Very bad-tempered cat

petra_gwMarch 23, 2009

Does anyone else here have a very bad-tempered cat? We took in a thin, pitiful stray Oriental mix a couple years ago. We love him, but he is so bad-tempered! He terrorizes the other cats, does not like to be handled, complains about everything and wants his way all the time. If you tell him "No", he argues about it and then goes to take it out on one of the other cats. When he comes into a room, he hisses and growls at all the others cats, though they aren't doing anything to him. He is physically healthy, had to be "converted" last year because of several urinary obstructions in a row, but is fine now. Has anyone dealt with this sort of personality before? If so, have you found a solution? Thanks for any advice.

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I have a friend who has a cat that sounds just like yours. He terrorizes the other 2 female cats and gets into everything - even though he's about 4. My friend had to resort to kitty prozac or else he would hurt the other 2 cats. Since she put him on kitty prozac he's been in la-la land. She doesn't like giving it to him but without it he destroys furniture and beats up on the other 2. She loves him and doesn't want to give him up.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 7:02PM
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sephia, did she have him from the time he was a kitten? Our little guy was approx. a year old when we rescued him and we have no info about his background, not even how he ended up in our neighborhood.

I really think he wants to go outside, but that's not an option because we live close to a busy road and also have some cat-hating neighbors.

Don't really want to give him Prozac, but we do have to do SOMETHING, it's not fair to the other cats to be attacked all the time. Sometimes, he tries to be nice to them and groom them, but most of them are scared of him because of his moodiness and don't want anything to do with him.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 7:53PM
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Sounds like a very high strung cat. Cats with chronic stress are prone to chronic urinary issues. Not all cats do well in a multi-cat household or even in a household at all.

A behavior consultation with either a regular vet who is interested and good at feline behavior or a boarded behaviorist will provide the best method of calming the kitty. It will most likely be a combination of behavior modification and psychoactive drugs. In the meantime, try Feliway, a pheromone that can help. It is available as a spray and as a plug-in dispenser. Kind of expensive but I've had some success with it with cats with FLUTD (what your cat had ), inappropriate elimination, and other stress-related maladies, especially in combination with psychoactive drugs (I like buspirone).

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 7:56PM
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meghane, thanks for the advice. I'll try the Feliway and will talk to the vet about the buspirone. From what you've seen, can cats like him eventually calm down, or do you think he will be like this all his life?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 10:41PM
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petra - my friend got her "psycho" kitty when he was a kitten. Her other 2 cats are well adjusted, happy females who get along great. When her "psycho" cat was a kitten the 2 females would groom him, sleep with him, etc. When he got bigger is when he became aggressive with the other 2 females. The poor females were developing stress, were afraid that they would be ambushed, etc. The "psycho" cat would ambush them and be way too rough with them to the point that the females would literally scream. All 3 cats are indoor cats and are fixed. My friend absolutely does not like to medicate him but to protect the females, she had 2 choices - 1) return him to where she got him, which she did not want to do, or 2) medicate him for the safety of the other 2. When he's medicated he isn't out of it or anything, he's just more mellow and doesn't pick on the other 2.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 11:24PM
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Was he like this before the surgery last year, or did this behavior start or worsen significantly after the surgery? I wonder if he might be experiencing some chronic pain as a result of the surgery. If that's the case, he won't be understanding the source of the pain and may be distrustful of everyone and very short-tempered as a result.

Another possibility is an incomplete neuter. Perhaps he had an undescended testicle that wasn't removed during neutering, or perhaps a small piece of testicular tissue was missed and left behind. If he is still responding to male hormones, he's probably extremely sexually frustrated. That, too, could explain his aggressive and antisocial behavior.

I wouldn't be too quick to assume that this cat is physically healthy. I think there are avenues that your vet needs to explore.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 11:26PM
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Sephia, thanks for clarifying, I was picturing a feline drug zombie walking around. :o) Good to know he wouldn't be affected like that. He does sound a lot like your friend's cat. I thought maybe he had traumatic experiences before we found him, but if your friend's kitty developed like that without any bad circumstances, maybe it's just his personality as well.

Laurie, he was as grumpy before the surgery. Both of his testicles had descended when he was neutered, so he is okay in that regard. He also sprayed before he was neutered, but has impeccable litterbox habits now. During surgery recovery, my husband would carry him to the litterbox and tell him to "pee pee", and he would squat and pee on command. He is a very intelligent cat and he really, really wants to go outside. We think he was so used to being outside, that being confined to a house is like prison for him. We do have a screened in porch which all the cats love, but he wants to GO outside, not just look outside. We might have to figure out some way for him to do that.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 11:43AM
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I can relate to having a "some times" nasty fur baby....Our Clancy, 7 yr. old tabby, can be the sweetest boy, ready with the kisses but can turn mean real quick...We also have 2 little females and 1 he will not accept...Petra described him to a T....He's another that won't take NO for an answer, always has to have the last word...I often think the neighbors would think I'm wacky if they'd hear me arguing with a cat....
I'd be willing to spend the money for the Feliway, to have a more peaceful house, especially at night....Clancy thinks he's the only one that should sleep with us at night and there are times he thinks the bed should be all his, period!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 12:30PM
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Once you let him outside, he'll probably will be relentless about going out again. Our latest addition Bob (who was a stray) was fine in the house, only once in a while glancing longingly out the window or door. Then the weather turned nice and my son decided to take him out on a leash. Big mistake! Now he is constantly at the door, walking along the glass on his hind legs and trying to open the door knob. He can reach the knob, but can't turn it. Every time somebody goes in or out the house he is there trying to slip out. Twice he managed to slip out in the dark (he is black), but luckily we noticed within 30 minutes and he comes back when called.
Unless you have a cat enclosure or some kind of set up I would not let him out. Bob is not the first cat that we have had that developed an obsession after going out once.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 12:31PM
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Irish, we usually have Lito sleep in the bedroom with us to give the other cats a break. :o)
I am going to try the Feliway too, I hope it works!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 1:34PM
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I have three 11 year old female cats, one 3 year old male cat named Sarge, and two small dogs. All have been "fixed". I raised my male cat from the time he was 3 weeks old. He was so sweet with us humans that I thought he'd grow up to be a sweet brother to the others. heck no! He is always picking fights with the other cats, especially the long-haired one. He constantly ambushes her, jumping on her back. She screams, then the dogs bark and go after her also. He walks away with a mouthful of fur. Quite a ruckus. Also Sarge sprays in the basement hallway. I've bleached the walls, put neutralizer on them, and eventually tried the Feliway plug-in. It didn't calm anything down and he still sprays in his favorite spot. It probably works on some cats, but it certainly didn't on my Sarge!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 1:41PM
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Glaser, he wants outside all the time now, it can't get any worse!! He also tries to open doors for himself and yowls and carries on. We actually took him out in the yard a couple days ago and things went very well. He didn't appreciate coming back in, but he was worn out after climbing trees and running around and playing. Last night, we took him outside again and he spotted the neighbor's cat and jumped across the fence in a flash to attack the other kitty!! He bit him, and was scratched on his ear. Today, he is as bad-tempered as ever. I really think meds will be our only recourse.

Cathy, I looked up Feliway and it just doesn't work for some cats. We are still going to try it, but I don't hold out high hopes.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 9:24PM
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Our neighbors had a horrible cat, turned out he had heart disease....

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 12:33AM
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