aggression/introducing new cat

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2010
aggression/introducing new cat
13
Sat, 01-04-2014 - 10:43pm

Hi. Just like another post I was looking at, I haven't been here in ages. I'm looking for help. My best friend died and so far I've got her cat, Christopher. I've got him isolated in a bedroom (the computer room) where he and my 3 can sniff and paw under the door. I had forgotten, until he did it to me, that my friend Nancy had said he sometimes atacked her pretty viciously. He didn't do it at all for the 5 days that our friend Bob and I were at Chris/Nancy's house (after 1 1/2 days of hiding from us). He had a terrible traum0--my friend had been dead for about 10 days before she was found. So he was without food and water, and you can imagine the horror. Anyway, he seems fine now, after hiding under the bed for a couple of days at my house. But, 3x while playing Belly Rub, he suddenly grabbed and bit me badly, through 3 layers of clothing. Then yesterday I was at the computer and one of mine was pawing under the door and he and Chris were hissing at each other. I knew better than to approach, and was not paying much attention. But he came after me. First he clawed his way up the back of my chair and tried to get at me, then he came around and grabbed my arm, hard, in his teeth and claws. I had to scream and hit him to get him off. Once again, he seems fine now, but now I'm afraid of him and thinking I can't keep him.

I know he was agitated by my cats, but I can't really avoid that. If I'm closed in the computer room w/him, they're more likely to come around and sniff. And I guess the key to keeping him from getting aggressive when I rub his belly is to try to read his signals and stop when he's had enough. If he had never done it to Nancy, I'd chalk it up to stress, but he did. I'm not willing to keep an aggressive cat. Does anyone have any advice? He's also getting restless in one room (4 days). Someone suggested putting him in a carrier and putting the carrier in the middle of the living room for everybody to sniff. But he's extremely difficult to get into the carrier, and now I'm afraid to try.

Thanks

Katz

 

 Katz

 

 

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Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 01-05-2014 - 3:51pm

This animal attacked it's prior owner, and has now attacked you, without provocation.  It will not change.  Plus, you are afraid of it, and the cat KNOWS that.  The kindest thing would be to have it put down.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Sun, 01-05-2014 - 8:58pm

Condolences on the loss of your dear friend. Its very nice of you to try to keep her cat bu it does seem like he is not going to fit in at your home for various reasons, so I wouldn't bother trying to introduce him to your cats. If there are any rescue organizations or a no-kill shelter in your area, I would start by contacting them. Its possible that somebody would be willing to take the cat and be able to "manage" him in the right environment. Or he may be unadoptable and have to be put down, but I would first try to find somebody to take him. My dd's cat was an "attacker" when young and with a lot of positive attention we were able to confine it to play only---but he would initiate that play with a vengeance when bored. Sometimes he got carried away during the play and the human ended up with scratches and punctures, although as soon as he smelled blood he was done with the game. When not playing attack, he is the sweetest cuddliest thing. Eventually my dd introduced a younger larger male and grandcat gets a lot of his agression out by cat roughhousing. This is an example of the situation being managed by the right person and environment, and there might be somebody willing to do that for Chris.

To get an unhappy cat into a carrier I've had the best luck with the "burrito method". Get a bath towel, scruff the cat and get the towel around him as well as possible, and shove the wrapped "cat burrito" into the carrier. You should be able to get the door closed before he gets free from the towel. It works better with a rigid carrier.

Best of luck, I hope that you can find a new home for Christopher.

Community Leader
Registered: 03-24-2000
Mon, 01-06-2014 - 3:51pm

Hi Katz, it's nice to see you here. I'm really sorry about the loss of your best friend ^Nancy^.  I know that you are trying hard to keep Christopher, but I don't think he is going to fit in with your kitties.  You might try some feliway and see if that helps calm him any.   Another thought is to get someone with this kind of experience to come to your home and work with you and Christopher.  It might be better for Christopher to be in an only cat home with someone who knows how to deal with an agressive cat.  It's a big order but  there might be someone out there that could take him in.  It's too bad, but I think it would probably be best all around if you could find someone to take him for you.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2010
Mon, 01-06-2014 - 5:18pm
Thanks, Leslie and everyone. I just plugged in a cat pheromone diffuser and he immediately did that happy cat thing of leaking fluid from the sides of his face. :) The folks who are helping me also said he might need to be an only cat w/an especially understanding person. But of course, that kind of person would already have a cat.... An expert I know is looking for more info/advice. We are of course horrified by the idea of putting him down. He was out dear friend's cat. But we know it's a possibility. Our Humane League recently went to no-kill. Maybe I'll call them. But I am often of the opinion that there are worse things that being kindly euthanized--among them, living a whole life in a cage. We'll see.

