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Cat Attacted Friend and May Be PTS

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Just got home from taking my best friend to Medac. This morning her cat, Twiggy, attacked her...really bad. This was a stray she took in about 6-8 mos. ago. The cat had recently been spayed as she still had stitches. She weighed a little over 3lbs., looked horrible and was very skittish. She took her to the vet and had her checked out and they gave her all her shots and wormed her. My friend has 8 other cats...4 adult and 4 kittens. She was nervous about bringing her in around the kittens so she keeps her in her laundry room which is a good sized room. It has a window and a door with windows and she loves to lay on the kitty condo in front of the windows. She lets her outside twice a day and the pretty much stays on the patio. She gets lots of attention and seems to love my friend. The first attack came when my friend tried putting her in the spare bedroom in the house. The put her in the room and about an hour later went in to check on her and the cat attacked her leg pretty bad. She had some antibiotics on hand and took them so no problem. She moved her back to laundry room after this. The second attack came when my friend opened the laundry room door and Twiggy saw one of the kittens and totally freaked out. She jumped from the washer onto my friends arm and wouldn't let go. She had to pry her off and she bit and scratched her several times. This time she had to go to the doctor. There have been a few minor incidents since but nothing major. It has been 2 mos. since the last bad attack until today. Today she went in and played with her, brushed her, gave her treats and left the door open so she could go outside. My friend brought in a new bag of cat food and went in the back door and Twiggy followed her in. She bent down and dropped the bag to the floor and Twiggy totally lost it. She has 8 bad bites on her hand, thumb and arm and is covered in deep scratches. Of course she had to see the doctor as it is so bad. Animal control had to be called and Twiggy will have to be quarantined for 10 days. My friend is pretty much feeling like she is going to have to have her PTS. She really doesn't want to but is scared of her now and she has diabetes and cannot risk these ongoing attacks. She doesn't want to adopt her out for fear of Twiggy attacking someone else especially a child. I just don't feel like this is normal behavior. I have two cats that are somewhat aggressive but nothing like this. They let you know when they are in a mood and when you need to back off. Twiggy attacks with no warning and afterwards it's as if nothing has happened. She is very loving. She is still a very skittish cat and very sensitive to loud noises but is much healthier now. The vet thinks she is about 2yrs. old and her weight is up to 7lbs. I'm sorry this is so long but wanted to include some history. Can anyone think of any underlying health problem that could be causing this behavior? Has anyone else experienced this type of behavior? I can't help but think that something is very wrong. Any input is greatly appreciated because I fear after the quarantine she will be PTS. Thanks!!
post #2 of 21
I would see a behaviorist - I don't think putting the cat to sleep should be the only option. Tink has an aggressive streak and has attacked me a few times - it has something to do with me cleaning the litter box, so we make sure she's not around when I do it.
post #3 of 21
There are medications out there that a friend of mine tried, and with her cat, they worked for a while, but then something would set him off (they never figured out what, and tried to correct this problem for over 2 yrs.) and the medicine made no difference. Eventually, even their vet (who had been working with them, and after consultations with other vets and behaviourists the vet contacted) told them that the cat was miserable, they were miserable, and their other cat (who often was attacked, to the point where she has a fear of the litterbox, even with multiple boxes and being the only cat in the house now), and, for their safety, it was time to put him to sleep, before he seriously injured them or their small children.

Sometimes, there is no happy ending, and with this cat's history of repeated, serious attacks, it would be very difficult to rehome her, and I doubt a rescue would, because of the liability. As sad as it is, it may be the best solution. We can't save them all.

