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How do I discipline my overly aggressive cat?

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Clairitek

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Our young cat Charlie is becoming a bit of an a-h**e. He constantly attacks (or perhaps he wants to play) our older female cat Emma. When Charlie was still a wee kitten she could run away and get the upper hand (paw?) rather easily. Now that he outweighs and outsizes her by quite a bit I am worried for her poor little 8 lb frame. If she sees him coming, she is OK. But if he sneaks up on her whie she is snoozing he can jump up on top of her, wrap his arms around her, and bite her chest. She screams and beats him with her paws but it doesn't help much if he is on top of her. Typically I have to intervene because I hate seeing her get hurt. I normally just pick him up by his scruff to lift him off and she can get away. As soon as I put him down he sits and stares at me. Then, when I turn my back, he will run at me, wrap his arms around my leg and bite my calf or thigh. Last night he even charged at me when I was sitting on the couch, jumped up, and bit my hands.

Thankfully he doesn't pull these shenanigans with anyone else but FI and I but it really makes me nervous. I would be so embarrassed if he did this to anyone else, especially a kid.

Does anyone have any advice on how to discipline him? He is now 9 months old. He is black and long-haired. The vet seems to think he might have some Maine Coon blood in him due to his size and body shape.

I know that hitting him wouldn't work for so many reasons. Not to mention I wouldn't hit an animal. I know his little kitty brain doesn't process that as "STOP ATTACKING YOUR SISTER AND BITING ME!" He would only see it as an act of aggression.

I just don't want my Charlie to grow up to be one of those cats that little kids are afraid of. He is capable of being very sweet and affectionate. He loves to be petted and held if he isn't in a playful mood.

Thanks for your help PSers. I am really lost on this one.
 

FrekeChild

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I have nothing to suggest, but I''m having canine disciplining problems, so I feel your pain. Is there a Cat Whisperer?
 

LGK

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I've heard one of the hardest mixes sometimes in a cat household is boy and girl cat. Boy cats play very rambunctiosly and girl cats typically don't. Our littermate boy & girl kitties did the same thing- boy would pounce on her, wanting to play and wrestle hard, and girl cat would get furious and smack him and growl very seriously- NOT playing!

We got a boy cat for our boy cat to play with, and now girl kitty is happy to be left alone. The boys wrestle together, Sonar doesnt get harassed and the aggression level is much lower. the boys never get truly aggressive when they play. i guess it was actually the girl cat's flipping out that triggered real fighting oddly enough. like, rat would attack her in play then she would take it serious and they'd fight for real. dunno if this helps you at all but that was my experience.
 

Lauren8211

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You just have to condition him to not want to do that.

There are so many ways I''ve heard to do this, although my cats are pretty good so I haven''t had to try any out.

- Container of coins. Shake it when he does something you dont like
- Hissing at him (Sounds funny, but I''ve heard it works)
- Clapping loudly
- Yelling "NO"
- Grabbing his scruff and hissing (Make sure to support him still, adult cats shouldnt be picked up by ONLY their scruff)

Ignore him a bit after you''ve startled him. Separate him from the other cat, and possibly give him another way to let out his aggression... such as a stuffed animal. When he''s calm, make sure you show him indiividual attention.

Whatever you choose, just be consistent with it!
 

Clairitek

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Date: 2/26/2009 2:08:48 PM
Author: LittleGreyKitten
I''ve heard one of the hardest mixes sometimes in a cat household is boy and girl cat. Boy cats play very rambunctiosly and girl cats typically don''t. Our littermate boy & girl kitties did the same thing- boy would pounce on her, wanting to play and wrestle hard, and girl cat would get furious and smack him and growl very seriously- NOT playing!

We got a boy cat for our boy cat to play with, and now girl kitty is happy to be left alone.
Not a bad idea. Not sure how Emma or FI would feel about that one though...

I think the other major problem here is the age difference. Emma is around 7-8 years old. Charlie is 9 months. Obviously they have different energy levels and ideas of playing.