 

 Katz

 

 

Avatar for tiggs_mom
Community Leader
Registered: 07-02-1999
Tue, 01-07-2014 - 9:58am

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. Traumatizing for all involved.

I didn't see where you said how long you have had him. I have seen introductions take a couple of months. You did say that you tried the pheremone plug in and that seemed to help - that was going to be my first suggestion.

From what it sounds like in the attacks, he does have some issues. The first may have been due to rubbing his belly. There was a large male cat at the shelter where I volunteer - he would flop over and expose his belly....and then wrap his paws around you and gnaw. Volunteers said he was agressive - I say he was a tease and just don't touch him there.

The second sounds like displaced agression - he didn't like the cats on the other side of the door, but since he couldn't get to them, he went after the only other being in the room.

Best thing in both cases is to remove yourself from the situation and let him calm back down on his own.

Please know that you have options other than euthanasia.... contact your vet and have him completely checked out - sometimes health issues can pop up and cause things. You may also want to think about maybe a dose of prozac until things settled down and then you can wean him back off.

While a home with no other cats might be ideal, it may just be that his life is in a lot of confusion now and he doesn't know how to react. I hope you can give him some space and some time to readjust and see what happens. Feel free to post here or email me or Leslie if you need help or suggestions. Bless you for taking him into your home. And again - I am sorry about your friend.

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Community Leader
Registered: 03-24-2000
Tue, 01-07-2014 - 10:33am

Well maybe with some time getting used to being in your home, he will get better.  He has been through a lot in his little life and it may just take time where he will be able to live with you without attacking you and your cats.  It's good that the diffuser is working to calm him.  Jeanne had a good suggestion about putting him on prozac too.  He would have to eat it in a treat or something because there would be no way that you could even think of pilling him.  If I remember right it's small and doesn't have a bad tasted so that may be an option.

Sometimes it can take a long time for cats to adjust to new homes.  Afterall his whole life is upside down.  I would give him several months if you can and are determined to make it work and see if he gets any better.

Keep us posted on how it's going.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2010
Tue, 01-07-2014 - 1:58pm
Hi and thanks! I did think of drugs. I had my Johnny on valium (I'm pretty sure that's what it was) to stop his harassing Whiskers, and by gum, it worked! I know I sure couldn't pill Chris, but I thought of the Pill Pocket. Those things are like a gift from God IF the cat likes them. None of my current crew likes them, but I could buy some and try him on them. I've had Chris at my house since New Year's Eve. We were at his house from Dec 26 to New Year's Eve. I just don't know how much time I'm willing to give him. I've been unemployed for a while and finally have a couple of job possibilities. Plus I'll have to be running back and forth to my late friend's house 3 hours away, as her executrix, which may require getting a cat sitter. So there's more going on in my life than usual. I didn't think of the teasing thing. His mom always rubbed his belly, but I'm sure she occasionally paid for it. Don't know about taking him to the vet yet. Can't imagine how that would go. I'm going to call his old vet and see if they have notes about his being a problem. Isn't there a way I can get notifications when I get a reply to my post? I thought I had that set up, but apparently not.

 

 Katz

 

 

Avatar for tiggs_mom
Community Leader
Registered: 07-02-1999
Wed, 01-08-2014 - 11:21am
I think calling his vet would be the first place to start. They would be able to tell you the last time he was in, his demeanor when there and considering the circumstance, they may be willing to help you with medication. New Years Eve isn't that long - especially considering the circumstances. I know it can be so frustrating, but hopefully you can get some help from the vet. And check with the no-kill rescue - explain the circumstances and tell them everything up front. They may have other suggestions or have a foster home with experience that can help you out. As for notifications, I have no idea. Sorry :)
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Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 01-08-2014 - 8:49pm

I don't think the Notifications feature is working anymore but I could be wrong. If you really want to know you could ask on the iVillage Help board (its a technical help board) and the mod can clarify. http://www.ivillage.com/forums/ivillage-women/around-ivillage/ivillage-help

Good idea to ask Chris' old vet about the aggression issues. If you don't think you can get him in to see a vet, what about looking for a "mobile" vet that makes house calls?

Community Leader
Registered: 11-20-2001
Thu, 01-09-2014 - 10:04am

Oh Katz, what a sweet lady you are to help Christopher.  I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, Nancy.  I'm sure Christopher has been traumatized by the whole ordeal of being alone for 10 days and running out of food and water.    My honest opinion is that Christopher needs a one-cat home.  I know you are trying to keep him, but it may not be fair to your other cats to have such a new dominant cat come into the mix.  You are so nice and kind, obviously.   Do your best to find him a home with no other pets.  Thank you!  I wish you the best, please keep in touch.  Gabby

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