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Help aggressive kitty getting worse!!

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My female cat has always been a bit schitzo, you never know if she's going to be sweet as pie, rubbing all over me, or if she was going to try and scratch your ankles anytime you walked by. She is my cat, in that I'm the main one that she would show affection too, but she bite my ankles too, anyhow we have 5 kids who know not to mess with her unless she initiates contact and for that matter she pretty much avoided the kids anyhow. Well because the kids were getting scratched quite a bit when we had her spayed we also had her declawed. After that is when she turned to biting rather than scratching, but actually alot of her aggression seemed to go down a notch. We got a new kitten and after a few weeks they were best friends and would wrestle together all the time and she was clearly enjoying it. I thought we had a different cat. Well.....................then we got a flea problem, we have been fighting fleas for about 3 weeks now to no avail, in this time of course we had to treat my kitty, well as soon as the first time I sprayed her with flea spray she started hissing and growling (which she never did that before) I've tried the powder because it seems less traumatizing, but that stuff doesn't work at all on the fleas, even tried bathing her because I figured it would just get it over with rather than chasing her around trying to get a "shot" in. She has completely lost it now, she has been growling and biting the kids, my husband and even me just for looking at her the wrong way. My husband only makes things worse by yelling at her and throwing stuff at her when she acts this way and is now threatening to make me get rid of her. I know she's just probably traumatized and thinks we're just being mean by spraying her and making her wet, but I'm worried the damage is permenant and my husband now is very hateful toward her because of all her aggression and just watches for her to do the slightest thing wrong so he can chase her and yell. It's like a viscious circle. My question is, is there any hope to bring her back to at least where she was before? I love her because she's always been my "baby", I'm the one she used to follow around and she'd sleep at my feet while I was sitting here on the computer. Now she won't even let me near her. I think if I could get her to calm down again hubby would let me keep her and quite frankly I'm considering what to do to because I don't like my kids having to be scared of one of our pets. Sorry to be writing a "novel" here but I really thought the situation required full explanation so you could help me better. Please respond asap, hubby is at the moment threatening to do something drastic if she doesn't calm down or I don't take her to the SPCA.
post #2 of 22
I really can't help you with all your problems except to say I'm sure your husband is making the situation worse by throwing things and making threats to you. Maybe the first thing would be for the whole family to take a big breath and calm down a little?

The best solution for the fleas is to use Advantage or Frontline -- whatever your vet recommends. If your cat is too angry for you to apply it, let the vet do it.

Although a lot of people on the cat site don't agree with this, I find that time outs work wonders with my cats. Put your little cat in a space like a large closet or bathroom and let her have time to herself to sulk or just breathe.

In the meantime, I'm sure one of the cat site experts in cat behavior will come in and give you some really good advice. Good luck, I'll be sending my best thoughts and good wishes.
post #3 of 22
First off let me just welcome you to TCS!!! Do Not use over the counter flea products You can go to the vet and get a topical called Revelution and is 99.9% going to take care of the fleas!!!!
I would suggest getting that and apply it, then lay low for a couple days. Tell the kids not to go by her. No trowing things hubby That is only making things worse!!! Please pm me if you need any other help or have questions!!!
post #4 of 22
PS... There is hope, she will come around!
post #5 of 22
I would suggest you get this cat to the vet pronto. Take all the products you have used on this cat for fleas that was over the counter with you. Tell your vet the time period in which you used all these of these products, and ask for a tox screen to be run as well as a CBC-
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you to all who replied. Unfortunately to those of you who are anti-over-the-counter products, that's all we can afford. I don't work so I am dependent on hubby to fork out the cash for such stuff and he is extremely cheap when it comes to pet care. My last purchase was the Hertz brand of the frontline type flea stuff and it does actually appear to be working on the cats anyhow....................the dog (who is responsible for bringing the dumb fleas inside in the first place) is still biting and scratching though. That's another post though. As far as the aggression, I forgot to mention she is not just taking it out on us, she's been hissing and growling and our other kitty too when he tries to get her to play. Where before they were constantly playing together like best buddies. Like I said it's as if she's completely flipped her lid and turned ferral...............I know that's not truly the case, but she does act just like a ferral cat now. It is possible for cats to lose their mind??
post #7 of 22
The over the counter flea drops are well known for killing and for causing neurological problems in cats. It is very likely that your cat is having trouble due to a combination of the toxic medicine and your husband's cruel behavior. Not to be harsh, but your husband is behaving in a way that guarantees that your cat will behave in an aggressive manner. A cat has only its claws and teeth to guard against harm and the aggressive way your husband is behaving is telling your cat that she is in danger... even I would be frightened as heck if I saw your husband coming at me that way and I'm almost 6 feet tall, I can't imagine how frightened your poor little cat must be.

