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View Full Version : Any advice on "curing" a bitey, scratchy cat


Hang Dog
March 12th 06, 10:17 AM
We got a tortoiseshell cat from a rescue centre a month ago. She had
been placed in the rescue centre because her previous owners couldn't
handle the behaviour change after they had a baby, previously she'd been
a nice cat (apparently). She was adopted from the shelter but was
brought back because of her biting and scratching. Now we have her.

I took her to the vet the first week we had her and warned him about the
behaviour, he was pretty nonchalant until he removed her from the carry
cage and got the "full on" experience "BLOODY HELL!" was the reaction.

Over the last four weeks she has calmed down a fair bit, and is quite
loving in her own way. Though she won't sit on your lap, she's likes
having the underneath of her chin stroked, and her ears and her tummy
rubbed. She'll also sleeps and purrs next to you on the bed at night.
However, her first reaction on being picked up (say to move her off a
chair) is to bite and scratch, also when being petted she'll switch to
"full on" mode without warning. Although the biting is now more a nip,
its strange because within 5 seconds she's back to being nice and purry
again.

We have no intention of returning her to the shelter but would like to
find a way to reduce the costs in Band-Aids, stitches, tetanus
injections, and other medical fixes.

Ideas anyone?

meee
March 12th 06, 10:47 AM
"Hang Dog" > wrote in message
...
> We got a tortoiseshell cat from a rescue centre a month ago. She had been
> placed in the rescue centre because her previous owners couldn't handle
> the behaviour change after they had a baby, previously she'd been a nice
> cat (apparently). She was adopted from the shelter but was brought back
> because of her biting and scratching. Now we have her.
>
> I took her to the vet the first week we had her and warned him about the
> behaviour, he was pretty nonchalant until he removed her from the carry
> cage and got the "full on" experience "BLOODY HELL!" was the reaction.
>
> Over the last four weeks she has calmed down a fair bit, and is quite
> loving in her own way. Though she won't sit on your lap, she's likes
> having the underneath of her chin stroked, and her ears and her tummy
> rubbed. She'll also sleeps and purrs next to you on the bed at night.
> However, her first reaction on being picked up (say to move her off a
> chair) is to bite and scratch, also when being petted she'll switch to
> "full on" mode without warning. Although the biting is now more a nip, its
> strange because within 5 seconds she's back to being nice and purry again.
>
> We have no intention of returning her to the shelter but would like to
> find a way to reduce the costs in Band-Aids, stitches, tetanus injections,
> and other medical fixes.
>
> Ideas anyone?

Yep. Give her plenty of space. Which I'm sure you're already doing. Is it
possible she was encouraged to play aggressively as a kitten? This could
explain the 'sudden switches'. Best cure for this, is to get up and move
off, no eye contact, and ignore her when she does this. She is either giving
you the 'enough' signal, or has been encouraged to 'play' rough as a kitten.
If you think it's agressive, really watch her body signals before she does
this. If she so much as twitches a tail or ear while being patted, move
away. She may have had enough. If you think she has been encouraged to play
rough, moving off the minute she does will give her the message that the
behaviour is not ok. Also leaving her in the room on her own for a while the
minute she does this will also help. Don't push picking up or petting. It
sounds to me as if she is not a touchy feely cat, and may take some time to
warm up. It is encouraging that she is sleeping on your bed. She may have
just been handled wrongly, and the moving around made her more insecure.
Jasmine (my ex-stray) took ages to allow me to pat anywhere but her back,
and be picked up without scratching. Give her space, and don't pat unless
she asks, then only for short periods. To ease your pain in the meantime,
see if you can get your vet to clip her claws. If you do it, she may
associate you with unpleasantness, and right now you need to be the good
guy. It will likely take a while to gain her trust, but it sounds like you
are on the right track. Good on you for taking on such a difficult case, and
good luck. Please keep us posted~!!

Kelcey via CatKB.com
March 12th 06, 01:46 PM
>We got a tortoiseshell cat from a rescue centre a month ago. She had
>been placed in the rescue centre because her previous owners couldn't
>handle the behaviour change after they had a baby, previously she'd been
>a nice cat (apparently). She was adopted from the shelter but was
>brought back because of her biting and scratching. Now we have her.
>
>I took her to the vet the first week we had her and warned him about the
>behaviour, he was pretty nonchalant until he removed her from the carry
>cage and got the "full on" experience "BLOODY HELL!" was the reaction.
>
>Over the last four weeks she has calmed down a fair bit, and is quite
>loving in her own way. Though she won't sit on your lap, she's likes
>having the underneath of her chin stroked, and her ears and her tummy
>rubbed. She'll also sleeps and purrs next to you on the bed at night.
>However, her first reaction on being picked up (say to move her off a
>chair) is to bite and scratch, also when being petted she'll switch to
>"full on" mode without warning. Although the biting is now more a nip,
>its strange because within 5 seconds she's back to being nice and purry
>again.
>
>We have no intention of returning her to the shelter but would like to
>find a way to reduce the costs in Band-Aids, stitches, tetanus
>injections, and other medical fixes.
>
>Ideas anyone?

http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/aggression.html
http://home.ivillage.com/pets/cats/0,,rmfh,00.html

--
Message posted via CatKB.com
http://www.catkb.com/Uwe/Forums.aspx/cat-health/200603/1

Morgen
March 12th 06, 05:21 PM
There are plenty of good instructions on how to clip the claws, but I
agree, you need to be the good guy right now. After your cat calms
down, you can do it yourself.

Morgen
March 12th 06, 05:21 PM
There are plenty of good instructions on how to clip the claws, but I
agree, you need to be the good guy right now. After your cat calms
down, you can do it yourself.

Hang Dog
March 12th 06, 09:05 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. Part of it is aggressive play. For
example if you've played 'cork on a string' with her she's inclined to
attack you as you passby after the game has stopped. However, I think
most of it could well be petting aggression, and I just need to get used
to her signs. We used to have another tortoiseshell rescue cat who as a
'Little Miss Tooth&Claws' that didn't really like being handled but you
always got a warning growl first.

Thanks everyone.