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Unprovoked, without warning Vicious attacks while petting.

Gabor VargaGabor Varga Member Posts: 2
edited 14 June, 2014 in Behavior & Training
I've tried looking on line for answers for this problem, and although I have noticed others attempting to explain the same type of problem with their cats, the people giving advice do not seem to understand the extent of the situation, so there doesn't seem to be any real answers anywhere that I looked I had my cat since she was a month to two months old. She is now 8. She is neutered, and is up to date with all of her shots. She appears to be healthy and normal and is very affectionate and is always close by me. I can touch her anywhere, without concern. The Problem: Recently, on three separate occasions she has VICOUSLY attacked me without obvious reason. This is NOT playful attacks, or a mere quick bite. It is NOT the friendly swipe while walking past her as many cats, including mine sometimes tend to do. Prior to these attacks everything seems to be quite normal. She will cuddle up next to me, and I will start to pet her. She reacts as she always does by purring, squinting the eyes, and rubbing her face against my hand. She doesn't show any signs or symptoms of discomfort on any part of her body as I touch her. Then all of a sudden she will get this “crazy” look in her eyes. He pupils will dialate and I can feel her slightly tensing up. From past experience I know what is coming and I also know that for some reason we have gone from everything normal, to an imminent VISCOUS attack. At this point if I try to gently push her off she will not leave, but gets into to an attack position. If I move my hand away, she will not leave, but will gaze at me with her body tensed up, and a very pissed off look on her face. The last time (this morning that it happened) in order to avoid being scratched up I firmly grabbed her skin on the back of her neck in order to try to put her down from the sofa. I know that a gentler move would have been futile. Although in this position she was not able to attack, she was acting insane, meowing and hissing at me, YET, she kept her claws in the sofa and my shirt and was fighting to stay where she was. I finally managed to get her away from me, and put her on the floor, although not without getting two scratches that were deep enough to draw blood. Once on the floor she continued to look insane and appeared ready to jump back up and inflict more damage. Before she was able to do so I took off my slipper and whacked her butt. It should be noted that I do not believe in hitting my cat or punishing her in such a way, but I do not feel that I had any choice. When I hit her she ran away a few feet, that walked back and glared at me from a bout three feet away with the same intensity. I finally threw the slipper at her (It's a very soft slipper) and she ran into the next room, only to come back out a few seconds later. At this point she appeared to have calmed down a notch or two and she laid down about five feet away from me still appearing upset but with some control to her behavior. I just want to point out again that I am not talking about the usual playful or even rough type of play or dominant type of attack. This is a violent, vicous and UNPROVEKED attack that looks more on par of a Kill or be Killed type of attack. Each time this happens, it seems that about an hour or so later she is completely her loving and friendly self as if nothing has happened. After the last few incidents I would pet her, and firmly yet gently massage her all over in order to see if there are any sore spots on her body to make sure that her behavior is not a pain issue (I'm a nurse so I have some experience in this), yet she seems perfectly fine without any signs of discomfort anywhere. So, anyone know what is going on? Thank you.


