home with us for life. However, one of our family members might need a blood transfusion someday if we can't reverse this behavior. We also have two older cats, but Mikey knows better than to mess with them. We have a dog, but he doesn't bother her too much either. (We also have a feral cat that lives in our backyard, but that's another long story.) Sorry this is so long. I read the suggestions at the top of this thread and today I just gave him short pets. I'm starting to think I might have been holding and petting him for too long in my attempt to calm him. Today I didn't even wait until he seemed annoyed...I just petted him for a few seconds and left. Anyway, I'm open to any and all additional suggestions. I'd also like to know what you think about putting him in the cage. I don't like doing it, but sometimes it's the only way to stop him. Thanks for your help.
post #2 of 4
I am sorry but I grinned through most of your very descriptive explanation, because I am so used to this type of behavior from my cats, even the bottle fed ones. I have one fella that loves me a lot, follows me around the yard, I raised him and his brother from a bottle as the mom died of distemper. He loves to crawl up my leg to get to my chest and then he wraps his paws around me and growls, snarls and purrs! It is quite unnerving. There are times when I see that feral look in his eyes and he goes to climb up my leg and I back away because I know he will bite.

Then there is a cat we rescued from a complex where the ferals were being systematically poisoned. She sleeps on the chair on our porch during the day and on the bed at night with the kittens. I don't pet her more than 5 minutes a week, because she just doesn't know what pets are. Mike was petting her this morning and she attacked him- shredded his wrist and bit his thumb.

You learn to take your cues from the cats in your life. Some will respond so much faster if you ignore them. I don't mean not feed or see to their needs, I just mean, if they want affection, let them tell you they do. It's either that or keep them drugged in their life. If your cats are fixed, that will help a great deal when they are old enough. Investing in a Farnum Pet Comfort Zone Room Mister will also help to calm down aggressiveness in cats. Also donating blood at the local blood bank to stay in their good graces in case you need some yourself will work!
post #3 of 4
Welcome to the forums DayDreamnWorld.

Your story brought a smile to my face as I read it. Like hissy said, different cats react differently to affection and will want different amounts of it. Let Mikey come to you for affection, he'll tell you in his way when he wants some sttention. If you do feel the urge to pet him, keep it short. That way, there's no blood loss.

I have a feral cat that visits my yard. I've only ever had the privilege of him letting me pet him. I forgot all about overstimulation and was so happy with him letting me pet him and he was purring. Then wham, I got bit. It hurt like hell but it wasn't his fault. I had missed the all the cues that he had gotten enough.
post #4 of 4
Please click here for a thread about stopping aggression against people. Scroll to near the bottom for a section on stopping the kind of wild behavior you are describing.

Good luck!
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