|"Why does my cat
bite or become aggressive without warning, and what
can I do to stop this?"
||Assuming there are no medical problems
and this is all behavioral, he may be suffering from anxiety. If there
is any possibility that it is medical, he should see a vet.
But if it is anxiety, it could be from his previous
experiences. Maybe from being bounced around, maybe he was bounced
around because he does this. Some cats get overstimulated by attention
such as petting and will bite in response. Some can't seem to get
enough attention and bite to get it. It can be difficult to break the
First look back on the times he bit or "mouthed"
you, i.e. teeth on flesh but no puncture. This is actually not too bad
because he could have bitten but didn't. The question to be answered
in these instances is, was the bite provoked and by what?
I mean was there some interaction occurring,
petting, playing, making eye contact, etc.? Or was it completely
unprovoked i.e. sitting and reading or making dinner and cat comes out
of nowhere and attacks. These are different problems.
If they are provoked, and I don't mean that
negatively, only that there was an interaction, then you can try
behavior modification. You can also consider medicating him
temporarily to help him get through this. The behavior modification consists of ignoring the cat for undesirable behavior. If
you are sitting and petting and he bites, you get up and let him fall
off your lap and walk away and ignore him. This must be consistent.
You should also watch for signs of imminent aggression while petting,
tail swishing, ears flat, dilated pupils. If you see these signs stop
A petting technique that is supposed to be soothing
is TTouch. You can do an internet search on that. It is quarter sized
circles on the head, neck and body, instead of long pets along the
There is a medication called amitriptylline that your vet could
prescribe to help him settle down. It is inexpensive and very safe. It
takes the edge off this type of behavior and helps the cat relax in
his new environment. You might want to consider this in conjunction
with behavior modification.
A good book about cat behavior is Good Owners,
Great Cats by Brian Kilcommons, Also, The Cat Who Cried for
Help by Nicholas Dodman, DVM.
Good luck. He sounds like a nice cat that gets
confused. It would be great if you can help him through this.
|Dealing with overweight
||You say Gabriel is 12 lbs - is that
now or when you got him? I would weigh him now at any rate so
you can monitor him. You can either get on the scale with and
without him, or call your vet's office and ask if you can just bring
him in to weigh. I would think they would do that as a courtesy. If
you think he is overweight some things to check are ribs (can you
feel them?), and belly fat, especially from the side. Is their a
little tuck to the waist? If not, he is probably a bit overweight.
Either of your first 2 suggestions will work. My personal preference
would be to mix a lower calorie kibble in with the regular and then
gradually switch over to all light. They tend to eat more in the
winter because it is colder, even in heated homes and they need the
extra calories. So this is a good time to switch him to light
because he will burn more calories, but he shouldn't feel hungry it
will be too stressful.
Having said that, I recently read an article that a very high
protein diet is more natural for a cat because it is more like what
they eat in the wild and that the carbohydrates from the fillers in
dry food are what cause the weight gain. The presumption was that
that might be why even cats on restricted calorie diets do not lose
weight. So it won't hurt to try the higher carbohydrate light
formula for a while but if Gabriel is not losing weight, you might
want to consider a higher protein diet.
Also remember if you give him treats to factor that into his total
portion for the day, because if not, you just negated everything you
did. So if he gets a tablespoon of treats he should get a tbsp. less
in his bowl.
Also if he likes to play with a feather teaser or cat dancer 15
minutes a day will help because of the extra exercise. I have a cat
here now that was kept severely confined for quite a while by a
previous owner. she weighed 9.5 lbs, which was too much on her small
frame. I didn't change her diet. She was and is on a mix of Science
Diet adult and light. I started letting her walk (limp really
because of damaged knees) and within a month she had lost one pound
due that relatively small amount of exercise.
I hope some of these things help.
Best of luck to you and Gabriel.
|Why is my cat
aggressive toward my new roommate?
woman wrote to say that her cat was showing aggression toward her
is impossible to say what is upsetting your cat with regards to your
It may be something about her looks or possibly scent. At any rate
the best way to get your cat to get along with your roommate is for
your roommate to take care of your cat for a while. Not forever, but
until she settles down. If she is willing, she should be the one to
feed her, give her treats, change her water, even scoop the box when
your cat is there to see it. If your cat likes to be brushed, she
should do that, as well as 10 - 15 minutes of playtime with her
favorite toy. You should not do anything for the cat during this
If the cat is truly out of control initially to the point of
attacking, cover her with a towel to pick her up and put her in a
bathroom or separate room for a 10 - 15 minute time out. I also
recommend that you get a bottle of Rescue Remedy. It is sold at
health food stores and on the internet. It is a very safe product.
