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Personality change

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Dear folks,
I'm new to the forum (today) and just wanted to write and ask about my cat. Actually...it's pretty distressing to me.
I'm really condensing a longer story, but this will give you the main gist of what's happening.

My cat is a orange tabby and has had a personality change recently. He used to be a very sweet, passive and non aggressive cat (for over 2 years). Probably one of the best cats I've ever had.
He's an inside/outside cat. He's about 2.5 years old.

But he went through some sort of trauma about a month ago after coming into the house from the outside one Saturday night. It looks as if he might have eatten something and/or gotten poisoned or something.

The initial trauma wore off in about 3 days but now, I've been left with a cat with a distinct personality change.
Now he is aggressive and bites, claws and hisses, whatever..for mostly no reason at all. I can't play with him or pet him now. If I do....I have to be very careful with him.

I took him to the Vet -twice- only to get a clean bill of health for my cat. They found nothing physically wrong.

The whole ordeal is distressing to me but I need some advice. With Woody (his name...after Woody Woodpecker..same color) he's unpredictable.
And....when he attacks...it's of course very painful.

But then, purely out of reaction I have found myself spanking him, or even hitting him at times. This is -not- me and has even made me worry that I'm maybe getting crazy or something...

The whole ordeal is very bizzare to me seeing that a month ago it was an absolute peaceful existance with no trace of problems.

Has anyone else had anything similar?
Any feedback is ok.

post #2 of 14
What you might have to do is take him to a behavioral specialist, because it's obvious that there is "something" wrong with him. Cats rarely change so drasticaly over such a short period of time. Have you thought of taking him to another vet? I know that may not be cost effective, but sometimes Vets can misdiagnose, and this can lead to a meraude of problems.

You may want to try a combination of lots of love and vanilla extract, because it has a calming effect on cats. There are also many other items that you can find that help to have a calming effect on cats.

Of course my advice isn't as good as Hissy's, but these are just a few that I have read up on while on this site. You came to a good place hun, and I only hope that things will go well for you and your furr baby.

Best fo luck!

~ Salem
post #3 of 14
I have never run into the situation that you are having, but I keep my cats indoors. Obviously,he must have gone through something bad. Also, you didn't mention if your cat was neutered or not. If he isn't, that could be the problem. There may be another intact male that is hanging around in the area, that is now intruding on your cats territory. Your cat knows that he is there and is getting very agressive. Since he has no other way of releasing his anger, he may be taking it out on you. Please, do not hit him, he is only doing the only thing he knows how to do. That is why it is so important to have your cats spayed or neutered. This trauma may just be the fact that a new male is now in the area. If he isn't neutered, please have it done ASAP Besides preventing him from creating more unwanted cats, this will help his behavior as well. Good luck and keep us posted!
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks folks.
I've never been on a cat discussion board before. It's kinda funny...but very cool. I really appreciate it already.

fyi....I have had my cat neutered. I took care of that after 5 months. He's very well taken care of.
There is another "terrorist" cat in the neighborhood but he's been around a long time. He doesn't help matters though that's for sure.

But this is/was much more than a severe cat fight, etc. My kitty threw up and was non responsive for several days. He was also disoriented and wandering. Wouldn't hardly eat.

I guess (on a personal level) I feel the most terrible about spanking him...But I've never had -any- cat do this before with me. And...I've had cats all my life.

But thanks again....any insight is welcome.
post #5 of 14
Hi Loadmaster-

First of all I have a few questions. When your cat started acting funny initially what did you do? Did your run him to the vet or wait a few days to see if he would "get better" on his own? If he did indeed fall into evil hands and got fed something toxic, depending on what that substance was, it could change him radically. He could have also got kicked in the head, hit by a car or a bicycle (and yes still survived) His response is one of pain (my guess) and I would immediately call around in your area and find a cat specialist- and take your kitty in for a round of tests.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not hit him or spank him, or tap him! You are responding out of frustration, but you will make his aggression worse than it is. You will go in his mind from friend to predator and you will hurt him, scare him and put him more in an attack mode. Leave the room and go throw your pillow against the wall- go in the bathroom and scream out your anger or frustration, but PLEASE do not hit him in any way. He cannot help how he is acting, there is something seriously wrong with him. He is looking to you for help and guidance, not punishment and scare tactics. Find a vet that specializes in only cats and turn him over for them to have a look at him.

Good luck-Orange tabbies are the sweetest personality. Again my guess is something bad happened to him outside and he needs your help.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot.

Actually...I've taken him to the vet twice and had battery of tests done on him. I even left him there for a few days for observation. He was aggressive with them also but seemed alright if just left alone.
This is his behavior now too.

