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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3921
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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I have been pet sitting a cat since it was a kitten. It has

Customer Question

I have been pet sitting a cat since it was a kitten. It has gradually become more aloof and not interested in any petting or play when I visit. Yesterday it even hissed and clawed me before it ran away. I have never raised my voice or given the cat any reason to react to me this way. I always sweet talk it and try to engage it in play, as well as give a few treats. The only thing that has changed is that the owners have been letting the cat outside. Could this have any impact on the cat's behavior? I feel really bad, but feel that I must tell them that recently the cat does not feel comfortable with me around and either runs away or gets aggressive. Thank you.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 10 months ago.

Your plan is a wise one and I would do precisely that: Act as if the cat does not exist and see if there is a change in behavior.

Cats being allowed outside can and often does result in a change in behavior. For some cats, they become more confident, explore more and become more relaxed due to the increase in exercise. For others, they become overstimulated and stressed. We can also see an increase in risk of illness and injury when permitted to go outside. This could certainly be to blame for the change in behavior as it's unlikely that Dixie would know you for her entire life to turn around and become aggressive towards you.

I would also try to consider whether or not you're bringing in different smells with you, especially that of other animals. In a case where a cat might have a bad experience outside, it may be likely that they would become more aggressive toward someone who smelled like another animal due to their new found fears, too.

I’ll be standing by if you have other questions. Let me know if I can help further.

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