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Old March 22nd, 2012, 02:22 PM
sdc2626 sdc2626 is offline
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Afraid that my cat will hurt my dogs

Hello this is my first time posting, but I'm really worried about my dogs and I don't know what to do with my cat. We never had any animals before we got Bea. She's a calico and she was the sweetest kitten. Not afraid of anyone, very loving to the whole family. But when she was 8months or so we when away on a family trip for christmas and when we got back she was a totally different cat. She became very mean, no one but me could touch her and she became very aggressive. We considered declawing her, but I really didn't want to do that to her- plus i've read that it can make things worse.

Well we eventually got a dog about 5-6months after she became mean and they got along fairly well. They basically ignored each other, so two years later we got another dog and they got along about the same. But now for the last 3 months she's been getting really bad. Attacking me and brother pretty severely. But the worst thing is that she's attacking the dogs daily.

The dogs are both maltese-mix, one is 10lbs and the other is 5lbs. The littlest one is so docile and sweet, but the cat hates her. Today the cat came up behind the dog and attacked her. The dog was screeching and crying and trying to run away, and she was really scared for a while. This is a daily occurrence, and it's stressing us out. We're really worried that she's going to hurt the dogs, or claw at their eyes.

What should we do? We've been very good to the cat, we have given her the entire downstairs and blocked the dogs from going down there ever since we brought the dogs into the home. And I try to play with her, but she's not interested and everyone else in the family is scared to go near her. Lately she won't even let me go near her, and it has been getting worse and worse. We don't want to put down a perfectly healthy cat, so what can we do?

I realize this is a very long post and I apologize, but I just need to know if there is something that we can do. I used to love this cat so much, but now she's become a real problem and i'm beginning to be a little afraid of her. What should i do?
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 04:55 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Originally Posted by sdc2626 View Post
Hello this is my first time posting,
Hi sdc2626, and welcome to pets.ca!


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Originally Posted by sdc2626 View Post
But when she was 8months or so we when away on a family trip for christmas and when we got back she was a totally different cat. She became very mean, no one but me could touch her and she became very aggressive.
How long were you gone for, and was anyone checking in on Bea during that time? Is she spayed?

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Originally Posted by sdc2626 View Post
We considered declawing her, but I really didn't want to do that to her- plus i've read that it can make things worse.
Absolutely not a good idea to declaw her, so thank you for not doing it.

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Originally Posted by sdc2626 View Post
Lately she won't even let me go near her, and it has been getting worse and worse. We don't want to put down a perfectly healthy cat, so what can we do?
When was the last time she was at the vet for a check-up? How do you know she's perfectly healthy? Anytime there's such a drastic change in behaviour like that, it warrants a vet visit, so that's the first place to start if you haven't already.

A few other things to try in the meantime: buy some Feliway diffusers (they emit calming cat pheromones) and put them in the rooms she uses most. If you're free-feeding her dry food, switch over to meals of a good quality wet food (you'd be surprised how much diet can affect behaviour, and a dry food diet is like feeding kids cookies and cotton candy - too much sugar!). Also, I wouldn't leave her and the dogs together unsupervised, so if you can, set her up in her own room with all her toys/bedding/food and litter boxes. Hang out with her in her room as much as you can, but don't try playing with her too much just yet. Instead, sit calmly and talk softly to her (read a book out loud even) and give her tasty treats periodically. You have to re-establish a positive bond with her. She probably senses your anxiety and it's escalating her own.

But first and foremost, get her in for a check-up!

Good luck!
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 06:27 PM
sdc2626 sdc2626 is offline
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hi sugarcatmom,

thanks for your reply. She is spayed and we went away for 10 days, but someone came to check on her and sit with her for an hour a day.

When she turned nasty originally we went to the vet and the vet told us that it was because she was a calico, and she that she had "that type of personality." Now as I said before, she was the sweetest cat around when she was a kitten. She has had problems with matting because she's long-haired, and she hates being touched. But i've been shaving her belly and clipping her nails for a long time (by clipping one or two nails at a time or trying to shave off one mat).

I have an appointment to take her to the vet for her annual, so i'll bring it up again. What is Feliway? is it for aggressive cats?

As for changing her diet, she won't eat wet food, we've tried many different kinds and she won't take any treats either. The only thing she'll take is a tiny bit of plain yogurt on the end of my finger and i don't like to give her that very often.

I often thought of giving her her own room, but always felt that it would be too much like keeping her prisoner in there. She's always been used to roaming where she pleases.

Thanks again for your advice!
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 07:46 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Originally Posted by sdc2626 View Post
She is spayed and we went away for 10 days, but someone came to check on her and sit with her for an hour a day.
Not to cast dispersions on your pet-sitter, but was it someone you know well and trust? Can they recall if anything happened while you were gone that might have terrified her?

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Originally Posted by sdc2626 View Post
When she turned nasty originally we went to the vet and the vet told us that it was because she was a calico, and she that she had "that type of personality."
Ridiculous. I'd be finding a new vet! Did she even do any tests, like blood work or a thorough physical exam?

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She has had problems with matting because she's long-haired, and she hates being touched.
This does make me wonder if she has a hidden mat somewhere that's causing her pain. Some good friends of mine have a long-haired cat with the finest, fluffiest hair you can imagine. They brush her back and belly regularly, but aren't able to get her butt very well. Imagine how horrified they were to find out that she'd developed a small mat at the base of her tail near her bum, and it was so tight it ripped some skin off and caused a painful abscess.

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I have an appointment to take her to the vet for her annual, so i'll bring it up again.
Excellent. But I'd suggest a cat-only vet if you can find one. Also, don't let the vet talk you into vaccinating her at this time. Only 100% healthy cats should be vaccinated and until you can get to the bottom of her "issues", I wouldn't add anymore stress to her immune system. Plus, we're starting to realize that we've been way over-vaccinating our pets, to their detriment.


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What is Feliway? is it for aggressive cats?
Here's some info on Feliway: http://www.feliway.com/us

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Originally Posted by sdc2626 View Post
As for changing her diet, she won't eat wet food, we've tried many different kinds and she won't take any treats either.
What kind of dry food does she eat?

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Originally Posted by sdc2626 View Post
The only thing she'll take is a tiny bit of plain yogurt on the end of my finger and i don't like to give her that very often.
Unless she has an adverse reaction (diarrhea, vomiting), a bit of plain yogurt every day won't hurt her, especially if it helps her bond with you.

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I often thought of giving her her own room, but always felt that it would be too much like keeping her prisoner in there.
Depends on what's causing her aggression. If it's because she's feeling insecure about something, a smaller, less stressful territory might help increase her confidence. Other ways to boost her self-esteem would be by giving her lots of vertical space, like a tall cat tree or high bookshelves where she can survey everything from above. Some window hammocks so she can watch birds etc would be a good idea as well (I think these ones are totally cool: http://www.kittycot.com/).
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