It works best if you put 4 drops directly on her tongue. You can
also put it in her drinking water but it is not as effective. Do
this shortly before your roommate is expected home. Another item
that helps with stress is Feliway. They now have plug ins that last
a month. It releases natural calming pheremones.
I remember reading about a very similar situation.
I will try to find the reference, and if there was anything else in
it. I will email you with further info.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it really
shouldn't take to long for her to come around, and the peace and
harmony will be worth it.
Please let us know if this information is helpful.
|Why are my
playing and rolling in litter that spilled
outside the box?
do seem to like to play in litter. They usually grow out of it, but
in the mean time, a higher sided box is probably a good idea. You
could get a Rubbermaid or Sterilite tote and take the cover off
it. I use these because I have a super digger who likes to
spew litter all over the place.
far as getting them to stop, maybe you could get a textured mat,
like the kind you wipe your feet on. The litter will fall down into
the crevices and it won't get on their fur. Maybe they would like
the feel of the texture on their back too. I have also seen cat
scratchers that are in the shape of a stand up horseshoe made out of
a bristle brush. The cat rubs against it by walking under it. I have
no personal experience with these though.
brushing them even though it doesn't seem to help. It is good for
them in other ways. If their skin seems ripply when you brush or
they have dander you can try vitamin E in their food in case it is a
minor skin irritation.
But as I said, chances are they will just outgrow it.
Good luck with your kitties.
won't eat cat food and won't stop begging for
||This cat refused to eat and was
holding out for table food.
||I have a couple of thoughts and observations.
First, Peyton was at the shelter for a while
and she did not get table food there. She definitely was eating or
someone would have noticed it. I think that once she got back into a
home environment, the old habit of eating table food kicked in
again, and cats can be remarkably stubborn about not eating in order
to get what they want. I assume from your message that she won't eat
wet or dry.
You should be able to get her back on cat food with some patience
The trouble with table food is that it is not nutritionally complete
and in order to feed a proper home diet to a cat you need to add
supplements. Most people don't have the time to do this, even though
a properly prepared home diet is considered the ultimate for a
healthy adult cat.
Anyway, assuming you would rather Peyton eat cat
food. I would start by feeding her some of the things Priscilla
mentioned: cooked hamburger, chicken or chicken livers mixed with a
very small amount of wet food. Does she like tuna? Add a little tuna
juice too. Very gradually increase the amount of wet and decrease
the amount of meat or tuna juice. The slower you go, the better it
will probably work. If you get to a point where she won't eat the
mix, go back to the previous step and keep feeding that mix for a
A lot of cats don't care for Iams. If she
likes it, that's fine, but if not, try her on Nutro, both the wet
and dry. Most cats really like the taste of it. You can get it at
Petco and Petsmart. Even if you get her to a 50/50 cat food to meat
ratio, that would be okay from a nutrient standpoint. You can buy a
package of hamburger, make it into meatballs and freeze. Then take
one out and nuke it for her meal. Does she like textured foods?
Maybe the Fancy Feast grilled entrees will tempt her. They are about
as close to human food as you can get in a canned cat food.
Another thing to try is no free feeding. If she doesn't eat after 20
-30 minutes pick it up and toss it. No food until the next meal. Do
not leave any dry out either. Now, if she is eating the dry, but not
the wet, then by all means leave the dry. Some cats just don't care
for wet food.
I hope things settle down with Peyton. It can be very frustrating to
deal with these problems. Many of the shelter cats come from unknown
backgrounds and may not have received the best care like your cat
has. We do our best to bring them to a stable state of health prior
to adoption. Sometimes they regress in their new environment, but
usually they settle in within 4 - 6 weeks.
Let me know if you have other questions.
recently had her cat declawed and now she is
not using the litter box.
cat is in pain and she is associating the litter box with that pain,
so she does not want to go there. This is a fairly common occurrence
after declawing, along with some other behavioral issues that can
develop. Did your vet warn you about issues that can arise after
declawing, such as litter box aversion and increased aggression?
Some do and some don't. I think they do the cats and the owners a
great disservice when they do not fully disclose potential problems.
best you can do now is to try to alleviate the pain and give her
time to heal. Call the vet and ask if she can have pain meds or a
baby aspirin. Then you will probably need to confine her. A large
dog crate (3x3x2) is ideal, because it is a relatively confined
space and they don't like to soil their bedding so they are forced
to go in the box. If you don't have a large crate, try putting her
in the bathroom. Make sure that you spend A LOT of time in the
bathroom with her during this time so she doesn't feel like she is
being punished. If she is using the box consistently she can be let
out with supervision until you are sure she is using her box all the
I hope that if you ever get another cat you will reconsider
declawing or adopt a cat that has already been declawed. The
operation is now illegal in 9 European countries.
Imagine how you would feel if half of all your fingers had been cut
off. She needs total love and support right now.
Good luck to you and your kitty. With patience you can both get