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Help! Lovey has regressed..(a bit long sorry)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
Many of you know Lovey from when I first posted about him long ago.
He is a 2 year old neutered male (in my sig) that came from multiple homes (was outside at one point and found as a stray)...

When he first came home 3 months ago, he was a scared, growly ball of hiss..who didn't like you to come near him..
Well, leaps and bounds later, he is still uncertain of many people, but isn't the fraidy cat...He is more likely to lay there and stare at people, whipping his tail in agitation...

Anyway, we have formed a close bond (as he has with BF and is coming along with daughter as well)...He is still guarded to noise and does many patrols throughout the day making sure all is well.

He seems a bit alpha, sitting in doorways and not running away from a threat but rather goes to check it out..

Anyway, to make a longer story shorter, he did nip at ankles somewhat when he came to live here. We fixed this by getting many interactive toys and playing him out a few times a day..

This seemed to stop that and he hasn't done it for a long time.

One of his constant rituals in the a.m when I am the only one left here is to lay in front of the door when it comes to me leaving..(he really is my baby and very attached to me as his feeder and snuggler and has grown to trust me above everyone else)...

I have to physically move him out of the doorway..He doesn't like to budge.

Anyway, in the past few days, he has gotten to be more and more of a brat during my morning getting ready ritual..He comes up to me and sits at my feet looking pissed off..then will latch onto my feet as I walk with his teeth.
Its strange as he only does it in the a.m and he hasn't bitten to hurt since he first got here...When he wants to play, he will put his teeth on me, but not bite usually.

I am at a loss..As nothing seems to have changed. Our patterns are the same.
I did change his food to a higher quality brand from the Friskies a few weeks ago (doing it gradually) but it wouldn't be that, would it?

He is the same for everything else other than the morning aggression.

Should I call the vet? ANy and all suggestions welcome!!
Could it be that he doesn't like to be left alone and knows I am leaving for the day? I just don't know...I am thinking of getting him a playmate in future but thought it was still too soon for this..as I have only had him for 3 months.

EDITED TO ADD: I just realized that one thing has changed in the past few days..I did a thorough cleaning of my bedroom and things are a bit changed around but not too too different.

Tx All!
post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
No ideas?? Anyone??
post #3 of 13
Maybe Lovey is getting more confident in his surroundings and people (your bf and daughter). From there, perhaps he is realizing that he doesn't like to be alone during the day, and is starting to feel confident enough to act on that? Does it happen if you aren't the last person to leave or on weekends? It might be directly related to you as the feeder and snuggler leaving him for the day or it could be that he is realizing, "hey this family thing is really great!" and that he doesnt want to be left alone.

Im thinking either he needs to learn how to express those feelings another way or he needs a companion to keep him occupied throughout the day--which might be hard if he is still hissy.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Actually Hannah. It doesn't happen on weekends! hmmm...maybe on weekends he is waiting around for me to get going at my reg time and I don't!

He does it to me mainly. I will have to ask BF but I don't think so..
With daughter, its love/hate. I was told by the woman I got him from that Lovey with good with children (my daughter is older though - 12) but I have since found out that as she wasn't the original caretaker, much of what she said was bunk anyway and she didn't really know...Anyway, she had two very small children. Its since been made obvious to me that although he wasn't there long, he DOES not like small children..They make him edgy and he keeps moving around and can't relax around them.. anyway...

When my daughter is getting ready for school or something, he will follow her and will stalk her feet but i sense its more in play, as he will run and hide with her and then dash around madly as if he knows she is smaller than me.......She has since taken to wearing slippers..!

Daughter is only here half the week as her dad lives 2 blocks away and she spends half week with me, then half with him, etc...

Lovey seems more relaxed in general when she is not at home, but I think this is due to past experiences with children. She knows to approach him softly and gently (again, she isn't a small child so its easier for her).

Overall, I am babbling...Maybe I should keep a record when he acts out..

I am sure there is no definite answer to whether he simply doesn't want to be left alone during the day but I sure wish he could tell me It just seems weird that he knows when I am about to leave and goes and lays in front of the door..

Anyway, thanks for the input!
Sorry if my reply is all over the place!
post #5 of 13
No worry at all--sometimes its good just to ramble on and the answers start appearing!

I actually do think that he is trying to make a stand the best way he knows how--with nipping and a little aggression. It doesnt sound like he is getting too aggro like he really wants to hurt you--he just wants you to know that he is NOT happy when he knows you are leaving in the morning.

