Aggression in newly adopted cat

Bonnie Bohn

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Three weeks ago we adopted a 13 yr. old female Russian Blue. We were warned that she had biting problems. She adjusted quite quickly to our home of two older adults, no other pets. She climbs in my lap every evening and after about a half hour she just stares at me and then bites me. Not hard, but there seems to be no reason for it. Any ideas?
 

BNE

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Hi! Firstly, welcome to the forum!

I have trained many kittens not to bite and these methods do work on cats too - and I want you to rest assured that what you are going through won't be forever!

The first and upmost thing to do is to keep your cats nailed regally trimmed. DO NOT DECLAW YOUR CAT!! If you would like to know why, do some research!

When your cat does bite, tell her "No!" in a loud firm manner. She may already be used to this, but if not get her familiar with it.

How I train my kittens not to bite is by redirecting their attention. For example, if a kitten bites me, I redirect their attention on a soft little noisy toy and praise them for biting that. Once my kittens are adopted, they have little to no issues with biting.


These will be the methods I will use when I resume fostering again shortly.

Furthermore, it's important to tailor your strategies to your individual cat. This is what I recommend and what has worked for me. Get online and do some research and I guarantee you'll have great success.

I (or someone else) will be able to help much further if you share a background and history on your cat.

I hope this helps! 🙂
 

Lulu&Finn

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Three weeks ago we adopted a 13 yr. old female Russian Blue. We were warned that she had biting problems. She adjusted quite quickly to our home of two older adults, no other pets. She climbs in my lap every evening and after about a half hour she just stares at me and then bites me. Not hard, but there seems to be no reason for it. Any ideas?
Lulu doesn’t bite as much as she used to but anyone she bit me she no longer had the privilege of being on my lap. She would get put on the floor and ignored.
 

littlecatt

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Could you describe what precedes and follows the biting more? Before she bites, are you petting her, or is she just sitting there? Afterwards does she resume laying there or does she jump up and run off? Either way, I'd recommend picking her up and putting her down after she's been on your lap for a while, or if you notice her start to get ornery. In my experience biting is a behavior best preemptively avoided or redirected.

Many cats gets overstimulated with attention especially physical attention like petting, and will do a light bite to let you know to back off, they're done. Biting can also accompany licking as a grooming behavior; one of my cats will start licking my hand and if I try to move it he gets upset and will lightly bite me. This same cat also will bite if he gets overstimulated from too much petting. If he was put up for adoption I can absolutely see the shelter saying he has biting issues, but that's not my perspective at all. If this is an overstimulation issue, you'll absolutely learn to pick up your cat's nonverbal signals that bite-time is approaching. Cats get a reputation that they do things for no reason out of the blue — but really they're just very subtle about their cues!
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. She is 13yo, so likely a bit set in her ways. But, when she looks at you and bites, what are you doing? Petting her? If so, you are probably overstimulating her. In that case, start to learn her behavior so that you can stop petting her when you see signs. Changes in her body carriage, or her starting to swish her tail a bit.

If it happens when you go to pet her, there are certain ways that some cats will become stressed over how they are approached for pettings - for example, some cats will react to a hand or arm reaching over their head. In this situation, you could try to let her sniff your hand first and perhaps start with a pet or gentle stroke to her cheek.

She could be biting you to get your attention if you are not petting her too.

She is relatively new to your home. I would take some time to let her continue to get more comfortable with her new home, and start to learn more about her personality/behaviors/triggers. She is telling you something with her gentle biting - you will soon figure out what it is as you learn more about her. Unless you know details about her background, her biting could have had to do something with how she was handled. So, that is another thing to take into consideration.
 
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Bonnie Bohn

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Hi! Firstly, welcome to the forum!

I have trained many kittens not to bite and these methods do work on cats too - and I want you to rest assured that what you are going through won't be forever!

The first and upmost thing to do is to keep your cats nailed regally trimmed. DO NOT DECLAW YOUR CAT!! If you would like to know why, do some research!

When your cat does bite, tell her "No!" in a loud firm manner. She may already be used to this, but if not get her familiar with it.

How I train my kittens not to bite is by redirecting their attention. For example, if a kitten bites me, I redirect their attention on a soft little noisy toy and praise them for biting that. Once my kittens are adopted, they have little to no issues with biting.


These will be the methods I will use when I resume fostering again shortly.

Furthermore, it's important to tailor your strategies to your individual cat. This is what I recommend and what has worked for me. Get online and do some research and I guarantee you'll have great success.

I (or someone else) will be able to help much further if you share a background and history on your cat.

I hope this helps! 🙂
I will share whatI know.
 
