Why is my cat attacking me, (not playful, MEAN)

lisa11310February 20, 2010

She is a 4 yr (?) old spayed Calico. She was a wild stray all spring, summer and fall, she finally began to trust me and has been an indoor only cat since a year ago October (16 months). We brought in a little 10 month old Burmese gal a week before her. We have 2 neutered males 3 & 6 yrs. ALL indoors only. I will try to be brief. The little Burmese (Emma) tortured her for the first 6 months and she litterally lived under my bed, on my lap or under my computer desk (good thing I work at home). I had to escort her to the cat box so Emma didnt jump on her. She has gained her independance over the last 4 months and roams the house freely, still a tiff here and there but nothing serious. She has started attacking me. Today she was on my lap while I was working at my computer, I had been petting her but stoped for a moment, she clawed my hand and bit me. This is the 4th or 5th time in the last 2 months. This is not not "love nibbles" but a full out attack that draws blood from the claws and the bite. She has a clean bill of health and there is nothing different in the environment (other than her independence). She has not stepped one foot outside since she came in other than to go to the vet. She is usually so snuggly and loving, wants to rub faces and such, I'm a bit hesitant to do that now. She is my snuggle bunny, wakes me up rolling under my chin and purring every morning. I need suggestions fast before I become afraid of her and she senses it. Thanks!

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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

Sometimes petting "overstimulates" cats and they will bite. Not much you can do but keep the petting session short and let her come to you. Watch for a twitching tail!! The only other thing I can think of is she is taking her frustration with the other cats out on you. I've often seen dogs turn on each other when an outside dog or cat is in their view.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 6:41PM
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I sure agree with you, Murraysmom. I had a half-siamese who stuck to me like a wart, and demanded attention. She had a limit to it, and only she knew when she wanted it stopped. She did the same thing. I eventually got to know her warning signs. The ears plastered back and usually a very brief growl. Looks like lisa's attacked her when she stopped petting. But, most of my cats occasionally let me have it, with blood and biting whenever their tolearance level for things like brushing took place. Most will give a warning if you watch for it.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 7:43PM
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Thanks guys, come to think about it these attacks have usually been when I was just mindlessly petting her while working on something and not paying attention. Maybe her new found independance has given her enough confidence to tell me when she is not happy. I never go to her, she always comes to me. I will keep and eye on this. Another observation, several folks being owned by Calicos here have a nick name including "bunny" my Calie hops down the stairs like a bunny, is this a calico trait?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 10:05PM
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Another thought is that when a cat bites it is "marking you" as their posession. They are "claiming you". I wonder what that cat would do if you pinched it, "nipped" so to speak (maybe the back of the neck or side of the face), just before it had the chance to do the same. Cats have very distinct posession behaviors. Try to get into the cat's mindset and do it back to her before she has the chance to do it to you. You might see a change.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 12:14AM
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In reference to your question about how your cat "hops down the stairs"------. That sounds like a trait of the Manx breed cat. They, of course, are born without tails but I have been told that in a litter of one parent being Manx and the other non-Manx, according to the laws of genetics, some of the kittens might be born with tails but will have the longer back legs that give them the "hop down the stairs" trait. As I said, I have been told all of this and I assume it is true. One thing I can attest to for sure is that our one cat who is a Manx (no tail), absolutely does hop down the stairs all the time, unlike the other non-Manx cats we have, and his mother was a calico Manx (had no tail) who also had the longer back legs and also hopped down the stairs.

Our Manx was a "rescue" from a neighbor who owned the calico and let that poor mother cat have litter after litter with little care about what happened to the kittens. And indeed, some of her kittens were born with tails. After much pleading to get her spayed, the neighbor finally had it done when we agreed to pay for it.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 8:29AM
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First off, what a good job you've done giving strays a safe and loving home.

You cat's response sounds like a nervous redirection of aggression, especially since she was not like that before getting free roam (is that how I understand it?) Consider separating her, maybe keeping her in your room, when you are out? When you are home, let her out only when the other animals are secured in another room? I found that the longer I took to directly introduce the animals, the better their response when I finally did. Seems they acclimate to the smells first.

Good luck, lisa.

I wonder what that cat would do if you pinched it, "nipped" so to speak (maybe the back of the neck or side of the face), just before it had the chance to do the same.

This would exacerbate the situation and make the cat distrust you.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 9:09AM
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Good thoughts Elly, I don't claim to be a cat person at this point in my life by any means. I do adore cats and had many in my life way earlier....... but not now. I would totally defer to your thoughts rather than mine on this point.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 12:42AM
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