Why does my 1 1/2 yr old cat vicously attack me while I am sleeping?

My cat Petre was just a couple weeks old when I bought him at a rescue shelter. He weighed under a lb. He was very ill & we weren't sure if he would make it. Today he is a very healthy cat. One of the things the shelter had me do was to continue giving him "yummy" each morning to help him gain weight. (yummy is wet cat food) Even still each morning he gets a little bit of yummy to start his day. It's clear Petre loves me dearly and I him....BUT, he has this side of him that has me completely baffled. It will be in the middle of the night & he will vicously attack me on my hands, arms and face. Marks are left but he also draws blood a lot of the time. His ears go back & his teeth show. What a rude awakening. If I put him on the floor he attacks me again & again. Now I tell him "no bite" & put him in time out for 5 mintues in the bathroom. I go let him out & again say to him in a firm tone "no bite" over & over but it's not working. Please help. Thanks...Ann

Asked by Member 605482 on Mar 10th 2008 Tagged biting, cats, behavior in Aggression
Report this question Get this question's RSS feed Send this question to a friend


  • This question is closed.

Best Answer

Caesar - 'Till we are together

My beloved Caesar did this after a while after I rescued him from a shelter. I am not sure why he did this, but he DID STOP, don't loose hope! I was trying to fall asleep when it would happen, not sleeping (from what I remember). Was your kitty intact when you picked him, and then neutered before you could take him home? I had a feeling it was due to the hormone levels going down (my idea, not a vet's). He may have been tramatized from the shelter stay, plus whatever possible trama that happened before that. It seemed that telling him no made him angrier. I decided he needed to know that I was boss, so when he was calmed down, I held him and rubbed my hear over his head and did not yell or make any sudden movements, but did not let him down. He got the point that I was stronger, but loving and the boss. he stopped attacking me, he was the love of my life 'till he passed this last month. Please email me, to go over what to do in more detail. Your poor dear probably had a rough past.

Caesar - 'Till we are together answered on Mar 10th.

Other Answers


Mysty (The Princess)

You are probably moving in the middle of the night and he thinks he is attacking the "thing" in your bed. I have an issue with toes moving-mommy just makes sure they are covered up. Is there a way you can lock him out of the bedroom the next time he does it? Also keep a spray bottle or can filled with small stones next to the bed-that way you can spray him or shake the can and say no at the same time-it may mean more to him. You may also try feeding him before you go to bed, so he has a full tummy at night. Good Luck!!!

Mysty (The Princess) answered on 3/10/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Can't you put his bed in the bathroom? Is he Siamese? I had a Siamese cat years ago and my children now tell me that he stalked them at night. They were teenagers and didn't tell me because they thought I liked him. He seemed to only like my husband, even though he had been a birthday present to me. If I had known, he would have been 1)in the basement overnight or 2) gone to another daughter's farm.

Member 344387 answered on 3/10/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

Hi, Ann. First of all, congrats on saving Petre's life. I know how difficult that can be. Izzie is not allowed in our bedroom because he, also, likes to attack "bed mice". However, he doesn't put his ears back and/or show his teeth. It sounds likes there's something more going on with Petre than chasing bed mice. Is it possible that you snore? Some cats really don't like that sound. In self defense, you may want to make sure you keep Petre's claws as short as possible, maybe having to go to the vet's to have them trimmed if he won't let you do it yourself. I'd tend to agree with feeding him at night, although he's probably not attackig you because he's hungry. It goes without saying that before you go to bed, keep things calm, etc. Petre may be over-stimulated by something. Does he do this right after you go to bed? I'd put him in another room at night not as punishment, but for your own safety.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 3/10/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Tinker Bell 2003-2006

Oh, he's playing. Tink used to do that. I had to tuck the covers under me make her quit. But your kitty is being too rough. Just don't have him in the room you're in at night or while you're sleeping.

Tinker Bell 2003-2006 answered on 3/10/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Chaucer and Poe used to wake me up giving 'love bites'. Chaucer has grown out of it, but Poe still insists on doing it. If I turn over during the night, or move my feet, Poe still goes for them. That is only if I am under the covers. If I am on top of the covers, it doesn't happen. She thinks it is a fun game! I know this because when I change the sheets, Poe and Chaucer do the same thing. Chaucer crawls under the top sheet and Poe attacks. My hubby and I both keep an emergency toy or bag of treats on our nightstand. As soon as Poe starts, we throw, dangle or otherwise entice her with something more fun. It is a hassle, but it's worth it if Petre's claws and teeth are as sharp as Poe's. It is wonderful that you rescued Petre. Poe and Chaucer were both rescues and they both got vitamin paste every morning. Occasionally, Chaucer still gets some as a treat, but Poe doesn't like the flavor. Good luck!

Poe answered on 3/10/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


sometimes milo wants to play when I am asleep so I am usually woken up with claws in the bottom of my feet or he gives me love bites.when hubby is asleep milo will hop on the shelf behind our bed and pounce right by his head or meow constantly.But I have never heard of a cat attacking a person in their sleep.

milo answered on 3/10/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

the kaya skye & shyloh paige

well, this is a little out there, but thought i'd throw it in for the sake of YOUR health. sleep disorders run in our family-narcolepsy, sleep apnea, night terrors. before my father was diagnosed with sleep apnea AND narcolepsy (he won the genetic lottery) he would often be awakened rather abruptly by our cat, jake. jake would scream in his face, scratch, jump on his belly and jump off, jump back on...when he got the c-pap, the cat calmed down. my father's doctor said he'd had other sleep apnea patients whose cats bit or clawed them in their sleep...not only do people with sleep apnea tend to snore, but your cat is aware that you've stopped breathing, and it unnerves them. the same cat used to bite my mother when she was having problems with asthma. so, if you have morning headaches, excessive fatigue, depression or any other symptoms of sleep apnea, factoring that in with petre's behavior it might be you that needs to see the people v*t. just a thought...

the kaya skye & shyloh paige answered on 3/12/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


If he is only displaying that kind of aggression (ears back, teeth bared) in the middle of the night, chances are he is reacting to something you are doing in your sleep. I attack my daddy and mommy when they snore, but I mostly am a "toe assassin" or a "hand ninja", never their faces. If I did that, my mommy & daddy would have me sleep in another room. They have a "behaviorally challenged" foster kitty who my mommy tried to sleep with one time and she attacked Mommy! So now she sleeps in her own room. Good luck and hey Petre, let your mommy sleep in peace!

Your friend Jack (the toe and hand ninja)

Jack answered on 3/13/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer