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Help - my cat attacked me today!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hello -
I'm pretty shaken up and hoping someone has some good advice for this . . . A little history: we have a 6 yr old cat (Festus) who has displayed aggression toward other people ever since my daughter was born ~2 1/2 yrs ago. About a year ago, he attacked my mother-in-law while she was pretend-chasing my daughter around. He's never been aggressive with me, my husband or daughter, however. The past week, I've noticed Festus acting very strange (he follows me everywhere in a "stalking" way, is constantly meowing at me/rubbing up against me/wanting attention, and is extremely jumpy/hissy.

Earlier tonight, as I was giving my daughter a bath, I walked out of the bathroom and Festus just attacked and wouldn't stop coming at me (yowling, hissing the whole time). I ended up back in the bathroom where we stayed until my husband came home and put him in the basement.

I talked to our vet, and he said Festus most likely is reacting to something in his environment or outside (like feral cats), and that he'll be much better after a night to himself. I'm really concerned, though, b/c this isn't the first time he's been aggressive - it's just the first time he's done it within the family.

I love this cat so much, but I'm suddenly terrified of him. What should I do?

Any advice would be SOOOOO appreciated.

Thank you,
Noelle
post #2 of 14
Wow. I can't imagine how much this must've shaken you up! I'm sure others will have some better advice than me, but just going on what I know:

Make sure that your vet actually takes a look at Festus. I would worry that maybe he's sick and reacting to feeling ill.

Is he neutered? If not, that might help curb the agression.

I would suggest when you take him to the vet for a checkup, to ask if he can clip your cat's claws. I wouldn't recommend this if he is an outside cat, though. Or if he has to defend himself from a family dog or another pet. But if he's just an indoors cat, it could really help protect your family from getting scratched while he's dealing with whatever is upsetting him. We regularily clip our cat's claws, but she's used to it, and doesn't put up a fight!

I really hope others have advice too, and you can figure this out and not have to send Festus away.
post #3 of 14
Welcome to TCS, Noelle! What a FRIGHTENING experience. I hope that your daughter isn't too upset by all this. It could be that Festus either isn't feeling well or is showing misplaced aggression (lashing out at you because another cat is in your yard & he can smell/hear the intruder). You should definitely check out the behavior section (next to the forums) here and try to get a copy of "Cat Confidential" for excellent advice from a wonderful cat behaviorist. I once adopted a cat from the shelter who did that, right after I adopted her - (she had been surrendered for suddenly turning viscious on her original owner) it turned out that her stitches from being spayed had gotten infected and had never been removed. My vet had to sedate her & remove them, & treat her with antibiotics & Betadine washes. She recovered and while she was rather opinionated, she never attacked again. I hope that you find some answers very soon. Hopefully, Hissy will read this & offer some suggestions - she's got the most wonderful insight into cats!! Till then, hugs - I understand what a distressing situation this is. And Festus - calm down! What a naughty way to treat meowmmy.
post #4 of 14
Welcome to TCS! I have a cat named Festus, too, but she is a girl! She got named before we knew her gender, and since she was a foster kitten who I didn't intend to keep, I figured her new owners would give her a more feminine name. By the time we decided to keep her, it was too late to change her name! How did your guy end up being named Festus? After the Gunsmoke character? (Ours is!)

Sounds like your Festus was very bad today. Just remember that cats are totally different than dogs. While a dog attacking its owner is generally a reason to euthanize or get rid of the animal, the same is not true for cats. Dogs are pack animals, and any attack against the leader (human) is a grave breach. Cats are independent, and while a full attack is awful, it is not necessarily a reason to give up on the animal.

First, I think the kitty needs to be seen by the vet. Sure, an animal outside can upset the kitty, it shouldn't cause him to attack you. I am assuming he is neutered. If not, that is contributing to the problem.

It sounds like he is extra protective of his "kitten", your daughter. Maybe he thinks you are hurting her in the tub? Somehow he needs to understand that he doesn't need to protect her from you.

I don't think punishment works very well for cats. Your husband removing him to the basement was perfect...a time out for Festus to settle down.

After he sees the vet, to rule out any pain or illness issues, I would crate him. I know most people don't believe in crating cats, but I think you and Festus need a time to cool off, and for him to remember that you are his family. And you need to begin to trust him again.

Please post more info. Like is he inside only? Who feeds him? Where does he sleep? And be sure to read the link at the top of this forum found here: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20837
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi again and thanks for the quick responses -
Yes, I think a visit to the vet is definitely in order. I just wish I could read Festus' mind and find out what's going on in that cat brain! To provide a little more info . . . yes, Festus is neutered and is an indoor cat. He has a cat brother named Spot, and they generally get along well (although Festus turned on Spot during the attack tonight, and Spot is usually the one who starts any brotherly spats). I should also mention that Festus is just a generally sensitive cat w/ strange behaviors - my husband and I joke that he has OCD, because he really does seem to at times (repetitve movements, little "rituals" during the day). That kind of behavior has definitely increased lately.

