I think my last roommate abused my cat. He has now started acting aggressively towards other people. How can I help him?

I suspect that my drug addict ex-roommate (that I only had for a month) was abusing my 4 year old cat and this has caused behavior problems. My cat used to love love love attention and people. However his behavior became very unpredictable shortly after the new roommate moved in. People would be petting him, he would be purring, and then all of a sudden he would bite or scratch whoever was giving him attention (and drew blood in a couple cases). I was unsure what was causing this behavior and thought it might be stress related, but then I noticed how terrified of my roommate my cat was (my roommate also made it very clear that he did not like the cat). I have since moved but the behavior problem persists. A friend was petting my cat, he was loving it and purring, and then he turned around and nipped her for absolutely no reason. What can I do to help my cat? Is this something that's going to go away? I know it's not health related because he went to the vet recently.

Asked by Member 1124317 on Aug 6th 2012 in Aggression
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Hello! My Old kitty, Sotty actually exhibited the same behaviour when i moved in with my Aunt some years ago, he would reserve affection for me but would aggressivly attack any one else that was in the house, we dont know if your roommate scared your cat or not,but sometimes a change (new roomate, moving etc)can change a cat and make him feel insecure.Is he aggressive towards you?If people are petting, and he gets angry, theres a possibility he has just had enough of being petted and telling them so.Cats usually give an indicator,warning, before such an outburst have a look for that,usually the tail will twitch or flick in annoyance,or the ears will go back. Try not to Scald him for this just pick him up and move him away from the person or situation, Reassure kitty that he is safe in his new home, give him some time and space to adjust accordingly and somewhere quiet to hide if he is not enjoying having company, im sure he will adjust in time,BUT keep in good contact with your vet....

Batfink answered on 8/7/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

I have to wonder if your sorry roommate didn't give the cat something. A lot of people think it's funny to give animals human drugs or alcohol. But what Batfink says is exactly right. Your kitty has to learn to trust again. Make sure no one touches or picks up your cat unless your cat indicates he'd like a little attention. When your friends come over, give them a feather teaser/pole toy or some other hands-off toy to play with your cat. No crazy stuff--just calm and gentle play and voices. As Batfink said, cats do give some warning before they bite. I know that Delilah doesn't like her chest touched and if I persist, her bites will get harder and harder. Izzie doesn't like his stomach touched. Reassure your cat that he's safe and loved. Lots of attention, treats and playtimes. Try not to expose him to too many other people until he's a little more confident again. Good Luck!

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 8/7/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


We may never know if your roommate was a reason or not. However, it could be that your cat gets overstimulated when being pet for a long time. This definitely sounds behavioral and it can be corrected with more time and patience. Don't lose hope :). Any change in the cat's environment can cause stress, insecurity and such. You need to re-establish his trust and your bond with him. First, only you should handle your cat. Let him first learn to trust you again. If he hisses/ warns with subtle body language, you need to back off and let him cool off for a while. If he suddenly grabs your hand, stay calm and dont yank it. That is when the most damage is done. Slowly but assertively tell him "No". Then pay no attention to him for a while until he comes around. You can also try Feliway spray or plug in. This will help him calm down. It will take some time but it can definitely be corrected. Take care and keep us posted on your progress. Thanks

Mya answered on 8/7/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer