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My cat is bullying me!

30 replies

EngeldinkHumpabert · 23/08/2012 00:07

My cat is nearly a year old and I have had him for a few months. He's a beautiful silver tabby (neutered) tom and generally he's gorgeous and daft and everything a cat should be.

But on an evening when he comes over for a sit and a stroke, he'll only sit for so long before he suddenly goes all mad-eyed and flat-eared and will launch himself at one of my arms. Even if he isn't sat with me, he will come into the room specifically, it would seem, to have a fight with my arm!

I know cats play quite roughly with each other and can bite each other quite robustly as they have tough skin but this is proper, full on attack mode. Claws in, hanging on, teeth sunk, back legs doing the scrabbly, scratchy thing (does anyone know what I mean?)

I usually have to grab him by the scruff with the other hand and really pull him off me. Then he becomes all lovey and creepy like he's sorry. But then he does the same thing again. How can I stop him doing it? Is there a way or have I just acquired a Psycho HellBeast from Hades? My left arm is covered in puncture marks from teeth and I'm bored of it now! Will I have to resort to wearing chainmail gauntlets or wrapping carpet round my arms for the next 15 years?

TIA for any suggestions or tales of similar behaviour that they 'just grew out of'!

OP posts:
chilled7up · 23/08/2012 00:13

My cat does something similar when he wants food. Could it be it?

HermioneHatesHoovering · 23/08/2012 02:33

He is telling you he's had enough of being stroked. Your challenge is to recognise the point just before he gets to the attack phase and stop stroking him!

HansieMom · 23/08/2012 03:53

You could have a squirt bottle of water ready and when he attacks you, spray him. He will learn so quickly.
We have a spray bottle for our cat, Lola, to get her off the table. All I have to do is pick up the bottle and thump it down on the table and she is gone.

recall · 23/08/2012 04:16

I do a "pssssssst" noise when I spray, and now don't even need the spray, just a loud "pssst" and the cat scarpers.

DukeHumfrey · 23/08/2012 05:11

Hmmm... Is this your first cat, by any chance?

Cats do this. Your challenge is to notice when he's about to and remove your arm from his reach. If possible get a toy and keep it in easy reach so he can attack that ther than you.

Shock at squirty bottle though - not all over the sofa thank you!

HansieMom · 23/08/2012 05:30

It is just water. You would only have to do it once or twice. My spray bottle has a narrow, direct spray. With Lola, she has not actually been sprayed recently, I just act like I am going to use it. We had not had it out in months, but she definitely remembered it!

cozietoesie · 23/08/2012 09:23

Well first you need to break this cycle of behaviour.

I don't use a sharp hiss because it seems like a very serious warning to a cat -which they react to on instinct - so I would save it for really bad trouble. (The only time I tried it after hearing about it, it took me 20 minutes to scrape the cat off the ceiling.)

Personally, I wouldn't use a water spray on one of my pets either. They need to see me as a friend and not a potential adversary in my view.

What I do for bad behaviour is say 'NO! BAD CAT' in a very firm voice - and if no immediate result, put the offending morsel outside the door of the room and exclude it, ignoring subsequent pitiful pleas for long enough for the exclusion to register. Probably easier with Siamese because purposeful removal from the presence of Their Human is about as bad as it can get for them - and they really do know that they've been removed for bad behaviour if you're consistent. Not always easy to train a cat and impossible if it's not in their best interests; so you have to make it in their interests to follow the rules.

The main thing, though, is to work out why he's doing it. Sounds like attention seeking behaviour, over-stimulation or boredom/too much energy and not enough to do with it. (But even over-stimulation shouldn't result in a full-on assault; more a little 'Please Stop now' nip with teeth not really sinking in.)

Is he a house cat? If so, are you playing with him or giving him enough to use up mental and physical energy seeing as he's so young?

EngeldinkHumpabert · 23/08/2012 10:23

Thanks all of you for your answers.
chilled He always wants food. Even when he's just had some.
Hermione it's not always when I have been stroking him. Sometimes he just walks in, jumps up and goes for an arm, usually when I'm typing or something where I don't quite give him my full attention.
Yes, he's my first proper cat (apart from a couple of old dears growing up and an ancient step-cat who is too grumpy to do anything that could be construed as interacting with a human).
He does go outdoors. When he goes out doors, he's afraid of everything...people walking past, other cats, a car in the distance...everything. He goes out for ages sometimes and just mooches about and looks at things, he seems quite happy. Then he comes in and bolts about the house for a while.
But I think you might be right. He's obviously got masses of energy and maybe he channels it into attacking me. I will try the removing from the room and the firm NO as you have suggested.
He sort of came to me fairly unexpectedly, friend had him and then had to move to a No Cat house so I took him in to save him from a shelter or similar. But I love him and look after him and I shall commit myself to turning him into a model citizen of catkind!

OP posts:
ElephantsOlympianParty · 23/08/2012 14:14

Do you have lots of toys for him to play with? String to chase will help him burn energy, and something big and soft could be an alternative to your arm when he wants to fight. My lass has a large catnip fish she fights with - I'm not sure it ever smelt strongly of catnip tbh but she does like clawing and biting it, and it saves my arms!

Cailleach · 23/08/2012 16:49

Hissing is good. Also, do keep scruffing him - that's what their mothers do to discipline their kittens - they grab 'em by the scruff of the neck and pin them down for a second or two...and wait for the apology mew, then they let go.

Also, don't over stroke him - some cats seem to get really over-stimulated by it. When his tail starts thumping, stop stroking.

Saying that, I once had an older cat who suddenly started doing this to me...eventually I cottoned on and took him to the vet - the cat's teeth were in a right state and most had to be removed.