When I got Emma she was an only child. She has been with me for 4 3/4 (5 in May) years and before Charlie (BC as we call it in our house) she was very sweet, affectionate, and social. When the little terror descended on our household a cloud formed around her and she had been there until two weeks ago. She is finally interacting with us again and wanting to be petted, cuddled, and picked up. She has started to give me "face smooshies" (when she rams her little face into mine and rubs it while purring, our way of showing love) again and will drool while she is purring (another sign she is truly content) again. THANK GOODNESS!

Thankfully Charlie''s over the top "playing" hasn''t made this change in personality go away. What I am most concerned with at the moment is the way he is treating the humans. To me, it is downright strange.
 

starsapphire

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Hi, I am sorry you are having this problem! I have 2 males, and one is a Maine Coonish cat, about 16 lbs, and 12 years old, and the other is a smallish Turkish Van, he is about 7 lbs, about 8 years old. Funny thing, the little cat is always picking on the big cat, and then when the big cat has enough, he fights back and the little one wails as if he is dying! It is pretty funny, but thankfully, they don''t hurt each other. Just a lot of black and white fur all over the place! They are more lovey with each other than fighting. I have to break it up sometimes though. I use a water bottle on the "stream" setting. Shooting water at them! That works every time, and does not hurt them.

Have you had your male cat "fixed"? Both of mine are, they are indoor cats.
 

Clairitek

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Date: 2/26/2009 2:13:08 PM
Author: elledizzy5
You just have to condition him to not want to do that.

There are so many ways I''ve heard to do this, although my cats are pretty good so I haven''t had to try any out.

- Container of coins. Shake it when he does something you dont like
- Hissing at him (Sounds funny, but I''ve heard it works)
- Clapping loudly
- Yelling ''NO''
- Grabbing his scruff and hissing (Make sure to support him still, adult cats shouldnt be picked up by ONLY their scruff)

Ignore him a bit after you''ve startled him. Separate him from the other cat, and possibly give him another way to let out his aggression... such as a stuffed animal. When he''s calm, make sure you show him indiividual attention.

Whatever you choose, just be consistent with it!
Thanks Elle for the ideas! I think the container of coins would scare the crud out of him and certainly get his attention. He is also terrified of tin foil. He hates the noise it makes when you wave it around or tear it off the roll.

I''ve tried the yelling but big ole fluff-for-brains doesn''t seem to be taking note.

If the coins don''t work I''ll give the scruff grabbing and hissing a shot.
 

Clairitek

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Date: 2/26/2009 2:19:57 PM
Author: starsapphire
Have you had your male cat ''fixed''? Both of mine are, they are indoor cats.
Yup. As far as we know he has already lost his family jewels. I think they did it extremely young before he was even 8 weeks old. I wonder if this has had an adverse effect on his personality?
 

Elmorton

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We use water bottles. We have them stashed in our bedroom, the guest room, and our living room. The water bottle doesn''t stop the aggressive behavior unfortunately, but the cat stops to lick away the water and gets side tracked.

Our vet suggested a tap on the nose, and though I didn''t like it, I tried it, and it only made his reaction worse (this didn''t surprise me in the least).

Morty was EXACTLY like your Charlie - that''s why my guess is that Charlie is really bored and knows that Emma isn''t going to play with him. My MIL kept on saying that the only way I was going to get attacked less often was to get Morty a kitten to play with. She was absolutely right. Basically, Morty wasn''t attacking because he''s mean, but because he wanted to play, and I wasn''t home enough. When he got a playmate, he was much better. The attacks now are usually while he''s mid-play with the other cat, gets sidetracked, and sees me. I just reach for the closest water bottle, give him a squirt, and he moves on.

I do worry about Morty with guests because he still attacks me sometimes and now he''s 14 lbs - esp when we have friends over who have children, but Morty is GREAT around them (very loving, lets kids do the "smash" petting thing - you know, how kids kindof smash their hands into fur instead of with a lighter touch). We can always tell though when Morty is going to turn all Jeckyl and Hyde on us though (he sits, stares, his eyes get very wide, he exhales loudly and then has a low meow), and he''s never done that to a guest - even anyone who was staying for a longer period of time. Again, that''s why I think it has more to do with boredom/proximity than actual aggression.
 

starsapphire

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471
Wow, that is young for that to be done to a cat. I was always told to wait until just as puberty strikes, around 6 months or so. I dunno, the little one is still like a kitten even as old as he is!
 

