Cat hisses and growls at me after coming home from shelter

by Cheryl

I volunteer as a "kitty cuddler" at the humane society, so it is my job to exercise and show the cats. I've been doing this for 3 months. I only volunteer about 8-10 hours per month.

I've got a 5 year old cat, Ruby, and a 3 year old dog at home.

When I started volunteering, Ruby would smell me when I came home, growl lightly, and then leave. Then it progressed to smelling me and hissing and growling, and then eventually leaving. Now, it's progressed to smelling me and hissing and growling and swiping, and not letting me even walk past her without her spitting and freaking out. FYI -- I change, shower, and scrub my hands/arms to no avail....Ruby can still smell the cats on me!!

I'm wondering if I should stop volunteering as a kitty cuddler, and be a dog volunteer? Is this normal, for cats to "smell" other cats on an owner and FREAK OUT??? FYI -- I am Ruby's other words, I'm the one that feeds her and cleans her litter. I can't believe she'd try to bite the hand that FEEDS and takes care of her??

Can I do something to make this better? Is this normal behavior, or do I own a very difficult cat???

Thanks in advance!!


Answer by Kate
Hi no this is normal behavior. cats have a very acute sense of smell and she can probably smell so many different scents that it is really scaring her. It must smell to her like a whole bunch of cats are coming into her home.

Changing to a dog cuddler may be a good idea for you as this will be less traumatic for your cat. Also even though you change and was before you come home, in would also have special clothes that you only wear to the shelter and if possible leave them there.

Also as soon as you get home, go straight to the bathroom and have another hand and arm wash and perhaps put some of your usual perfume or body spay on and then do not approach the cat for at least 20 minutes. I know this sounds a bit of a nuisance but if she gets used to you smelling of other cats she may begin to become afraid of you all the time.

It sounds to me like you have a particularly sensitive cat and these smells are really upsetting her. its not you but the smells she is reacting too.

best wishes Kate

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