Please Help! Cat Attacks Me

by Robyn
(Gardner MA)

I am the owner of Paul, an almost 3 year old cat (as well as a 10 years cat and 12 year old dog). I rescued him from the wild and i have had him since he was just a few months old. Although he was never the friendliest cat, he was never agressive toward humans or other animals(except for mice and moles.) I switched houses last year(to a home without pets) and Paul began to have times when he would become VERY aggressive towards me and would attack my legs and arms until i shut him out of the room. He would go into these spurts of anger seemingly out of nowhere. I just kind of put up with spurts for a while. Then, i moved back to the previous home i was in (with the other cat and dog) and Paul seemed to be MUCH happier. In fact, he didn't try to attack me AT ALL for almost 4 months. Now, he has begun to have his aggressive spurts again. When he does have these spurts, they are never at the other pets or the other person that i live with. I am the ONLY one that he attacks like this. I have looked at everything i can on the internet and i can't find anything relating to this. I have found several things about "playful scratching" but believe me when i say this is NOT playful!!! He definetly wants to really hurt me when he gets into these moods. The weird thing is that he can me super lovable and then just SNAP. Its usually in the mornings when i'm trying to get ready to go to work. I had wondered if it had to do with that and him knowing that i am about to leave but, i really don't know. PLEASE help me!!! I'm at my wits end and feel like i'm out of options!

Answer by Kate
Hi sounds to me like he is playing but because he may not have experienced a lot of interaction with other cats when he was very small he may never have learned how to play. I.e not to hurt etc, this is usually taught my the mother cat and his siblings.

Basically he has to learn that his behaviour is not acceptable and this has to be done using negative and positive reactions. So when you play with him and he plays nice then he gets a positive reaction like lots of tickles and being talked to and the odd treat. but when he attacks he gets a negative response, i.e no sound, no eye contact and is abandoned. this process is described here on my web page about cat discipline

It may take some time as he has learnt his current behaviour and it may take some time for him to learn otherwise, but persistence is the key. if you constantly give him the negative response he will learn that this is not fun but playing nice is.

It is also important that during the day he has lots to keep him active and stimulated so that he doesn't get bored and use the attack game as his only form of fun.

i also have a few pages about this on my site which you may find of interest, here is the first page

I hope things calm down for you al soon and that you have a much more peaceful and pleasant life together. :)

best wishes Kate

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