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-   -   need help with my cat's attitude (https://www.veggieboards.com/forum/24-companion-animals/91043-need-help-my-cats-attitude.html)

megbot 12-03-2008 03:05 AM

My kitteh Audrey (see left) will be 7 months old on the 5th. She's adorable and I love her dearly, however she's got an attitude problem and I'm stuck figuring a way to break her of it or train her. Many things I read is a squirt bottle, however Audrey loves water, she jumps in the shower after I get out to play in the puddles.



She does the usual getting on the kitchen table when she shouldn't but I'm giving up that battle, my living companions think its cute and undo all my effort moving her.



The big issue is her attitude to others. I have no idea where it comes from. We found her when she was 5-6 days old. Days. We bottle fed her. She loves us (boyfriend and roomie), she play bites us and jumps at our leg on occasion and whatnot, but cuddles and sleeps with us and demands our love. Nothing ever hostile. My friends however are hit and miss. My one friend comes over with her little white maltese and she loves both the friend and maltese (seriously, they cuddle). She even sits on her lap (very unlike her).



Another friend came over that she never met, and she had a fit. Everytime someone new comes over, she introduces herself by sitting on or next to them, and gives them a good stare. If she approves, she might hang around and sit near you, play a bit, allow a pet or two. If she doesn't as she did with the friend in question, she hisses, and swats. Then runs away. She didn't make contact so he just chuckled. Mind you, this friend is an animal loving vegetarian himself, and not intimidating in size or attitude. So she came back, and hissed at him again from the floor (he was on the couch). But continued on her way. Then she went next to/behind the couch and jumped up at his arm claws out and drew blood. And then ran away. I grabbed her and put her on timeout in my room (she went to sleep). He took it lightly and just asked for a bandaid, but its not acceptable, she needs an attitude adjustment.



My dad came over too, she met him when she was a baby, but she also disapproved and hissed at him the whole visit. Occasional attacks.



She's bitten my bf's friend, but he was a bit too forward with her wanting to pick her up. So I blamed him heh.







ok. so how do I fix her attitude? Some behavioral characteristics that could be related is she gets very cranky when she's tired, she'll paw at us (not scratch, just a soft paw bat) and meow (she never meows) when we pick her up to put her to bed. She also has a hate-hate relationship with her tail (she sees it, hisses at it, gets it, bites it, cries, then sits there making sounds at it until someone breaks it up).



It's also possible her mom was feral. She was found at the apartment complex my roommate works at beside a walk path near the apartments. I thought it was weird for a mom cat to take a kitten in open area, so I assumed she was discarded by a resident.



Thoughts? Its not make or break, I'm just hoping to teach her a little manners.

cstadt 12-03-2008 06:14 AM

I think it's just her personality..



My boyfriend's parents' cat has the biggest grudge against me. I've never had an animal be so mean to me before. Their almost blind, protective matriarch lab didn't even growl-- I first saw her at night and we had to be introduced outside before I could go in. We were buds!



but that cat... To this day, if I walk into the same room as him he will run to me and hit/swat and go hide. I can't even say hi to him from across the room without any agressiveness coming from him...



I try to just keep my dog and myself away from him. Kiki (the cat) has made it clear we aren't welcome





as far as discipline goes I've heard of the time out and spray bottle. Kiki gets in the shower too, they just don't discipline him. I haven't disciplined a cat before either really.



Have you tried a noise maker? You could fill a jar or can with coins or dried beans?

edit: just don't leave it laying around because on second thought, my cat would love a little rolly noise maker...

rabid_child 12-03-2008 06:48 AM

When Monchichi was a baby, the water thing didn't work for him either. He would also sit in the shower with me -- while I was showering (weirdo). The only thing that did work was scruffing him, removing him from the table/counter/etc... and saying "DOWN!" in a really firm voice. He hated being scruffed, and he still knows his "NO!" and "DOWN!" (better than my parents who would say 'NO!' to him when he was on the table so he'd stop what he was doing and they couldn't figure out why he wouldn't get down. lol).



