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My kitty is extremely aggressive

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm new here and new to cats. We have a kitten, Mary-Kate who is appr 3-4 mos old. She was abandoned by her mom at birth, hand fed by a friend and given to us as soon as she went on solid food. She has always liked to bite, 1st i assumed it was because she was teething, but it is just getting worse. She attacks from all angles, no matter the situation. My kids will be sitting on a stool and start crying because she attacks their bare feet. She attacks my dog who is very tolerant, just not sure for how long. We aren't able to just touch or hold her, she starts biting, hard. She gets a lot of attention but I don't know how long that will last either. We have tried the time out, it doesn't work, she comes right back out and attacks again. I am at a loss, is it possible she isn't meant to be an indoor cat? she is bred from barn cats. Any help or ideas would be appreciated.
Thanks, Jen
post #2 of 7
Hello, you need to stop validating her bad behavior and channeling things in a constructive manner. The cat wants attention -- which is exactly what it gets when you react to her misbehavior. And punishments or things like "time out" don't really apply to cats.

Instead of all that mess, initiate games with her and then reward the good behavior. For $25, you can buy three decent toys and a can of treats.

Here are the best toys: Cat Dancer, TurboScratcher and Da bird (feather/wand thing). Read this thread for more ideas:


Here are the best treats:


You play with the kitten until she gets tired out then you feed her some treats. That rewards her positive behavior but it also takes the edge off so she won't stalk the humans in the house. If I am busy and neglect Nano for a few days, she will get more aggressive towards me but once we play a game the edge is gone and she relaxes again. Some cats just have this instinct.

I would also suggest you try to get her spayed before she goes into her first heat. Also try the Feliway diffuser -- that might calm her down a little. Some people will suggest adding a second cat to the household to even things out but I wouldn't automatically follow that suggestion.

Good luck!
post #3 of 7
Great advice, Nano!
I second that and just want to emphasize that a cat isn't a house plant as many people think (not that you do)
They need interaction and an outlet for their natural behaviour daily.

Very intense playtimes are required especially for an energetic kitten.

They need an outlet for that prey behaviour..If you follow Nano's suggestions, he won't seek out your children's feet (which are erratic moving like prey) as the object.

Another tip: Don't let the children aggravate the cat by mauling, chasing, or taunting.
Again, not saying you do...But I have seen the nicest cats turn aggressive because the children are allowed to do whatever they want with them at whim..Teach the children to be gentle, speak calmly to the cat in question.

Good Luck!
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions.
I did read on this site to give a 5 minute time out, that is why I did it. My children are 11 and 8 and not aggressive with the cat, my oldest daughter plays with her all the time, we have toys, pretend mice, a feather wand, balls. We play these with her often. I don't know what Turbo scratcher is but the problem isn't scratching as much as biting and attacking. Even when she is lying on your lap, if you touch her she will bite you. So I don't think her problem is lack of attention or boredom, that is why I am at a loss. Thanks again, Jen
post #5 of 7
Well, that is good to hear about the kids.
I am hoping some of the orphaned kitten experts will be able to respond so will bump this up.

He may just need some time to acclimatize..What did your friend say his personality was like?

Are you petting him when he attacks or does he stalk, pounce and then bite?

If my cat, at 2 years old, bites (though he doesn't do it hard), I look him in the eye and give him a firm no. and just stand still. He will always release right away as soon as I say no.
I then do give him a time out but not in another room. I simply don't give him any attention for awhile.

Don't pull the hand or foot away quickly..this will cause him to think that the foot or hand is prey even more (as that is the way prey acts, by pulling away quickly...although I know its hard when there are little fangs in your hand).

Has he been to the vet for a complete overall checkup btw?
This is imperative.
post #6 of 7
Okay, let's try again...

How do you pet her? Do you give her full body strokes? Instead of that, try gently scratching under her chin. Another option -- Nano's favorite way to be touched is short rubs on the top of her head between the ears.

When was her last vet visit? It is possible she is sick and is crying out for help in her own way.

The next thing to try? Simply ignore the cat -- feed it, give a clean litter box, etc. But otherwise don't acknowledge it. Oh yeah, a policy of ignoring the cat might blow up in your face...but when you are running out of things to try, might as well go the full measure. The idea behind ignoring is to force the cat to realize she is not the center of the household and to assert that you (the female adult human) are in charge of things.

The last thing you can do is go through your home and cat-proof everything so the environment is fully to her advantage so she can relax. But that is getting towards the end of the line when it comes to what a normal household can do to accomodate a pet cat.

Good luck!
post #7 of 7
First of all she is young. She is not attacking you out of spite or fear, she is playing with you because she didn't have the interaction with her siblings like she normally should have.He mom abandoned her, either because the mom or the kitten was sick, and so she didn't have brothers and sisters to respond to, she had the human who bottle fed her. This human more than likely played with her, with hands and fingers, a common response, although one that pretty much backfires. Is it possible you can adopt another kitten around her age, one she rough and tumble with and leave you alone?

She is doing what she is doing out of pure instinct. Another way is what I do when I have a kitten who likes to attack my feet. Feet are on her level, they move, therefore they are prey. I take a piece of fishing line and make it several feet long. I tie on a clip to one end, and on the other end, a lightweight feather toy- I clip the line to the back of my jeans (belt loop) and I trail this around the house when I clean etc. The kitten sees the movement and goes for the toy, not the back of the legs or the feet. I also do not play blanket wars (my term) when you get into bed and wiggle your toes so kitty can jump and play. Cats are not dumb they know those are toes under there, and if it is ok to play with them while they are under the blanket, they are twice as attractive bare and walking across the floor.

Getting her spayed will help over time, but not overnight. Right now, I have our latest rescue Prowler on my lap, crawling up my chest and demanding I pay attention to her. I have to ignore her when she gets like this. It's hard, but petting her and trying to comfort her just leads her to believe this is a good way to be and she will become worse over time-

Good luck!
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