But what to do about it? I dont know . . . you are playing him out a few times a day, giving him cuddles and making him feel safe. Hmmm . . . Could you trail an interactive toy behind you when you start to leave and he starts acting up? Maybe if you have something boingy with feathers on it he will go for that instead of you. Also do you have morning play sessions? Maybe if he knows that there is a playtime/cuddle time in the morning it will be easier for him to let you go.

He sounds like he is a little skittish for a companion kitty just yet. I thought two would be easier than one because they would keep each other company--boy was I wrong! I love them both, but Billy always manages to pull Blossom into whatever mischief he is doing. They also chase and playfight alot, and that kind of stuff might get on Lovey's nerves more than calm him right now.

He probably wants to do good for you and just doesnt know how to express himself properly. What a dearheart! Let me know how it goes . . . .
post #6 of 13
Hm... maybe the new food is giving him a bit more energy? I can only afford and have access to friskies brand food also, and though I know it doesnt have all the stuff a cat really needs its the only thing I have so yeah... but with a new type of food your cat is getting so many more nutrients than he was before! Its kind of like a horse.. if a horse doesnt get its corn, it gets very down and dispirited... if it has corn or alot of corn, it wants to run around and be very active. (Heh ... kinda got that from black beauty (the book) ) O_O So maybe if you play with him a bit longer before you go to bed he will knock off the naughtyness?
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hannah, I will try trailing a toy around when getting ready and see if it works! Its a good idea..I play with him only very briefly in the a.m and we have a little "talk"..
(I do most of the talking )

Bigorangemenace: this could be it as well...I suspected a bit but didn't know if it would make that much of a difference..It could also be that I changed my room around a bit...I will just have to wait it out and see what happens this a.m..

About changing food due to income..I am also on a fixed income (a very Lowwww fixed income ) I only manage a bookstore and they don't want to pay me what I am worth, believe me! But in the long run, its not very much more, believe it or not.
I found with the friskies you feed more because they need more of it..
With Performatrin, (you can't get it where you are as they are a small distributor), I feed less and I buy a bigger bag. I think the cost is quite similiar really..
Just a thought..(and poop isn't as smelly and is small too!)

Cheers to you guys for the advice..THanks!
post #8 of 13
When a cat is nipping, it is called misplaced aggression. He could be nipping you ankles for several reasons. Cats come with set programs, instinct and they follow instinct always. You are his "mom" you fed him, cuddled him, groomed him. He would be stalking mom as well- and she would be hissing at him, biting him back and running him off, so he could be his own kitten and not dependent on her.

When he comes at you, your ankles are his target- one, because they are moving, and two they are in his line of vision. I have had nippers here as well, but I learned long ago what to do about nippers. I have a long parachute cord with a clip on one end, and a lightweight feather toy on the other. I clip this to the back of my belt and I just do my housework and the cats attack the toy, the nipper sees the play, and joins in and after awhile understands the difference between ankles and prey.

I would do several things if he were here. First, I would set up a schedule and keep to it of playing with him every day, twice a day if it is possible. Use an interactive toy lik Da Bird or Cat Dancer. Play off in one room just you and him, and really work him. Think about if he were stalking a mouse- he would be hard at work, or frozen in motion for a long time until he gets his reward. Once he has his reward (the toy) give him a nice tasty treat to follow up. When cats play they are actually preying, and in real life if they were in prey mode they would get the prize at the end of the hunt- a nice juicy mouse, lizard, grasshopper whatever. So follow each session up with a treat. (Check out our Market Place forum for Plain Brown Tabby's treats, she has some good ones. Do not give this treat to him any other time except after play.

You say he blocks the door when you try to leave? Can you afford a small cat condo that would fit somewhere near your door? One that isn't to high, but high enough for him to feel in control? If so, buy one and put it near the door. Or in front of the window so that he can see you leave from an elevated place, and not just from the floor.

Cats are very sensitive and they dislike change. Moving furniture, even setting out a new bedcover can turn the nicest kitty into a aggressive beast. Make a log of when these attacks come, are they on a certain day? At a certain hour? Are there any stray cats outside that might be provoking him? Do you have a garden? Do you bring in plants from your garden along with soil? Could this soil contain a smell that is putting him off?

You have to become a detective with your cats sometimes. They turn into a puzzle and you turn into the puzzle solver. Try and find a pattern, and if none exists then try and find the trigger that provokes these attacks. And yes aggression can be health-related- but this sounds more like an alpha cat who believes he runs the house and you just live there. Even though cats are alpha, owners have to be Alpha over them or chaos ensues-

Good luck!
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks much for the words, Hissy(MA)!