That said, I hope she can find a solution- maybe she needs to be an only cat in house that has no kids, or an outdoor cat (maybe she feels trapped inside with the smell of the other cats and can't get outside to get away, especially if she has a fear aggression problem), or maybe the meds would work for her. Either way, please support your friend- it sounds like she has done a lot and put up with a lot to give this kitty a chance, but sometimes even everything is not enough .
post #4 of 21
I don't have much to add, but to your friend and to her kitty.
post #5 of 21
Catsallover said a few very smart things... listen to her. The cat was a feral, and now needs a place to herself, not with all those others. Your friend has good intentions, but they don't always work out and she can't be taking any more chances with herself or possibly the other animals, let along another person.
post #6 of 21
It sounds as if this cat is terrified for the other cats since it happens when she is moved to another room with new smells or when the door is open.
I can understand that your friend is afraid of getting hurt but there is a few more things she could try first if she still dares to.
I would put a net door to the room so the cat can see and smell the other cats and use felliway plug ins in the room. I would also systematically mix the smell of the cats by putting old towels or t-shirts where they are sleeping and switch them between the cats.
During the time this is happening the agression will probably get worse for a while but at least your friend can be prepared for it then and protect her self with clothes and gloves. I read somewhere on the site an advice to have a piece of cardboard with you to protect your self when going in to an agressive cat, and it seem to be a good idea. She also need to learn to read the body language of the cat. There is always a warning even if it can be subtile.
As an last option the cat might be better of outside with a shelter and daily food. Outside she wouldn't feel trapped on somebody elses territory.
post #7 of 21
Putting cats outside is a bad idea - we concentrate on rescuing them from outdoors and keeping them in. The normal lifespan of an outdoor cat is around 5 yrs, but 15-20 inside.
post #8 of 21
Smokie (our Blue Burmese, who sadly is no longer with us now) attacked my father in law when they visited us at our new house years ago. In all fairness, Smokie had never seen them before. He was just like a tiger the way he sprang. No, we didn't have him put down at all. Never even thought of that. My father in law should never have opened the door and just walked in. He should have waited until I was able to let him in the room.
post #9 of 21
I am having a similar problem with a feral that I brought inside a few weeks ago. He attacked my other cats and then me. He is currently quarantined while testing, and I have 12 stitches in my head, with two wounds that have abscessed. Not fun. I have now spoken to three vetinarians and our local mayor about solutions for this cat and they all want to put him to sleep. I am at my wits end as I can't find anyone willing to take him on, and the vets won't recommend him. But he is dangerous and I have children coming to see me next month, so I can't keep him. It is a huge moral dilemma, when you take a cat out of his environment and then it can't cope.
post #10 of 21
Five years is a lot longer than euthanized immediately, Larke, and it could be fairly good years with access to food and shelter. Maybee Twiggy will even become more secure and move in one day when having the chanse to do it in her own time. It all depends on how you live though.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input everyone. First let me say that Twiggy was not a feral cat. We think someone dumped her. My friend Patti has lived in her house for about a year and the cat just apppeared one day and came right up to her to be petted. She had also recently been spayed. Her stomach was shaved and she still had stitiches. We put signs around the neighborhood and she put an ad in the lost & found in paper. She wasn't a TNR. We have lots of organazations here that do that but they always clip their ear so you will know it's a TNR. Leaving her outside really isn't an option. She will go out on the patio but no further. She is really scared of being outdoors. She freaks out over loud noises. I cannot stress how bad this attack was. Even animal control was shocked by the severity of her injuries. The AC officer said she goes out on a lot of calls for cat bites but has never seen injuries like this. None of the shelters will take her so it's just a bad situation. Patti is totally devasted about this. She loves the cat but at this point is terrified of her. Twiggy is now at the vet's office for her 10 day quarantine so we'll see if the vet can figure out any health reason that may be causing this. Thanks again for the input!
post #12 of 21
The only suggestion I can make (which we used for a former feral) is to keep Twiggy in the laundry room, to which the other cats & kittens should have absolutely no access, and put a cat flap in the window, so that Twiggy can come and go at will. It may cut down on the aggression.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
I wanted to give an update. My friend stopped by the vet's office this afternoon to drop off Twiggy's brush and her favorite treats. She is doing great and everyone in the vet's office has fallen in love with her. They are going to try their best to find another home for her. I so hope this works out because it breaks my heart to think of her being PTS. Even though my friend has done such a good job caring for this cat I guess I can't help but wonder if being cooped up in the laundry room isn't causing some of this agression. She does have it fixed up very nice for her but it's still a small room. I know my cats would go stir crazy. Anyway her quarantine is up next Wed. so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they can place her in a good home. Will let you know when I find out more.
post #14 of 21
It sounds like she needs a home where she is the only kitty there.
post #15 of 21
Originally Posted by CathyC View Post
II guess I can't help but wonder if being cooped up in the laundry room isn't causing some of this agression.
that was what I was wondering. I have taken in a semi-feral who I thought was truly feral 4 months ago. He would attack my legs if he wanted more food, and he also attacked during misplaced aggression - such as if a dog neared the yard, or the postman walked up the walkway. I have been working with him on coming inside; at first if the door accidentally closed, he would attack the nearest human.
It seems that the poor cat in your post got loose shortly after being spayed I once adopted a cat from the Kern County Animal Shelter in Bakersfield that was due to be put down in a hour; her owner turned her in because she suddenly became vicious. The AC's didn't want to let me have her, but after I spoke with the supervisor and they called my vet (I had done several kitten rescues with excellent results) they relented. The cat was very fluffy and when I got her home, I smelled her infected stitches!! Poor baby was driven crazy with pain The first few nights, she would try and attack - I had to keep her away from my girls. She would just suddenly begin growling before attacking. I finally had an insight and put Vitamin E on her stitches and that improved her mood immensely. A year later, though, if someone accidentally touched her tummy, she'd go ballistic. Maybe there is residual pain
post #16 of 21
Or maybe its psychological and whenever someone touches her tummy she remembers the pain. Poor Sweetheart glad she is doing better.
post #17 of 21
Awesome, I'm glad they're looking for a home for her. Please keep us updated. I think putting her to sleep would be so drastic, I'm glad she's getting a chance.
post #18 of 21
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
Putting cats outside is a bad idea - we concentrate on rescuing them from outdoors and keeping them in. The normal lifespan of an outdoor cat is around 5 yrs, but 15-20 inside.
It's better than killing them outright, IMO. I have 8 outdoor kitties. They come into the heated shop or garage most of the time. The oldest is 13 & then they go down to 1 year old.