  • Tara McLeanTara McLean Member Posts: 113
    edited 5 February, 2013
    Over Stimulation and Excitement Aggression "An often perplexing case history involves a cat that one moment lies peacefully purring on the owner's lap, happily accepting affection; and the next moment, erupts into a rage of claws and teeth. The owner is shocked by the sudden attack. It's actually normal behavior for cats to have quick reversals of mood and behavior. There's a fine line between enjoyable petting and irritating handling. Once the petting reaches a certain threshold, the cat will reject any further touching. The cat says, "Stop it!" by biting or scratching. Perhaps a sensitive or painful area was unknowingly touched. Continuous pleasurable stimulation can overexcite the cat causing aggressive behavior. The cat becomes sexually excited and the resulting aggression is a part of normal sexual behavior." (Taken from ) I wonder if you stopped petting her, just get up and walk away from her, before she attacked if she would eventually stop this behavior? What you describe sounds a lot like she is being overstimulated though if she is spayed I'm not sure if the 'sexually excited' portion would apply or not. It would be beneficial to have her in to the vet for blood tests just to check that there isn't anything else going on. I'm assuming also that this is a recent problem and that she has been good over the last 8 years. Has anything in your household changed lately? Have you or other house members been stressed out at all? I would keep a blanket handy so when she starts to go into attack mode you can safely pick her up and get her off the couch, though the slipper seemed to work OK lol, quick thinking! Hope that helped some, keep us posted! I'm curious to see what other members suggest as well. ~Simon and Hunter
  • Gabor VargaGabor Varga Member Posts: 2
    edited 5 February, 2013
    Thank you for the response. Over stimulation? That's kind of hard to pin point, because she is the one who comes over, and snuggles up to me. Even if I stop petting her when I sense that things are very quickly changing it seems to be too late. You asked if she has done this previously during the past few years. She has on rare occasions. I would say that it used to be maybe once every few months. These last few attacks have taken place about two to three weeks apart. Searching this site, unfortunately the closest that I've seen to a similar situation was from a lady who eventually found out that her cat had a brain tumor and had to put it down. I did take her to the vet about three and a half months ago for intense scratching, which turned out to be a flea problem, which was quickly resolved. At that time the vet brought her up to date with shots and did a quick exam on her. She got a clean bill of health, but no blood work was done because there didn't seem to be any need for it. There are two major reasons that I haven't made another vet appointment at this point. The main one being that I'm unemployed right now, and I can't afford extensive testing on her. The second, which is a less of an issue but it still bothers me, is that the last time that I took her to the vet was the first time in about seven years. She is an indoor cat and I'm pretty much her only companion, which made the trip quite a bit traumatic for her. As we came back into the building where I live, she somehow managed to unzip her carrying case from the inside, and sprint up to my apartment and almost clawed her way through the door. However, if the attacks continue or especially if they become more frequent, I guess I will have to figure something out. I should be back to work in a few weeks so money might not be such a big issue by then.
  • Tara McLeanTara McLean Member Posts: 113
    edited 5 February, 2013
    It may still be over stimulation. She comes up and initially wants contact, you stop when you notice she puts on her crazy face, which by then may be too late. Try stopping the affection while she is still in lovely dovey mode and see what happens. Sometimes it only takes one pet too many for a cat to decide they've had enough so by stopping before you've reached that point and leaving her wanting more it should (hopefully) just eradicate that behavior all together. I know what it's like to be unemployed and worried about fur-baby health so I feel your pain! Vet bills are never cheap!! Hang in there, I'd try the "I'll only touch you a little bit" method and see if that works at all, if not then I would put it down to medical issues and have her tested. I hope it's not a brain tumor!
  • Michelle BrundrettMichelle Brundrett Grand PrairieMember Posts: 405
    edited 6 February, 2013
    Tia has been doing that! I didn't think about it being over-stimulation. Please keep us updated on how this goes.
  • Mary DubuissonMary Dubuisson Member Posts: 296
    edited 6 February, 2013
    You might want to also get her checked by a vet. A change in behavior could mean something's wrong. Better to be safe than sorry I think. There may be some clinics in the area that can work with you about cost. Mine are good about that. Edlt: Never Mind, I missed the part about the vet.. My apologies.
  • Elly MentalElly Mental Member Posts: 2
    edited 11 October, 2013
    Hi I note that u became unemployed is that when she turned on u? It could simply be that she usually snoozes where u sit while you'r at work & now she has to share the seat 24 7? you assume(as would I0 that she jumps on u for fuss when she just wants to curl up. Try changing where you sit in the day? Regards Carolyn
  • Elly MentalElly Mental Member Posts: 2
    edited 11 October, 2013
    I meant to say I find the best deterrant that stops attacks instantly is an air duster, the cans of air used to clean cmputers. Sounds more like cat speak for =pack it in=
  • Laura ChadwellLaura Chadwell Member Posts: 2
    edited 25 October, 2013
    Hello! I am having a very similar problem. My cat is 7 months old, neutered, up to date with shots and in good health. He is a siberian, from a breeder. He is able to be picked up, petted everywhere, very affectionate and social as most siberians tend to be. His attacks are completely without warning. Sometimes he attacks us while we are trying to fall asleep; sometimes while we are watching TV; sometimes while playing with a toy mouse. He does get the crazy look in his eye, and when he does, there's nothing we can do to prevent the attack, he's set on attacking us no matter what we use to distract him. We are also against hitting, yelling, or punishing the cat, but there is very little we can do to prevent it once he gets set on attacking us. Spray bottles work a little bit. His attacks are VERY violent, leave us bloody and scared. My husband and I are frightened to bring children into this environment, but we love this cat! He does frequently have a lot of alone time, as we both work busy schedules, but we play with him as much as we can and buy him lots of toys, but I do acknowledge this could be an issue. Thanks in advance for help!
