What to do with a mean, antisocial cat?

My husband’s grandmother died and she had two cats-one as sweet as can be and the other notorious for hissing at all visitors. Well, the sweet cat is in a good home now and I am stuck with the mean cat. I have never seen a cat like this before. It has been several weeks since we inherited him and there is no change in his behavior. He hisses when you get near him, my husband managed to pet him for a few strokes before he turned and swatted and hissed. The cat’s behavior is unpredictable and he is not a small cat. I am afraid of him and at my wit’s end. We have no idea what to do with Midnight aka Nightmare. Any sort of suggestion would be SO appreciated. Midnight is declawed and neutered (I think-he hasn’t sprayed as far as I know).

Asked by Felix on Jul 23rd 2011 Tagged antisocial, mean, aggressive, shy, male, declawed in Other Behavior & Training
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He's been through a lot losing his owner and moving to a new place but it sounds like he was this way even with her? The vet may be able to prescribe a tranquilizer to help him get through the changes but you may also need to work with him the way shelters work with feral cats. You may be able to get some great tips by watching episodes of this Animal Planet show animal.discovery.com Jackson Galaxy is an awesome cat behaviorist and he has helped people with similarly nasty cats on several episodes. You have to take it one day at a time and let Midnight decide when he is ready to come to you by being patient and taking it slow. The declawing may have been the reason he turned mean (it's a terrible and often traumatizing thing to do to a cat) but in his case, at least he can't do as much harm to you when he acts out. Good luck!

Allie answered on 7/23/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 5 Report this answer


We love our mean, antisocial cat & she has not been through any of the traumatic things your cat has been through. I think ignoring her until she gets used to you is the right response. Not all cats are cuddly. Not all people are either. I hiss.

Sheba answered on 7/23/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 6 Report this answer

Pharaoh Purrince Tao DIT#33

You should totally give it to adoption!

Pharaoh Purrince Tao DIT#33 answered on 7/24/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

I agree with Sheba and Allie, but not Tao. This cat will not be adopted. It would be more humane to euthanize him. I have Delilah, who was also notorious for biting and was not adopted because of it. I had the oppotunity, over almost six months, to work with her and socialize her. Now, she is a purring lapcat who is on "meetin' and greetin' whenever anyone comes to our home. Felix absolutely has socialization issues. And, as Allie says, he is stressed and traumatized. This definitely exascerbated the situation. You can give tranqulizers or anti-depressents, as prescribed by a vet, but you must also give Feliz time to come around in a quiet and calm household. Ignoring him may be the best bet to let him explore in his own time. Don't force the issue. Give him food, water, a clean box and a place of his own to hang out. Good luck. A vet can also provide tips and advice.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 7/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 6 Report this answer


Pleae give him a chance! I adopted a giant cat in January. All I wanted was a sweet lap cat. He was very sweet at the fosters home, even let us brush him and clip his nails. But let me tell you, when I got him home he was a living nightmare! I have never seen a cat that mean in my life! I almost took him back but I remembered that I promised him I would give him a forever home. I cried about it, he broke my stuff and scratched and bit me. Fast forward 5 months and he's a completely different cat! He's loveable and gets along with anyone who walks in the door. Please give your guy a chance, he's changed homes and he's not happy about it. Only time will earn his trust in you. Good luck!

Member 1042275 answered on 7/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I'd have to ask 3 things....
#1 does he bite? Many cats who have been declawed will resort to biting. They feel that it is their only defense.
#2 do you have young children in the home? Young children running and playing would be particularly stressful now..in new surroundings and would make him more likely to strike out in fear....at you or at the children. He's probably accustomed to a very quiet home if he was living with your grandmother. Other pets may also be a threat to him.
#3 Was the cat's temperment the same when he lived with your grandmother or has it changed? Sounds to me like there were issues before you inherited him.

I'd say give him a quiet room away from daily home activity (and children or other pets). Visit the room occasionally but allow him to approach you - and at first let him just rub against your leg without you trying to touch him...eventually reward him with small treats when he allows you to touch him without hissing or swatting at you.

Member 599041 answered on 7/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I know it's hard to have a cat that lashes out at you. My Kody has been like this since he was out of the kitten stage and I don't know why. He's learned not to scratch but then resorted to more biting/pouncing/attacking me. He's gotten better and has learned the word 'no' tho many times he doesn't want to listen until I have to squirt him with water a few times. He's a good cat for the most part and I've learned to look for the signs (ears turned, that look, posture) to know when to leave him be. He'll usually settle down when I ignore him for behaving badly. I doubt he'll ever be a lap cat.. but oddly enough he's had his moments where he will sit in my lap or lay down next to me. Give Midnight some time... he may just be a skittish cat and not big on human touch. Some cats are only good with one owner and he may be confused as to why everything has suddenly changed.