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Bonnie Bohn

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We don’t know much about her background, we adopted her here in Green Bay, but she was originally in a Milwaukee shelter. I don’t know why, but I have determined by her behavior that she once had a long time loving home. She is very vocal and sociable, it’s quite easy to figure out what she wants by her different meows. She thrives on routine. She had been spayed and unfortunately declawed sometime in the past.
She had been adopted recently but after a few weeks was returned because she bit someone quite seriously. After reading the replies and doing some research, I’m not too worried about the biting anymore. She certainly has been traumatized, as she dislikes other animals and hated the shelter. She hadn’t been eating while there. I think as she gets to feel more secure she will be fine. When she shows prebite behavior we push her off our lap gently or just ignore her. We really love her already,she sleeps with us , loves being brushed until she says stop, with a bat from her paw and a warning cry. I think maybe in her previous adoptive home, her warnings were ignored and that’s why she bit.
She certainly has found her forever home with us.
 

littlecatt

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We don’t know much about her background, we adopted her here in Green Bay, but she was originally in a Milwaukee shelter. I don’t know why, but I have determined by her behavior that she once had a long time loving home. She is very vocal and sociable, it’s quite easy to figure out what she wants by her different meows. She thrives on routine. She had been spayed and unfortunately declawed sometime in the past.
She had been adopted recently but after a few weeks was returned because she bit someone quite seriously. After reading the replies and doing some research, I’m not too worried about the biting anymore. She certainly has been traumatized, as she dislikes other animals and hated the shelter. She hadn’t been eating while there. I think as she gets to feel more secure she will be fine. When she shows prebite behavior we push her off our lap gently or just ignore her. We really love her already,she sleeps with us , loves being brushed until she says stop, with a bat from her paw and a warning cry. I think maybe in her previous adoptive home, her warnings were ignored and that’s why she bit.
She certainly has found her forever home with us.
Oh what a poor girl, it's so stressful for a cat to go from having a long time loving home to the shelter. That makes a lot of sense that she was declawed. Declawed cats are more prone to biting because their first mode of defense, their claws, have been taken from them so they have to resort to biting to get their point across. It seems like you're absolutely right, she's had a really rough lot lately and just needs some time to get settled in, realize that you're her new family and are here to stay, and learn how to communicate with you! Putting her down or ignoring her when she starts to get agitated sounds like the perfect strategy. I never want to blame someone for a serious injury as a result of an animal bite, but it's very possible the family that returned her didn't take heed of her warning signs and rushed her acclimation process.

You've done such a wonderful thing adopting a senior cat who was advertised as having biting issues, and she's clearly so grateful. :redheartpump: Do you have any pictures of her?
 

Katy Perkins

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Could be a medical reason. When a cat is in pain or dealing with a medical problem it can become aggressive. It’s not on purpose, nor is it really because of anything anyone did. I would say it should be a priority for you to take your cat to the vet for a full work-up and seriously scrutinize the feline's behavior in the meantime to ascertain any other behavioral cues you may be missing.
 
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Bonnie Bohn

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Could be a medical reason. When a cat is in pain or dealing with a medical problem it can become aggressive. It’s not on purpose, nor is it really because of anything anyone did. I would say it should be a priority for you to take your cat to the vet for a full work-up and seriously scrutinize the feline's behavior in the meantime to ascertain any other behavioral cues you may be missing.
Thank you, we have done that. In fact our shelter gave us a free vet checkup in the first week after adoption. The vet said she was healthy and in good shape except for being overweight. We have her on a special diet now, recommended by the vet.
She has stopped biting, she now just hisses or slaps us with her paw when she doesn’t like something. We have learned that she doesn’t like prolonged petting or being touched on her tummy, paws, or tail, so we don’t do it. She has improved immensely. She now sits in my lap every evening and snuggles with us in bed. It’s amazing what a little patience can do. We will never know what she had been through but she’s definitely becoming more trustful .
 
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Bonnie Bohn

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Oh what a poor girl, it's so stressful for a cat to go from having a long time loving home to the shelter. That makes a lot of sense that she was declawed. Declawed cats are more prone to biting because their first mode of defense, their claws, have been taken from them so they have to resort to biting to get their point across. It seems like you're absolutely right, she's had a really rough lot lately and just needs some time to get settled in, realize that you're her new family and are here to stay, and learn how to communicate with you! Putting her down or ignoring her when she starts to get agitated sounds like the perfect strategy. I never want to blame someone for a serious injury as a result of an animal bite, but it's very possible the family that returned her didn't take heed of her warning signs and rushed her acclimation process.

You've done such a wonderful thing adopting a senior cat who was advertised as having biting issues, and she's clearly so grateful. :redheartpump: Do you have any pictures of her?
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5FB54CA9-7EDF-4F0C-ACFA-6B66BC3C7DD9.jpeg
 
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