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URGENT - Please help, biting and children

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
At this point I am exhausted. I've been up all night trying to come to grips with what I should do in this situation and I need some other perspectives, because all my relatives have done is confuse me.

To give a little backstory, my cat is not very loving most of the time. so much so, that when she is we are very excited to get the attention from her. However, she has never hurt anyone badly, more than an occasional nip. Well, two days ago she clamped onto my wife's nose, for no reason, and now we're afraid of having her around our seven year old son and the children my wife babysits for fear that she will harm them. She been acting strange for awhile, the vet can't seem to find anything physically wrong with her, but she gets in these moods like she's crazy, arching her back, hssing, it's really strange as far as i'm concerned.

The point is, I don't know what to do with her.

The suggestions we've gotten are to take her to the SPCA, where most likely she'll be put down because they won't be able to find a home for her; to get her fixed (I really think the issue is larger than hormonal though isn't it?) or to set her free on a farm somewhere and let her fend for herself.

I just don't know, we're so upset, does anyone here have any suggestions as to the proper action here? Are we overeacting? Undereacting?
post #2 of 21
Whats upset me is the fact that your thinking of setting her loose to let her fend for herself!.

Before doing anything as drastic as some of the suggestions you've mentioned i would get her spayed because it should make a difference, failing that is there any "No kill" shelters in your area?!.

Has your vet not even suggested getting her fixed?, thats one of the first questions mine asked me when i took them in as kittens for their injections.

BTW how old is she?
post #3 of 21
Try reading this article and seeing if any of this rings true for her.

http://www.thecatsite.com/Cats/Cat_B...arch_2005.html

Did you vet discuss possible drugs for your cat to calm her a bit?
post #4 of 21
Setting her free should not be one of your choices!! Get her fixed and see if that helps. And if not rehome her.. But setting her free to fend for herself???Thats cruel...
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
The suggestion of setting her free is not something i'm actually willing to do, it's something that was suggested and because we were so emotional we just didn't know what to do. The vet said that we could try getting her fixed and exploring other options after, but honestly didn't seem to care what we did with her. The problem with that is that I don't have the 150$ it will take to get it done right away, and i'm afraid of this behaviour.

Honestly, do you think we're overreacting? Do cats get agressive and act a little crazy when they're not fixed. If you guys truly think this might be the only problem, maybe we made our son say goodbye to her for nothing.

The behaviour listed in that link is a bit different from what she does. She won't let me wife near her much and hasn't let her for awhile. She hasn't done anything except nip at my son up to last night, but last night she bit him on the hand. She will all of a sudden put her ears back and arch her back, jump at someone and other such behaviour seemingly out of the blue.

Maybe we don't play with her enough? I wouldn't think so but maybe we're not giving her the attention we think we are.
post #6 of 21
If thats your vet saying you could TRY getting her fixed then i'd honestly move onto another vet for a 2nd opinion.

And yes, spaying them does make a big difference with their attitude.

Is your son teasing her with his hands for her to bite him?, and you never said how old she was?.

You also have to understand that not all cats are affectionate with people like some would like them to be.
post #7 of 21
That really doesn't sound like play behavior.

Is she strictly and indoor cat? Has anyone ever hit or kicked her that you are aware of? Did she come to you as a kitten?
post #8 of 21
I think your over-reacting. As a law student (not lawyer yet) I would advise not to let the cat have contact with the children your wife babysits. As a matter of fact I think people who babysit other peoples chilrdren in their home are CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You open yourself up to a lot of liability. My suggestion is to stop baby sitting other peoples kids in your home and not to worry about your seven year old son. If he gets bit he will get over it. At least he cant sue you lol. But seriously the bahav the cat is dsiplaying doesnt soud dangerous, a cat bite is not going to kill anyone.
post #9 of 21
Another thought I had was that with all those children around, the cat may be stressed out. (I would be!).

Seriously, children often are very rough with animals and with her not being spayed and the stress of the kids - maybe that is why she's acting out.
post #10 of 21
IMO this cat certainly needs to be fixed ....but if your vet does`nt have anymore caring about what happens to the cat.. i personally would wonder what kind of a vet he is! I`d look for another vet and have the cat rexamined (could be something really is wrong with her!) and then, one way or the other,get her fixed.
I`d also keep her away from stressful situations if she is a nervous type. (as maybe confined to one room away from all the day care kids during the day when they are there....cats sleep a good share of the day anyhow so she probably won`t mind once she gets used to it...and might actually be much relieved!)
Linda
post #11 of 21
I think children bring out unpredictable behavior in cats. Some cats are so laid back and truly understand a young human, but most cats are put off and scared by very eratic actions.

Is your cat declawed? This sort of behavior could be related to that but you didn't mention anything so I'm guessing not.

Maybe look into some low cost spay/neuter clinics? Your local humane society might have some recommendations for cheap clinics that might be held once a month or something.

I think giving her a room as a private sanctuary is a good idea. No children allowed. Maybe get a feliway infuser for the room to help calm. Then give her some space and reintroduce family members slowly by being gentle and doing some light playing and then leave her alone for a while. I also think my cats respond to soothing music, though I don't know if theres any reason for that! This ends up being a kind of positive reconditioning. Maybe with good interaction she gets a treat like some feline milk you can get at the bigger petstores (I don't know how healthy that stuff is but my kitties think its the greatest treat in the world).
post #12 of 21
I hate to be the "meanie" here, but it sounds like maybe your wife isn't too keen on this cat. And believe me, a cat will know that! and react accordingly! Could there be some other tensions in the home that are influencing this cat's behavior? If your son sees your wife's apprehension about the cat, he will most likely become nervous around the cat, too, and the cat WILL start reacting in the same way to him, as well.
Maybe you could work with your wife on any underlying issues that she may have with the cat; perhaps she was scratched or bitten as a child, or sees that you are too involved with the cat, or perhaps she is STRESSED out because of doing day care (which is one of the most stressful jobs on earth, IMO, worse than a busy restaurant that's short-handed, running out of food & the manager's drunk).
As for giving up the day care, I doubt that your wife does it for self-gratification, but because it contributes to the family budget, so I don't recommend that. every dollar helps, when there's children to be raised & cat food to buy!!
Please keep us posted on how things are going! Susan
post #13 of 21
you havent said how old the cat is, some cats do bite "out of the blue" when they are younger (my daughter is learning the hard way with the kitten). I think being a childminder and having a cat can be stressful, especially if it is an indoor cat. Try and give the cat a room where she can escape (put a cat flap on the bedroom?), and no child is allowed to follow. My friend is a childminder, and her cat used to disappear every morning once the first child arrived and come back at night, when they were all gone. It's not that they treat the cat badly, but they do make noise, jump and move a lot. I think anything but a kitten would take a runner.
If that was the only incident ever, I wouldn't worry too much. If it keeps happening, see if there is any way to make your cat's life less stressful (including possibly re-homing). I would worry about the minded kids though. Not sure how well you know the parents, but they can sue you for even a tiny scratch, if it gets infected (as cat scratches very often do), so maybe you have to re-think the arrangement, and either make it an outdoor cat or give the cat some room to breathe.

Hope all goes well
Cheers
Mad

ps.: neutering does calm them down, just think of your wife and PMT, and you know what your cat is going through once a month.....
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
We're going to take her to get neutered and keep her away from the kids for awhile, and see if that helps any. Thanks for all the suggestions, it helped calm us down.
post #15 of 21
I just read this post and I'm very glad that you are going to get her spayed. My brother in law had a female cat that was only five months old (one month short of old enough to be spayed) and when she went into her first heat, she was terrible!! I think its a mixture of hormones and frustration with the way the hormones make them feel. They can't speak to us to tell us how they feel so they find other ways...After this particular cat was spayed (and had fully healed) she was back to her old self again. I'm no expert, this is just one experience that I've had. Good luck and let us know how everything goes!
post #16 of 21
You are making the right decision!
post #17 of 21
I want to tell you that spaying our cat made a world of a difference! Kinks was the moodest cat that would bite and growl and hiss and scratch for no real apparent reason. he left some deep gashes and scars in us, my boyfriend has one up the length of his arm. She had to be netted to be spayed because the vet couldn't handle her (I got to watch). She acted feral and screamed sooo loud. I watched her being spayed and it turned out that she had cysts on her ovaries. They were removed and she came home and was the same for a few days. Just her pissed off self and growled and no one could touch her. We thought she would be the same. A week later she was GREAT, and within another week or two she became the sweetest, most affectionate kitty ever. Now she meows to be held and pet and sleeps on top of us. She rarely growls or swipes at us (only if you touch her belly for too long). She is great.

Sooo, spaying should definately help but it IS different for every cat. Please don't take her to the shelter. Or else find one that won't kill her. Something may be spooking her. Any little change, something so little you may hardly even notice it, could be stressing her out.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by maddensmom
My brother in law had a female cat that was only five months old (one month short of old enough to be spayed) and when she went into her first heat, she was terrible!!
they can be spayed safely much earlier then that. I do mine at 10 or so weeks or 2 lbs.
post #19 of 21
You should seriously look into setting up a safety zone for the cat - a place where she can get away from the noise and activity of the children your wife is looking after. My kitties get very stressed when the children in the family come for a visit. Naturally, children are curious about them and want to pet them. Unfortunately, they've not dealt with cats much, so they think they're the same as dogs. Angel hides until she's certain they're gone. Fraggle is more tolerant, and we find her curiosity brings her out into the open frequently. However, when one of them pestered her too long, she bit him on the head (he layed his head on her hind quarters after having backed her into a corner).

It's possible that the children are being too rough with her and she sees your son and associates him with them. It could just be a combination of hormones and stress. A lot of cats are skittish and high strung. Having her spayed and giving her a sanctuary away from the children should resolve the issues.
post #20 of 21
Here' a few practical things to do in this situation:

1) spay cat

2) keep away from children and noise

3) use FELIWAY pheremones (they help "calm" cats)

4) DO NOT PLAY WITH CAT USING HANDS EVER - always use
a fishing pole type toy or long string (so cat can't think of
your hand as "prey).

5) schedule short regular play sessions that YOU initiate.
End them while the cat is still happy playing (no ears back etc.)
Give treat - walk away. Soon the cat will know that you
coming to her means "treat" and "play".

6) Make her enviroment more appealing - add a kitty condo
or plain ole cardboard type box with holes cut out - cats love to
hide and investigate things.

7) make her work for food - get a toy (others can suugest
where to purchase I forget right now) hide a few treats/nibbles

Try these suggestions!
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen
I want to tell you that spaying our cat made a world of a difference! Kinks was the moodest cat that would bite and growl and hiss and scratch for no real apparent reason. he left some deep gashes and scars in us, my boyfriend has one up the length of his arm. She had to be netted to be spayed because the vet couldn't handle her (I got to watch). She acted feral and screamed sooo loud. I watched her being spayed and it turned out that she had cysts on her ovaries. They were removed and she came home and was the same for a few days. Just her pissed off self and growled and no one could touch her. We thought she would be the same. A week later she was GREAT, and within another week or two she became the sweetest, most affectionate kitty ever. Now she meows to be held and pet and sleeps on top of us. She rarely growls or swipes at us (only if you touch her belly for too long). She is great.

Sooo, spaying should definately help but it IS different for every cat. Please don't take her to the shelter. Or else find one that won't kill her. Something may be spooking her. Any little change, something so little you may hardly even notice it, could be stressing her out.
We had a cat with cysts at our last feral clinic. She was actually a very nice cat when she was young, but at about a year old became a monster cat. Turns out she had loads of cysts on her ovaries, and the vet said it was as if this cat had been in heat every day of her life. She was several years old when she was finally spayed. Poor little thing! I hope she is doing ok now.

Please get your cat spayed immediately! And yes, any pet should be able to escape the kids from the day care, and spend some time alone.

And remember, cats are not like dogs. A dog who bit the owners face should probably be put down, in my opinion. But to the cat, this was not an attack on the pack leader, it was simply a plea for help from a cat who is terribly overstressed.
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