Kody answered on 7/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Please give him more time! He's been thru a trauma and cats do not adapt to change quickly (at all). I just adopted an older cat from the ACC that was on the euth list for temper issues, and she has made some progress over just a few weeks. The key is letting them be, giving them space and letting them decide when they're finally comfortable approaching you. Try feeding him tuna and bits of fresh meat in order to slowly win him over. And if he's declawed, what harm can he possibly do? :)

Member 1042289 answered on 7/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


depends.. to some extent in that a mean cat is simply not acceptable around young children. otherwise, you can consider giving it a chance to relax and feel comfortable around its new people - presumably there was someone this cat loved... but cats' socialization is determined at a very young age and is not likely to change for the better in new circumstances. Sad as it may seem, you may have to end up euthanizing, or make a decision to tolerate the bad behaviour if you can

Molly answered on 7/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Imagine for a moment losing your care taker and also losing your brother/sister..moving to a different place...his world has been turned upside down. A few weeks isn't enough time for him to get used to the changes.

Bernice answered on 7/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


If Midnight doesn't trust you yet - you can still make this happen and then you might even not want to let him go.
Did you have a chance to watch some of the National Geographic series about 'my cat from hell'?
They might give you some idea.

Try this if you have time: get in somewhere where Midnight can see your face, but out of reach and just stay with him for a while without talking, but slowly blink at him, think out to him kindly, and see if he slowly blinks at you too (in cat's body language it is known as sign of relaxation, accepting you, even 'kitty kisses').
Do this for a while and just let him dwell and adjust.
Don't invade his space if he doesn't want it, don't pet him, but be around him, talk to him in soothing voice from a distance, and let Midnight make a first move however small.
He could surprise you, and yes, it's a challenge.

Member 877221 answered on 7/26/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Sun ( Sunari)

Yes, a cat losing its previous owner is overwhelming to them emotionally and mentally. If he is fixed He should not be spraying. If anything he would pee outside the litter box but that could mean some underlying health issues. When you are paying attention to Him, get down on his level on the floor Let him come to You, Use fishing pole type toys and when He does something good award Him with white meat chicken or a yummy cat treat. PRaise him as well verbally. NOW, some cats are naturally Prissy or Feral. I have one here she is as wild as they come. ive had her for over 4 years since a tiny kitten and with all the work ive done with her over the years she still is not people friendly. No matter how he treats You guys never stop loving Him, His life has been turned for a
360 and he is scared and confused. since his companion was given to another home he will need EXtra attention. Good luck and god bless.

Sun ( Sunari) answered on 7/26/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Give the cat some time. Let it know you are willing to hang out with it, but only on it's terms - don't force your affection in other words. Over time you will probably see a change.

Mothra answered on 7/26/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Nathanial Patrick

Hi! I can certainly understand your fear and frustration about this situation, but I beg you NOT to euthanize this kitty. As others have stated, spend a few minutes thinking about the facts that this little one has lost every person it's ever known & has been sent to a home that has no smells - no NOTHING that he's ever seen before. This is a baby in REAL trauma. The website for the My Cat From Hell show is Animal.Discovery.com This man is truly magical. First, you need to give this kitty all kinds of safe hiding places & also if he has any way to jump on top of bookcases or high furniture, that will be VERY calming. Many people on the show have been trying to carry their cat around like a baby, and that is a terribly bad hold for a frightened kitty. If you explore this site, and watch this life-saving show, it will give you ideas that are so simple, but can change this kitty's life (and your own) in good ways that you can't imagine now.

Nathanial Patrick answered on 7/26/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


He is hissing because he is scared. It will take time for Midnight to calm down. First, you need to be relaxed when you see him. Cats can pick up our emotions. Don't ever look him in the cats. If you look at him, slowly blink your eyes. This is telling him that you like him. Looking at him directly is a sign of aggression. Give him treats and food and keep him separated from the other cats. It sounds like your husband is on the right track but I would include a pet toy instead of patting him. No direct contract as yet. Play with a fishing type of toy would help. As for tranquilizers, if you start with them, it takes them three weeks to see the effects and a month to get the cat off of them. They do calm a cat down but you have to give it every day by mouth. I did it with my two and my female hated getting the pills. Let Midnight tell you when he is ready to socialize. He will on his own time and be very patient.

Natasha answered on 7/27/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer