TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Cat is crazy -- Not in a good way
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Cat is crazy -- Not in a good way

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
'm at the end of the line with one of my cats, Ivan.

He is about three years old (strictly indoors/Nutered) and either he is crazy or just slowly going feral. I got him as a kitten at about 8 weeks old from the animal shelter, and while he has never been loving at the least he was a good animal.

In the last year, though, he's been going downhill. It started with obsessivly scratching at things. He will sit there and just scratch and scratch at a peice of paper left on the floor for hours.

He started to startle unexpectally and freak out randomly when you picked him up. One such time left a six inch long scar on my arm. He'll be fine one second and the next something will scare him (what this something is, I'll never know) and he'll be fighting and biting to get away.

He was always really rambuncious, so my boyfriend and I got a second cat, Vlad for him to play with. Vlad turned out to be everything that Ivan wasn't, playful, gentle and just a really sociable guy.

Ivan started to get worse and eventually he would stop eating. My boyfriend and I didn't figure it out for a bit because we volentary feed, but we realized that as much food as we put in the bowl Vlad kept getting fatter and Ivan skinner.

A trip to the vet diagnosed worms for both of them, but dewarming didn't help Ivan. (And to be honest, now Vlad is obease) Thinking that maybe Vlad was somehow chasing Ivan from the food we would lock Ivan in the bathroom with food to himself. He'd cry and meow at the door, not paying any attention to the food.

Finally my boyfriend got fed up, and grabbed Ivan and shoved his nose in some wet food that we got him. Ivan licked his nose and we had sucess! He started eating again. But now it's created a whole new ruitual my boyfriend and I have to go though. We have to feed Ivan wet catfood, and the damn cat will not eat until his nose is shoved in it. Ivan has increasingly become anti-social and will spit and hiss every time we try to pick him up. So it's a big deal trying to get him to eat. First we have to chase him around the house, then we have to avoid the claws, then we have to carry him to the dish (still trying to avoid those claws) and get him to look at the food bowl.

I haven't tried to pick Ivan up for weeks now other than feedings do to his hissing and spitting. He compleatly freaks out when anything at all is changed in the house and actually snarled and hissed at me when I came home wearing new shoes.

He has a bad habit of attacking the two of us out of nowhere. We used to have the couch away from the wall and he would come up behind us, claw at the back of our necks and run off. When that mysteriuous _something_ startles him, he runs across the house at top speed, tail poofed and not caring who he runs over. My foot has been horribly slashed three times beacuse he has had his claws out when he ran, my boyfriend has been slashed twice.

We have to lock him in another room when guests come over because NO ONE but myself and my boyfriend can really tell the difference between Vald and Ivan. Someone will reach down to pet "Vlad" and recive a bite or a slash from Ivan.

Yeah, did I mention that he bites? Hard. Sometimes when he's not running from the things only he can see, he'll come up to you and just bite you. Or if you reach down and pet him, he'll swing around and bite you.

He goes thorugh days where he dissappers under the couch and we never see him (and we have to drag him out to get him to eat) and somedays he'll be roaming around the house looking for that special peice of paper he can scratch for hours. He ignores all the toys we give him (and the scratching posts, he perfers the walls instead), he likes the tops of water bottles, though for some reason.

I am personally at my wits end with this cat. I could take the twice a day feeding disaster, but the main thing is I just do not trust this cat any longer. He is mean, and he scratches and bites for no reason. It's like we have a crazy creature inside our house that brings us no joy, but just a lot of physical pain and honest fear. I've been trying to figure out what to do with him... My boyfriend threw him outside the last time he got scratched badly (another mistaken idenity, Ivan for Vlad problem), but he sat outside and cried until he let him in.

I don't want to bring him to a shelter because he's still so skinny it'll look like I've been starving the cat! (If only they could see Vlad). Plus there is no way he would pass a behavior test, and he would be put down.

What do I do? Take him to the vet and leave him there? Heh. Oh yeah, I forgot getting him in that cat carrier was pure hell. I have to wear leather gloves just to get him into the carrier to spare my hands. He is compleatly out of control. What if we decide to have kids in the future? This cat cannot be trusted whatsoever.
post #2 of 25
What about contacting a behaviorist?? A behaviorist could come to your home and determine based on asking several questions about the changes in your lifestyle plus what has happened with Ivan, some recommendations that would help. I know a woman who swears it changed her cat completely.