  • Shelley CoxShelley Cox CarbondaleMember Posts: 2,752
    edited 26 October, 2013
    It's Stella. It's unusual for an adult cat to develop the overstimulation response late in life. We would guess either something on her is painful and when you touch her it sets the pain off. The other would be some kind of seizure, which sounds more likely given that you say she has a "look" before she attacks. That will mean she would have to be seen by a vet and get some meds for it. Have you tried Feliway and the other OTC things that help to calm kitties? So sad for both of you that you cannot enjoy each other's company. PS Could it be some kind of delayed reaction to the flea meds she was given? Some of them affect cats in strange ways.
  • Lisa DausmanLisa Dausman Member Posts: 5,216
    edited 27 October, 2013
    Hi Charlie, I can tell you how to fix this, I have show cats, but sometimes I find, that telling someone the truth, even tho its what they asked for, can sometimes get me in trouble, so I have to be very careful, how I word it, which, I don't do anymore, LOL, its just too time consuming, and makes my head hurt, LOL. :)) So, I will approach this another way. :-h We all know what happens, when parents don't disaplin children, or teach them manners and responsibility. Its part of shaping them into well adjusted and responsible adults. You mentioned the possibility of children. What are your plans to teach the child manners and responsibility? Think of your 7 month old kitten, as a young child, he must be taught "now" what his boundries are, same as a child is taught, he must be taught manners "now" and he must be taught, his parents are the head of the pride, and he must yeild to you both. Mine are very very well behaved. They didn't come from the breeder like that, they were taught and trained, starting as 8 week old kittens. I can tell you, if you don't correct this right now, very minor and very easily corrected issue, its just going to get worse. If you asked Jackson Galaxy, he would tell you the truth, but, he ain't gonna get in trouble for it, LOL. I also know all about Siberians, they are rare and very expensive, and you went thru a very lenghthy and very carefull screening process by the breeder. They felt this was a good match, or you wouldn't have the kitten. The breeder is there to help you, with any problem, they want you to contact them, if you have an issue, they want the kitten to have a good home and be taught manners. I also know, that neutering him, was in your contract. Some let the kitten go, and require proof of neutering, before they give you registration papers. I know how Siberian breeders are, most, will have him neutered and all his shots, before he goes to his new home, usually at 12 weeks, some at 16 weeks, I get to take mine home at 8 weeks, because I am very well known on the circuit, and very well known for having very well behaved kittens on the circuit. Best to contact your breeder, they will be very happy to help you with this, and they aren't going to get in trouble, for telling you the truth, LOL. :)) How you do this, is no different, than a momma kitty, disaplining her kittens, its the exact same principal. Best of luck, whatever you decide to do, but ya gotta do it "now". :-h
  • Arna CohenArna Cohen Member Posts: 565
    edited 29 October, 2013
    To Morticle's owner: I think there may be something neurological or a chemical imablance going on, because this is a new behavior for your cat. When you are able, take her to the vet for bloodwork. If you live in the U.S., visit or the ASPCA website to find organizations that could help you financially.
  • Kirsten KnottKirsten Knott Member Posts: 4
    edited 8 November, 2013
    I just wanted to let you know, I know exactly how you feel. My cat would do that sometimes and everyone was like, "Oh, she's playing!" Then eventually a friend (who's an animal technician) saw an attack and actually had to pull Nova off my arm. There was a fair bit of blood (considering) and she'd ripped my cardigan. People took me more seriously after that! I've come to realise I can distract her with certain toys, and she's gotten better as she's gotten older, which I know isn't relevant to your circumstance but I just wanted you to know that I get your pain! Now, when Nova randomly attacks, I'll pop her into a different room and close the door. She's got toys all through the house, so she expends the more violent energy by herself, and then I'll play with her.
