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Psycho Cat!!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have had Oscar for a year and 3 months, and I adopted him from the NYCACC. He was just a kitten of about 5 weeks. A wee little thing, but over time Oscar has lived up to his name and is notorious for being an absolute grouch!! I do have another cat who is actually the absolute opposite of Oscar, but I think it may be due to the fact that Oscar was too young to be away from his mother, and he was abandoned with his litter mates and left in a box in someones basement.
But from the moment that I had Oscar I did nothing but show him love and affection!!!
Yet he is a very very (for lack of a better word) pissy cat! Some of his aggression I can chalk up to overstimulation from petting, but other times he will go into his spots or areas, and when I try to pet him or show him affection he hisses and swipes at me! So, I can also chalk that up to being territorial. However, he loves to play with a dripped faucet, and when I go to turn it off or move the nozel away, he violently whacks me and hisses. He also does this to people who are merely trying to be nice to him. Although they may be people he doesn't know well, this type of reaction is totally unacceptable. It really scares people. The fact that he continues to even do it to me, someone that he has known the duration of his life is troubling to me.
I can't think of what to do!!! I can certainly begin to watch out for that one tick that happens just prior to an attack, but there isn't just one thing that he attacks to. It can seem totally random, like invading his space, or coming too close to him as friends and family try to be nice to him.
What do I do?!
post #2 of 11
I have read a post(or two) on those Feliway plug ins. I don't know if they will halp Oscar or not(I have never tried them), but they might be worth a try. Otherwise, I don't know what to suggest. I hope soemone else will have a better suggestion than I do!
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Those Feliway plugs...are they sold in pet boutiques, or is there somewhere specific that I would have to go to??

I can't understand why he feels threatened by people, and even ME sometimes!! I've never punished him, hurt him, EVER! I can't imagine how he could have developed into this psychotic cat!
post #4 of 11
Bless your heart! I know how sad this can be -- there are cats at the shelter where I volunteer who behave like this, and even THAT hurts my feelings! If it was one of my own kitties, I don't know what I'd do.

Are you sure that Oscar doesn't have some kind of chronic pain? That could account for his touchiness.

The other thing I was going to suggest was that he feels a need to dominate someone, and he's chosen you -- but since you have another cat in the house, he would probably be satisfied to be dominant over that kitty.

There's no ongoing stimulus that could be upsetting him, is there? A small rambunctious child, a noisy construction site next door, Metallica on the stereo?

I don't know... but from what I've heard, the "Comfort Zone" diffuser is a miracleworker for many cats. It would certainly be worth a try! And maybe some very soft classical music, chamber music perhaps, steady and sedate... to soothe the savage beast! :-)
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Normally there isn't anything around to aggitate Oscar. And most of the time he is quite calm, though ALWAYS skittish. He is not a trusting cat at all. I could be petting him, and he be purring and loving it, but if say I move and accidently push something like a pillow or whatever, his eyes get wide and his ears fly back! He is always on guard. It's difficult because my other cat is just as sweet as pie! So loving and so trusting and never skittish. They are truly polar opposites of one another. They do get along well, despite the one being about 7 months younger. They sleep together, play together, clean one another. So one would think with alot of positive reinforcement, and love and affection that Oscar would gradually come to trust his surroundings. Not at all!!! It's heartbreaking when he lashes out at me, because I can only wonder what I've done, or what was done to him in the past (as a kitten younger than 5 weeks) that was so traumatizing!!! I thought that I had him during his stage of socialization...and he was never a mean cat as a kitten...it just seemed to develop with age. It is the most peculiar thing! I love him with all of my heart, and only want to find a way to make him trust and love!!
post #6 of 11
Not sure if anyone replied to your question about Feliway ... I live in Ontario, and we were able to purchase our Feliway diffuser through the vet's office, although we have to order in replacement oils because the office doesn't sell enough of them to keep a large amount in stock. I found it to be a bit pricy ($85 Canadian), but I believe it has helped with our cat Spike's behavioural problems. He seems a bit calmer since we've started using Feliway.
post #7 of 11
I know how you feel. Seth-chan is a lot like that.

If I'm on the floor with her, lying down--she will usually rub on me and be sweet. But if I'm standing or walking towards her (or even moving my hand towards her face to pet her, she becomes very afraid and will usually take off. I don't know if she's been abused or handled badly in the past, but I try to do my best to let her know she can trust me.

She was biting and clawing at us when we first got her, but after over a month of training she rarely does it anymore. Just be patient with your kitty and I hope you will find something that works!
post #8 of 11
Feliway does work well (I've used it for feral kitties). It is a bit pricey, but it may be worth a try. The only problem is that the diffusers only work in the room they are in, so you would need a diffuser for each room.

