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Aggresive Senior

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by Rottsie, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Rottsie

    Rottsie Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Mar 12, 2018
    Rottsie Kitten

    Hello I have a big problem and I need some help. I recently rescued a Maine Coon male from another home. The original owner passed away in Feb. and the daughters were going to have this boy put to sleep if I didn't take him. His mother (owner died at 70 from congestive heart failure.) The cat is 11 years old and has never know anyone else as his owner. She adopted him as a kitten so he is neutered, has had all shots, tested for feluk,etc. and perfectly healthy.
    Anyway I need to know how to deal with his aggression. He hisses at me and in the past week has not allowed me to touch him. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Dreger, Shane Kent, rubysmama and 5 others purraised this.

  2. abyeb

    abyeb Charlie's Purrson Staff Member Forum Helper

    Feb 18, 2017
    Thanks for caring! He really is a handsome kitty! I think a lot of this aggression is probably anxiety-driven, from being in a new environment, with new people, etc. Generally, the best way to get a cat used to a new environment is to introduce them slowly, one room at a time. A Feliway diffuser can also help reduce anxiety. Playtime is also important, even in senior cats, and in your beautiful boy’s case, playing with a toy could help him find a positive outlet for his aggression. I’ll attach some articles that give some terrific additional information:

    Six Surefire Strategies To Reduce Stress In Cats

    Cat Aggression Toward People

    Please do keep us updated!
    Dreger, danteshuman, Shane Kent and 4 others purraised this.

  3. tinydestroyer

    tinydestroyer TCS Member Super Cat

    Oct 27, 2017
    Firstly, thanks for saving this beautiful cat! I'm sure that, given time, he will be so grateful to you.
    I agree on all counts mentioned above. The feliway diffuser really works, but the most important thing is to give him time. His former owner, his Mama, recently passed away, and this coupled with all the change is sure to make for a stressful transition. Introduction the kitty to the new area slowly, as well as playtime (with a yummy treat at the end of the session,) is all a great start. Keep us updated!

    Maybe some other cat behavior experts @Mamanyt1953 @rubysmama have some other ideas?
    Dreger, Shane Kent, tarasgirl06 and 2 others purraised this.

  4. sabian

    sabian TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Mar 11, 2017
    North Carolina
    To add to what @abyeb laid out. You got to remember he's been uprooted from everything he knows. He was probably in a quiet house with one person and he was the only cat. He probably would have been better off adopted to someone single and in a like environment. Don't get me wrong...it's great you took him in and he may adapt in time but it will take time. He is just experiencing sensory overload more than likely. I would put him in a room and let him deal with one person at first. Spend as much time with him as possible but don't try to rub or touch him. Lay on the floor and bring yourself down to his level and just baby talk him and maybe offer him treats. Let him move at his own pace. Don't force anything. Maybe even just go in and take a nap in the same room with him.

    I'm assuming by your profile pic that you have a couple other cats. If so, I would keep them out of the picture for now and gain his trust. More info would be helpful like, how many family members, cats, etc.

    I'm pretty sure your boy is a Siberian and not a Maine Coon. Rescues tend to call any cat with long hair and some size to it a Maine Coon mix. Not that it matters but if your reading up on characteristics this may be helpful. Siberians and MC's do have a lot of the same characteristics though.

    Maybe @maggiedemi and @di and bob can weigh in here also. I've seen them give good advice on things like this. Thank you for taking him in and good luck. I'll keep an eye on this post. What crappy daughters this woman must have had!

    Welcome to TCS! You came to the right place for help.....
    Dreger, danteshuman, mazie and 6 others purraised this.

  5. jen

    jen TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 27, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    It isn't important but unless your cat has papers it is a domestic long haired cat. Anyways cats basically do not like change and this poor baby was uprooted after 11 years. He will take some time to get used to his new home. Just talk to him, feed him, etc and he will likely come around eventually. I have a cat who was semiferal as a kitten (she was downright mean and nasty) and everytime I move she takes a long time to adjust and won't even let me pet her for a few weeks.

    Bottom line, just be patient. Offer treats, conversation, play with a laser or wand toy and BE PATIENT :)
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  6. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 12, 2012
    Nebraska, USA
    I agree with what everyone has pointed out, the sweet boy is so terrified and lost he is turned inside out. Hissing is his only way of warning you he is unsure of what is going on and to keep your distance. A couple of weeks is not long at all in a cat's world, it will take at least a month for him to even start to accept all the changes that are going on. Please remember he is geriatric, set in his ways and has only known one 'mama' and is now completely bewildered and heartbroken. Give him a place to hide in, and for the most part peace and quiet. Several times a day sit close by and just talk softly to him. Set down some yummy treats and leave them when you go. Make sure water, food, and the litter box are within his sight. I have had cats relocated that have stayed hidden under a bed for two months and turned out fine, so just give him the time he needs and the love he wants. You will be blessed for taking him in, allow him into your heart and you will be doubly so!
    Dreger, mazie, Shane Kent and 3 others purraised this.