Katie
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1
What about contacting a behaviorist?? A behaviorist could come to your home and determine based on asking several questions about the changes in your lifestyle plus what has happened with Ivan, some recommendations that would help. I know a woman who swears it changed her cat completely.

Katie

How much does one of them cost? Like, an accredited one. I'm not going to bring over a 'cat whisperer' to my home.
post #4 of 25
Maybe something happened to him while you where not around. hmm puzzle to me also. Sorry I can not help you. Keep us posted.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhSoKorny
How much does one of them cost? Like, an accredited one. I'm not going to bring over a 'cat whisperer' to my home.
It will differ depending on where you live. What I don't understand is why you are so angry with him?? He's not a person that can exactly "tell" you what is going on..so he's looking to you to assist him. Certainly biting is not a good reaction...but is he biting out of fear versus biting out of anger? How is he with the other cat? Do they get along?

From what you have described...he sounds like he is reacting to a change...don't know if it is simply a change in the environment, componded by an additional cat...or whether there is something medical (other than worms). My cat can be the best cat ever but sometimes he runs around like a banshee and cries at the top of his lungs...there is no reason that I can tell for this..except that maybe he is sensing or hearing something I can't and is reacting to it.

One product I've heard great things about is Feliway:

http://www.catfaeries.com/feliway.html

* calming multi cat households
* ending or lessening fighting
* reducing cat's anxiety, stress, anger, fear

It's less then $20 for a bottle of Feliway spray and it may help to sooth the environment.

Katie
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1
It will differ depending on where you live. What I don't understand is why you are so angry with him?? He's not a person that can exactly "tell" you what is going on..so he's looking to you to assist him. Certainly biting is not a good reaction...but is he biting out of fear versus biting out of anger? How is he with the other cat? Do they get along?

From what you have described...he sounds like he is reacting to a change...don't know if it is simply a change in the environment, componded by an additional cat...or whether there is something medical (other than worms). My cat can be the best cat ever but sometimes he runs around like a banshee and cries at the top of his lungs...there is no reason that I can tell for this..except that maybe he is sensing or hearing something I can't and is reacting to it.

Katie

I'm not angry, but I am worried because neither myself or my boyfriend feel safe around this cat anylonger.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhSoKorny
I'm not angry, but I am worried because neither myself or my boyfriend feel safe around this cat anylonger.
That is probably the root of the issue...I suspect Ivan senses you both feel this way about him. That is why I wanted you to explore bringing in a behaviorist....see, we can suggest things online based on what you have described...but it's going to be a "trial and error" based approach. Whereas...a behaviorist comes to your home, meets you and your boyfriend, meets both cats (and in particuliar Ivan) and then can see if anything can be done that would help to restore your faith in this cat. I can sense you care about Ivan...but that you are at your wits end...which I don't blame you for in the least bit. Being bit for no reason is incredibly frustrating when you have a cat that shows none of these signs. But the sudden downhill in Ivan's behavior really has me curious as to what might have have started this.

Another thing that I just thought of is that you could also post here:

http://65.205.160.196/idealbb/default.asp?sessionID={AC25EC50-C868-4C7E-8C96-7F8522F8674C}

(copy and paste link in a seperate browser)

And post under Health and Behavior:

Forum veterinarian Dr. Margaret Muns, Terilynn RVT, and Mary, experienced dog trainer, can answer questions on most any subject. (Health and behavior issues cannot be diagnosed and treated online. Answers to your questions are simply informational not a substitute for professional help. Emergencies should ALWAYS be referred to your local veterinarian or behavior expert.)

To see if they also have ideas since this forum is moderated by a vet.

Katie
post #8 of 25
I'm wondering if when he was a kitten, you played roughly with him. Many times when their kittens it's cute to wrastle with them with your hands, but then they grow up and don't understand it's not okay anymore.

Or perhaps there has been some tension in the house that's set him off? Either at him or otherwise? Or maybe he's been punished for things in ways that might not be the best?

To things I would suggest:

One would be to do a search on the internet for articles on cat body language. Many times you might be able to tell when he's beginning to get angry (twitching the end of his tail back and forth is one sign) or upset, and know when it 's a good time to back off. If you don't know his signals, you'll get hurt a lot more.

The second would be to possibly approach him as if you would day one as a feral cat, and try to slowly, step by step, gain his trust again.

Maybe there is something about where his food is that's bothering him, or not letting him smell it? Is Ivan eating out of his bowl?

Perhaps there is a place where you live where he could have his own little "corner", or under something, where he feels safe. Put his food bowl there near him, and leave him eat, without forcing him. Put a litterbox just for him not too far away. If he's left to his own and given a chance to calm down and feel safe and secure again, maybe that will help.

