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Unread 03-12-2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default I lovED cats til a couple hours ago....

Not really, I still love my cats but I could use some advice.

I have 2 cats; one 8 and one 5. The younger one is very docile, afraid of his own shadow and jumpy but wouldn't hurt a fly. He's not very affectionate though - will only be up to a certain point, but that's his personality and I love him to bits. The older one is like my little buddy - he will cuddle with me and show me all sorts of affection. Can't even tell you how much I love that little guy. He does have a temper, however and will let you know when he's not happy (growling). He has never been aggressive though, even when I'm doing something he clearly doesn't like -brushing him, cutting his nails, even cleaning his ears out and I have to hold him down. He will growl, but he knows I'm helping him I think and trusts me.

Anyhow it's kind of a funny story but not at the same time. I came home today and caught the younger one moving funny out of the corner of my eye.
Yup, you guys know it - the butt drag on the rug. Streak about 3 feet long. In 4 places. And also on a white area rug.

I sat down in the chair in the living room and he jumped up on the back which he likes to do when I'm in it - PHEW - obviously he still had a lot on him. I had no choice but to give him a bath. So I brought him in the bathroom and did so - he wasn't pleased, cried the whole time (that "baby" type of cry) but it had to be done. He was scared, but we got through it.

I heard my older one outside the bathroom start to cry - I'm sure he was wondering what I was doing. I forgot to bring a towel in so I had to go to my bedroom to get it so I come out of the bathroom door and close it quick behind me so the wet kitty couldn't get out. I did so, and the older cat was there and IMMEDIATELY started screaming bloody murder; the kind of screams you hear outside when two cats are visciously at it - he was hissing and trying to pounce at me and SCREAMING. I somehow got past him (I'm thinking of the poor scared little wet one) and got into my bedroom and he chased me in there, screaming at me and trying to attack me. He was even (don't laugh) pooping at the same time. He scared me so much I screamed and somehow got the towel and got back in the bathroom and dried off the little one.

Since then he has been hissing and spitting at me, when I come within 10 feet of him he starts his caterwolling that high pitched "baby" sound, ,which then goes to SCREAMING again. He's scaring the heck out of me.

Sorry this is so long, but I can't help but think - I've had him for 8 years and have been nothing but kind to him. I know it must be he was a little freaked out hearing the other cat crying in the bathroom and he couldn't see what was going on, but this aggressiveness is frightening. he even placed himself in the hallway where I couldn't get by and couldn't get within 10 feet of him until he started up again.

I'm really starting to understand people who don't like cats....
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Unread 03-13-2011   #2 (permalink)
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Well I got about 2 hours sleep last night; he tried to attack the younger cat who hid under the bed all night.

After several screaming sessions and bleary-eyed at 1:30 am I put some food in there and sat on the floor a bit away from him and talked to him quietly; he was hungry so was eating (and growling at the same time!) but I kept talking calmly and finally he came over slowly and sniffed me a couple times, I thought that might remind him "oh yeah, she's good to me" and then went over and started eating with less growling. I thought maybe it would be best to just be normal so I got into bed and he jumped up, sits there and stares, and then starts screaming at me again like I'm trying to kill him - scared the heck out of me! I got some food to put under the bed for the other cat and shut the bedroom door and figured leave him alone let him sleep and things will be better in the morning. I got a couple restless hours sleep on the couch with him constantly pushing against the door trying to get out. A couple times I opened it a crack hoping he would be back to normal and wanting some company (he's very social - usually) but he immediately started doing the caterwauling, which leads to the screaming unless I go away, so I did.

This morning I tried again; brought some food in and he started the wah wah sound they make (at least not screaming). The other one was crying scared and softly under the bed (poor little guy is terrified! He doesn't know what the heck is going on either!). I sat down on the floor and talked calmly to him and got him to calm down a bit and he came over and sniffed me a few time again; I talked to him a bit and he actually started brushing against me and I tentatively petted him and he brushed back and forth like normal and I said "that's my good boy". I thought ok, the worst is over, he realizes nothing is wrong and no one is going to hurt him. The kitty under the bed heard and thought everything was clear and poked his little head out - and it started up again - SCREAMING and hissing at both the other cat and me.

