Cat aggression before meal time

by Neilbert Jala
(Philippines)

This is Samantha

This is Samantha

My partner and I have a cat named Samantha. We adopted her two years ago and found her on the street near to my house in Butuan City, Philippines in my hometown.


Samantha is a very sweet and playful cat. She always sleeps with us by our feet and sometimes between us so that we can hug her.

Every time she asks for food and feels ignored she always bites my foot, sometimes hard, sometimes not, but it doesn't create a wound.

She is so impatient about waiting for her food, even though I tell her, "Please wait Samantha because I am preparing your food my baby," every time I am about to feed her.

Is there anything that we can do to prevent Samantha from biting our feet while we are preparing food for her, or any way to understand why she is doing that so we can adjust ourselves to Samantha's biting behavior?

Any thoughts will be appreciated! :)

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Training
by: Hank the Burmese Dad

Train your cat. All cats can respond to basic commands like stop, no and sit. Because you don't have a kitten and she was most likely feral this will take longer, but would be very rewarding in the end.

First - nibbling at your feet. Boil some bay leaf in water and put in spray bottle. When you go to prepare her food spray your feet or shoes. They don't care for the smell of Bay Leaf. She will continue but not as aggressive. This is where you start to train her to understand the sound of "stop". Use it in a deeper voice tone, not high pitched because cats hearing is tuned to higher frequencies for the rodents they would naturally hunt. The deeper tune of your voice makes them aware this is something different and they pay better attention.

Next, once you are ready to serve her you then hold the bowl up and start saying sit, in a higher tone voice. As you lower the bowl she will stop prancing as it nears the floor. Keep repeating sit. When you are just above her head slowing move the bowl over her head so she needs to sit to continue to see it. Then with your other hand once she is sitting pet her and praise her. She won't understand what she has done but will love the petting and see the food as a reward. Follow this at every feeding and in about 2-3 weeks she will stop nibbling your feet when you tell her to without the spray and will sit on command and calm down. It is also very important to feed her at about the same time everyday so her internal clock will know when she can actually expect food.

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Bossy cat
by: Kurt (Admin)

It sounds like you have a bossy cat! My suggestion would be to put Samantha in another room with the door closed while you prepare her food. Place her food dish in its usual spot, then show her to her meal.

Thank you for saving her from the streets!

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Question about cat aggression

by Gabriella
(Denmark)

Hello Cat Lovers, I have a few questions about cat aggression. This morning I sat at my PC, when I heard angry cat sounds from the bathroom (never heard such angry and loud sound before). So I ran to the bathroom to see what was going on, and I saw mother cat attack one of her kittens (at least that's what it seemed like, it all went so fast).

So I bowed down to get the kitten away and all of a sudden mother cat jumped on my face with her claws, and what happened next tears my heart apart to think of... Because I really didn't mean to do it!

As it attacked my face, I got a grip of its tail and threw it... Unfortunately it hit the radiator and was just laying there for about 10 seconds like I had broken its neck or something. It was a reflex, and it tears my heart apart to think of :( I did not know what to do, so I grabbed the kittens and closed the door to the bathroom.

About 10 minutes later, I heard the mother cat meow from the bathroom and I was happy I had not killed it! However, the kittens seem traumatized. They're scared and angry towards each other.

Mother cat is silent and will not take a treat out of my hand as she used to. I think she has some internal damage, but I am not able to go to the vet before next week. What do I look for ?

Thank you

P.S. I'm sorry for my bad English.

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Staring
by: Kurt (Admin)

Hi Gabriella,

I'm very glad to hear that she is OK. My recommendation is (same as always) that you not stare at her. If you stare too long at a cat, it can be perceived as a threat.

Given the recent incident, she may be on edge and as I've said, you may have to win her trust all over again. Instead of looking at her, calmly look away. You might want to sit down and practice the blink/look away gesture with her that cats do when they seem to be content.

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Cat Stare
by: Gabriella

Hi again! I've been at the vet and thank god nothing was wrong with Mothercat, such a relief!
I would like to thank you all for the nice and fast answers!

I have another question though; Since the accident mothercat has been different... If I walk fast towards her or her kittens she will stair me in the eyes and it seems like she is about to jump as well... She will follow me around the house and try to make eye contact, it's scary and I often have to take cover behind a pillar because I'm afraid she will jump me again... What can this be ? :S

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Comfortable
by: Anonymous

I'd suggest to keep them all comfortable until you can go to the vet if that helps.