Then little by little, see if he'll come back around to be his old self.
post #9 of 25
It sounds like life isn't so good right now. We had an older dog who quit eating...After trying several different foods, we finally found one he would eat, if we stood next to him.

I think by this time, Ivan associates his food and bowl with unpleasantness. Can you try feeding him different foods, in different ways? For example, baby food chicken or turkey (no garlic or onions), on a paper plate, in the bedroom. Or Kentucky Fried Chicken, in little pieces, laid on a towel in another room. Somehow, if you can get out of the food battle with him, I think that will help. Or at least, instead of sticking his nose in the bowl, try wiping it ontop of his paws!

I would also try confining him to one area, like a bedroom, so you can incorporate training for him. If he mostly bites and scratches when you are picking him up or petting him, I think he is just trying to protect himself from being picked up. By confining him, you won't have to pick him up to show him the food/treats. To get him into a room, rather than chasing him, use a large towel or blanket to "shoo" him where you want him to go.

It also sounds like he has a definite anxiety disorder. Can't the vet give him something for anxiety? Maybe even a pill mixed into his food, so he is calm enough for a vet visit.

Don't give up on your boy yet. A cat behaviorist would be the best bet. But if you can somehow stop presenting yourself as the enemy by chasing and grabbing him, he may stop his behaviors, too.
post #10 of 25
To me it sounds like your kitty may have schizophrenia or dementia. I think anti-anxiety meds will help. Maybe you can have a kitty brainscan done to see if things are deteriorating up there?

What a frustrating situation...
post #11 of 25
I think the first thing you need to do is take him back to the vet and get him thoroughly checked out to make sure there isn't a physical cause for his behaviour. If he gets a clean bill of health from the vet ask to be referred to a behaviour therapist (not sure how it works where you are - here in the UK my vet would refer me to a behaviourist in the same way as any specialist and my insurance would cover it) or recommend someone. Like the others have said - such a person can come to your home to see the problem and help come up with solutions. It sounds like poor Ivan is picking up on the tension in the home and your reaction to him is just making things worse (although understandable).
post #12 of 25
If he was 'only' rambunctious til Vlad came along, he may have had an extreme jealousy reaction and thought you no longer loved him, plus Vlad was taking over his territory (as he saw it). And how would you react, twice a day, to be chased all over, then having your face shoved in your food? And you wonder what's wrong with him? He should have gone to the vet in the beginning to find out why he wasn't eating, but now you've created a situation where he probably hates you, and of course now he's no longer cuddly and sweet (but defensive with good reason), so you want to get rid of him - how horrible!
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke
How would you react, twice a day, to be chased all over, then having your face shoved in your food? And you wonder what's wrong with him? He should have gone to the vet in the beginning to find out why he wasn't eating, but now you've created a situation where he probably hates you, and of course now he's no longer cuddly and sweet (but defensive with good reason), so you want to get rid of him - how horrible!
Way to be constructive and help out the situation.
post #14 of 25
I think the main problem is that in your frustration you react in anger, even if you're not angry with him overall. Grabbing a cat out of frustration and shoving their nose into food is going to scare the heck out of them even if instinctive hunger did take over. The chasing ,the throwing him around when he doesn't expect it or understand it is just going to make him crazier.

You may not have been doing it on purpose, and I understand you may be reacting in simple frustration, but the way you are reacting is causing the problem to worsen.

I didn't mention this in my original post, but somene else here did, and I think it may be a way to go, whether you decide to try a behaviorist or not.

I would take him to the vet not only to make sure there is not anything physically wrong with him, but would also discuss with the vet some anti-anxiety medication. If it calms him down, that in turn will calm you down, and with some effort to be a bit more calm around and with him, it might do wonders. They don't have to be on it forever, but it can help in some behavior problems.

The very first cat I ever had was a gorgeous calico named Kitty Krumpets, a stray I had been feeding and who was pretty affectionate when I lived at home, who I took in when I got my first apartment when I was 17 years old (which was a LONG time, and many, many cats, ago). I didn't know anything about cats, I was young, scared to be on my own, and to be honest, I pretty much did what you are doing. And if she wasn't affectionate enough I'd try to hold her and make her be affectionate.

If she hid, I'd pull her out to make her realize it was safe and hold her while she meowed and tried to get away.

One day I walked towards her and she cowered and looked at me with such fear that I will never forget that look and how it made me feel for the rest of my life. As the reality of how I was treating her hit me like a brick between the eyes, she ran under the sofa.

I must have cried for hours, but I made a vow to myself that I would stop right there and then, and never treat her, or any other animal, like that again. I have kept that vow, and have been rewarded with nothing but wonderful, loving, trusting relationships with all my pets since that day. Not only that, these days people tell me they are impressed with the way I seem to have with animals, since they seem to trust me and respond to me right off.

As far as Kitty Krumpets, I simply left her alone. Most of the time she just hid. I fed her, I changed her litter, I'd talk to her wherever she was. If she would be in a mood to walk by me or be near me for any reason, I would gently pet her and talk softly to her, but pretty much let her take the lead in any interaction. There were times I wanted so much to hold her, or play or just love her, but I knew I had to give her the space. Little by little, her trust began to return.

The other moment with her I will never forget was about a year later. I had gone to bed and was lying on my back, when she suddenly jumped up on the bed, came up to me, snuggled in my arm, and went to sleep. From that moment on, I had all the affection, love, trust and interaction I had always wanted from her, without even having to ask.

Although i still feel pangs of guilt about that, I learned a lot from it also, and am grateful I had the chance to make it up to her, and earn her love back.

Try to see things from his perspective. When your boyfriend threw him out, or shoved his nose in his food in frustration, that is exactly the same behavior he exhibits when he bites or scratches. Both sides are escalating the fear and lack of trust.

And we, as thinking beings, need to be the ones to stop and make the changes.

I rarely tell this to anyone, and now it's public. But maybe this might help. And seriously, the anit-anxiety meds would probably help a lot to in starting off on a new foot.
post #15 of 25
I agree that you seem to have made the situation and the cat's behavior worse by chasing it, forcing it into food, throwing it, etc. Now cat and humans have each been set up as the other's enemy... it's become like a war.

But the initial behavior, the sudden onset of obsessive scratching behavior, sounds to me like it could be a neurological problem resulting from a head injury or some disease. The cat may be disoriented, altered or in some kind of persistent pain, which could lead to strange behavior, refusal to eat, and biting and scratching. A visit to the vet should probably be the first step.
post #16 of 25
I have a (admittedly neurotic!) cat that scratches paper on the floor a lot - but nothing terrible has come of it, and maybe he just doesn't like it's smell - he's got a right, and for us, who can't smell it, to think he's crazy and punish him, when it's not doing any real harm, is mean. Consider alternatives - think like a cat, and decide if there may be a good reason (to him) for what he's doing.
post #17 of 25
But what this poster is describing is extreme. I doubt that a normal/healthy cat would sit in a single spot scratching a piece of paper for hours at a time. That's an obsessive pattern.
post #18 of 25
I might question that 'for hours' is necessarily for hours, or maybe just a time long enough to annoy her. Nevermind.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoisonedPenny
Way to be constructive and help out the situation.
Actually the post is constructive to a point. When cats act off as this one is, there is usually a reason for it, either health or behavior. To have to push a cat forcefully into his food before he will eat will only cause the cat to act aggressively. I would suspect a few issues that the food isn't pleasing the cat, or he can't really smell it. I would definitely stop pushing his face in his food and get him to the vet. Have a full work-up done on him and IF he checks out healthy then contact a behaviorist. The good ones are expensive and they are not "cat whisperers" They are good people who understand cats and their behavior and help the owner understand the reasons behind this cat's anxiety. This cat sounds highly anxious to me and bored as well.
post #20 of 25
Patients is always the key never aggression. The poor cat is probably scared.
post #21 of 25
Ok first I want to say I agree with most of what has been said. The cat has been behaving wrong and there for the owners are reacting in the only way they know how.

The cat has something going on that it does not like, either the new cat, or something else. we need to find out what that "something else" is. the second thing is the cat is action out of anger and being scared of the owners.

The cat does not eat so the boy-friend gets mad and pushes his head in the food bowel. ==== got the cat to eat but now is scared if he doesn't it will happen again.

this builds up the fear the cat has, causing him to bit and claw. claw your boyfriend and then he gets put/thrown (please tell me he did not physically throw him) out side. ==== negative behavior on both parts.

I am no expert with this but I think the problem may be with the cat and the boyfriend. it sounds like the boy friend is doing a lot of the physical hands on stuff with the cat causing him not to trust the boyfriend.

I would get the vet check up, change the food, move the food to the cats fav. place. and just leave the cat alone.

the cat will eat when he gets hungry enough, also he will come out when he is ready.

try to move and change the food. leave him alone. let him settle in and when he is ready to have contact with you he will.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Actually the post is constructive to a point.
I believe the poster has done what she considers right. Her ideas for helping her animal were quite simple:

Not social - So keep out of social situations.
Won't eat - Bring food closer. Give exclusive use of.
Hurts her other family members - Keep away from them.

Yes, I think by now she understands at this point that these were not the best solutions, but it's easy to understand why she made them. (As several other posters pointed out.)

At this time what this person needs to hear is what methods can possibly help her, not exclusively criticism.

If you're on a trip and you see a sign saying Texas 2 miles, when you were trying to get to Virginia, and you ask your navigator what's up would it be more appropriate for them to respond:
A) Well, you took a wrong turn in Oregon. Then you nearly hit a truck in Michigan, and got bumped onto a bypass that sent you south. And by the way have been driving the wrong way for 2 days straight. I can't believe you got all the way to Texas!!!
B) Well, you made a few mistakes driving, but if you get on this highway and make sure you turn left at this bypass, and we really crunch some time, we can make it there alright. And by the way, I'll be here in case you need help.
post #23 of 25
It does sound like there is something wrong, possibly neurologicly(sp?) with your cat, if he started out not very social and is progressively getting worse. And having a best friend who has gone through a very similar situation with her male cat, I can understand TOTALLY your frustration and need to do whatever works TODAY, and NO ONE is a perfect parent to anybody or any pet, so just take the advice that seems helpful, and disregard the rest .

I would talk to my vet about the anti-anxiety drugs-they worked for a short time with my friend's cat, but she did have to finally have him put down for safety reasons, and the fact that EVERYONE was miserable, including the cat. His behavior fit so many catagories of behavioral problems, and that made a diagnosis of something "behaviorally" fixable impossible. Nothing worked. Her vet was afraid that if her other cat (who is older) died, he might start taking his aggression out on them or the kids (one of his "problems" was peeing in the kids' beds at every open door opportunity and she was afraid it would escalate to attacks, as he had threatened to attack my friend before and she had taken the aggressive position and he backed down).
And I have to admit, she felt terrible, but also relieved. It was a horrible ordeal, day in and day out.

The anti-anxiety meds DID work for her other cat (who had quit using the litter box-stress related from male cat).

Not every cat is going to make a good pet, for numerous reasons, and not every cat can be helped, either. So I would talk to my vet about the meds to get the situation under control immediately (like, days to weeks ) and then consult a behaviourist if you can. Then, if he doesn't improve, then you have done all you can, and I firmly believe you aren't required to live with a mentally "ill" (whatever is causing it) cat and be miserable (and injured) for years on end.

And in the meantime, enjoy the other cat you have .
post #24 of 25
I did not mean to say you did wrong ... shame on you. you did what you thought was right when it happend and I WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING. like the post above

no social=keep out of social situations
won't eat=bring food closer
hurts you=dont give a chance to hurt you.

NOW TO FIX THINGS: get a clean bill of health.
- keep away from other cat (let this one calm down)
- give him his own space. a spare bedroom. some place where he would be by him self and can feel safe. (go in to water and feed him and change litter and then leave, after about a week or 2 see how he would do if you stayed in there with him... slowly build up the time you spend with him until he is coming to you to be pet.)
- bring back in the other cat
- try to change his food until you find one he will eat on his own
- give him some toys that he can bite instead of you. (if he bites you pull him off and give him a soft toy or a teething ring to bite... just like when you train for a post)

i am new here so if some one else has any other ideas i am sure they are welcome. but i think this would help.
post #25 of 25
I don't even know if you are still reading up on these posts or you have had enough....but......
Every cat, dog, animal has there own personality (notice PERSON-ality) That usually does not develope entirely till much later than we normally relate to or expect....we go through midlife, teenage every crisis we can come up with to label these sudden changes and feelings we experience. Same with animals! Some more than others...............just like people!
Often we do not trake the time to put ourselves in there situation, less complicated but yet often we find to much. As well as their crisis when figured out is usually as uncomplicated to adjust to a reasonable compromise allowing peace at home again amongst one and all.
If you can, try to spend some time understanding what is happening before these actions occur. Something with the other cat, you, or a guest with you, even just a guest. There is something stimulating these behavioral changes, which if not looked at closely at the time of developement can become general behavior instead of emotional responses. Believe me, this works!
Goodluck!!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Cat is crazy -- Not in a good way