To be honest, he seems to get better over -time-. I mean...little steps. He still attacks, but not as frequently or with the same intensity.
The problem comes when I think he is getting better and try to love on him. But then he just turns around and nails me.
This is when the frustration sets in.

From all I've read about poisonings, it seems that this is the most logical thing that happened to him and the he's sustained some type of neurological damage. The vet says he may or may not pull out of it and that I need to be prepared for that. I may get a second opinion though.

Even though this is frustrating to me, I could still live with him. As long as I don't pet or rub him too long, he can be ok. But the aggression comes when I try to love on him...or even when I'm walking. He attacks my feet.

Is this common? I've never been through this.

Thanks again.
post #7 of 14
I agree with Hissy that your boy is real likely to have a medical problem. Poisons can cause this type of behavior as can brain injuries. A good veterinary cat specialist will be a big help here in determining what is wrong.

In the meantime, please click here to read a thread about stopping aggression. Go down to the end of the thread for a section on extremely violent attacks. Carefully following the directions in this section will help.

I am very concerned about your boy. As hissy said, orange tabbys tend to be real sweeties. And, whenever we see a dramatic change in behavior we have to suspect that there is something wrong medically or environmentally. Please, please find a new vet -- hopefully a feline specialist to get a second opinion.

Please keep us updated. I am very concerned about your boy.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
I did nothing with him right at first. (a month ago) I waited to see if he got better...but if he got -any- worse, I would have taken him to the Emer. Room.

This was all complicated because it was 3am on Saturday morning. He didn't seem to get worse, but sure didn't get any better. So, I took him the Vet Hosp 1st thing Monday morning.

They did several blood tests and said all was ok....at least physically.

THen, slowly over this past month, he seems to be getting better. But then last night, he again nailed me to the point of blood....just for rubbing his head before I was going to bed.

This was bizzare and surprised the heck out of me and just looked like plain meaness to me.

That's when I spanked him. But then, later felt like an idiot.

post #9 of 14
It does make sense, especially if someone held him down to do something bad to him. Your hands on him now triggers his fear- cat's don't easily forget, and he responds to the adrenaline high and attacks you. It is not personal, it is something he cannot control right now.

I would recommend an excellent book for you. Twisted Whiskers by Pam Johnson. She is a feline behavior consultant and her books have wonderful input about how to solve all sorts of odd/aggressive behavior.

Also please visit our sister site www.meowhoo.com and look under Behavior and Training. A lot of our listers have phone numbers with consultation lines open where you can call and speak directly to an expert in behavior.

Good luck, I feel so sad for your cat, there is no telling what someone did to him to cause an orangeness to turn like this. My cats go inside and outside all the time, they are feral rescues, but I have encountered these types of problems before with a few of my cats after someone has hurt them beyond belief.

Also, as hard as this is going to be for you, I would stop petting your cat for now. Until the stimulus response is gone, your cat is only going to hurt you. I would look toward the Bach Flower Remedies to help smooth him out- Chicory, or Vervian may help him.Other than that there are kitty meds out there- kitty prozac etc...
post #10 of 14
Oops, I see that I was writing while you were posting. So, disregard what I wrote -- except, please do go to the thread about stopping this type of behavior.
post #11 of 14
And please find a second vet. Some vets just really don't know much about certain animals, you need a cat specialist.
post #12 of 14
I was a massage therapist for a several years and one thing I learned, about humans and about animals (I wanted to do animal massage, but the spa world drew me in!) is that after an accident, like one that might have happened to your little one, the subject can be emotional. In recovering from that, even after the physical damage has healed, the muscles can hold onto memories, ones that are released if that area is triggered. The muscles can also hold toxins that get released in the blood stream and cause adreneline rushes, which causes muscle spasms, or twitches. He might have some sore areas that are so internal the vet can't detect. It might sound crazy, but massage can help with physical and emotional problems. Like us humans and our chiropractors, sometimes they find things we didn't even realize were there. Try massaging his major joints, like hips and shoulders, even neck area, they love it and it can be good bonding time. Of course, over doing it may cause a good nip!
post #13 of 14
Oops, forgot to say, obviously only try massaging if he is okay to touch!! My Berk only likes to be touched really if it's on his terms, like during sleep time when he's relaxed. Definitely make sure he's relaxed, I don't want to cause either of you harm!!
post #14 of 14
This really angers me to know end, that someone may have hurt or even tortured your cat I have mentioned this in another post about letting cats outdoors. One of the biggest dangers are people, one of the meanest animals on this planet! I hope your baby gets better. Give him time, talk to him softly. Let him know you love him and will not hurt him and over time, as long as there is no serious damage or illness, he should begin to trust you again. One more thing, please, don't let him outside again. If you do feel the need to let him out, get a leash and harness, not a collar, and tie him out while you are home. Never leave him tied out while you are away.
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