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cat is very dominant and aggressive

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
Ella

Black is the new- black
 
 
Purred: Thu Mar 22, '12 3:37am PST 
Hello ladies(I presume)! My cat Ella's behaviour is becoming increasingly concerning lately and I am more and more at a loss as to what needs to be done. I found Ella in a park when she was around 4 months old and took her home. When she was about 6 months old she was spayed, before her first heat. Now she is almost a year old. She is very very sociable and curious and talkative and loving when she wants to be. The problem is that along with her not being shy at all, she is extremely dominant and has a big problem when things don't go her way. She had no problem sleeping in the other room when younger, now when I want her to sleep there and close the door she scratches at the door alllllll night long, accompanied with short meows. An even bigger problem is her aggression, she draws blood on me almost daily. When I scold her for something she looks at me, folds back her ears and launches an attack, at my legs, hands, arms, etc and simply does not give up. She attacks only me, I think she is afraid of my boyfriend. I tried ignoring, then spraying with water(she got used to it), closing her in her carrier for an hour, then skipping a feeding time(which is the only thing that works temporarily to calm her down, although sometimes she attacks me in her frustration, demanding what she wants), currently I am giving her 0,2-0,3 ml of Nutricalm daily..But I'm getting tired, worried and annoyed by her behaviour, I work with my hands(make up artist) and it's embarrassing to work with bloody scratches all over my hands. I would be very grateful for your suggestions smile
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CK Angel- Ryder- Knowles

I'm a Carolina- Kitten in New- York!
 
 
Purred: Thu Mar 22, '12 8:56am PST 
Ok, take a deep breath.....
We read your profile on Ella-what a lovely kitten! And she is a kitten! Just a baby! It appears she's alone alot! Why does she sleep out of the bedroom? We ask because it's very natural for cats to want to be with their people-Natalie sleeps between my husband and me, and Bella is in a cage in here recovering from surgery and we, both of us, take turns sleeping on a sleeping bag in the front room with the other cats.
Ella is very young and it sounds like she needs more playtime that is interactive. Get some good interactive toys and spend at least 1/2 hour at a time playing with her, especially in the early evening. She is responding to you as she would to another kitty, which is to play...she's not 'sassing' you, she has alot of energy,like any young creature.
Please don't lock her up for an hour at a time...it will only make her more frustrated and upset...and it's sort of cruel and will just make her feel more frustrated. Her only recourse to getting your attention is to do these things-their instincts for play at this point are all about chasing and catching prey....
We have interactive toys for CK....he likes to 'fetch' his toy mice, he has a box on the floor with holes it it and a toy inside he likes to try to catch, we have a toy on the end of a long string we toss and pull along the floor...and the boys all play with this....

as many interactive toys as possible will help!

We also got great advice from Timmy Tomcat and Tommy Tomcat and Stumpnots Daddy who gave us some wonderful ideas!

CK still loves to play, but isn't as aggressive as he used to be. At 8 months he's becoming a little more careful with us, though he still sometimes plays rough. He'll actually bounce up onto my leg or arm like a boomerang if he wants my attention and I'm not giving it to him. We seldom now use the spray bottle because we just didn't like feeling that we were 'punishing' him for behavior that was part of who he is. Instead, we've begun to really listen to his unpoken language that he uses to speak to us with every blink, tensed muscle, and snaking tail.

Young cats are like y oung kids-reminds me of all the kids now diagnosed with ADHD who just need to get their ya yas out in play...give Ella lots of quality playtime. Don't let anyone....boyfriend included...scare or hurt her!!!! She's a small trusting soul who isn't doing these things to hurt or frustrate you, but to get your attention in the only way she knows how.

Best of luck and hoping other pet pawrents will chime in!
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Ella

Black is the new- black
 
 
Purred: Thu Mar 22, '12 3:25pm PST 
thank you for the time to respond and the advice! I suppose you are right, she does get bored often and could use some more playtime, I will work on this as well as take her out on a leash now that the weather is warmer. She doesn't like to sleep in the bed with us but has a favourite chair in the room, I closed her out of the room for 2 nights due to her going so violent. Still, the way she attacks me is more than just playful, she grabs me with all four paws and scratches and bites and doesn't let go even if i try to pull her away and there's a lot of blood, daily, I don't think that's very normal even with her young age taken into consideration..I love her and I wouldn't want to scare her or stress her in any way, I want her to be a happy little black cat..but I'd like to have a more normal and relaxed atmosphere, I hope something will change soon and I will be a scratch-free mom smile
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Eko

Mr. Eko - dark, but- good-hearted
 
 
Purred: Thu Mar 22, '12 4:15pm PST 
Hello from another fabulous black cat. Even though the attacks seem to be more than just play, play could help release the extra energy that Ella needs an outlet for. So, even if they are not play, play could be the solution (hope that makes sense.) We have three 1 1/2 yr old cats at our house and without playtime they would be violent with each other (for sure) and possibly with us. Thankfully, I don't know how bad it would be because we have scheduled short playtimes several times a day as part of our routine from the beginning. It is even a part of my kids' morning chores. Play that simulates hunting does it for our cats (i.e. wand toys with feathers or mice at the end.) We make them dart around and hide under things like a mouse would. The cats get out so much energy that way. As my favorite cat blog author (at wayofcats.com) says, "Cats need to explode." It is that explosion of energy (in hunting) that helps them survive in the wild. We just need to give them appropriate outlets for that explosion of energy. Good luck.
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Ralphie & Randy

