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Very Aggresive & Mean 5mo. Old Cat

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I adopted my cat Oreo from a no kill shelter last November at the age of 6 weeks, he was very sweet, gentle and loved to play but as the months have passed and he has grown he has become very aggressive and mean to the point of biting, scratching and attacking my boyfriend and I out of nowhere and when we try to discipline (spraying water, time outs or even just going to pick him up to sternely tell him to stop it, he purposely bites at our faces. Both my boyfriend and I love our cat and he can be very sweet sometimes but the majority of the time is spent punishing him for doing these things and its breaking my heart because it isnt doing any good and I hate disciplining him. He just seems to get worse, he is now not only attacking us but the furniture, curtains, anything he can get his paws on or his in his mouth. Its scaring me because Im starting to think something is wrong with him. Please help!
post #2 of 10
I don't know a whole lot about kitties, being a first time pet owner of a 7mo old rescued feral myself, but maybe he's teething? I know when Orion teeths, he gets super bitey, and would chew and rub his teeth on anything that will stand still long enough to let him.

We do allow the hand biting games, and when he teeths, we have to stop playing them so hard, cuz he will just gnaw away like he's sitting down to a roasted chicken!

Maybe someone else has a better idea, but that's all I can think of.

My orion thinks the water bottle is just another toy, so we've had zero luck with that training. Maybe your little guy just needs time.

Good luck, I hope it all works out for you guys.

Spring and Orion
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, he isnt small at all for 5 months old, he is a very big cat for his age and his strength is overwhelming, when he bites he grinds his teeth into the skin and we have to literally pry him off, when he scratches he draws alot of blood, sometimes its like he is intentionally trying to hurt us and I dont know why. We cant even love on him anymore because he starts that behavior almost immediatly. I have had alot of male cats in my life and none of them have ever acted like this one, not even close. He also is doing alot of wierd meowing and whining, I know cats do that when they are playing but he does it out of nowhere. Im starting to think he isnt happy with us and doesnt like us very much.
post #4 of 10
One possibility is that Oreo is being playfully agressive. Maybe you could try playing with him using a wand toy with a feather on the end to help him get rid of his excess energy.

If Oreo isn't already neutered, having this done will help to calm him down. Your vet can also give you some advice about handling Oreo's agressive behavior.

Some of the other members here may have better suggestions for you.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, I will see what I can do, maybe Im just taking it too seriously and thinking the worse too soon. I will call my vet tomorrow and see what she says, its time for him to be neutured as well so maybe this will calm him down some. Thanks both of you for your input and advice, hopefully things will get better.
post #6 of 10
You must understand that "punishing" a cat is largely useless because cats don't understand the concept - cats don't have consciences because in their world there isn't "good" and "bad" and "right" and "wrong". The best way to modify their behavior is to make it less attractive to do what they are doing.

The best way to deal with your specific problem is by simply ignoring him or walking away from him when he starts to exhibit the behavior. When you "pick him sternly to tell him to stop it" he has no clue what you are all about. He sees it only as a cat can see it - as a threat - and it only serves to make him even more aggressive.

As soon as he scratches you, withdraw your hand and ignore him. If he jumps at you, move away. If he jumps on you, gently push him away or down and ignore him.

Conversely, when he's loving and acting acceptably, lavish attention on him. If and when he starts getting scratchy, walk away.

There are no guarantees when it comes to modifying a cat's behavior, but this method is tried and true.

Once he is neutered and as he matures, this behavior should moderate, too.
post #7 of 10

Socialization is the act of teaching a cat how to be a social animal. Cats who are extremely aloof, who don't have any desire for human or feline
contact, or who hiss, scratch or bite anyone who gets near them are considered ill-socialized animals (ferals are classic examples of
ill-socialized cats). Socialization teaches a cat important life lessons in the following ways:

Learning coordination and balance
Learning to fight and attack prey
Learning acceptance of humans and other cats
Learning to be outgoing, calm and comfortable with humans and/or other cats
Learning how to properly interact with humans and other cats
Learning not to bite or scratch their owners
Learning acceptable social skills
Stimulating intellectual growth

A kitten first learns social skills from his/her mother and littermates around the 8th week of life. It is during the 8th through 12th week that
mothers and kittens will start 'playing' and thus learning the social skills they will carry through life. It is at this time that a kitten should stay with his/her mother and litter, and the kittens should have a good deal of human contact as well. Many owners adopt kittens too early (between
the 8th and 10th week) and many of these owners find that their new pet isn't as well socialized or behaved as they would like. They also find that
if they want a well socialized animal they now have the responsibility of teaching the kitten what the mother didn't get a chance to finish. Be
wary of any pet store or breeder that is willing to sell you a kitten before the 12th week. Many kittens at shelters are strays that are found
abandoned by the mother or owner and may be under 12 weeks. Remember these kittens are adoptable and are in great need of your help, but be aware that you may need to do a little extra work with them
by being a surrogate mom for a little while.