  • Lisa FLisa F Forest HillsMember Posts: 67
    edited 12 November, 2013
    I'd say get her checked by a vet if there's any way to do it financially. I also agree to try playing with her more often if you can to try and expend some of the energy. Although Violet's a sweetie, she's more "nutso" on evenings when I haven't had the time to play with her. She's much calmer when we get some one on one play time.
  • Caitlin MercuryCaitlin Mercury Member Posts: 8
    edited 15 December, 2013
    I'm glad I came across this post, I too am having a similar problem which I have booked in to see a vet behaviourist about. My cat is 2 years old and I have been having problems with unprovoked attacks when standing up to walk one or two metres to the kitchen or bedroom and being launched upon by him and bitten first on my foot and if I don't react (which I feel he's waiting for a reaction) he bites harder and higher up, the other day he reached my thigh drawing blood and with each attack he's almost up on his back legs and ears back coming back for more! like he's snapped into a completely different cat! He's generally a very friendly, happy , social cat with no fear so I don't understand why he acts this way. It doesn't make a difference if I react and yell or if I remain still and quiet. I'm trying some extra play sessions and trying to get down lower when passing him in case it is my height that is suddenly frightening him. I've noticed this happens 95%of the time at night, and after his dinner never before. I can have 2 weeks straight of no attacks and then he does it again. I love him so much and I can't wait to get some more info from the vet soon and perhaps some of you also. Caitlin.
  • Caroline SauersCaroline Sauers Member Posts: 1
    edited 11 June, 2014
    To the OP, i too have the same problem. she wont behave like this with the men in my household. only me. i am the only female. feliway only works so much. i have had to cloister her away from the men in the household. she liked to sniff/snort/huff their underwear, backpacks, shirts, shoes etc. her aggressive attack behavior that you described would worsen after she got into testosterone laden clothing. i am at wits end. i love my kitty. but i cant walk into a room sometimes without being attacked viciously and for no apparent reason. no she is not in pain. when she is like this only my teen sons can hold her or pet her!!!!! the problem with that is that teenage sons are not home enough to protect me. help!
  • Patti DevriesPatti Devries Curled on a warm robeMember Posts: 1,374
    edited 12 June, 2014
    I've had so many cats I should be an expert by now but I agree there could be something medical or neurological going on. Then again there are some perfectly healthy cats that just aren't happy campers sometimes. Our Ninja is affectionate to the point of being obnoxious most of the time. He'll twirl around us, around the dogs and other cats too...demanding attention. Some nights he'll jump on the bed and pace over dogs and humans the same way. Purring, rolling, making muffins and chirping "Pet me, pet me, I am here, I am here!!!" BUT if you try to pick him up or put him on your lap and it's not his choice he growls and spits. Go figure...Perfectly lovey when it's his choice, not yours.
  • Isla OstenIsla Osten Member Posts: 2
    edited 14 June, 2014
    Hey, I've been having similar problems. My cat is a year and a half old, i got him when he was 5 months old, he's neutered, up to date with shots and healthy. He had a vet check and his yearly shots bout 2 weeks ago. It's only happened about 3 times, one being today where i was lying in front of the heater and he came and lay next to me and snuggled up, i patted him for a bit then he rolled onto his back, I then patted his stomach, he wrapped his paws around my arm then lightly bit my hand, I gave a little growl and said no, slowly pulled my hand back then stood up. He then got up, ears back, dialted pupils and the weird meow he does when he sees the neighbors cats ( although to be fair he only ever sniffs them, never attacks) then he stalked me as i slowly walked back towards the kitchen where i sprayed a bit of water on him and he ran off then was fine. It really freaked me out cause I couldn't predict what he was going to do. Is this over stimulation or something else? It's only happened 3 times and he shows no sign of being aggressive before or any other time and is very sweet. He's indoor, outdoor cat, with only being allowed out when someone is home and never at night. Another time he did it was when he was trying to swipe at a cat outside the window and I just happened to walk past then he leaped onto my leg and got a few nasty scratches. any advice would be great!
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