Sudden Strange Aggressive Cat Behaviour

by Tibi
(Tirgu Mures, Romania)

Our Cat Makaroni

Our Cat Makaroni

Hello Kate,

I return with a question regarding our kitty Makaroni. I wrote to you on the 13th about her vomiting and sore throat. Since then the problem has been resolved she is back to eating regularly and she seems to be fine.

Another problem is bothering us. Yesterday my in-laws were visiting. Our kitty was sitting quietly in Andrea`s lap and out of the blue she jumps up and attacks my father in law. She was meowing extremely loud hissing and jumping at him. Everybody got scared and this went on for a couple seconds until my fiancée picked her up and gave her a time-out in the bedroom. After she came out she seemed agitated and sniffed around the room but didn`t act aggressive.

This is not a single occurrence she did the same with one of my friends a couple of months ago. Thing is that they were both sitting in the exact place on the couch... her place.

i`d like to mention that we weren`t acting loud at the time and we didn’t have any bad feelings towards the persons she attacked.

Personally I`d like to think that this is territorial quarrel since she is going into heat next week and i observed she left her feces uncovered when my in-laws were visiting.

I would very much like to hear your opinion on this matter since you have a lot of experience with cat behaviour. Furthermore I`d be happy if you gave us some advice on how to handle these types of situations.
Thank you in advance!


Well it does sound rather odd if she was sitting quietly in someone’s lap and then suddenly leapt up and attacked someone nearby. However there must be a reason, cats don’t do these things without some cause.

Now you say that both times it happened that the person attacked was sitting in her chair and they were both people who are not normally in the house. So yes i do think it has something to do with the fact that she is a non spayed cat who is acting territorially towards strangers who are in her special territory.

It may be that all of a sudden she received a scent from the person, perhaps a breeze or the scent had just reached her, but scent triggers are very common.

I had a cat once that was the most sweetest and gentlest cat in the world and the only time she acted aggressively towards me out of the blue was when I had put on a different perfume and tried to stroke her. Her reaction was instant and aggressive and screed me to death.

Scent is very important to cats and so it is very likely that the combination of strangers in the house, new scents and her territory seat was the trigger for this behavior. Nothing unusual really, just a normal cat reaction.

As for what to do, well i think you do everything right, you give her a time out in another room where she can calm down and relax again. Also perhaps it may be a good idea if possible for strangers not to sit in her chair and if at all possible as your cat seems particularly sensitive to scents perhaps ask visitors not to wear strong aftershaves or perfumes. I know the last one is a little difficult but if family and friends know it upsets her they may understand.

Have you not considered having her spayed? There are so may benefits to this apart from the obvious one. It would help her to be a more relaxed cat as well as having other health benefits for her. I have some information about this here

Anyway I hope I have helped you understand what may be going on with your cat in these situations.

Best wishes kate

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