Elmorton

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Date: 2/26/2009 2:13:08 PM
Author: elledizzy5
You just have to condition him to not want to do that.

There are so many ways I''ve heard to do this, although my cats are pretty good so I haven''t had to try any out.

- Container of coins. Shake it when he does something you dont like
- Hissing at him (Sounds funny, but I''ve heard it works)
- Clapping loudly
- Yelling ''NO''
- Grabbing his scruff and hissing (Make sure to support him still, adult cats shouldnt be picked up by ONLY their scruff)

Ignore him a bit after you''ve startled him. Separate him from the other cat, and possibly give him another way to let out his aggression... such as a stuffed animal. When he''s calm, make sure you show him indiividual attention.

Whatever you choose, just be consistent with it!
Just my .02 - the hissing, clapping, coins, and yelling NEVER worked with Morty - all of those behaviors excited him a little more (Yay! My humans want to play, too!!) because they''re what a cat would do in defense (well, making noise).

DH and I do employ the "time out" thing, but it doesn''t solve any behavioral issues with the cat - it''s really just for us, so we can have some peace!
 

Lauren8211

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Messages
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Date: 2/26/2009 2:27:23 PM
Author: Elmorton

Date: 2/26/2009 2:13:08 PM
Author: elledizzy5
You just have to condition him to not want to do that.

There are so many ways I''ve heard to do this, although my cats are pretty good so I haven''t had to try any out.

- Container of coins. Shake it when he does something you dont like
- Hissing at him (Sounds funny, but I''ve heard it works)
- Clapping loudly
- Yelling ''NO''
- Grabbing his scruff and hissing (Make sure to support him still, adult cats shouldnt be picked up by ONLY their scruff)

Ignore him a bit after you''ve startled him. Separate him from the other cat, and possibly give him another way to let out his aggression... such as a stuffed animal. When he''s calm, make sure you show him indiividual attention.

Whatever you choose, just be consistent with it!
Just my .02 - the hissing, clapping, coins, and yelling NEVER worked with Morty - all of those behaviors excited him a little more (Yay! My humans want to play, too!!) because they''re what a cat would do in defense (well, making noise).

DH and I do employ the ''time out'' thing, but it doesn''t solve any behavioral issues with the cat - it''s really just for us, so we can have some peace!
Those defiant little furballs...
 

Clairitek

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Date: 2/26/2009 2:27:23 PM
Author: Elmorton

Date: 2/26/2009 2:13:08 PM
Author: elledizzy5
You just have to condition him to not want to do that.

There are so many ways I''ve heard to do this, although my cats are pretty good so I haven''t had to try any out.

- Container of coins. Shake it when he does something you dont like
- Hissing at him (Sounds funny, but I''ve heard it works)
- Clapping loudly
- Yelling ''NO''
- Grabbing his scruff and hissing (Make sure to support him still, adult cats shouldnt be picked up by ONLY their scruff)

Ignore him a bit after you''ve startled him. Separate him from the other cat, and possibly give him another way to let out his aggression... such as a stuffed animal. When he''s calm, make sure you show him indiividual attention.

Whatever you choose, just be consistent with it!
Just my .02 - the hissing, clapping, coins, and yelling NEVER worked with Morty - all of those behaviors excited him a little more (Yay! My humans want to play, too!!) because they''re what a cat would do in defense (well, making noise).

DH and I do employ the ''time out'' thing, but it doesn''t solve any behavioral issues with the cat - it''s really just for us, so we can have some peace!
Thanks for your thoughts on the suggestions above. We actually have a squirt bottle and its extremely effective when we can get to it in time. We should get a few more and maybe it will help with this behavior. So far we have only used it when he is constantly chasing Emma or getting on the table.