It's not fair to the other one to be stuck under the bed - he's done nothing wrong. So I left the bedroom door open and went out on the balcony and sat down and he comes strutting out there started hissing and SCREAMING at me out there too. And I'm just sitting there, not even looking at him. And when I say screaming, I mean it - like someone is trying to kill him!

I have never hit him, the most he gets is a firm "bad boy" when he's done something, which is usually scratching the furniture or playing too aggressive with the other cat. Didn't hit him last even last night, although I was pretty scared when he was REALLY coming after me and I was yelling "What are you doing? Stop it!' which I'm sure amped him up but... (neighbor told me to swat him with a newspaper,that won't help things at all!) I've had him since he was a kitten and know the original owner - nothing happened there. He simply heard me bathing the other cat, and the other cat crying when I was doing so.
I could even see him being scared right after, thinking he's next and getting upset....but not this viciously and not for this long.

Well another long post but I'm stressed and sleep-deprived. I can't even begin to convey how scary he is like this. It's like he is possessed. He is out on the balcony now, I have put a litter box, food, and water and each time I poke my head/hand out to put something out there (last time was a cat bed), the screaming starts - echoing over the whole neighborhood. The neighbors must think a cat is being killed. I have a small apt. and no other place to put him so the other cat (and ME!) will be safe from him. If I had a larger house maybe it wouldn't stress me out so much I could put him away in a quiet area away from us.

This isn't normal - I would expect this from a cat that has been abused or something. Even when he started rubbing up against me - I was afraid he would switch over and attack. I understand a scared cat will act aggressive but nothing AT ALL has been done to him and it's been over 12 hours since I bathed the other cat and he is acting like he is being violently threatened. I know it's been a relatively short while, but I wonder if I will ever feel safe around him. Even if things go back to normal - what will set him off again? I don't know how I can even get him in a carrier without being cut to ribbons.

And the one I actually gave a bath to - he's just fine, not afraid of me, not upset, only afraid of the other cat. Probably happy he doesn't spell like Poo anymore
He's sitting on the back of my chair right now, purring and cleaning, and probably happy the other cat has a door between them.

Has ANYONE had their cat turn vicious like this at ALL? I don't know if talking calmly is the way to go i.e. is it saying his behavior is all right, but it's the only thing that seems to calm him even a LITTLE and even that doesn't work for long. I'm just leaving him alone for the rest of the day (and feeling bad because he's out there but...)
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Unread 03-13-2011   #3 (permalink)
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Okay, this is what happened:

It's called Displaced Aggression.

You were shut up with a cat who was yeowling. This sound was unfamiliar to your boy so he thought you had another cat in there, which got him worked up and frightened.

When you came out of the bathroom, he associated you with that scary sounding cat in the bathroom. Even after he saw his little brother, his little brother does not smell the same after his bath, which only reinforces to the older cat that there was a strange cat screaming in the bathroom.

Now he's so freaked out everything seems like a threat, and strange to him.

This is what I recommend. First, put some vanilla (cooking vanilla, not perfume) on all of you. Top of nose, under chin and root of tail of the cats. Your wrists and behind your ears. This makes you all smell the same. Do this daily.

Keep the cats separated and treat the whole thing as a brand new introduction. One cat in the bedroom, while the other is in the rest of the house. Then switch. Do this for several days before allowing them to see one another again.

If you can afford it, installing some feliway plug in diffusers will help, the diffusers will both reduce stress and territorial feelings.

Your younger cat may be having problems with constipation or blocked anal glands. Both can be very serious health problems.

I recommend you get him to the vet for a check up if you see any more scooting, or see signs of him straining in the litter box to poop.