The vet mentioned the possibility of medication and - while I hate to do it - I definitely don't want to give up Festus or live in fear of him.

Oh, and he came with the name Festus (shelter kitty), but I love hearing about another kitty with the same name!

Thank you again,
Noelle
post #6 of 14
Hi and welcome to TCS!

My initial thought is that Festus has received a fright and this has turned into an association within the family. If a cat receives a fright when they are full of adrenalin, they form associations - hence Festus involved Spot into the equation.

It is possible to curb this association through praise and attention, but it may take quite some time!

I hope things return to normal very soon for you all!
post #7 of 14
I sure don't have advice, but I am thinking of you. Please let us know what happens. **hugs** to you and to Festus!
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Not sure if I spelled that right, but I'm going to pick up a couple of those plug-in diffusers today. There was mention of Festus associating something that scared him w/ the family (Sar) . . . I used our shredder for the first time several days ago, and he was clearly freaked out by it (only used it for a few minutes then stopped when I saw how it was scaring him). Maybe he's still associating this with me?

I'll keep you guys posted!

Thanks and take care,
Noelle
post #9 of 14
Just wanted to write because recently my cat has been diagnosed with Feline Hyperesthasia Syndrome and although my cat has not attacked, my vet told there is a possibility that she could attack or become agreesive because of this behavior. If your cat is acting strangely take him to the vet.

My cat began acting strange by her back almost rolling and then she should hop around on the floor and eat things off the floor that were not there.

I'm not saying your cat has FHS, however there most likely is a reason that your cat is showing aggression - he is trying to tell you something. You should tell your vet about any weird behavior he has. Cats can have OCD.

Hope this helps!
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by njaroch
Not sure if I spelled that right, but I'm going to pick up a couple of those plug-in diffusers today. There was mention of Festus associating something that scared him w/ the family (Sar) . . . I used our shredder for the first time several days ago, and he was clearly freaked out by it (only used it for a few minutes then stopped when I saw how it was scaring him). Maybe he's still associating this with me?

I'll keep you guys posted!

Thanks and take care,
Noelle
That would certainly be a good explanation for this change of behaviour and his association with you!

I would avoid using the shredder for the near future and keep it out of Festus' sight, so that he can begin to feel that it is no longer a threat or attachment to you! Give him extra scritches and treats when he is behaving well and praise him for doing so.

The addition of the shredder and it's noise may also have caused upset, as cats do like to maintain routine and normality!

Feliway is definitely worth a try too! You might also wish to try some Bach Flower Remedies in his water to see if you can relive some of the stress that he's experiencing right now!

Do let us know how things are going and I hope that things can be resolved soon!
post #11 of 14
Hello

I have the same problem with one of my cats Charlie, hes 11 years old indoor cat neutered...tho he never has attacked me..he has attacked my mother and father...i have taken him to the vet she did give me Feliway... which worked for awhile but it has started again...he attacked my mom today rather viciously, so my parents have had enough and now want me to put him down ...i don't know what else to do for him, i have two other cats and i'm afraid he turns on them too.

I hope you have goodluck with your little guy...:bighugs: to both of you.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
. . . my thoughts are with you and Charlie - I'm sorry you're faced with such a painful decision. Has your vet ever tried kitty Prozac (or the like)? My vet mentioned that possibility for Festus on the phone yesterday, and we're definitely considering it. Like you, I worry not only about myself & my family, but my other cat as well.

We're taking Festus to the vet tomorrow, and I'm hoping to find some answers re: his behavior. The thought of not having him in our home just kills me.

I'll post tomorrow after the appt.!
Thanks once again for all the help/advice/comfort,
Noelle
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunny24
Hello

I have the same problem with one of my cats Charlie, hes 11 years old indoor cat neutered...tho he never has attacked me..he has attacked my mother and father...i have taken him to the vet she did give me Feliway... which worked for awhile but it has started again...he attacked my mom today rather viciously, so my parents have had enough and now want me to put him down ...i don't know what else to do for him, i have two other cats and i'm afraid he turns on them too.

I hope you have goodluck with your little guy...:bighugs: to both of you.
As I mentioned in a previous post, your cat may have an association with a fright!

Please don't even consider putting him down as it's a behavioral problem and could possibly be solved by rehoming him and removing him from the situation that he associates with the adrenalin and threat!

Many cats in a similar situation have excelled from being rehomed when they are faced with such a behavioral issue!!
post #14 of 14
Thank you to the people who responded...i just wanted to update everyone that my vet and my family decided it was best for everyone including Charlie to be put down which i had to agree to its not the first time he has attacked my mom..and the vet said theres not much else they can do for him and i don't want to see my poor cat on drugs...he had a great 11 years with me and tho i will miss him...i believe hes happier now..

RIP Charlie i love you always...
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