We also use a time-out sometimes and I would agree, it is certainly more for us than anything. Sometimes Charlie goes into "descructo" mode where he is constantly running around, chewing on things, knocking stuff over, harrassing Emma... the works. It gets exhausting so we will just plunk him in the guest room. He will cry for a few minutes andd then eventually goes to sleep. After about 30 minutes in there he is very chilled out.
 

Clairitek

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Date: 2/26/2009 2:25:00 PM
Author: Elmorton
Our vet suggested a tap on the nose, and though I didn''t like it, I tried it, and it only made his reaction worse (this didn''t surprise me in the least).
I''ve heard this and I''ve also heard about a flick on the ear. When I do try the flick on the ear he normally tries to bite my hand or I miss and flick him in the side of the face.

Has anyone else read how if you want to swat your kitty you should use a rolled up newspaper or magazine? This way they won''t associate your hands with a source of discomfort, allegedly.
 

ChinaCat

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Oh, Claire, I have to say that the title of this thread made me laugh!

I had cats growing up my whole life until about 3 years ago. Now I have a dog and the reason I am laughing is that cats are just so in their own head and do just whatever they want- so I laughed about "disciplining" a cat. A dog is totally different, and responds well to discipline, but cats, man, they pretty much rule their own worlds, don''t they?

Your description of Charlie is cracking me up. At least he has "personality", right?


Good luck, hope you find something that helps.
 

Clairitek

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Date: 2/26/2009 2:54:44 PM
Author: ChinaCat
Oh, Claire, I have to say that the title of this thread made me laugh!

I had cats growing up my whole life until about 3 years ago. Now I have a dog and the reason I am laughing is that cats are just so in their own head and do just whatever they want- so I laughed about ''disciplining'' a cat. A dog is totally different, and responds well to discipline, but cats, man, they pretty much rule their own worlds, don''t they?

Your description of Charlie is cracking me up. At least he has ''personality'', right?


Good luck, hope you find something that helps.
I can relate. I grew up with dogs because my father and his allergies don''t appreciate fine cat dander.

I sort of giggled myself at the thought of disciplining a cat and I figure it probably is impossible.

For example, when I first got Emma I used to let her drink the teaspoon of milk out of my bowl after having cereal. I would put the bowl down in the floor and let her lap the bowl clean. I realized that milk was bad for her and that I was letting her get away with a bad habit so I stopped. To this day, over 4 years after I stopped letting her do this, she will still stick her paw in your bowl and pull it towards her if you are not sitting at the dining room table. If you leave a plate of food on a table and walk away you better be prepared to be sharing your dinner with Emma. She has no shame. I''ve tried to discourage this behavior but nothing works except the threat of being squirted with the water bottle. Even then, its only temporary.
 

niccia

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My cat used to love cereal milk too. He would get so impatient in the morning waiting for everyone to finish their cereal lol. I don''t think the milk did him any harm, as he lived till he was 20! He also helped himself to people''s food if no one was watching, and when it was time for pudding, he would sit on his chair at the table and hit the top of the table over and over again until he got his serving! Even when he was on his deathbed and couldn''t move around very much anymore, he still batted the side of his bed when he thought it was time for his dessert :)
I hope everything works out for you and your kitties, but I agree with the above. Cats are very hard to discipline and especially little devils like Charlie. I have known a few of his type in my lifetime
 

Clairitek

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Date: 2/26/2009 3:36:56 PM
Author: niccia
Cats are very hard to discipline and especially little devils like Charlie. I have known a few of his type in my lifetime
Devil he is. We like to tell him, "Charlie, you come from a loooong line of a-h**es!" when he has been bad.

Anyone ever see this video on YouTube? When he bites my hands I can totally hear that little kid in my head.

Charlie bit my finger!
 

Steel

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Awh C-tek,

Any kitty age up to 1 even 1.5 can be hellish. It is probably a phase but you are right to try to start him on the straight & narrow; just in case. This year, biting and rough housing. Next year he could be selling cat-nip and stealing cars


Jokes aside, buy lots of squirty guns. We have 2 now but we used to have 6! One each (DH & me) for upstairs and downstairs and one permanently placed upstairs & downstairs. When you are training the water needs to be in your hand...not just within reach; you need your finger on the trigger.