As far as the aggressiveness goes... I've never had that problem so I'm not sure. Sir Didymus is very scared around strangers, but he isn't aggressive, he just hides. I've taken to shutting the doors to his favorite hiding places so that he can't completely remove himself from the situation, but is free to hide in the rooms where people are so that he can get used to having people other than my BF and I around (He is not forced to come out and socialize at all, I just want him used to the noise and activity). You could try having strangers bribe her with toys and treats that she enjoys. You should also make sure her nails are cut short so that if that doesn't go well she will do minimal damage.

cheekywhiskers 12-03-2008 08:05 AM

Although I didn't read all the articles, I found a bunch of good stuff about cat aggression on humane sites: USHS, SPCA and local chapter sites. Also check out information given by Roland Tripp DVM (if you can find more than just parts from his book). He's a vet behaviorist that most people on this board will agree with his methods of training.



The main point I got from the quick search is that ths is usually more of a problem in young adult single cats. It maybe a boredom issue. You may also have to retrain your family and friends to react correctly to her behavior.



Is she spayed yet? Hormones influence behavior as well and may be a contributing factor.

Gweithgar 12-03-2008 11:53 AM

The problem may be that she was orphaned so young, so did not grow up with a mom and litter mates to teach her basic cat manners. Considering her shaky start in life, it actually sounds like she is doing well, and that you have done really well by her, too. Probably the best thing is to just let her take new people at her own pace, don't try to force anything. Make sure she gets plenty of exercise, but don't play "finger games" with her. Use those cat toys on a long pole, so she doesn't learn to "play" with peoples' body parts. She is a teenager right now, and you know what they can be like! Keep her exercised, tired out, and make sure she doesn't feel crowded by new people and situations. She might never become a gregarious cat, but she should grow out of the attack-cat phase, with luck.

Irizary 12-03-2008 12:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nykoelle View Post

I grabbed her and put her on timeout in my room (she went to sleep). He took it lightly and just asked for a bandaid, but its not acceptable, she needs an attitude adjustment...



It's also possible her mom was feral.



Mom being feral or not wouldn't have anything to do with her behavior. They're still domestic cats.



When you take her to give her the time-out, make sure to always handle her gently and not roughly or aggressively, even though you might be a little pissed off. Cats do not respond well to aggression, and if she's already got some issues, it may amplify her own feelings and turn her into a cat geared up for a cat fight (with you). You may need to consult a good behaviorist about her aggression issues. But remember that punishment is not going to work with cats and creates more problems, especially if she's already upset. The best ways are about encouragement for good behaviors, re-direction to better behaviors, withdrawing attention for bad behaviors, and creating an environment where she feels safe.

megbot 12-03-2008 04:03 PM

thanks everyone. I'll keep trying to give her love and hopefully she'll be ok. I'll keep trying timeouts, she might get the hint heh. I do try to always be gentle with her, sometimes she happily takes pets and love, sometimes she runs away. I'm pretty sure she gets enough exercise, we have a long downstairs perfect for her running about, she gets crazy and runs around nuts, so I don't think that's it.



You think she might just outgrow the attack phase and be nicer?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Gweithgar View Post

The problem may be that she was orphaned so young, so did not grow up with a mom and litter mates to teach her basic cat manners. Considering her shaky start in life, it actually sounds like she is doing well, and that you have done really well by her, too. Probably the best thing is to just let her take new people at her own pace, don't try to force anything. Make sure she gets plenty of exercise, but don't play "finger games" with her. Use those cat toys on a long pole, so she doesn't learn to "play" with peoples' body parts. She is a teenager right now, and you know what they can be like! Keep her exercised, tired out, and make sure she doesn't feel crowded by new people and situations. She might never become a gregarious cat, but she should grow out of the attack-cat phase, with luck.



is there a risk to playing with her with our hands? She loves playing with our hands. She rolls around and swats at them and chews sometimes. Not like, painful chew, but almost like she used to when she was a baby. Ok sometimes she's rough, but usually not. If its bad for her we'll stop though.


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