Anyway, if your husband cannot get his behavior under control and if he is unwilling to get the fleas treated properly, I think it would be best for your cat to find another home. It is not fair to the cat to be treated in such an abusive way by your husband, and I can only imagine how frightened your children must be by their father's behavior toward the cat.
post #8 of 22
Those of us who are "anti-over-the-counter products, are that way for a reason." My email files are stuffed full of horror stories of cats battling neurological problems and other health issues because owners used unsafe products on them. Please get your cat help and if you can't afford to take the cat to a vet, then surrender the cat to someone who can afford it.
post #9 of 22
Originally Posted by hissy
Those of us who are "anti-over-the-counter products, are that way for a reason." My email files are stuffed full of horror stories of cats battling neurological problems and other health issues because owners used unsafe products on them. Please get your cat help and if you can't afford to take the cat to a vet, then surrender the cat to someone who can afford it.

Plus the OTC flea products may be cheap, but they don't work and are toxic. So you have two choices - keep buying OTC products that don't work (and still cost $), and risk neurological damage to the cat (emergency vet bills are crazy expensive), or spend a few dollars more initially and have the job done right.
post #10 of 22
I would also add that I think your husband's violence is the bigger problem in this situation. It goes beyond the scope of this board, of course, but it is a serious issue that really needs to be dealt with one way or the other - for everyone's sake.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I am glad to report that Popcorn is getting a little better and more calm, today is the first day she didn't growl at my husband...........but then I wasn't here half the day so I'm not sure how close he came to her today. I hope I finally got through to his thick head about how his behavior is affecting the cat. On the other hand as soon as she saw me grabbing the bottle of flea spray for the bedding and floors she backed up and hissed, I understand though. Last night and today she was even letting the kids pet her while I was making supper for quite a while. So hopefully she's going to calm down so long as hubby continues to keep his distance and not be so nasty to my baby. Oh and I talked to my vet today, when I took the other kitty in for his physical and prep for his neutering, she said as long as the Hartz brand it working then there's no sense in spending the extra bucks...............so I'm not worried.............now the sprays and powder, I agree don't work and aren't worth the money, but since I put the Hartz stuff my cats have been flea free and happier all around.
post #12 of 22
I'm glad to hear kitty is getting better behavior wise. But Im stunned to hear that your vet actually says its ok to use these over the counter flea products! My vet even has a large sign in his office stating these products cause harm and even death in cats.
Next time you need to apply these products take kitty in a room alone where its quiet and no hollering at her. It will much less stressfull for her. You can buy advantage and frontline online rather then purchase it at a vets also. Its just so much easier to use on any cat. One quick application and no more fleas for a month.

I would be really carefull using over the counter flea products.
post #13 of 22
If you love your "baby" as much as you say you do, then you will do what's best for HER, and not what's best for YOU.

If your vet really said Hartz products were really "ok" and don't bother spending the extra money, then that vet graduated at the very bottom of his/her class. Take a look at this website (and there are many more where this came from) and THEN tell us it's "ok" to keep using it!


Being a SAHM with 5 children is absolutely NO excuse for allowing your husband to terrorize this cat. Throwing things, chasing her, and yelling must stop - IMMEDIATELY. If your husband is not willing to curb his behavior, and I do mean immediately, then - as I said above - do what's right for your cat and re-home her. This is what she DESERVES.

If you DO re-home her, DO NOT consider another pet until the issues of "money" (ie: control) and human behavior issues are resolved.

Pets do not have the opportunity to take themselves to the doctor and have a limited ability to tell us what's wrong. As a furmom, it is wholly and specifically your JOB, just as it is with your human children, to ensure that they have adequate medical care, adequate food, and LOTS of love in order to thrive.

If you can't provide those necessary basics, consistently, then a pet is not right for your household.

post #14 of 22
Originally Posted by juliek75
she said as long as the Hartz brand it working then there's no sense in spending the extra bucks...............so I'm not worried
So, you're not worried about the cat's scary behavior which accurred after the last time you put the drops on her? Holy Toledo! Would you give your child medicine that caused her to lose her mind the last time you gave it to her? (That's how you described the cat in a previous post.) It sounds to me as if you are saying that as long as she doesn't have fleas, I don't care if she loses her mind. Oh my........poor Popcorn.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by lotsocats
So, you're not worried about the cat's scary behavior which accurred after the last time you put the drops on her? Holy Toledo! Would you give your child medicine that caused her to lose her mind the last time you gave it to her? (That's how you described the cat in a previous post.) It sounds to me as if you are saying that as long as she doesn't have fleas, I don't care if she loses her mind. Oh my........poor Popcorn.
AAAAHHHH.............obviously you misread something, the drops did not cause her to start acting this way, it was the sprays and I think more the act of chasing her and trying to spray her, thus making her wet which she did not like at all..............also we used the same thing on the other cat Cheetos and he is still his same sweet self...........that combined with the fact that hubby got more aggressive when she got more aggressive.
post #16 of 22
Over the counter flea products are very dangerous. They can cause serious health problems, both long term and short term. They can even kill cats. I despise Hartz and would never buy their products (not even toys) because they knowingly sold products that are harmful to animals. If you love your kitty, please take the advice so many people have given- don't use over the counter flea products.

The vet prescribed flea control products aren't very expensive and they are safe. When my mom adopted her kitty he had a really bad case of fleas. The vet prescribed Advantage (made by Bayer) and a tablet called Capstar. The result was nothing short of a miracle. The cost was less than $20. The fleas have been gone ever since. Most vets will prescribe flea meds without charging for an office visit.

As for your vet saying it is ok to use OTC flea control products, that is so shocking that I almost don't believe it...
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well the decision has now been taken out of my hands and I am heartbroken, but we are getting rid of my baby. I'm taking her to the local shelter tomorrow, she has been sweet as pie to everyone except hubby the past 3 days and he has actually even been nicer to her too............well in this time my other kitty, Cheetos, was at the vet getting neutered, ever since he came home this morning Popcorn has been back to acting like a maniac growling at everyone and the final straw came when she bit one of the kids and then later even bit me!!! This for now reason in both cases we had simply walked past where she was sitting, and these were not love bites like she used to give. I understand her, but can't have her in my house full of kids when they are now scared of her and now I don't even trust her since she bit me. That shocked me the most, here I've been defending her and giving her lots of extra attention and she turns on me. Anyhow hopefully someone without kids will adopt her and she'll be a good kitty. I was debating whether to even post on this or not because while I came to this board for support most of you have been just really focused on criticizing me on my choice of flea products. I've had cats all my life, I've always used OTC products and never once had a cat go insane from it or get sick from it..................not saying it doesn't happen, just saying I think it's more rare than you make it sound and also what ever triggered Popcorn's turn I believe was more the act of spraying her every few days, which terrified her and made her more untrusting than before, piled with the fact that she started misbehaving more so hubby started getting mean with her. I was appalled by the person who suggested I shouldn't even own a pet, this cat has been the exception as far as hubby's treatment of her and believe me I do not take this casually he and I have been arguing fiercly over it, even going so far as to threaten leaving him if he hurt her. As I said I've had cats all my life and I have never done anything to abuse them or harm them, so please do not treat me like someone who is ignorant about or just doesn't care about their cat. This is tearing me apart that I have to give her up
post #18 of 22
did this behavior start when you got the kitten?
post #19 of 22
Just wanted to chime in about being anti OTC deflea products. I am not so much anti them as PRO ensuring no cats are treated with those toxic and harmful products. I would not be surprised if one of those products (esp one mentioned) may have already created probs and is responsible for some of the behaviour. But that is speculation and without a CBC and other bloodwork, it would be hard to tell. I can't believe your husband would yell at her - that just traumatizes her even more. Cats do not learn that way - they learn to be afraid of you but their behaviour will not change. Only positive reinforcment will help that and lots of TLC. Have you considered Rescue Remedy? And at this pt, you have veryt liuttle choice BUT to go to the vet and have the cat defleaed and tested for whatever toxicity those awful OTC horrors have inflicted on her. Please - I am not blaming you for the cat's problem, you clearly did not know how dangerous that stuff is - but for your kitty's sake, get her some help! If you don't, you will only have a sick kitty and higher vet bills.
post #20 of 22
Oh Gawd, I did not read your post about "getting rid" of her - perhaps you could rephrase that to rehoming her? Getting rid sounds so awful! Actually, her behaviour after the other kitty came home from the vet is perfectly understandable. Cats use their strong and finely honed sense of smell to determine where they are and who's who. The other cat smelled iof the vet's office with all those medicinal smells and other cats besides! Of course he would be a maniac. Here he was presented with a new cat in his domain and one just propped into huim, not properly introduced as cats need to be when this happens (and it is not unusual for kitties to not recognize their sibling or bewst bud after one or the other has been to a vet visit.) You could try the vanilla or towel solution - let each adjust to the other by rubbing the same towel on them or placing a bit of vanilla on each in the strategic locations so the smell is not as foreign.