One more thing. Get a soft blanket and have it ready for any time your boy starts doing his screaming. Drop the blanket gently over him, and if you can do it safely, gather him up and put him in a quiet room. Put his down with the blanket still over him (just make sure he can easily get out from under it on his own) and leave him there, leave the door just slightly ajar so he can come out when he's ready.

I had a cat with severe displaced aggression. Baby was his name. he's long gone to the Bridge, but I kept his Safe Blankie at the ready for anytime he had one of his freak out episodes. I washed it between episodes to remove the scent of his fear, and then just kept it draped over myself as often as possible so the next time I needed it it smelled of me and safety.
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Unread 03-13-2011   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply. The problem is, I can't even get near the problem one, he is so freaked out. I had him outside and got him to come up to the screen and held my hand up, he sniffed it and even put up his paw to touch my hand, like my old lil buddy. I figured it's a start and went and sat on the couch let him let me know if he wants more interaction. He stood on his hindlegs and cried - a normal cry like please let me in. As soon as I made a move he was devil cat again.

I can't get close to him to even touch him, let alone put some vanilla on him or switch them between rooms. My only choice is him outside or the younger one locked in the bedroom. I don't want the older one locked in a room I have to get in and out of, unless I want to wear the same clothes to work every day! He's pretty scary.

Each time he comes to the door he is searching to see his little brother and when he does he starts the growling. I DO understand what you mean about the scents but I honestly don't know how i can do it. I did go through him being aggressive to the younger one (but MUCH MUCH less, just some hissing) after he came home from being fixed several years ago. I figured it was the smell, so I gave the younger one a bath; no change so I gave the older one a bath and everything was back to normal. Don't think that's gonna work now

He freaks out so much I can only imagine what he would do if I tried tp put a blanket on him. I don't think he's ever going to be the same again and he was the most loving cat.
All this because I gave one of them a bath?

Thanks for the advice on the younger one too; they are both long haired so I think it was just a case of some getting stuck in his fur; that's what it seemed like when I bathed him.
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Unread 03-13-2011   #5 (permalink)
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Well I almost got ripped up just putting his dinner out there. I had to put it out with the door cracked and quickly close it. He's like the Tasmanian devil. I also tried to just go to the door also carrying a small blanked and you would think I was coming at him with an ax. It's a good thing there was a screen between us because he attacked like crazy. I closed the blinds and everything thinking maybe he just needs no stimulus for a bit, but now it's dark and he was crying softly at the door; I feel bad for him; but just pulling the bliinds back to peek out started him screaming bloody murder.

I can't take it anymore. It's like he's gone completely berserk. I can't let him in when he is like this. I feel like he's snapped and will never be the same. I don't know what to do I'm so upset that this will continue and there is no way for me to keep him and noone else even a shelter would want a cat like this. I can't stand to think of what that means.
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Unread 03-13-2011   #6 (permalink)
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Okay. Don't lose hope. It's only been 24 hours. I know that feels like a lifetime, but sometimes it can take up to a few days for a cat to get back to normal. It's not just my Baby who had this. I've read of it more than once or twice in other pet forums.

He's outside? Is he used to being outside? Does he have shelter out there?

The thing with the blanket is this. Being draped gently with the blanket, something that smells familiar and safe, immediately cuts off all outside stimulation. It can make the cat relax, and feel safe again. But I understand you are unable to even get that close to him.

As long as you know he's safe and sheltered, leave him be until morning. Don't peek out at him, don't even go near the door, if possible.

Call your vet in the morning, and ask for advice. Perhaps the vet would make a house call. I wonder if he's hurt himself in some way, pain can make a cat act this way. However I do think it's psychological, not physical. But perhaps your vet could give him a sedative injection, to break the thrall.

If I think of anything else, I'll post.

