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Cher
Cher, Cat Behavior-expert
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 20975
Experience:  40+ years Cat Behavior Consultant; Vol. Vet Asst.
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My son's cat is 2 years old. They got her as a kitten.

Customer Question

Hello. My son's cat is 2 years old. They got her as a kitten. Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with worms and treated by the local vet. She gradually has become more and more aggressive and now is unpredictably biting and clawing everyone. It is time for her to go in for shots, I think. They were considering having her put down, for safety reasons. Do you have any ideas? Thank you. Ann Tekin
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Cat Behavior
Expert:  Cher replied 6 months ago.

Hello, Ann and welcome.

My name is ***** ***** I will be glad to help with your question.

I just have a few questions to help assist you better:

What is your son's cat's name?

Is she spayed?

Where did they get her from? A shelter, the street, someone's home, etc.?

Does she just scratch and bite at random times, or when she is being petted, playing with the humans, ready to be fed, etc.?

How long ago did this aggressiveness begin?

Is she an only cat or are there other pets in the house?

Thanks for all your additional information and after you reply, please allow me a little time to compose and send your detailed answer.

Warmest wishes,

Cher

Expert:  Cher replied 6 months ago.

Hi again, Ann.

I was hoping to get more information from you, but I can send you my answer now, and if you have any additional questions or need to add any information, please just reply back.

Cats have two lines of defense: their teeth and their claws. If your son's kitty has suddenly become more aggressive and is scratching and biting without being provoked by any particular incident, something may be bothering her, physically, or she may feel anxious or stressed, due to something going on in her environment. Cats show stress in different ways from humans--we can verbalized why we're stressed, but cats will exhibit stress through their behavior, which typically includes aggression and unusual behavior.

The first next step, would be to have her evaluated in person by her vet, have some routine blood work done, and a urinalysis, to make sure there is no underlying medical issue that is causing her pain.

It's possible that she might have sustained a head injury, unbeknownst to your son and this is causing her sudden change in behavior.

Keeping her active and enriching her environment is great for allowing her to get her aggression out and not be attacking her humans. This is a great group of toys (and a cat dvd) that she will love. A good idea is to put the toys into groups and then change them out every few days; in this way, she will think she's getting 'new' toys, each time:

http://www.pawswhiskersandclaws.com/pwc%20foraging.pdf

http://www.zootoo.com/pet-product/cat-toys/funkitty-twist-n-treat

http://www.batarat.com/

http://www.catdvd.com/

http://www.shopfatcat.com/Cat-Toys_c_7.html

http://www.amazon.com/FroliCat-BOLT-Interactive-Laser-Pet/dp/B0021L8W6K

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Also, make sure she has a tall kitty condo or cat tree with different levels and 'hidey' holes to help her feel secure. This can be used for playing, sleeping and scratching, as it's typically covered in carpet material.

There are over the counter stress-relieving products made just for cats. The first one I recommend, is Feliway; this cat-caliming pheromone comes in both a spray and plug in diffuser that resembles a plug in air freshener, but has no scent to humans. Here is more detailed information:

http://www.feliway.com/us

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There are also calming pheromone collars made by Sentry (Good Behavior Collar) and Nurturecalm, which you can find in your local pet supply store.

In addition, there are two oral calming remedies the you can try, but do not give them simultaneously--choose only one to try: Rescue Remedy for Pets and Composure treats. Again, you can find these in pet supply stores or order online.

http://www.bachrescueremedypet.com/about/what-is-rescue-pet/

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http://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/vetri-science-composure-feline-bite-sized-chews

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Your son can also watch for any signs that the cat is about to attack, like narrowed eyes, ears flat and back and a swishing tail; if he sees that, tell him to get out of the way or hold a pillow in front of himself to stop her attack. The pillow method works quite well, but the key is time and patience.

I always prefer to recommend a prescription anti-anxiety medication as a last resort, but tell your son to discuss this with his cat's vet. There are many products, but Clomicalm is highly recommended.

http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/prescription/clomipramine-clomicalm

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I would never suggest putting a young, healthy cat down, due to behavioral issues, so if your son feels he can't deal with this behavior anymore, he can consider re-homing his cat with a local cat rescue organization.

I hope all will work out well for this kitty!

I hope you found this answer helpful and will please take a moment to select a positive rating from the stars at the top of your page, then click 'submit;' this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. Thank you very much!

Even after rating, I will always be available if you need additional information; just click 'reply' and I will be glad to continue.

I hope you found this answer helpful and will please take a moment to select a positive rating from the stars at the top of your page, then click 'submit;' this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. Thank you very much!

Even after rating, I will always be available if you need additional information; just click 'reply' and I will be glad to continue.

I hope you found this answer helpful and will please take a moment to select a positive rating from the stars at the top of your page, then click 'submit;' this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. Thank you very much!

Even after rating, I will always be available if you need additional information; just click 'reply' and I will be glad to continue.

Warmest wishes,

Cher

Expert:  Cher replied 6 months ago.

Hi again, Ann.

I'm just checking in with you to see how everything is going. I hope all is well!

I hope you found my answer helpful, and if so, please let me know. If you need any additional information, please simply click 'Reply' and I will be glad to help you further.

I look forward to hearing back from you or receiving a positive rating.

Many thanks!
Cher