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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32666
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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My cat hisses & growls & scratches & bites. I got her at about

Resolved Question:

My cat hisses & growls & scratches & bites. I got her at about 10 days old & bottle fed her. She is 2 now & started this behavior about 2 months ago. I'm scared of her!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Terri replied 6 years ago.

Dear friend,

I am so sorry you are having this trouble, especially with a kitty you were so kind to rescue!

She should be checked by a vet to make sure she is not in any pain as that can cause sudden aggression.

If she is found to be healthy, she may just want to play and the 13 year old kitty does not want to be bothered.



Your cat may just be a bit hyper. She has what we call misdirected aggression however, her behavior is not actually meant to be aggressive. She is treating humans as though they were other cats..So to stop her we must act the exact same way as another cat would treat her

This is the way cats act when they play with other cats -they have a specific language they use to communicate with each other.

You do not need a behaviorist for cats. They are really quite easy to understand.

They do not rationalize, nor are they capable of in depth thought or reasoning.

Everything they do is basic, logical (to them) and makes perfect sense.

In a cat hierarchy a strong kitty will always try to take over and assume the head cat position. In addition, that is always subject to changes if cat one senses weakness in cat two. Cats DO work things out in their own way and they could care less what humans (or behaviorists) think. They only respond to the energy of another animal be it feline, canine or human. Punishment is useless and counterproductive because they simply do not understand being hurt - they would just try to avoid the hurter in the future but it would not teach them anything.(except fear)

Cats do not follow a pack leader the way dogs do but they do sense their human parents energy and respond accordingly - so if you are nervous, they will be nervous. If you are stressed, they are stressed as well.


If SHE gets aggressive - just say SHUSH and tap her very lightly on the head. That lets her know (in a cat way) that the behavior is unacceptable and she will understand that feline method of correction and not be hurt, upset or insulted.


Do not yell, spray water or act upset, Just immediately calmly and firmly correct her . This will teach her that his aggression will not be tolerated the way another cat would treat her - except the NO! would be a hiss and the tap would be with a paw. Consistency is the key here.

Get a brand new feliway plug in and rescue remedy at a pet supply to safely keep her calm.Use rescue remedy on the gums.

Please let me know how things are going. If you have questions along the way I will always be here for you.

I will help you resolve this so you can have peace in home so dont worry. Things will be fine -I promise.

Just remember to be CALM all the time!

Warmest best wishes,


Terri and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
But she is alsohissing & growling at her own tail sometimes and sometimes at nothing at all. Is this part of the same issue?
Expert:  Terri replied 6 years ago.

Dear friend,

In that case she needs a vet exam to see what is going on with her.

Check her anal sacs, check for UTI, spinal injury and hypersethesia.


This can be a condition called hyperesthesia(or rolling skin disease) Authorities think is it caused by a nerve that makes the cat supersensitive or an allergic reaction.
It has different manifestations but is basically an OCD disorder.

I printed the following for you:

Treatment of cats affected with hyperesthesia syndrome is directed at the underlying disease, if determined, and the signs presented by the affected cat. Symptomatic treatment may include anti-seizure medications, corticosteroids, or anti-anxiety agents. Often these medications are tried therapeutically in series (one after the other) to determine which drug works best for the specific patient. Acupuncture has also been used for some affected cats.

You can read about it here:SOURCE:

This ailment can be caused by stress, allergies, hormonal imbalances, etc. Many DVM's have never even heard of it but it does exist. It is treated by first removing the allergen and sometimes with tranquilizers.


Please let me know what is found and how she is doing.

Best wishes for her,