Help. Ive run out of ideas - cat attacks.

Abbypye

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Hi Everyone.

About 16 months ago I got a really cute little kitten. I've raised kittens and cats before but always on a farm. I'm now living in a condo - my cat watches outside and gets very amped up. I play with him constantly but he often will attack out of nowhere and they are not just nibbles, he attacks hard. To the point of me having several infections. I have ptsd so having a cat like this is actually not currently good for my health- but I've never given up on an animal before - maybe hes better off somewhere else? How can I help him and in turn help me. I cannot go on with these daily attacks. My legs are all scarred and just as one bite heals, he bites me again. :( HELP! What are my options?
 

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rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. So sorry for the circumstances that brought you here. Cat bites and scratches, as you are aware, can become infected, so you are wise to be concerned.

How old was your kitten when you adopted him? If younger than 12 weeks, he may not have had time to learn kitty etiquette from his mom and siblings, and therefore doesn't realize he hurts you when he attacks. Do you say "owww" and "nooooo" when he attacks. Doing so in a high pitched tone might help, as that's how another cat would let him know he's hurting them. You can also try "hissing" at him.

TCS has some articles with more info that might be helpful. Here's the links:

Cat Aggression Toward People – Cat Articles
Why Do Cats Attack? – Cat Articles
How To Stop Playtime Aggression In Cats – Cat Articles
Re-directed Aggression In Cats – Cat Articles

Plus this one from the humane society. Please ignore, though, their suggestion of using a spray water bottle.
Teach Your Kitten How to Play Nice : The Humane Society of the United States
 

ArtNJ

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What have you tried and for how long did you try each method? A common mistake people make is that the switch from method to method too quickly.

We also need to classify this. Is it play biting? With a kitten that likes you, and you mentioned no warning so I assume no hissing, its probably play biting, but we need more info. Do you generally have a good relationship with the kitten except for this?

You have a LOT of wounds and I really want to help!!

IF this is play biting, you quite frankly might need to be a little harsher with the kitten. For example, if you are going to use the "no" method, you don't just say "no" you say "no!" loudly enough to be startling to the kitten. And if you tried that for weeks and it didn't work, you can pin the kitten. The idea is to make it not a fun game by holding the kitten still. Again, this is something you might need to do for weeks. Be careful not to hurt the kitten if using this method, but its a legit method that cats use to train other cats - grab the scruff of the neck and put a bit of pressure on the butt and the kitten isn't going anywhere.
 
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Abbypye

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The first method I chose was to make a loud noise "Ouch" or "No" and then disengage - trying to get him to understand that behaviour won't lead to play. I did this for about 8 weeks.

Second I tried to remove him when he misbehaved. Time outs for 15 minutes - I did this for about 4 weeks but he just really didn't seem to be getting the concept, he would come right out and get back on with his usual tricks!

Third (and I shouldn't have listened to my mum) she said when he is bad to give him a a little smack - I instantly knew this approach wouldn't work because he took it as a invitation to engage in battle and it only made him more amped.

Forth - Redirection. He would attack out of hiding so I never knew he was coming and he is very good at latching into my leg with his mouth and paws very fast. At first it was so painful and startling that I just instantly reacted. But overtime I learn to just pull him off my leg and redirect him. Anything near by I can find - I will throw and he will run after it like a dog playing fetch. Then I fearfully play with him - because I am legit scared of my own kitten!

Problem is - redirection only works AFTER an attack. I need to stop this behaviour, I just can't live like this - today he attacked my face while I was sleeping - Clawed and bit right above my eye, I am lucky he didn't get my eyelid/eyes. How am I meant to redirect his behaviour from sleep!

It sounds like he hates me right, but here's the thing. I don't think he does. If we have 24 hours in a day - this behaviour likely takes up 4 hours. For the other 20 he is a loving little guy. He snuggles up to me at night and it's so adorable I can't handle it! He loves scratches under his chin, we play games and sometimes go for little walks. I am pretty sure this is some kind of built up angst from living in a very small space, and being a very adventurous little kitten - but what do I do? Just move house!? What if I do, and he still misbehaves!?
 
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Abbypye

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For Example - As I was writing that reply, he came up for a snuggle. Purring and snuggling - then totally out of the blue came at my face. I managed to protect my eyes, but the rest of my face wasn't so lucky. I can't in good conscience give him to a new home, but I'm literally not sure how many more days of this I can take. I need a break.
 

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susanm9006

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It’s sounds like playful but inappropriate/unacceptable behavior. You might want to try using a small squeeze horn or an a can of compressed air when he is attacking your legs. Just enough to startle him and make attacking you less fun. The nuisance is having these always with you when you are moving around. As far as the night time attacks he should get removed and shut out of the bedroom for the rest of the night if he attacks you. I would also make sure that you never play with him in your bedroom.
 

ArtNJ

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Yep, its definitely play aggression. A time out is never going to work, cats just don't make that link. You are also right that a little smack isn't a good idea -- it is generally either going to be too hard, and abusive, or too soft and interpreted as play. With a loud "no!" there is no real harm if you are a little too loud -- a bonded cat won't be permanently scared of you. So that is a better method, although it has clearly failed for you. Either you weren't loud enough, or your kitten just doesn't care about the noise. I think susanm9006 susanm9006 has some great ideas for you, because a lot of people have trouble getting the "no!" loud enough, and a horn or compressed air takes that element out of it. However, if your kitten truly doesn't care about the noise or the air, it may not work, so I will also remention holding the kitten down to make it not fun -- pinning a kitten is exactly how annoyed older cats teach kittens manners.

Four hours is way outside the norm, and I really feel for you. Make sure to keep checking in here, and we will keep trying to help.

P.S. Given the state of your legs, we may have to consider some non-traditional solutions. Like maybe you can wear sweatpants covered with the lower legs covered in double sided take for a couple days. Cats supposedly don't like that. Probably not a great idea, but just trying to think outside the box because those legs look *painful*. Maybe just thick jeans will help while you continue training?
 

s106300

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Try CBD oil - HolistaPet is a good brand am currently using on my intra-cat aggression bunch and it seems to be having a positive effect.
 
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