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She will forgive you in time
by: Kurt (Admin)

Cats can be very forgiving. I'm glad to hear the mother cat seems to be doing OK. You may have to win her trust back, much as you would when meeting a new cat.

The cats may all still be somewhat agitated. It's possible that boredom is involved. Maybe everyone is just feeling cramped. I would suggest distracting everyone with play. Also make sure they have climbing furniture such as cat trees as well as scratching posts. Scratching helps to relieve tension.

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Thanks for the fast answer
by: Gabriella

Sorry that I was not very informative in my topic, I guess I was still pretty upset about it.

Mother Cat has not shown any sign of illness nor have her 7 week old kittens. Right now they are laying in my bed and everything seems ok, but Mother Cat will still not talk to me nor take a treat or eat anything I give her... She is very calm :O

The kittens were playing with each other 5 minutes ago, but all of a sudden they just change and go into this agitated mode again with their butts in the air and start growling and hissing at each other. What can it be? I have never seen them do this before, till today at least...

I would also like to ask You another question: Can boredom cause this kind of aggression? I have been told that she can get pregnant right after she has given birth to the kittens, so she has not been outside for 7 weeks (Will get her spayed soon), and I was thinking if this could be the reason?

Thank You

P.S. Are cats able to forgive or will they never forget?

I still feel really upset about throwing her, I cannot get it out of my head... I keep seeing her lay there as if I had broken her neck... it's so sad to think of me doing that kind of damage to my beloved cat, what if she had died!

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I would see the vet as soon as possible
by: Kurt (Admin)

Don't be so hard on yourself, Gabriella. It's a natural reaction to defend yourself in that situation.

At this point, we want to find out several things...

One... Why was the mother cat showing aggression toward the kittens? She may have attacked you as a protective reaction to her kittens being handled (especially if she was already agitated), but why was she aggressive to begin with?

Is she ill? There are medical causes for aggression in cats, and a sick mother cat may possibly be aggressive. She needs to see the vet for that.

Two... Is she now injured? If so, you now have two reasons to get her to the vet immediately. Please ask someone else to do it if you cannot. If she has internal injuries, her life may be in danger and it cannot wait until next week.

Don't try to diagnose her yourself. Cats are very good at hiding pain. It requires a trained veterinarian (possibly with x-rays or other diagnostic tools) to diagnose injuries. As I said, she may have already been sick too, so this needs a vet's attention.

Three... Are the kittens OK? If the mother cat is ill with a contagious disease, the kittens may become ill as well. I don't know how old they are or what kind of care they normally need, but I would separate the kittens until things calm down.

Please keep us updated.

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Neutered male cat aggressive toward new male

by Renee
(Chicago)

I recently rescued a cat that was living outside, had him vetted and neutered. I already have two female and one male cat, all of which are fixed. The new cat was neutered 2 days ago, and my male cat is showing aggression towards him (deep throated howling and growling).

He has not attacked him, but I was wondering if he is showing this aggression because the male hormones on the new cat can still be smelled by my resident cat.

I have read that these hormones can remain in the body for up to 30 days. The new male is not aggressive whatsoever, and I am surprised my resident cat is behaving this way.

Prior to this he was the most passive out of all three of my cats? Any ideas or help to make this transition smoother??!!!

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Try a reset/reintroduction
by: Kurt (Admin)

Thank you for rescuing him! Yes, I believe your resident cat could be reacting to the fact that it takes some time for the hormone levels to go down.

I also think it could be change (cats hate change), a new "intruder" in the house, and/or the new cat smells like the vet's office. If the new cat is wearing a "cone of shame," that might also throw your resident cat off.

Sometimes, even a cat that has lived with another cat for a long time can fail to recognize a cat that has returned from the vet. I've also seen some cats get freaked out when another cat is ill, and since he was just neutered, that could be it.

I'm a big fan of separation and slow cat-to-cat introductions. When there are problems, I'm also a fan of hitting reset and separating the cats and starting the introductions over again.

Since introductions can set the tone for the rest of the relationship (absent a reset), I would confine the freshly neutered cat to a recovery room and then slowly (re)introduce them.