  7. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 26, 2017
    Between Massena & Potsdam NY
    Thank you for adopting this senior kitty. He's just really scared, his whole life has changed. With my two cats, I petted them with a long handled duster, but you could use a backscratcher or a sock taped to a stick. Also, getting them on a food schedule that they could count on helped. Teaching them words like their name, dinner, treat helped a lot too. I just basically tried to get them out from hiding and to be a part of my everyday life. If you have other cats, you could try putting a gate on the door to introduce them.
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  8. walli

    walli TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jan 31, 2017
    It won't take long! He's not a Feral so he will come around pretty quickly, hang in there.
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  9. Tobermorey

    Tobermorey TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 13, 2017
    Hi, Rottsie! Your new guy is absolutely beautiful! In addition to what others have said (sitting quietly near them, place to feel safe, talking to them, etc.), I’ve discovered that it’s better to let new kitties come to you, not try to reach out and pet them. I adopted a three-year-old semi feral kitty in October. No one could touch her at the rescue place (where I also volunteer)...including me. I did a lot of reading about how introduce a scared cat to a new environment, and one of the recommendations was to sit on the floor and put your hand out with the back of your hand to the kitty. It took a lot of time and patience (and an aching arm from holding my hand six inches in the air for long periods of time), but gradually she came closer and closer. She’d smell my hand, then dart away again. Finally, she rubbed tentatively on my hand. As soon as I reached for her, she took off again. We just repeated the back of the hand outstretched over and over and over until finally she let me gently stroke her back. Now after five months, she comes up to be petted, although she occasionally reverts if I reach out toward her too quickly. My husband is too impatient to wait for her to come to his hand. He reaches out every time, and every time she backs off. I swear it’s easier to train the cat than the spouse!

    Several of the kitties at the sanctuary come in traumatized. The volunteers all spend as much time as necessary simply sitting on the floor near them and talking quietly. Three-legged Thor would hiss and hide when I first started to volunteer. Now he wants to climb onto my lap where he’ll sprawl out and drool all over me. Patience. Love. Understanding. Good for all creatures great and small. :) You’re wonderful to take this on. He’s a lucky boy.
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  10. daisyd

    daisyd TCS Member Super Cat

    Jan 21, 2017
    Hi thank you for caring , I’d definitely let him live in one room for now - litter box, food, water and toys in one space so he can adapt . He was an only cat for all that time. I’ve recently had to uproot my Gracie from her home Which is all she ever knew and it is difficult - I’m all she has ever known yet being out of her own environment is a struggle . Your baby has to deal with new owner and environment! Keep at it x
    Dreger, Shane Kent and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  11. SeventhHeaven

    SeventhHeaven TCS Member Top Cat

    Oct 18, 2015
    BC Canada
    Hi He's a gorgeous boy! many cats live into their late teens or 20's sounds like he's in really good shape. He probably came with toys if you can try get some other items from his previous home strange smells new people plus his age it's allot of stress big adjustment. Previous home smells offer comfort his own quiet spot he will introduce himself in time, blend in quietly.
    Dreger, Shane Kent and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  12. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

    Nov 25, 2013
    Hello and welcome to The Cat Site. :wave2: And thank you for taking in that dear, handsome boy. :petcat:

    You've gotten a lot of good advice. I just wanted to add that he's probably missing his original owner and home. Here are a couple TCS articles that may have some helpful suggestions:

    Do Cats Mourn?
    How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home

    Good luck. :heartshape:
    Dreger, Shane Kent and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  13. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