1201140
 
 
Purred: Fri Mar 23, '12 11:38am PST 
Please do not ever withhold food from your cat as punishment, or for any other reason unless it is a medically-supervised fast for a diagnosed condition. Of course it makes her more calm, she's hungry! A lack of food can become very dangerous very quickly for a cat, and you're playing a risky game with her life by keeping food from her in an attempt to discipline her. Find another way.
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Ella

Black is the new- black
 
 
Purred: Mon Mar 26, '12 6:32am PST 
Thank you for your replies. The measures of skipping a meal, as well as closing her in her carrier for a short period to calm down immediately after an attack have been the recommendation of my veterinarian, not my own imagination at attempting to resolve the problem. I think you (Mr Eko) are right about her having an excess of energy, I will play more often with her and take her for walks outside as much as possible, and I am hopeful the aggression issues will fade. I will post about the results shortly, thank you for the advice!
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ZACK

BLACK is- HANDSOME
 
 
Purred: Tue Mar 27, '12 12:22am PST 
wave

Have you ever watched the show My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet? That is a cute show with lots of good tips for pawrents. I am not sure if they are replaying episodes right now or not. But you can also buy the whole 2nd season of 6 episodes for around $11.00 on iTunes. I bet you would find some helpful tips. I highly recommend the show. They cover all sorts of problems and help the humans understand their cat better.

A one year old has a lot of energy and needs to play. Do you have any cat trees or anything for your cat to climb and play on? If not that is something I would recommend.

cat on moon
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Ella

Black is the new- black
 
 
Purred: Tue Mar 27, '12 2:19am PST 
Yes, I've heard of the show, and I'm quite sure they're showing it here as well (I'm in Europe) so I must watch it..I'm a first time cat mom so I'm far from being an expert in cat language and behaviour, I used to have a dog and it was a totally different story smile but I love Ella, she is the most adorable, beautiful and loving cat (99% of the time) and I really want to do a better job at understanding her needs.. yes, we have cat trees, and a lot of toys, her favourite being anything that hangs on a string, lasers, and she plays with virtually everything..I'd love to adopt another kitty to keep her company and be her friend, but the place is too small to make two cats happy..so for now she has only her human slaves as companions smile
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Ralphie & Randy

1201140
 
 
Purred: Tue Mar 27, '12 2:05pm PST 
Ella, I would be very concerned about a vet that recommends starving a cat, even for a short time, as a form of discipline. I do not understand what it is supposed to accomplish other than a short period of hunger-induced calm, and again, it can be dangerous to the cat. There is also the issue of trust. She trusts you to feed her, and when her food is withheld, it may shake that trust. A vet who suggests such a thing is not someone I would trust to take the best care of my cats, and I would have difficulty respecting his opinion on other matters.

Ralphie has a bad habit of nipping us when he wants to play, or when he's overexcited or freaked out about something. When we see the signs, similar to what you describe with Ella, we close him in his room for a while to give him time to calm down. It is obviously best for everyone if we catch him before he nips, so we try to be alert for the signs. It sounds like Ella must still remain agitated when closed in a room if she scratches at the door, so I understand the need for putting her in a carrier. Have you tried a shorter period of time, or does she typically need a full hour to calm down? Ralphie's alone-time is generally only about 10 minutes, and he's back to his sweet self.

Does she attack you in your sleep? Is that the reason for closing her out of the bedroom? If not, I wonder if getting to sleep in her favorite chair at night, along with the other poster's suggestions of extra playtime, would help her feel more secure and happy.

Edited by author Tue Mar 27, '12 2:11pm PST

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Ella

Black is the new- black
 
 
Purred: Thu Mar 29, '12 3:55am PST 
Hello Ralphie! I have to update Ella's profile because I wrote it the week when I got her and things have changes since.. She sleeps in the room with us, on her favourite chair, every night, and sometimes comes to curl up in bed which is okay and sweet and no issue whatsoever. She gets closed out only when she wakes up during the night in an adventurous mood and starts knocking over everything and trying to climb on the TV (flat screen, relatively easy to knock down) which concerns me as it might fall while we're sleeping and not knowing she's there; or when she jumps on my face while I'm asleep sometimes with her claws out. I think it's more a call to play than an attack but it can be a bit scary..So I close her out of the room to play and use her energy in the other room, and usually in an hour or so she starts scratching and we let her back in..The carrier is for when she becomes really aggressive, and she usually spends 15-20min there and calms down. I also try to distract her with toys if i see signs that she is starting to stalk me and is ready for an attack, but she just has periods when she becomes very aggressive and she just won't give up, and attacks 2min after getting out of the carrier, twice she jumped out of the blue straight on my face and head and started biting and scratching without having been closed out or provoked in any way. My explanation is that maybe she is trying to impose herself, because sometimes she jumps on friends who come and visit and acts very dominant. 99% of the time she is gentle and loving and purring, and I'm far from wanting her to do things the way I want her to, I know she's a cat and must have her own way and that's all fine, until the point when she tries to scratch my face and I wonder if she'll jump on it in my sleep, that's not okay and is the only thing I can't tolerate in her behaviour frown it occurs about once a month and continues for a week or a bit longer...
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