Once back home and recovered after the op, he never bit me again. I think he was in so much pain he was just lashing out. Might be worth getting him vet-checked.

Cailleach · 23/08/2012 16:51

The 'scrabbly-scratchy thing' is them bunny-kicking - they do this to their prey, it causes internal injuries in the mouse / rat / rabbit etc and stuns them, literally knocks the breath from them.

Violent little buggers aren't they? ;)

cozietoesie · 23/08/2012 17:27

Ah - so he's an outdoor cat but a wuss. That's OK. But means that he'll have to burn off more inside than otherwise.

Lots of toys and interaction as others have mentioned. Also might be a good idea to ensure that if he does bolt about the house for a while, he's got some good clear paths that he can use. If he can't get up speed because the furniture is placed in the way or doors are closed then he won't work off so much. Up and down stairs is good if you have any. (Call him to encourage him.)

Just make sure that any valuable china etc is placed away until he calms down.


EngeldinkHumpabert · 24/08/2012 22:16

His teeth are fine, he had a full going over from the vet before he came to me.
He's been out for as long as he wanted today, he's had a yowl at next door's cat and sat and stared at some scaffolders for a while. But after the usual attack yesterday evening, we had a 'talk' i.e. some scruffung, some momentary pinning down and some sending from the room. Tonight, we have had an attack free evening (barring one nip he gave me on the upper arm but that was my fault, I was absent mindedly scratching my sleeve and I didn't notice him going all big eyed and wiggly know what I mean).

I'm not daft enough to think that he'll never do it again but maybe he'll learn eventually. Even if it only teaches him for a few days at a time, better than every night....

One more question, why the hell does he insist on coming in to the bathroom to watch me wee? Every time. Even if he's somewhere else completely..... crazy beast.

OP posts:
crazynanna · 24/08/2012 22:26

My cat is the same age as yours...and does all of these things...even to the bit about going out and mooching around and being scared of anything except flies.

She has a 'mad half hour' where she bombs around. If I make my bed and straigten out the quilt with a 'wooshing' movement...she attacks my arm.

I have noticed though,that dd has been home for summer (she's 14) and I work part time,and dd has been with her a lot in the day playing and chasing and hid and seek. Crazykitten is a lot more quieter in the evenings,not so much madness and scampering,and is sleeeping better and longer. Seems for her it is pent up energy makes her scatty.

She also observes my urine excretion activities.

EngeldinkHumpabert · 24/08/2012 22:34

Oh I'm so glad crazy..... not that you are being beaten up regularly by the cat, but that mine isn't such a violent anomaly!

Weird about the Wee Watching..... the only time I am permitted to touch Bert's tummy is when I am sat on the loo and he is sprawled out in front of me! Does he not think I will disembowel him if I am mid-pee?

OP posts:
crazynanna · 24/08/2012 22:45's all bums together Wink

EngeldinkHumpabert · 24/08/2012 22:50

I suppose I should feed the beast really, or he'll be wrestling me to the ground and feasting on my flesh!

OP posts:
crazynanna · 24/08/2012 22:52

Zombiecat! Shock

Beamur · 24/08/2012 22:59

My (now deceased) cat was just like this too! Went out but very nervy, always followed me into the bathroom (also liked to sit on the edge of the bath when I was in there too) and had very aggressive outbursts - usually when stroked. I used to avoid fussing her too much, and never went up to her and stroked her - only when she came to me but she mellowed as she got older - or maybe I just got better at reading her! She became a very sweet and affectionate (and vocal) old girl.

RugBugs · 24/08/2012 23:00

Can I recommend a cat toy for burning off energy?

Da Bird

It's imported from the US by a cat charity, every cat I have given one to has LOVED it. We have to hide ours in a cupboard or they drag it around constantly, but now they go crazy whenever we open said cupboard Grin

EngeldinkHumpabert · 24/08/2012 23:07

Da Bird looks quite promising, I may treat him to one. He has a sheep on a rod which he likes and a womble !! that he loves to savage. Poor Orinocco.

Beamur mine is very vocal also, he shouts at me all the time when we are in the kitchen.

OP posts:
DukeHumfrey · 25/08/2012 08:21

No idea why cats insist on joining me in the bathroom to watch me wee - but they do, one of them in particular. He also likes to look over the edge of the bath when I am in it and check I have not drowned.


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NaturalNature · 26/08/2012 14:37

He sounds like mine Grin so far we've discovered he likes to stealth bomb from under the dining room table with all claws and teeth clamped into your calf and bed bomb when I'm asleep by jumpimg and landing all four paws on my belly fucking hurts Grin

We're stopping it a firm NO, hard stare and disengaging from him.

He's got a gym he loves, it's about 2ft tall, cylindrical and has holes, dangly balls and a scratch post. Hs does acrobatics attacking the dangly bits. He's got a big mouse he likes to attack too, several different balls and a few scratch mats.

he's also a pee watcher and likes to sleep with me holding his head Hmm Grin

EngeldinkHumpabert · 27/08/2012 18:38

Mine also does the Bed Bomb and likes to lay with me holding his head. I'm so glad so many of you have loopy cats like mine, I was worried he was odd..... Grin

OP posts:
BadgersRetreat · 30/08/2012 21:20

nope not odd - i think your cat might be my cat's brother! Her nickname (among others) is The Toilet Monitor....

yy to ambushes from under furniture (but only me, not OH) and also to attacking when stroked, or for no real reason at all

we've got very good at gauging when she's had enough now. Though DH likes to get her going and have a play fight with her which i disapprove of a bit.

she loves a game - especially string

will look out for da bird - reckon she's bloody love that!

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