An extremely distressing new behavior popped up in the last few days. While I am cleaning Garfunkel comes out of nowhere spitting and growling and attacks me with his claws. Not in the "swipe swipe I am trying to get whatever you're messing with" but legitimately AT me, my body. He sinks in his claws deep and draws blood. It's like something out of a Jackson Galaxy show.
It's happened twice, in two different rooms on two different days. On the first day I was sitting in a chair and sorting through papers from my wallet and putting some on a table and some in a plastic bag. Then tonight I was sitting on the floor of our bedroom cleaning out tissues and stuff from under the bed.
It's not play behavior, and he doesn't sit and watch while his tail flicks or his eyes get big like hunting behavior either. It's like he's somewhere out of my line of sight completely and then runs at me and attacks.
I can't tell you how upsetting this is, and you probably don't need me to tell you anyway. It's actually heartbreaking. It makes me sob. I know that he will feed on my behavior and my emotions and I know it's irrational to take it personally but it's like your child attacking you. I would understand if I were playing, or even if I was messing with something he thought he was "hunting." But he doesn't attack the papers or the tissues or the plastic bags, he attacks my hands and arms and he's looking directly at me the whole time.
Other than a recent UTI-like episode (no actual infection, just symptoms) about a month ago, there haven't been any stressors that I can tell. Litterboxes are clean, diet is the same, nothing's changed. I haven't even taken down the Christmas tree or done any serious house-cleaning other than cleaning out my wallet and cleaning under the bed like I mentioned. Nothing out of our ordinary routine, whatsoever. We had a flea treatment done in the house but that was 2 months ago.
The only other thing I can see different in his behavior is he has become much more insistent about "grooming" Joni, which is usually a precursor to an attack on her. Instead of random fights here and there he is sort of following her and licking her aggressively, repeatedly. Usually I can just separate them with a foot or a hiss but he's become very persistent about it and goes back to her repeatedly. He's not actually attacking her, per se, just the aggressive grooming.
Any ideas? I feel so sad. And I'm scared of him now - I had to put him up in the spare room while I finished cleaning because I was scared he'd do it again. And I know being scared of him will make it worse. I feel like we are going down a terrible road and I want to fix it now.