All paws crossed.
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Unread 03-15-2011   #7 (permalink)
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Terrific advice! I've also heard it called redirected aggression. He's scared and he's lashing out, it's as simple as that. Not easy but simple in a way! You might ask if the vet has a sedative, even valium, you could mix up in food.
What I would add to the great advice you've already gotten is this, calm down. I know, easier said than done! But cats are extremely sensitive to our moods and he will pick up on your tension and fear. Why should he calm down when you can't? He is feeding off of your fear. Do you have a room he could stay in, once you could get him there? He needs a quiet place. The blanket could be used to move him. The odds are that he will be calmer under the blanket, where he is cut off from stimuli. At least you would be safer with it around him. I am a strong believer in music therapy, soft, soothing music calms the nerves (his and yours!). You need to calm down and speak softly to help him. It can take days to reach a stable sort of peace, and there can be relapses. But please don't give up on your boy!!!!
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Unread 03-15-2011   #8 (permalink)
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Default Getting better!

thanks guys. I know I sound impatient or overreacting; I could understand him being freaked out but so VIOLENTLY freaked out is what I just couldn't handle. I can't help it, he was terrifying, absolutely terrifying and I'm not exaggerating. And , it felt like a lifetime because of that. Kinda hard when your "baby" is acting like a ferocious beast

So anyhow he was on the balcony all night; I couldn't let him in he was too aggressive; yes it is covered and there are also covered furniture he can go under to feel safe. He would cry every now and then and my heart went out to him but just peeking out caused vicious hissing and snarls. Needless to say, another sleepless night with him crying.

Monday a.m. I got ready for work and figured I'd shut the little one in the bedroom and let big boy in for the day while I'm at work. Might help for him to have just the place to himself, smell some familiar smells, etc. I made sure the little one had everything he needed and waited til I was just ready to leave and I opened the glass door - hissing - then opened the screen door just enough for him to come in and I left.

I bought the Feliway - at the pet store it was called "Comfort Zone with Feliway"; I don't know if it's the same you mentioned. I dreaded coming home but told myself I would just act normal and speak nicely to him. Would you believe when I walked in the door he came up and greeted me? Putting away the groceries he was rubbing against me over and over. I was afraid though after seeing that scary side of him it took all I could take to pet him a little. I went in the bedroom to change and give the poor little guy some attention (he's so lonely in there!) and when I came out he started hissing but I just talked softly not looking straight at him and walked into the bathroom. When I noticed he stopped I said good boy. I went in there a couple times and he hissed each time I came out but it seemed directed toward the bedroom/cat - but it didn't push him over the edge so that was progress. I sat down in my easy chair and I couldn't believe it but he crawled slowly into my lap, rolled himself onto his side and snuggled up to me purring and kneading, just like my little sweetheart. I couldn't believe it.

So, I figure let's make sure he's A-OK and all set with me before I try to get them together. Problem is, I worry that if I sleep in the bedroom he will get freaked out ("sleeping with the enemy") so I slept on the couch - but another sleepless night because on a regular schedule the little one would start crying plaintively. Poor little guy.

Today I came home and he's his regular self, he also came over when I came out of the bedroom too so I left it open JUST a little crack for the little one to stick his nose out, and I let big boy sniff him - first time he hised a bit, second he started growling, but not outrageously. I shut the door and told him it's ok. Baby steps.
I sprayed the Feliway on the floor in front of the bedroom door - thinking he will associate going over there with good feelings.

Anyhow, another long post but....I'll tell ya I am so sleep deprived I don't know how I am functioning! I'm sure he'll be crying all night tonight too, poor little guy.
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Don't feel bad, having your baby turn into a wild animal is terrifying. Remember that cats have not actually been domesticated that long, they are still closer to their wild relatives than most "domestic" animals. Cats can revert to a totally feral state within 2 generations!
Please do sleep in your own bed tonight. You stand a far better chance of getting sleep there. You need your rest, you're no good to anybody (or cat) if you're exhausted! Do you have earplugs? Remember the soft music, play it all night long.
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I'm glad things are going better. Yes the comfort zone feliway is what I was talking about.You bought the feliway spray? I was talking about the plug in diffuser, and I do urge you to order one or two (depending on the size of your apartment) to help things along.

I've never used the spray, but I hope it's helping.

Please keep us posted okay?
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