As an adult, a cat still needs to play to keep these skills honed and to keep them mentally and physically active. So even if you adopt a well
socialized kitten, if you ignore, pay no attention to, don't play with, or don't spend enough time with your cat he/she may revert to anti-social
behaviors. Also if you adopt an older cat who is a stray, feral, or simply not well socialized you may find that you need to completely socialize
the cat before he/she acts like a 'pet'. Socializing an animal takes time and patience but is extremely rewarding! Cats, especially ferals, who you socialize yourself usually develop an extremely close bond with you.

You can socialize a cat by playing with your cat for at least 2 hours a day and by providing your cat with enough toys and fun items so that
he/she can play alone as well. Your cat needs to play for many reasons so make sure you allow your cat to release his or her aggressive
energies in a good way. You will also want to spend a lot of time with your cat petting, touching, holding and talking to your cat. And always take it slow, only go so far as your cat will let you. Never push the cat or try to do more than your cat will allow. If your cat doesn't want contact you can still sit in the same room and just talk to your cat, this helps your cat get used to your presence and voice as well as helping your cat to learn to trust you. Eventually your cat will learn to trust you and realize that a relationship with a human isn't so bad!

One of the most common problems owners have with ill-socialized cats is that these cats play too rough and don't know any better than to bite
and scratch the owner to get what they want. It isn't that the cat dislikes you so to speak, just that the cat was never taught the rules of playtime or that biting and scratching aren't appropriate actions to take with humans or other cats. In such a case you may need to retrain your cat that biting and scratching isn't part of play time. To do this simply stop playing when the cat scratches or bites. Firmly say 'no', hand your cat a toy mousey, and stop playing. Also make sure that when your cat is playing nice (has the claws in, isn't biting) that you praise your cat A
LOT. Make sure to also provide your cat with enough toys and play things for him/her to take out their aggressions on. And when you see
your cat taking all of his/her aggressions out on that toy mouse... give praise. Eventually your cat will realize that you can play hard with toys
but you can't do that with people.

Good luck
post #8 of 10
Personally, punishing a cat is really a waste of time and they stop looking at you as a friend, and more like a predator. Once he is neutered, it will take him about a month to get rid of all that extra testerone inside, but he should calm down. I have 9 cats at the moment, all were feral and all were biters at one time or another. When the cat starts getting aggressive, have something on hand you can substitute for his aggressions. I use a small beanie baby. If the cat starts biting, the beanie baby is offered instead.

It could be that you are rough playing with your kitten. What I mean is rubbing the tummy vigourously thinking he likes it, or even stroking his back. Each cat is different and each likes one thing over the other, it is your responsibility as a pet owner to find out what you cat likes and stop doing what he does not. For an example, I have one 2 year old long hair that is a love, until you touch his back legs and then he comes unglued and tries to bite you. I have another that is a neck snuggler, but if I accidently clinch him to tight, he rears his head back and bites my chin.

If you interact with this kitten, do so in the form of toys such as a large peacock feather, or take an old fishing pole and tie a toy to the line and let him chase it as you reel it out and in. Give him other distractions such as a good solid cat post to climb, and maybe even down the road, adopt another cat that he can interact with.

The only form of punishment for cats in this household is a can full of ball bearings that I shake at them when they are misbehaving. Picking a cat up and looking him in the face and talking to him sternly is just asking for him to battle with you. Good luck
post #9 of 10
I sure hope everything works out with Oreo, because he is such a cutie!! That picture makes him look like such an angel. Funny how they can be so deceiving.

Spring and Orion
post #10 of 10
It really sounds like your punishments are leading to the aggressive behavior - However, on the off chance it is not, I recommend a book - The Cat who cried for Help by Nicholas Doddman from Tufts University. There is a wonderful chapter on Obsessive/Compulsive Aggression - also information about a type of rage syndrom that can effect cats.

You and your boyfriend are the only ones who know how roughly you played with him as a young kitten - what sort of behavior you thought had to be punished rather than modify the behavior, etc. If you go to positive reinforcement, you may find changes happening in Oreo's all around behavior. Also, as Hissy said, picking up your kitty and looking him in the face and sternly telling him NO is asking for rebellion. When he starts to bite you, immediately turn away from him and walk away.

if you would like to talk to professional cat behaviorists who are available to you at no cost - tap into www.catsinternational.org (or is it.net?) well, it is either one (also listed on my site).

Good luck
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