This is what worked for me: speak a unique verbal warning and give him a second or two to comply. If he does not comply then squirt repeating the verbal warning. When he is older if the verbal warnings don''t work just shake the squirter at him and he should remember that you have the power and stop being naughty.

Now we just have a 1 squirter upstairs and 1 downstairs, it is rare that we squirt; they all respond to verbal warnings.
 

Clairitek

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This was taken on the night we brought him home when he was only 8 weeks old. I should have known then and there he would be T.R.O.U.B.L.E.!!

charlieevil.jpg
 

Clairitek

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This is how Emma and Charlie spend a lot of their time together. Emma prepared to smack him the second he pops his head up over the side of the table (resembles those Whack-a-Mole games you see at arcades and carnivals) while Charlie is just a blur. he is IMPOSSIBLE to capture on film unless he is asleep or being held very securely.

emmacharliebattle.JPG
 

ChinaCat

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Ok, seriously, that first pic of him is priceless!!!!! He''s so cute, but clearly letting you know he''s bad news. Reminds me of a few bad boys I dated before I met my sweet DH.

My sister has two cats now that are freaking crazy. You just never know what you are going to get.


Let us know if you find any methods that work. Now I am intrigued.

And Nicca, the story of the cat demanding dessert is so cute. Ahh, I love the furbabies. They are just so cute and obnoxious!
 

Steel

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I love him. With a cute pussy-kitten face like that, I would let him get away with murder.

Pop a stamp on his tail and mail him to me. I love pussycats!

 

Clairitek

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Date: 2/26/2009 4:41:10 PM
Author: Steel
Pop a stamp on his tail and mail him to me. I love pussycats!

Ok Steel. You''ve got yourself a deal. How much food and water does he need to survive the flight to Ireland? (You ARE in Ireland, right?)

I''ll get an updated picture of Charlie in all his fat belly glory tonight if I can. He has the weidest beer gut type thing going on. No body fat anywhere else but his belly. FI thinks that sort of thing is normal on a cat.
 

Clairitek

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A semi-recent glamour shot. You can see he has bulked up a lot. Check out those fangs that don''t even fit in his mouth!

charliesleepingcurrent.JPG
 

Steel

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Date: 2/26/2009 4:51:43 PM
Author: Clairitek

Date: 2/26/2009 4:41:10 PM
Author: Steel
Pop a stamp on his tail and mail him to me. I love pussycats!

Ok Steel. You''ve got yourself a deal. How much food and water does he need to survive the flight to Ireland? (You ARE in Ireland, right?)

I''ll get an updated picture of Charlie in all his fat belly glory tonight if I can. He has the weidest beer gut type thing going on. No body fat anywhere else but his belly. FI thinks that sort of thing is normal on a cat.
Yup. The Emerald Isle; such that it is.

We live on 6 acres - there are more mouses and wabbits on this site than Charlie could eat in 2 lifetimes. Plus I buy and serve so much cat food it is criminal. I even serve them on a golden platter (really...it is a sickness...I know
..don''t look at me like that
).

I love the new pic..lookie at his wikkle toofie pegs! I love him.
 

Clairitek

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Date: 2/26/2009 5:06:54 PM
Author: Steel
I love him.
Glad someone out there does!

Hehe just kdiding. We do love our resident doofus. He is certainly entertaining. I just feel like his behavior is downright evil. Attacking us when we aren''t looking! Its so mean!
 

niccia

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Messages
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Oh my gosh, he is adorable but the look in his eyes says it all....TROUBLE
!
 

FrekeChild

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Date: 2/26/2009 3:56:01 PM
Author: Clairitek
This was taken on the night we brought him home when he was only 8 weeks old. I should have known then and there he would be T.R.O.U.B.L.E.!!
OMG!!! He looks evil in this pic!!!
 
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