    Sep 19, 2006
    Glendale, California
    Welcome @Rottsie to TCS! I echo other posters' thanks to you for adopting gorgeous boy. I also echo their thoughts that patience, love, and time will almost certainly improve the situation. Putting yourself in his place, he has just lost his home and his longtime guardian. How would you feel if this happened to you? About like he does, no doubt.
    We adopted a 14-year-old Maine Coon from an elderly couple who were finding themselves unable to care for him any longer due to health/age issues. He had been an only cat, and was very territorial, actively fighting with my "alpha" male for quite some time. I actually had to intervene with a broom on more than one occasion when they were a snarling ball of angry fur. In time, and with lots of "time-outs" back to his own room, he eventually adapted to his large feline/human family and spent 7 wonderful years with us before ascending at age 21.
    Our most recent adoptee is now 10. He joined us at age 9, having lived with humans and a dog, and having spent some time living with a fellow feline. He, too, is very territorial, and he is the only male, with my two girls, 14 and 13, making up the feline family. One of them likes him and they play-chase each other and curl up together. The other, born feral and only bonded to me, is frightened of him and runs under the bed because he chases her. When they first met, she seemed intrigued by him and to like him, but that changed, for reasons unknown to me. So, our family dynamic is a work in progress.
    One more thing I'd recommend is that you check out cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy "The Cat Daddy" on YouTube, on his Animal Planet show, "My Cat From Hell", and in his books. He is amazing at helping cats and people in situations just like yours.
    Again, patience, time, and love will almost surely win the day! Keep us informed, won't you?
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  14. Shane Kent

    Shane Kent Crazy Cat Gentleman Top Cat

    May 9, 2016
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Lost his loved one and his home at the same time, how incredibly heartbreaking. God Bless you for taking him into your home and wanting to be his new loved one. I wish all the best to you and him.
    Dreger, JT'w/3, tinydestroyer and 2 others purraised this.

  15. vikinggirl34

    vikinggirl34 TCS Member Young Cat

    Apr 23, 2014
    Hello Rottsie!

    Definitely give him some time. I would imagine it's separation anxiety, stress, confusion. He doesn't understand what happened. He just knows that his cat mom is gone and he's in a different location.

    It's very sweet that you took him in and are taking care of him and reaching out for help. Be attentive and loving when he lets you and give him space when he needs it. Just give him time, love and understanding and that will create a trust in him for you.

    And remember just like humans, when they're grieving they can become stressed and angry.

    Best wishes to you both!
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  16. M&M

    M&M TCS Member Young Cat

    Mar 16, 2018
    You are awesome and I agree with giving him time to cope with all the changes. My book, « The Natural Cat » by Anitra Frazier explains about fear, anger and anxiety when agression is a problem. Use visualization and affirmation. Picture him happy in his new surroundings and talk to him about how nice it will be. Help him over his grief by providing a safe place, a snug quiet and warm area where he can be alone without being bothered. When you’re in the same room with him you can help calm him and help him cope with all the crazy new changes by talking gently and soothingly using the visualization and affirmation technique and explaining his situation to him with compassion. It really does work! Imagine a 60 year old human that was suddenly uprooted from everything and forced into a new environment. It’s the same with animals, and it may take him a few months to calm down. She recommends Bach Rescue Remedy to help. Her book is a wealth of knowledge. I would get at least a used copy of the older version, « The New Natural Cat » it’s only a few dollars and they usually have them on Amazon.
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  17. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

    Sep 19, 2006
    Glendale, California
    Excellent suggestion, @M&M !
    Dreger and rubysmama purraised this.

  18. SheriB

    SheriB FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    He’s a lucky cat, he just doesn’t know it yet. I agree with all of the above advice. Time and security are the biggest factors.
    I foster cats with FELV from a local shelter and each cat responds differently to their scary new situation when I bring them home. Rescue Remedy for pets (chewy, Amazon, some health food stores) often helps. In my experience it works really well with some cats and only so-so with others.
    I put a drop in their water or wet food. If I can touch the cat I put a drop on my finger and rub their ear. One cat at the shelter was so aggressive we gave him a drop through the bars of the cage, touching his nose with the dropper when he came to sniff it. It seems to help them settle down and not feel so nervous. Several times a day can be helpful. Jackson Galaxy has a similar product called Changing Times. It appears to help them with grief, lost routines, and fear.
    If he doesn’t come around in a few months, I’ve had some good results with Zylkene for anxiety.
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  19. danteshuman

    danteshuman TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 27, 2017
    I agree with everything everyone said ... except the senior part ;) My cat Salem is 11 years and is more like middle age. I have had indoor cats live 19-21 years. The only thing I would add is try the slow blink. (Close your eyes for 2-3 seconds, open, repeat. Direct eye contact is aggressive to cats. The slow blink it the cat version of hugs.) Our semi-feral likes it. Even my punk Dante prefers the slow blink or my eyes closed over looking at him.
    Dreger, rubysmama and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  20. Purr-fect

    Purr-fect TCS Member Super Cat

    Apr 20, 2017
    You saved his life!

    That says alot about you.

    Now....patience patience and more patience.

    We adopted greg and arnold. They hid under our beds for a week and wanted nothing to do with us. That sure changed!!!!!:yess:
    Dreger, rubysmama and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

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