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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29058
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat is an adopted stray who if sleeping on the bed at

Customer Question

My cat is an adopted stray who if sleeping on the bed at night will claw my feet and last night brought a lot of blood; she is not playing.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I regret that I'm not allowed to communicate with customers by phone. Please stay in this conversation. You're correct, she's not playing; instead, she's exhibiting prey behavior. Your feet are the prey.

The clues for predatory aggression are your being bitten when your feet move under the covers (or outside of the covers). Cats may also attack your feet while you're walking. Predation is a highly motivated and instinctive behavior for cats. The prognosis for complete resolution of this kind of behavior is generally quite poor. The innate response of the cat is to stalk, chase, and attack, and there might be a killing bite (her drawing blood from you). When this behavior is directed toward family or other pet in the home it needs to be addressed.

The predatory instinct is very difficult to suppress so the best approach to management is to prevent her access to you in bed. To avoid your being "prey" we need to substitute appropriate prey objects for her. Considerable time playing "bird on a string/pole" and chasing laser light should refocus her attention away from you. She might be trained to fetch a ball or toy mouse. Chasing a ping-pong ball can occupy a cat such as she and you might find catnip-containing "chase toys" in the pet store that may lessen her dependence on you as prey. Unfortunately, there's no quick fix for inappropriate prey behavior but the above should be helpful for you to at least ameliorate the problem. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi Helen,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin