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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21387
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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Sometimes my cat will scratch or bite me without provocation. Why

Resolved Question:

My cat (6 years old, male) will scratch or bite me for no apparent reason. Once he has finished he walks away as if nothing has happened. What can I do to prevent this behavior? Whay does he do it? Is he smelling another animal scent on me? (I sometimes walk a relative's dog).
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.

When did your cat first start exhibiting this behavior?

What are you doing when he scratches/bites? Are you petting him, walking by him, or does he come up to YOU and just do this, suddenly?

When did you first start walking your relative's dog?

Is your cat eating, drinking, eliminating and acting normally in all other respects?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
He has been doing this infrequently for years. Today' s attack -he came up to and did this suddenly. I have been walking the dog once a week for about a year. My cat eats, drinks, etc normally. I am away at work for the day (7:00am to 8:00 pm) if that helps you any.
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.
Hello again, and thank you for your reply and helpful, additional information.

I'm glad to hear that your cat is eating, drinking normally.

It's possible that because you are away for many hours of the day, he's lonely and feels that 'negative attention' is better than no attention, so he 'provokes' you by being aggressive. Try to give him lots of cuddle and play time when you're home, and see if this biting/scratching lessens. I do think that he could be smelling the dog on your clothes, shoes, and this is stressing him out. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and change your clothes after walking the dog, so the scent is minimized.

I also think your cat might benefit from a cat appeasing pheromone called Feliway/Comfort Zone for Cats, which comes in both a spray and plug-in diffuser. It's available at major pet supply stores, and also online. The diffuser resembles a plug-in air freshener, but has no scent to humans. Feliway helps to relax stressed or anxious cats, and is useful in a multitude of situations. For more information, please see:

In the future, when he does this, leave the room and ignore your cat for a few minutes. If you're consistent and do this every time he is aggressive, he'll learn that he won't have your attention or company when he acts like this.

Some medical conditions can cause sudden aggression, like hyperthyroidism, so a vet's evaluation and blood work, ASAP, would be a good idea.

I hope things improve, soon.

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