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How do I stop my cat from being a bully?

by Rachel

When my sister first brought her new female kitten (Diamond dust) home, my female adult cat (Misty) decided at the start that she did not like the new kitten. She ended up pushing her off the stair case and being a bully as soon as we brought the kitten home.

We didn’t even have the chance to properly introduce them. She acted hurt for a while but she finally got on her feet and started walking and acting like a normal kitten.

Later, we tried to properly reintroduce her to our adult cat the right way, but it still didn’t go so well. Now they are full grown cats and Misty still bullies Diamond and Diamond won’t fight back to defend herself. She just screams and runs away from Misty which makes Misty bully her even more.

I don’t understand why she hated her at first and why she hates her now. We also brought home Diamond’s sister and she and Misty got along fine with no problems.

Then we brought home a couple more kittens and they didn’t seem to have a problem either. It’s just Diamond and Misty. If I try to put them in the same room, I’m afraid my cat would kill her if she could.

I don’t want to re-home my cat and my sister doesn’t want to re-home hers which is very understandable. We try to keep them separated as much as possible but I want them to start getting along. How do I stop my cat from bullying Diamond?

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Try a reintroduction as adults with Feliway
by: Kurt (Admin)

I'm sorry to hear your cats are having problems getting along. Have you tried separating them and reintroducing them as adults (doing a "reset")?

This has been going on a long time, but I would try it and see what happens. I would first get a Feliway diffuser and set that up, then separate them for a few days, and then start the slow (re)introduction process.

In the meantime, I'd make sure both Misty and Diamond have all the attention and resources they need so they feel as confident and happy as possible when being reintroduced.

If Misty is more confident, she may not show aggression. If Diamond is more confident, she may not run away and bring out the chase response from Misty.

Please keep us updated and let us know what works to help your cats get along.

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My cats refuse to get on :(

by Izzie

I have 2 14 year old cats. They are brother and sister. They get on great. Well, when I say great, they live side by side if that makes sense.

Lucy the female, spends most of her time inside, where as Brandi the male, likes to be out all the time.

New kitten in the house


I recently introduced a 12 week old poly kitten into our group, but neither cat will even go near the new kitten. They have shown nothing but hostility towards her.

She doesn't pester them at all as she's more of a people cat, but the other 2 are constantly growling and hissing at the kitten, even though she leaves them alone.

It's even to the point that Lucy went for the kitten a few days ago. Please help. I really want them to get on with the kitten. I'm not asking for them to love her and fuss her, just not be mean. Any ideas?

Editor's note: Congratulations on your adoption! While some amount of hissing and fighting is often normal when a newcomer threatens a resident cat's territory, a slow introduction process can help smooth the way.

If you start the new kitten out in a room by herself, and then slowly introduce the cats following a proven process that has worked for others in the past, you'll be ahead of the game.

What I would do is pretend as though your new kitten has not even met Lucy and Brandi yet, and set her up in a room by herself. Then, start the introduction process.

I've already outlined this introduction process on another page, so I'm going to link to that here as that is the full answer... how to introduce a new cat.

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Help with an aggressive cat

by Caroline
(Western Colorado)

I have three cats and adopted a new kitten we fostered. We did a slow introduction of the kitten to the three adult cats. It went perfectly with two. One cat, however, has been, and continues to be horribly aggressive to the kitten.

She will stalk him and attack whenever we aren't looking. We separated them and have tried different techniques for a slow introduction multiple times to no avail. I have taken advice from the animal shelter and vet and nothing seems to work.

We have tried pheromone collars and it doesn't change the behavior. We have put the kitten in a kennel for long periods of time so they can get used to each other and it hasn't changed the behavior.

All the cats are fixed. Help. I don't know what else to do.

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Sounds like you're doing things right
by: Kurt (Admin)

I'm sorry to hear your cats aren't getting along. It sounds like you're doing all the right things, which I'm sure makes it that much more frustrating.

When cats don't get along after being introduced, or if they stop getting along after a period of time, a "reset" sometimes works. It sounds like you've already done a reset more than once.

Just to be clear, a reset is where you separate the cats completely for a period of time so they can't see each other. Then you reintroduce them slowly, starting with scent, as though they're meeting for the first time.

Pheromone collars didn't work, but I'm wondering if a combination of another reset and Feliway (spray and diffuser) might help. It's hard to say, but I think it's worth a shot.

Is it possible the bond between the kitten and the other two cats is causing your third cat to feel somewhat displaced and threatened?

If so, and if you haven't tried this, you might want to try a couple of things:

1. Pay extra attention to your "problem" cat and try to increase her exercise level, affection she gets, and just overall make sure she's got maximum confidence.

2. Isolate the kitten during the reset, and then slowly introduce the kitten only to the "problem" cat, but not the other two yet. See if she'll accept the kitten.

Beyond that, I think involving a cat behaviorist who can meet and work with your cats would be a logical next step. There are some situations where cats just don't seem to get along for whatever reason. Some of them can live together and timeshare the resources, but sadly, some just can't.

On the other hand, there are also cats that weren't able to get along at first who have become fast friends over the long term.

Please keep us updated on their progress and let us know what worked for you (or didn't).

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My cat has become aggressive

by Cara
(Florida, USA)

My female cat (6 years old) has gone outside for almost half a week. She finally came back in a good condition (no physical injuries or whatnot).

We have another cat that has been with us for a long time who stood also as a parent for the female cat. My problem is my female cat is suddenly so aggressive towards him (even left him with a bloody eye).

I'm guessing it must have been trauma, but I have no idea how to soothe her. Is there anything that I could do to help my female cat?

Editor's note: I'm sorry to hear your cat is having problems. Cats are very good at hiding pain. Some cats that roam and don't return for an extended period of time may have internal injuries that don't show.

If your cat is injured, that might explain the aggression. This may be the only obvious sign she's been injured. Because she's behaving strangely after being gone, I'd recommend calling your vet to get her checked out.

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Male cat aggression toward other male cat

by Mike Schnell
(Warner Springs, CA USA)

We have three male indoor cats. Squeaky is 4 years old and is our oldest. We've had him since birth. Our middle cat, Cheetah, is 1 1/2 years old and we've had him since birth. Our youngest, Remy, is 1 year old and we've had him about 9 months.

Cheetah and Squeaky get along great. Cheetah and Remy get along great. Squeaky, however, appears to hate Remy and Remy is terrified of Squeaky.

The two co-exist up to the point where Squeaky appears to "snap" and goes on a hunt for Remy. The "snapping" is usually preceded by a chirping sound from Squeaky and a laser like focus on Remy.

When he approaches Remy, Remy immediately takes a submissive posture, ears back, growling and hissing. He appears to sense that Squeaky has "snapped" and is going to attack. When he attacks, it's definitely NOT playing.

Remy screams and tries to get away, but Squeaky follows him everywhere he goes. We try to snap Squeaky out of it by clapping our hands and saying NO!

This works about 50% of the time. It's like we have to break Squeaky's focus. Half the time we need to physically intervene to keep Remy from being harmed.

Thus far, Squeaky has not injured Remy. Remy is more agile than Squeaky and can get away by climbing up high on a shelf.

Physically, Remy is about 1/2 the weight of Squeaky. Squeaky is built like a 16 pound tank.

When we got Remy, he immediately wanted to interact with our other two cats (as opposed to hiding for a few days like normal). We let the interaction happen since everyone seemed to be getting along (probably a mistake).

The attacks came a few weeks after Remy's arrival. Our gut instinct tells us that Squeaky's behavior is dominance and pecking order related.

He occasionally will aggressively play with Cheetah too, but the playing is very hard. He and Cheetah will "fun" play as well. There is a distinct difference in the two.

We have tried everything we can think of to help Squeaky accept Remy, including playing with him separately, giving him lots of individual attention, plug-in pheromone devices, etc., but nothing seems to work.

An hour after a "battle" the three of them will be sitting within a foot of each other, seemingly OK with each other's existence.

An hour later, Squeaky snaps again and we go through the whole thing again. Remy is such a loving little cat and so is Squeaky.

I wish we could find the silver bullet that fixes this problem, but so far nothing has worked... HELP!

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Try a reset
by: Kurt (Admin)

Introductions can set the tone for relationships, and slow cat-to-cat introductions are the best way to help manage those introductions. That's one reason I always suggest a new cat be placed by themselves, in a single room at first.

Search for the word "reset" to see my recommendations on how to fix a relationship between two cats that has gone bad.

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