I think with some work, you can turn this around. I have had cats bite me on occasion - sometimes the most loving and kind kitty and I would never think of "getting rid" of them. It was usually because they were scared or upset or ill. You have to think like your cat. She has been traumatized (unknowingly I realize) by your family and she is fighting back the only way she understands and for this you are willing to shove out the door to a pound that will in all liklihood eutheize her - because you will describe her as vicious and not a cat who is safe with children. That makes ME cry!!!! Because the truth is it does not need to happen!!!!!

Start over with this cat. Give her a chance at life PLEASE!!!!! If you love her as you say you do, assume that this is a traumaitized cat who needs much TLC and to be reintroduced to your family. Teach her nor to bite. We antrhopomorphise cats sometimes and we should not do that because they think like cats, not humans!! So she does not understand in the least why you were spraying her - and that sort of thing never really works with cats anyway (unless you happen to catch her in the act right then and she does not associate you with the water bottle). When she goes to bite, direct her attention elsewhere. Find her activities to do that will engage the kitten in her - and be kind and soothing to her. NEVER yell at her. Tho a loud yell sometimes works when a kitten bites and we are teaching her or him not to bite, this will not help your cat now because she associates yelling with trauma and bad things. So you will have to direct her to other things.

Cats and small children should ALWAYS be supervised and I say that professionally as well as someone who adores cats. And teach your children (I do not know their ages) how to hold her, how to be nice to her. And ask your husband to for God's sake be a better example! Yes, cat bites can be dangerous but cats are smart and can learn NOT to bite!!

Have you tried Rescue Remedy? Give her some to try to calm her - or a Feliway diffsuer. She will need it now. No doubt, she sense the bad vibes you are sending in her direction and this poor baby must be scared out of her wits now. Please don't add to her newly learned fear of humans by bringuing her to a cold pound. Animal control orgs are overworked and will NOT go the extra distance for a cat that is traumatized, bites, has fleas - all through no fault of her own - and needs medical attention. She will be on one of the first rounds in the euthenasia room. Please at least save her life by reintorduing your family to her and vice versa or finding a cat rescue organization that has a no kill shelter and can work with her.

She needs help, not the pound!!!

