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Does my cat have to go?

(26 Posts)
BustyDeLaGhetto Mon 16-Jun-14 15:06:46

Can anyone help? I have a handsome rescue cat, about a year and a half old, ginger, been with us about six months. We were told he had come from a house of three children aged 3, 6 and 9 – I have a DD (3) so it was important that he was used to children.

When he arrived he was very highly strung but I thought he would settle down once he was able to go outdoors but if anything it’s been the opposite. He is a real hunter, catching and killing at least three mice a day in the fields behind the house – I don’t mind him doing this but he has been attacking my daughter since he arrived and this is increased significantly recently. He has bitten at least four visitors to the house including myself and has a ‘reputation’ along the row of terraced houses for being nasty (apparently)

He is neutered. I have spoken with the shelter about ways to curb his behaviour but they seem to think he needs to be rehomed without children. I thought he may be over-stimulated so we restricted strokes to just the head, four strokes at a time. We bought some Feliway which hasn’t made much difference. At the shelter’s advice I bought some new toys to stimulate him away from scratching DD but he isn’t interested.
On Friday he walked calmly toward DD who stood still as I’d told her to when he approached – she is very, very gentle and wary with him – and with no warning signs he leapt at her, biting and clawing at her arm.

Has anyone had any success with cats like this? I have a childless friend who would be happy to take him and I am making arrangements for him to do so but wondered if I ought to take any further steps before this happens sad

Xcountry Mon 16-Jun-14 15:13:23

He sounds like my 2, typical farm cats, semi feral. My kids are fine with them (but my kids are fine in a field with 40 cows) and I clip both cats claws down regularly. Think you may have to rehome though if this isn't what you were looking for.

BustyDeLaGhetto Mon 16-Jun-14 15:24:59

Ugh. I think so too. So sad. he is very loving with me - blinky eyed, nudging with his head for strokes, always cuddling - but is vicious with DD and it's awful sad

I thought he may be jealous of her but not sure if that is a feline trait - I've certainly never seen it before. I don't like the way she has to tiptoe round him either. She is starting to be scared of cats now and I don't want that

GeraldineFangedVagine Mon 16-Jun-14 15:25:33

my cat has behaved like this towards me since I got him eleven years ago. Hes injured me quite badly a few times as well as visitors. Hes warned ds but never attacked him. I have resigned myself to the fact this is just who he is. Its sad for ds though, he'd like a friendly pet, not one thats hes terrified of. Can the shelter help rehome him and you get a cat that gets on with kids better?

GeraldineFangedVagine Mon 16-Jun-14 15:27:39

I should say I can stroke my cat and he can be friendly to me, just randomly evil too. DP, on the other hand, he adores. so maybe jealousy is a cat 'thing'.

BustyDeLaGhetto Mon 16-Jun-14 15:29:23

That's the thing, Geraldine if it was just me I wouldn't mind. I can take the bullying, but DD can't. She is quite a gentle soul and it really bothers me.

The shelter are happy to rehome him, and I will stipulate that children make him stressed. I don't like to think of him being unhappy. I'd love to get another cat, but not sure how soon I can. BIG FAT SADFACE

GeraldineFangedVagine Mon 16-Jun-14 15:32:32

If he started attacking my son or baby I wouldn't keep him. I have wanted to rehome him so many times but hes an old man now and he does have some good points. I really feel for you, vety hard to know what the best thing for you or the cat is.

cozietoesie Mon 16-Jun-14 16:15:38

I think that the time may have come, sadly. Your poor DD - it would be awful if she ended up scared of cats.

Do you know why he was rehomed? Maybe this behaviour is not new - or might indeed have been 'learned' after his previous home.

BustyDeLaGhetto Mon 16-Jun-14 16:32:43

cozietoesie He was rehomed because one of the children was allergic to him - I can't think of any reason why someone wouldn't have made the shelter aware of this behaviour, it's very odd.

BustyDeLaGhetto Mon 16-Jun-14 16:36:39


cozietoesie Mon 16-Jun-14 16:37:51

I can think of at least a couple of reasons if this is not new behaviour - but be that as it may. Does you friend know that he's a bit temperamental?

FreckledLeopard Mon 16-Jun-14 16:39:20

Sounds like our old cat. He used to attack us on a daily basis for absolutely no reason. Neutering didn't help. We were about to start going down the road of cat-Prozac-equivalent when he got run over and killed.

He really would bite, scratch and generally try to kill DD and I. I have no idea what triggered it - he just seemed to want to kill us.

I would also suggest re-homing. DD still has a scar on her cheek where Elmo attacked her nearly ten years ago.

BustyDeLaGhetto Mon 16-Jun-14 16:40:25

I think he was probably like this in his previous home. Possibly. I'd be a bit highly strung if I had three children under ten smile

My friend knows exactly what he's like - (he's seen my scratches and teeth marks) and I think the fact that affection is on the cats terms is quite appealing to him. Also this friend never wants children and he owns his own home so no chance of children or house move in the near future.

cozietoesie Mon 16-Jun-14 16:41:00

Oh Lordy - so he does! Maybe he's the advanced guard of a new type of cat!

Cats with thumbs

Hurr1cane Mon 16-Jun-14 16:44:29

Have you tried hissing at him? I rescued massive long haired tom from being 'dumped' and he was semi feral. He never ever went for DS but DS is NOT a gentle soul. So I think he saw DS as the leader when he came, but he tried to put me in my place a good few times. If he scratched me I hissed at him and he legged it. He has completely stopped now and is the most handsome gentle cat in the whole world and I love him to bits smile

I learned to hiss from my old lady rescue cat, who he went for once, she stared at him and gave him a massive "don't even think about it" hiss and he hasn't even gone near her since

lljkk Mon 16-Jun-14 16:47:50

We have one who lashes out at people, esp. children. After 18 months we have mellowed him down a lot but has been hard work & he still has nasty moments.
He came to us about 10yo & it turns out that a child had previously cut his whiskers. DH says whiskers are really tough & it actually hurts to have them cut, no wonder our guy dislikes kids.

My feeling is that If you can't make peace between your DD & the cat then cat has to go. Nobody's fault.

cozietoesie Mon 16-Jun-14 16:48:02

I tried a hiss once with Darling Oneago when he'd done something sinful and by the time I'd scraped him off the hall ceiling, I decided not to do it again unless the situation was very dire indeed. I think a hiss may be extremely serious in the cat world.

lljkk Mon 16-Jun-14 17:06:01

With our chronic scratcher we found one thing he loved was blankets on laps, he couldn't resist. So that was the starting point. He'd easily go for a lap & I just pet the heck out of him every time. Within what he could tolerate before he'd run off. Slowly slowly he became more tolerant of how much I stroked him. He craves love really. I can now usually rub his tum (I still have to take precautions to avoid scratches a bit, and no one else can do this so easily). The older DC have learnt how to pick him up without getting scratched, & hold him. The younger DC have learnt that a tiny little scratch here & there is more welcome than a big cuddle (our other cats tolerate almost anything). We even get away with a cradle hold nowadays. It's a constant badgering of love & attention to get him where he is, & he has improved a heck of a lot.

I am not a saint, btw. I still think he's a loathsome (mostly) fat slug. Pity is what moved me to try so hard to make him into a nicer cat. And he actually has become much more cat like & likeable. Yours at least is quite a handsome boy to start with.

He scratched my 4-5yo lots in the first year, including in the face, not nice. sad He wasn't one to leap out of nowhere, though, he only lashed out when we were near his space or in his face.

lljkk Mon 16-Jun-14 17:13:01

Hand on his tummy would have been suicide before.

Hurr1cane Mon 16-Jun-14 18:54:04

Oh no hmm don't hiss if the first one scares him to death! My boy wasn't terrified of hisses, it just made him back off, but he is a beast. I couldn't have kept him if he didn't start behaving because he is a beast, paws the size of lions paws and the size of a small dog.

Hurr1cane Mon 16-Jun-14 19:08:34

My rescued half feral tom cat and my orphaned feral kitten (hand reared the litter after their feral mum died and kept one) as you can see the massive half feral tom has calmed down massively now

cozietoesie Mon 16-Jun-14 19:12:56

Aww that photo. It may be my favourite one this year.

Hurr1cane Mon 16-Jun-14 19:13:42

He's a little too laid back now clearly.

Hurr1cane Mon 16-Jun-14 19:14:55

Cozie... Isn't it though!!! I wouldn't have been able to get one quite like it before he existence of camera phones

GatoradeMeBitch Mon 16-Jun-14 23:10:22

Water pistol can help, just a cheap one from ebay or the local toy shop. When he starts towards her squirt him. Assume he always has bad intentions at this stage. He'll (hopefully) learn that wanting to attack your dd has bad consequences for him, and steer clear. Then they can bond when she's older.

The cats in Grey Gardens had thumbs, that was based in the 70s I think? I thought that was an old cat trait that died out!

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