Punishment for Bad Kitty? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-11-2008, 10:56 AM
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Hi everyone. First I'll give a little background info on Blackbeard. I took him in a little shy of a month ago. Well, actually he just decided to live here one day. He was either a very social stray that had an exceptional trust of humans, or "belonged" to extremely irresponsible owners. When i found him, he was roaming the streets un-neutered and without a collar. Regardless, he appeared well-fed, clear eyes and a healthy coat with no parasites or battlewounds.



He was so sweet and trusting, he just followed me in the house one day. I fed him and cuddled him so he decided to hang around. I took him to the vet last week to have his rabies and FeLV vax, distemper shot, bloodwork, stools tested, the whole works. So he's up to speed on all that.



Unfortunately, he cannot be neutered for another 2 weeks because he's having tummy troubles which needs to be cleared up before the surgery. Most of the time, he's very sweet and affectionate and just the best kitty you could ever ask for.



However, once every other day or so he will suddenly become extremely aggressive without warning. This is definitely more than just play biting and pouncing. He starts growling, puts his ears back, and will just leap and sink his teeth and claws into me. A stern "NO!" and a clap of the hands just makes him more agitated and he becomes defensive and will keep on attacking. If I turn my back and walk away, he pounces again. I've resorted to throwing a towel over him, grabbing him up and locking him in his kitty carrier for a 20-minute "time out" because I'm not sure what else to do. When he comes out, he's back to his normal calm, sweet self.



Now i know his being un-neutered has a lot to do with this and probably also the fact that he is frustrated about going from an outdoor to an indoor cat. I'm just wondering if anyone knows of a better way of "punishing" him, or is this OK? Do you think neutering will definitely help is aggressive tendancies? My boyfriend and I have already been bitten pretty badly by him a few times each (as in puncture wounds, severe bruising and infection.. we've been attacked in the legs, midsection and neck so far). If this behavior goes on much past his being neutered, we're going to go crazy. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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#2 Old 08-11-2008, 11:03 AM
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We use a spray bottle with water to discipline our cats. They do something bad, you give them a good spray until they cease to do what they're doing. Soon they will get to where all you have to do is show them you have the spray bottle in your hand... They know to stop
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#3 Old 08-11-2008, 11:10 AM
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^^ I knew people that did that, too.



I've never really heard anything else about disciplining cats; I've never done it. My cat isn't an 'outside' cat, though



Spray bottle seems like an alright idea
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#4 Old 08-11-2008, 11:49 AM
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i like the plan you're using already. thats the plan i'd use. i'm not a fan of squirting cats with water. i know they probably don't appreciate being wrapped up and plonked somewhere, but i bet they hate being squirted more, and my aim isn't to piss them off or scare them, but to avoid harm to either of us.



swaddling them and taking them somewhere boring gives them a them a clear sign that swiping me doesn't result in anything fun for them, and gives time to simmer down. that seems smarter than winding them up further, threatening them, and having them run off somewhere, to me.
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#5 Old 08-11-2008, 11:52 AM
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I did consider the spray bottle. I just know it never worked on my other cat.. we tried to use it to keep her off the kitchen table, but she would never budge.. she would just sit and cower on the table until she was completely soaked lol



but then again, Blackbeard is not my other cat. so maybe we'll give it a shot.. thanks!
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#6 Old 08-11-2008, 11:53 AM
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I think spraying them is a bad idea. Getting them wound up isn't going to help anything. Your current plan sounds like the best idea, though I'd try to find somewhere other than his carrier so he doesn't start associating it with punishment. That would be travel very difficult.
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#7 Old 08-11-2008, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoodedclawjen View Post

i like the plan you're using already. thats the plan i'd use. i'm not a fan of squirting cats with water. i know they probably don't appreciate being wrapped up and plonked somewhere, but i bet they hate being squirted more, and my aim isn't to piss them off or scare them, but to avoid harm to either of us.



swaddling them and taking them somewhere boring gives them a them a clear sign that swiping me doesn't result in anything fun for them, and gives time to simmer down. that seems smarter than winding them up further, threatening them, and having them run off somewhere, to me.

I agree with this. I never liked the spray bottle idea.
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#8 Old 08-11-2008, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by hoodedclawjen View Post

i know they probably don't appreciate being wrapped up and plonked somewhere, but i bet they hate being squirted more, and my aim isn't to piss them off or scare them, but to avoid harm to either of us.



Exactly what i was thinking. The spray bottle seems more of a "distraction" technique than the time out, which is more of a "this is what happens when you're naughty and now you pay the price" approach. The reason i was sceptical of the spray bottle is because like i said before, the "NO!" and loud hand clapping just seems to piss him off more. I can't imagine how much more agitated the spray bottle might make him...
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#9 Old 08-11-2008, 11:57 AM
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My cat has acted like that a few times. A 17 pound cat with the munchies for your legs can be a handful.



I too like the idea of letting him quiet down. I'd take a couple steps towards him so that he'd back off, and close him into whatever room he was in. After a couple of minutes he'd be back to his old self.

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#10 Old 08-11-2008, 11:58 AM
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one thing my mum always did that seemed to help a lot was when she had them all swaddled up and was moving them, was to hold firmly onto the loose bit of skin on the back of their neck while she moved them. its what their mum would do when disaplining and moving them, and it subconciously reminds them that they're safe, and to relax and submit to the bigger cat (you) who is in charge now. you could even make an 'i'm cross! bloody well sit still' mummy-cat growling noise, hehehe. i've seen vets suggest using a bulldog clip, which apparently doesn't hurt them, but thats a bit much for me, and not a risk i'd like to take. a good firm hold on that bit of loose fatty skin seems good enough for us. its also handy when you're giving them pills.
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#11 Old 08-11-2008, 12:01 PM
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With my cats a stern "HEY!" usually works. Sometimes I'll go "psst!" really loud between my teeth and that will normally stop them in mid-whatever they're doing.