You wouldn't necessarily have to put this kitty outside, either. Is it possible to buy/build an outdoor enclosure for this kitty to live in? Perhaps maybe you could build a cat flap out of the laundry room into the cat enclosure not only to make the space bigger, but to let her be outside as well as inside? I'm trying to throw to throw out a few more ideas, I skimmed the previous suggestions, so these may have already been suggested. I hope something can be worked out for her! It's hard when such a loving cat goes bonkers.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Twiggy Update!

Patti went to see Twiggy yesterday at vet's office and they warned her to watch out because Twig was in a foul mood. She has done fine with the dogs boarded in the back where she is but they were boarding 4 other cats yesterday and her mood completely changed. They got to see how vicious she can be. They have decided she is "cat agressive". Actually the day she attacked Patti there had been a feral in the yard so it would make sense. Now that a week has almost passed Patti is having second thoughts about having her PTS...which I knew she would. So..now there is a new plan. There is a woman here that runs Friends of Felines who the vet said does great work with ferals and agressive cats and is totally against putting cats down unless absolutely necessary. One of the girls in the office is very good friends with her and feels sure she can get her to take Twiggy. They said she would probably work with her a while and then try to place her in a home where she is the only cat. She is out of the country for a couple of weeks so Patti is going to take her back home on Wed. and keep her until she returns. Some of you have suggested making her an outdoor cat and that really isn't an option. Patti lives on the main, busiest street in our neighborhood plus there is one lot between her and a major highway and I doubt Twiggy would last 24hrs. before being hit. I guess I will know more in a week or two and will let you know what happens. Thanks for all the suggestions!
post #20 of 21
That's great news!! It does seem like she needs to be the only kitty and I'm glad that she's going to get another chance. I'm sure she is a very loving kitty and will be a best friend to someone who finally adopts her.
post #21 of 21
Awesome! All of that makes total sense. I'm so excited for Twiggy, please keep us updated.
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