great cat for 9 yrs but now aggressive

My 9 yr. old Burmese has been a total delight until lately. He loves to travel and has always been such fun. I'm spending the summer in a rental and he loves being outdoors on the second floor deck....he is an indoor cat only. After 3 mos. here he has started attacking me and bites. Usually it's when he doesn't get his way. But now I have to constantly watch him and be aware of his mood as he will attack me from behind. Using a water spray bottle for discipline (not usually needing to spray it) gets his attention but I can't carry it around with me all the time. I'm having trouble sleeping at nite as he will attack in the dark. I'm wondering if the "ourdoor experience" is the cause even though he is one story above the ground. He has a screened in porch available at our other home which is approx. five feet off the ground. He is 14 lbs. of solid muscle and too strong for me to even put him into a room for a time out. I am devastated with the change in his normally great personality and afraid of what the future holds for us. Thanks for ANY help or suggestions.


Reply
Hi
Well this does sound very odd in deed. Often a change in behavior like this is associated with cats who have not learned the barriers of play and aggression but for a cat at his age to develop it makes me think that it is somehow associated with fear.

As you know cats react to fear with aggression. it could well be that something in the area has frightened him and has made him feel insecure and frightened. The other possibility is that he is not feeling well and this can also make them fearful.

My advice would be to first have him checked out by a vet to see if there could be any possible medical reasons for his change in behavior. If he gets the all clear then at least you know you are sealing with a pure behavioral issue.

if it is due to fear then perhaps give him some time inside in one room for a few days to a week. this is not punishment but will allow him to calm down without too many distractions.

Give him some new toys to distract him also.

There are also some cat calming medications and sprays which can help a cat through a period of stress also. See this page for more on these

http://www.our-happy-cat.com/scared-cat.html

Hopefully this is just a case of fear brought on by his new surroundings and possibly something in it, a dog or other animal etc. Sometimes it can be just a smell.

i wouldn't recommned using the water spray at all as all this will do is increase his fear of you and make you more of a target.

By the way the fact that he is attacking you is not because of you but a natural reaction to fear cats have. they strike out at the nearest thing. Make sure also that you are not wearing any strong scents as this too can trigger this reaction.

i hope things calm down for you again soon. try to remain calm in his presence as if he senses your nervousness this too could upset him.

best wishes kate

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