I am so sad as I write this. I know you say you love this kitty - you have her life in her hands and you CAN help her and she will change. If she was once loving, she will indeed be that way again but it will take time, patience, love, prescription flea treatment. You may choose not to believe us - and the people on this site have a plethora of accumulated cat knowledge (I do not include myself, I mean the ppl who run the site) and know all too well - after working with hundreds of cats what is toxic and what is not. Scientific studies demonstrate sadly that these products are useless and worse, known to cause adverse neurological damage in some cats. This thread is but one example so in a way, you are fortunate that your cat is just misbehaving and is not dead. (But she sooo needs to see a vet asap!!!) http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64870

You may have to think of her as a domestic cat turned feral being severely traumatized but if you work with her and engage the entire family, you can help this cat and save her life. Nor am I being overdramatic about the pound. I work with extremely ill children for a living - I see melodrama every day of my life - and I am astonished and sick that you would bring a cat to Animal Control simply because of something your family created. What about the dog? He has fleas yet he gets to stay? There is something inherantly unfair in that but this whole situation is unfair to this cat.

And yes, you need to protect your children but you can reteach this kitty and turn back the horrible message you are sending them by caring for this poor animal, not disregarding her like yesterday's trash because she hurts them when she is scared. Children with psychiatric probs - some caused by neurological probs - sometimes bite and scream but we heal them. We don't bring them to a place that rates one by how they behave - and even the best behaved kitty can become morose or aggressive in the shelter environment. With her as stressed out as she is, she is also prone to colds and other kitty diseases that can spread like wildfire in a pound. This cat needs to be healed - and your children need to know that our furry friends with four legs are not disposable items who we "get rid of" when they are ill and do not behave in the way we want. Sending that message to children is an even worse dis service than presuming the solution to a cat's unruly behaviour - which is the result of some of their own actions - is to bring her to the local pound where she is likely to die. (SPCA and municipal pounds sometimes have very high kill rates and they determine a cat's adoptability by how socialble and healthy she is. Thx to your family, your cat is on her way to failing that test.) I suppose the only good thing is that they would not giver her to a research lab since labs demand docile cats wellsocialized by the families they come from and many tax supported pounds are required by law to give a certain percentage of their animals to research organizations.)

I apoligize in advance for some of the sarcasm - I am just offended by the notion that you would bring a family member to a place like that without giving her a chance and admittedly, you have not. You sound like you love this kitty - please try to help her. If you cannot open your heart to her, at least find a cat rescue organization that will at least help her. You do realize the fee you pay at the pound for bringing her in is prob the cost of a vet visit (it is here anyway) that would in all liklihood have prevented this disaster!!

And tonight, just arriving home from working to help my fellow oncologists in Lousiana, I do not use the term disaster lightly. I will hug my cat a little more tonite knowing there is a kitty somewhere whose family would abandon her because she bites and needs help!
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just a quick reply CyberKitten, everything you said about why the cat acted the way she did is nothing new to me................exactly what I tried to tell my husband too, at any rate I found a friend willing to take her in who has no kids. Popcorn was never kid friendly even as a kitten, I was really the only one she was ever extremely affectionate with and trust me I felt very guilty giving her up and when I called the SPCA yes they told me they would euthanize her so I desperately called everyone I knew for a better solution and as I said a friend has her now so she's probably happier already. I gave her up because I know my husband and I know that once he gets a hatred for an animal that it's not going to disappear and it wasn't fair to Popcorn to be living in this environment. I am not going to appologize for his (hubby) behavior either because I don't agree with it either and frankly am more than a little resentful that it caused me to give up my poor kitty.
post #22 of 22
Juliek75, Thank you for finding a new home for the cat. I think you have made a good decision for Popcorn.

I am sorry that your husband is such a grumpbunny. I have a friend whose husband is the same way. He can be so nice, but then once he gets mad, he can be a real unpleasant person to be around (and he holds grudges forever). I hope that your husband treats you well.

I know that we have been a bit rough on you here, and I apologize for that. We tend to get a bit riled up when we don't like what we are reading! I think you have come up with the best solution for Popcorn and I applaud you for working so hard to find a good place for her to live.
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