My cats don't attack me though. They're just overly curious and everything is a toy to them.
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#12 Old 08-11-2008, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoodedclawjen View Post

one thing my mum always did that seemed to help a lot was when she had them all swaddled up and was moving them, was to hold firmly onto the loose bit of skin on the back of their neck while she moved them. its what their mum would do when disaplining and moving them, and it subconciously reminds them that they're safe, and to relax and submit to the bigger cat (you) who is in charge now. you could even make an 'i'm cross! bloody well sit still' mummy-cat growling noise, hehehe. i've seen vets suggest using a bulldog clip, which apparently doesn't hurt them, but thats a bit much for me, and not a risk i'd like to take. a good firm hold on that bit of loose fatty skin seems good enough for us. its also handy when you're giving them pills.



I do like this idea as I've heard success stories from others about it. Now, if i could just get my bare hand to the back of his neck without him taking off a few fingers...



I swear, when he gets into his moods he reminds me of those old cartoons where two cats are fighting and all you see is a cloud of dust and claws and tails flying out with a bunch of howling and hissing...
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#13 Old 08-11-2008, 12:08 PM
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Perhaps when he's neutered he'll simmer down a little.
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#14 Old 08-11-2008, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Katt Fink View Post

I do like this idea as I've heard success stories from others about it. Now, if i could just get my bare hand to the back of his neck without him taking off a few fingers...



I swear, when he gets into his moods he reminds me of those old cartoons where two cats are fighting and all you see is a cloud of dust and claws and tails flying out with a bunch of howling and hissing...



yeah. sometimes you gotta just drop a towel on them, wrap them up, and then go for the neck. cats are intense when they're cross. perfect little killing machines. but no match for a large heavy bathtowel and a pair of thick gloves. major design flaw.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon View Post

Perhaps when he's neutered he'll simmer down a little.



i reckon. poor chap. must be horrible to be all frustrated. i bet they don't make cat ...erm... 'toys' like those dog ones you can get to help them with that. i don't think cats would be thick enough to go for it either.
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#15 Old 08-11-2008, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by hoodedclawjen View Post


i reckon. poor chap. must be horrible to be all frustrated. i bet they don't make cat ...erm... 'toys' like those dog ones you can get to help them with that. i don't think cats would be thick enough to go for it either.



ahahaha.. yeah, if he makes love anything like he "takes out his aggression" i'm doing the lady cats on the street a favor by keeping him in. My vet said he's VERY intact - said she's neutered pitbulls 5 times his size (he's still an itty thing - only 7lbs) with weebles half the size of his. They're like walnut-sized aggression storage tanks.



So i'm REALLY hoping his neutering will calm him down a bit... never had a male cat before so I don't know what the success rate of neutering is, haha
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#16 Old 08-11-2008, 02:45 PM
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Be very careful neutering when an aggression problem is present, it can in some cases 'set' the behavour and make it difficult to fix. It could also go the other way and help the problem but without knowing the roote cause then you do run that risk of 'setting' the behavour. I personally would want to know the roote cause before going ahead with neutering.



I've done a bit of reading around on cat behavour and from what you describe the behavour could be a common issue called 'play aggression' http://www.usask.ca/wcvm/herdmed/app.../cataggre.html it can seemingly be 'more than just play' but is just a case of a cat not knowing his/her boundries.



I would read up on play aggression and try some of the redirection and reward based methods on that site in the next two weeks, I believe positive punishment (squirting water, shouting) should always be a last resort due to the stress to the animal, unwanted fallout and poor results. Also read up on how testosterone affects play aggression and if neutering would help or hinder treatment, you could join cat forums or email experienced cat people to get that info if you can't find it anywhere else.



If after two weeks then you don't see any improvement or you don't feel your cats symtoms point to 'play aggression' then I would ask for a referal to a behavourist through your vet. Good luck
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#17 Old 08-14-2008, 07:47 AM
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honestly, I don't mean to sound unhelpful, but DO NOT HANDLE the cat while it is angry, especially if it bites. Scratching is uncomfortable, and somethign to be weary of, but a catbite can be life threatening. I would reccomend leaving the room immediately, where the cat can not get to you in the meantime, and consult your vet and an animal behavior specialist.



Never underestimate a cat bite:















The above is a picture of me, home for an hour from the hospital, after a cat bite. My other arm was also damaged, and the infection set in within 30 minutes of the biting. I could not use my wrist correctly for several weeks, I had to be on IV for a week,antiboitics in pill form 4x daily for a month, and I still have the scars. This was a year ago, and inflicted by a our friendly family cat, after seeing the neighbours boxer.



2 months ago, I suffered from another bite wound from the shelter I volunteer at.The cat attacked unexpectedly, bit and I was rushed to the doctor immediately. Luckly the wound was steralized, and I only had a minor infection, so 2 weeks of strong antibiotics, 4 times daily took care of it. This was from a single tooth peircing the skin. This cat was deemed stable by a temperment test, only a week before the attack, and was later rehabbed, put in foster and adopted.



PLEASE do take this seriously. Clapping,spraying a bottle, or time outs are not adequate ways to deal with such a dangerous situation.
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