I have recently started using "Good Cat". It operates on the same principle as Feliway (phermones), but you put a teaspoon of it in their water twice a day. It has helped the feral mama kitty I've been fostering. It's not miraculous, but she is calmer now. I was told that Feliway makes a similar liquid, but the Petco I was at did not have any in stock. "Good Cat" comes in an 8oz bottle, and I believe it was around $8 - $9.

Anyway, good luck with poor Oscar!
post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by clixpix
I have recently started using "Good Cat". It operates on the same principle as Feliway (phermones), but you put a teaspoon of it in their water twice a day.
The vet can give you kitty tranquilizers, too, which, if used for a little while, may help Oscar to calm down a bit. Is it possible that Oscar has some sensitive spot that when pet irritates him? I know a lot of spayed females develop a nerve sensitivity at the base of ther spine (the nerve is some how easy to nip because it is close to their reproductive organs), with the result that they will turn around and swat you or hiss and growl if you accidentally touch it.

But it also sounds like Oscar has trust issues, probably from feeling threatened or being abused as a kitten. My exeprience with hostile or aggressive cats is that if you immediately cease all contact whenever they flare up, and you are always careful not to hold them against their wishes or to pick them up if they resist, is that they will eventually learn to control their aggression. I would also advise trying to play with him, as cats that have not been properly socialized have a hard time distinguishing play from aggression. Leave the playing to his cat mate, and instaed, make all of your interactions nurturing and affectionate. Patience and respect are the key because it takes cats a long time to learn to trust. See also, my post on aggression in cats here: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=71478

Good luck!
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
It is very possible he has a sensitive spot, but I havent noticed one. He is usually open to petting in any particular spot. I think some of his swats are due to over stimulation so I will definitely try to limit the amount of time I pet him. But I think his main issue is trust. Unfortunately it sounds like what I have been doing to try and battle his lack of trust in people is the opposite that is advised. It is better to just walk away then and ignore him after he swats or hisses? Whenever he has done that to me (which I feel very hurt because I have never done anything but loved him) I swoop him up in my arms, and lay him gentlely on the floor, or surface and I begin to pet him and speak to him softly so that he sees that I wont do anything bad to him, and that I meant no harm. I thought that this might help him understand that whatever he found threatening was not intended to be that way. Hopefully what I've been doing hasn't been contributing to his actions. And it isn't me that he swats to much. It tends to be friends or family members. They can even just come a little too close to him or make an attempt to pet him and something will spark and he'll hiss and swat. I've even asked them to just let him smell their hand before petting him, and it's like he takes a sniff, they move to pet him and he freaks out! It's so sad to hear people say that he's a mean and awful cat, because I know he's not like that, and he's not like that all of the time. I will give the feliway or good cat a try. BUt if anyone has any trust building tips, please share.
post #11 of 11
IMHO letting him be when he swats or hisses is the best way to go. I interpret hissing and growling as a cat sayng it wants to be left alone (i.e., it feels threatened or cornered or simply annoyed). I think that one of the biggest issues a cat has with people is control, since people can so easily overpower them. So even well-meaning pickups could be interpreted as domination. I've lived with more than 25 cats in my life, and one of the hardest lessons I learned was that my impulse to hold an upset cat to calm it down by showing it that I meant it no harm (or, when I was a child, the thinking was, "just stay here for a minute and you'll see that you like it"), actually backfires because the cat feels like a prisoner. An extreme example was my mother-in-law, who had an overweight persian. She would constantly pick the cat up and hold it, even though the cat would hiss, growl, and struggle to get down. She loved the cat and just wanted to show it that love. But, instead, she was completely disregarding the cats wishes. The result was that the cat hissed and growled at everyone. But . . . we would babysit the cat everytime they went on vacation, and invariably, after a couple of days of not picking her up, and of leaving her absolutely alone whenever she hissed or growl, she would come and jump up on the couch and sit next to us, and purr as we pet her, having been assured that we would let her be if that is what she wanted. Of course, it can take much longer for cats to gain trust. My Reno refused to stay in my lap for a year. I would pick him up and put him in my lap, and he would immediately jump down and walk away. I was so sad, because I had recently lost a super lap cat. But after a year, he started to stay, and from then, on, he is constantly with me (in my lap, sleeping next to me on the bed, etc.). Looking back, I think that everytime he jumped down, is was to prove to himself that he could. My female Sam likes to be picked up, but when I first got her, she would move to get down after about 30-seconds. I always put her down right away. Now, she's happy to walk around the house on my shoulder. Again, I think it is because she assured herself that I would let her down whenever she wanted.

p.s. In my first post, I meant to say that I advise against playing with him, at least until he learns trust more or control his aggression.
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