Need help with an incident

Scratchy22

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Hey guys so I took my cat outside on a harness. ( He was planned to fly to Canada in August as I will be away for 1 year for my masters and he has been outside on a harness 4 or 5 times before with 2 times where he tried to escape slightly) i was making sure to follow him slowly to let him lead the way as he goes, I took treats as well) he doesnt like travelling in his container ( specially large for him and comfortable) so I try to induce possitive associations by taking him out to places that arent the vet or long plane rides ( which he absolutely freaks out on and the vet I used to go to didnt recommend a sedative) this time he was prawling and walking slowly, He would take his head up, look around and sniff his surroundings and relax and some people started to pass by, he goes abit scared so I went abit closer with the harness lead to comfort him and he hissed at me loudly, i went closer to where he hissed again and tried to break off the harness 3 times, I went closer to try to pick him up where he yowled at me and took a defensive position I tried to pick him up with another stranger old man staring at me and he bit me really hard in 3 or 4 places, after some attemps and panic I put him in his case again and he didnt try to exit it I went home bleeding, went to the pharmacy took a cream and a spray to disingect the wounds, I didnt punish him in any sort of way at home, I gave him a treat after 30 mins. He was still wary of me and hissed once at me at home when he heard the chair move, now he is resting, he didnt come down to eat at his foodbowl which is unlikely for him. I pet him some times, he didnt seem to mind and I am resting. I want to know what caused such a huge aggresive change when on a harness that he would hiss at me for just approaching him. He is neutered has taken all his shots and saw a vet recently. I am abit scared of him at this point if he can do this much damage out of the blue. I am not taking him out again on a harness and I am only putting him in his container when needed. Any feedback is appreciated and any tips welcome
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. On any of the other occasions you went walking did the two of you encounter other people passing by? If not, he got scared by them and took it out on you. But, even if you've run into other people previously doesn't mean that he couldn't have had a reaction this time anyway. Something like this is typically called re-directed aggression - he got scared of the people/current situation, and took it out on you. I would let some time pass - but, act as normal as you can with him in the meantime. He will most likely 'recover' when he is given some time to forget this incident. But, you need to treat him as you always have and try not to show fear - that will just confuse and upset him.
Re-directed Aggression In Cats

The odds are you will have to start over with leash training, and if you didn't get him used to the leash in the house first, I would start there. Other members who have experience with leash training will surely come along and offer their first-hand input.
 

calicosrspecial

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I would like to have others respond as well.

My take, it seems like it was probably re-directed aggression. He sensed a threat (possibly another animal scent - the animal could have been near or just the scent). If he was moving slowly and lower to the ground it suggests there was a perception of a threat around. Probably an animal BUT it could also be people.

How were his eyes? Dilated?

How was his body language? Low to the ground? Ears back? Tail big?

What were your emotions before he bit? DId you move at a different pace than normal? Were you apprehensive? Scared? Did you move quicker?

Cats take on our emotions so the more calm, confident and "normal" we tend to be that can help de-escalate a situation.

I am guessing it was probably an intact male he either smelled or even saw. Though it could have been the people. It was a fear response and I am guessing he was really on the defensive.

I would just act normal around him at home, give him some space to decompress, give a lot of good food, treats, at some point when he feels up to it play with him and let him initiate contact. Stay calm and confident around him and just let him know he is loved (but not reaching out to him). Just go at his pace.

I am guessing it was just an unfortunate situation (wrong place, wrong time). Let's see how he bounces back and let us know how he acts at home (his body language, how he walks around, does he avoid areas, does he hide, etc).

We'll be able to get him back to normal. Please make sure the bite is well taken care of so you don't have an infection and any problems.
 
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Scratchy22

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Hi. On any of the other occasions you went walking did the two of you encounter other people passing by? If not, he got scared by them and took it out on you. But, even if you've run into other people previously doesn't mean that he couldn't have had a reaction this time anyway. Something like this is typically called re-directed aggression - he got scared of the people/current situation, and took it out on you. I would let some time pass - but, act as normal as you can with him in the meantime. He will most likely 'recover' when he is given some time to forget this incident. But, you need to treat him as you always have and try not to show fear - that will just confuse and upset him.
Re-directed Aggression In Cats

The odds are you will have to start over with leash training, and if you didn't get him used to the leash in the house first, I would start there. Other members who have experience with leash training will surely come along and offer their first-hand input.
Thank you for your reply, yes once he was scared and he climbed a tree but he wasnt aggresive with me when i picked him up after. Now he eat wont unless i give it to his mouth and he just wants to stare outside the window. He lets me pet him but he is wary of loud noises. Ill let him rest and give him treats and playtime if he seems interested
 

Furballsmom

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I am abit scared of him at this point if he can do this much damage out of the blue.
They are amazing animals, mostly to the good but also sometimes like this. He was deeply frightened of something he either heard or smelled. He wanted to get away from whatever that was very badly. He was so very scared of whatever it was, that he didn't realize that you were trying to help him.

