How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr Scott Nimmo Your Own Question
Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 18925
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
Type Your Pet Question Here...
Dr Scott Nimmo is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi, I adopted my cat from the shelter 2 months ago. She is

This answer was rated:

Hi, I adopted my cat from the shelter 2 months ago. She is now very aggressive with me. I was playing with her with the cat dancer toy and the toy mouse. But then she decided to go after my arm. This has happened many times before but was particularly violent this time. She launched herself at my arm over and over again. My backing away made her come at me more. Shouting no did nothing to stop her. I finally managed to grab her by the scruff of the neck. She made angry noises and I was afraid to let go. As I held her by the scruff of the neck I gently picked up her hind legs with the other hand and put her in the bathroom and closed the door. I left her there for about ten minutes as I cleaned the over ten scratches on my arm that were beginning to itch really badly. Then I put neosporin on. I let her out and gave her some Happy Traveler which is a calming supplement with triptophan, chamomile, valerian and saint john's wort mixed with a little food. But she still is in a wild and aggressive mood. I am afraid to sleep in the same room with her and I live in a studio so the only option is to put her in the bathroom while I sleep which I don't like to do to her because it seems cruel. She likes to sit on the window sill and that would be nicer than being locked up in the bathroom with no window. I don't know what to do. My scratches are itching and she just looked at my leg like she was about to start attacking again. This time when I shouted no she ran to the window sill instead of attacking. She has attacked me on my bed, in the past, so she might do it again. I am very upset. I don't know what to do. Have you any advice?
Hello, and welcome,

My name isXXXXX am an experienced small animal veterinary surgeon and I will be very pleased to work with you today and will try my best to answer your question to your satisfaction.

Please give me ten minutes or so to think through your particular problem, prepare an answer, and type things up. I will then get straight back to you and we can talk things over.


Hello again,

I have worked out an answer for you, please read it through and see what you think, ... lets get started.

1. Why is your cat behaving like this? : The answer here is simple, cats by their nature are predators and to survive in the wild or as feral cats they have to hone their aggressive hunting skills. Young cats will do this by copying their parents and peers but also by play fighting. This is instinctive behaviour, as your cat will have no other young cats { or prey } to interact with then aggression towards the owner can be the result.

2. What to do about it? : I recently experienced just what you are going through { and much worse } when I picked up an injured young cat from the streets and I now have him as a house cat. My solution was to buy a large pump up water pistol with quite a strong water jet and squirt the cat the moment it tried to attack or showed aggression in any form. I always kept the water pistol handy and Peter { my cat } stopped this behaviour in about a week or so. Now he has settled in and he is a much more friendly and amiable cat but if he is showing signs of any unwanted behaviour all I have to do is to show him the water pistol and he backs right down and behaves.

The essence of sorting this out is to put the fear of God into your cat so she knows she cannot escape the consequences of her actions. { Without hurting her of course }

I hope I have given you some ideas and covered your question fully enough but if you would like further clarification or to talk things over a bit more then I will be on-line for the next hour or so and I will be more than pleased to continue working with you.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your answer but may I ask a little more because you suggested a water pistol and my cat loves water. In fact, when I take a shower she comes running up to the bathtub and jumps on the edge looking excitedly at the water. She has jumped into the bathtub after I got out even when the water had not gone all the way down the drain. I have also thrown a little water at her when she got aggressive and it did not phase her. She is unusual! Do you have another suggestion?
Hello again,

Glad to talk this over with you further ...

Well my cat Peter loves water as well, a tap gently running, the sink draining. However these pump up water pistols have a very powerful jet and it really brought him under control.

I would give it a try before you try anything else. You have to find something which really frightens her but does no lasting harm ...


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Where do you get a pump up water pistol? Is that a children's toy?
Hello again,

Yes they are kids toys which they play with in swimming polls and the like, there should be quite a range of them in larger toy stores, just ask the assistant which is the most powerful. Make sure you choose one which can be pumped up though because they produce a really strong jet of water.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The other problem here is that I am a dancer and used to practice at home, stretch on the floor and do handstands, which is no longer possible with my new cat because she reacts to all these activities with an attack. I understand that I must wait for the attack to occur, or to seem about to occur, before using the water pistol. But this is a hard thing to do if I am in an over- split on the floor and she attacks from behind. I cannot get up from this position quickly enough to avoid significant scratches, and bites, nor to squirt her immediately. I supposes there is nothing pre-emptive I can do? Maybe this will take time?
Hello again,

I see your problem but cats have very little concept of cause and effect, you have to actually catch them in the act and then deliver the punishment in a way A. That they cannot avoid and B. In a way where they cannot hit back at you.

All you can do is to make sure you have the water pistol handy and in reach at all times.


Dr Scott Nimmo and other Pet Specialists are ready to help you

Related Pet Questions