I tend to agree with your thoughts on him being alpha (previously I thought this only applied to dogs--how naive!)

But everything he does smacks of lord of the manor.
And my big clue was when I read that barring entrances by laying in them was a big indicator..He does this often, and always the front door and only when I leave in the morning.

What I have done for the last two days is to hiss at him and say NO firmly, and then I put him in a timeout in the bathroom for 5 minutes. He saunters out like nothing is amiss.

But from now on, I will play him out in the morning like you suggested..We have a long playtime every night, but only a short one in the a.m so maybe this is what he needs.

And I do think that the bedroom may be a factor, you are correct. duh. The pissed off nips began about the same time so I should hav realized..

He really scared me the first time he did it as he just sits there with a really angry look on his face and I know its about to occur and so have learned to try and prevent it..

But as to the alpha thing, should I start a program like you do for dogs? Such as no attention until he seeks it out? No talking, no petting, etc? Someone also mentioned to me not to WALK over him when he is in a doorway but to move him first.. I don't know if this is correct or if it even matters.

I can't fit a condo beside my front door.. He has a large cat tree/condo by my window, but I live 3 stories up and don't know if he watches me leave...
I will try and arrange something he can lay on that I can fit by the door that is high enough...

Thanks again for the advice. I feel at ease when you reply
Hopefully these things will help!
post #10 of 13
When leaving in the morning, have you been giving him attention shortly before you're about to go for the day? Mik sits near me and stares at me the entire time I'm getting ready like he's saying "Don't go!".

This might work if he has separation anxiety... When he attacks your ankles as you're walking by don't make a big deal out of it. Just continue on your way or distract him right at that moment with a toy or try to ignore him. When you leave the house, don't make a big fuss about it with long goodbyes, if you do so now. Just gently move him out of the way, don't say anything and leave.

I don't see why you couldn't get a second cat, if you can handle the added responsibility. I know Mik was a little apprehensive at first, but he absolutely loves Lex now! If you do get a second cat, I would advise you to get a kitten, for many reasons.

Good luck!
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jen...
thanks for the advice..Howeve,r I can't possibly ignore him when he gets my ankles..
Its too painful! I don't move though. I stop or he will latch on (all four paws around my ankles)...But the funny thing is he hasn't bitten hard at all since he first came home.
He was a grouch. But he hasn't bitten to hurt since 3 months ago...
And now it does!
In the past, he was nipping to play (but didn't sink his teeth in)...just gingerly put his teeth on me...

Now, it freaking hurts...It takes every fibre in me not to scream out!

I will go with the curt goodbye for now...I usually give him a lil nuzzle and a "bye baby, see you later..be good"..

Thanks for the reassurance about a second cat. Yes, I feel I am responsible enough to take it on.. I feel he would really love it if he gives a kitten a chance. Mainly I worry about the kitten..Lovey likes to play but I am hoping he doesn't tear the kitten's head off after intros..I don't think he would, but its in the back of my mind.
I have never seen such a bossy cat as he.

You would never know it from his name sometimes (but with me and most of the time, he really is a lovebug! Really! )
He just jumped on my lap for kisses actually.

post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
Thanks Jen...
thanks for the advice..Howeve,r I can't possibly ignore him when he gets my ankles..
Its too painful! I don't move though. I stop or he will latch on (all four paws around my ankles)...But the funny thing is he hasn't bitten hard at all since he first came home.
Wow, I didn't realize he latches on with all fours... Ouch! In that case, remove him when he's calmed a bit and try to ignore him after. If you scold him, he will likely associate it with attention, which he may think he's not getting enough of in the morning. I think that's about all I can come up with. Perhaps you could speak with a vet? I always call up my vet whenever I have a bump with either cat, and their advice is always helpful.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh yes, its ouch!
I find it easy to forgive him actually because its so new a behaviour..
And the rest of the time, he is a darling...a mischievous darling, but a darling nonetheless...I really think he needs someone more than me to attend to his play drive.

The vet thinks I am daft. I freaked the other day as Lovey spit up something that looked like poop. The vet said it was "just a hairball"....

I will see what this a.m is like and then I might call him...

I thought putting him in the bathroom was good as he doesn't like to be locked in anywhere..or away from us...But I am going to stop doing that as I think its a bit weird anyway..

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