Try cat music for him - there is spotify, youtube, RelaxMyCat and Musicforcats. Chamomile tea could help both of you :). For him, from Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953
chamomile tea is gently calming without being sedating. Buy the commercial bags at the grocery store, just PLAIN chamomile, no blends. Brew a cup, chill it, and give each of the 1-3 teaspoonfuls, three times a day, via syringe. I always buy the tea bags ready-made to make sure that I'm using GERMAN chamomile, which is medicinally active and safe for cats, rather than the ENGLISH variety that's popular in gardens, and is TOXIC to cats.

For the next time you'd like to take him out - or you could try an enclosed buggy;
Harness And Leash Training For Cats

Also, for now and for the next time you need to go to the vet, there might be something here;
Only Natural Pet has a calming product called Just Relax Calming spray with essential oil (catnip oil).

There's this one, be sure and scroll all the way down the page;
Bach Flower Remedies - Rescue Remedy Pets Dogs Cats Horses Birds

Also, there is ThunderWunders calming chews, Naturevet Hemp, HomeoPet Anxiety Relief, Head to Tail Calming, Relaxivet Quiet Moments Cat treats, GNC Calming formula, and there is Calm-o-mile, Natures Miracle calming spray, Vetri-Science's Composure is another item to look at, Pet Remedy - UK (it has valerian) is yet another, as is Essential Pet Pet-eze, Pet Organics No Stress, Only Natural Pet (brand and website) has other calming products, Pet Naturals also has one I believe, and there are others.

Lambert Vet Supply is a website to look at, and of course chewy, also there's Petwishpros, animaleo, 1-800-petmeds, Petco and PetSmart, and other pet stores.

There is also a product called a lickimat which could be helpful, as cats can be calmed by the process of licking. The LickiMat - Food Puzzles for Cats

This post talks about some other products;
Calming Treats For A Very Picky Cat
 

calicosrspecial

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I would like to add a few things.

One thing when dealing with a scared cat is not not stand over them, not reach from above them, not stare at them, act normally, try to be cognizant of "escape routes" for the cat (so as not to have them feel like they are cornered and there is no way to escape other than fight).

I am wondering if the harness might have caused him to feel "cornered" or less able to "escape" and that could have also provoked a response.

Cats are resilient and respond to be loved and taken care of. Good food, eye kisses, safety, warm and comfy places to sleep, etc are all things cats respond to. I have no doubt he will recover from this unfortunate incident but we can help you along the way.
 

fionasmom

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I have had three leash trained cats in my life, none still living. My take is that something truly frightened and horrified him, you were the victim of redirected aggression over which he has not control, and you need to start over again with the leash training and reassurances for him that he will not have another incident.

When he was able to climb the tree, he probably felt as if he had more control of his fate and, once he felt safe, he did not feel the need to redirect anything to you. This time he felt as if his life were passing in front of his eyes.

Harnesses on cats are odd things and some cats do not take to them in the long run. Your cat has not been out on one that often, so I would really start over and carefully reevaluate if this will work for him. You said he tried to break off the harness. Could he have done so if you had not intervened? If that had happened, the outcome might have been more serious.

Since I have no leash trained cats right now, and don't plan to introduce anyone to a leash, I am not up on the styles for cats. Do they make some that are escape proof as they do for dogs? And I mean really escape proof?
 
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Scratchy22

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They are amazing animals, mostly to the good but also sometimes like this. He was deeply frightened of something he either heard or smelled. He wanted to get away from whatever that was very badly. He was so very scared of whatever it was, that he didn't realize that you were trying to help him.

Try cat music for him - there is spotify, youtube, RelaxMyCat and Musicforcats. Chamomile tea could help both of you :). For him, from Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953
chamomile tea is gently calming without being sedating. Buy the commercial bags at the grocery store, just PLAIN chamomile, no blends. Brew a cup, chill it, and give each of the 1-3 teaspoonfuls, three times a day, via syringe. I always buy the tea bags ready-made to make sure that I'm using GERMAN chamomile, which is medicinally active and safe for cats, rather than the ENGLISH variety that's popular in gardens, and is TOXIC to cats.

For the next time you'd like to take him out - or you could try an enclosed buggy;
Harness And Leash Training For Cats

Also, for now and for the next time you need to go to the vet, there might be something here;
Only Natural Pet has a calming product called Just Relax Calming spray with essential oil (catnip oil).

There's this one, be sure and scroll all the way down the page;
Bach Flower Remedies - Rescue Remedy Pets Dogs Cats Horses Birds

Also, there is ThunderWunders calming chews, Naturevet Hemp, HomeoPet Anxiety Relief, Head to Tail Calming, Relaxivet Quiet Moments Cat treats, GNC Calming formula, and there is Calm-o-mile, Natures Miracle calming spray, Vetri-Science's Composure is another item to look at, Pet Remedy - UK (it has valerian) is yet another, as is Essential Pet Pet-eze, Pet Organics No Stress, Only Natural Pet (brand and website) has other calming products, Pet Naturals also has one I believe, and there are others.

Lambert Vet Supply is a website to look at, and of course chewy, also there's Petwishpros, animaleo, 1-800-petmeds, Petco and PetSmart, and other pet stores.

There is also a product called a lickimat which could be helpful, as cats can be calmed by the process of licking. The LickiMat - Food Puzzles for Cats

This post talks about some other products;
Calming Treats For A Very Picky Cat
Thanks so much for all the information, he is doing better now :) he started to eat and move abit more around the house
 
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