hot to correct a kitten that attacks or is aggressive to people

Is Your Kitten Attacking You?

Some kittens form bad habits and attack people. Learn how to correct the behavior.

Raising an Abused Kitten


Dear Simba - My boyfriend and I have a 6-month-old kitten who is like our baby.
When she was 4-months-old we had someone stay with us and he threw her. She landed hard on the floor and bounced into the wall, it was awful! Now, whenever we have people visit she growls and hisses at them. If they try to calmly approach her she bats at their hands. When there are new people around she will not even trust us to touch her. Is there anything we can do to help her to trust people she does not know again? Tackers
Dear Tackers,
How awful that someone abused her like that! Poor little gal. Here are some tips to help re-socialize her.
  • Place your kitten in a closed pet carrier with all the kitty comforts.
  • Pet her from the outside and make her feel warm & safe.
  • Let her out of the carrier
  • Do this for 3 days
  • Day 4, have a friend spend a few minutes with you with kitty in the carrier
  • Do not pet or bother kitty
  • Let kitty out a few minutes after your friend leaves.
  • Repeat for 3 days.
  • The association of safety & the pet carrier should allow your kitten to become accustomed to the presence of others without triggering an aggressive response.
  • Day 7, open the door of the pet carrier when there are people over. Give her the freedom to leave the carrier and socialize or to stay inside. Let her smell around and approach or ignore people. You want to establish a sense of safety & control.
A smooth re-socialization will make yours a well-adjusted kitten. I wish you the best. Keep me posted. Simba


Helping a Spooked Cat



Hi...
My cat Stu is a neutered, indoor male cat.
cat scratch postUltimate Scratcher
One day an outside cat came to the door and stuck its paws under the door. Stu now stares at the door and goes crazy whenever I go near him. He hisses and screams. I was mad at first and I yelled at him and sprayed him with water. This made things worse. I next tried the calm approach and he was ok for 2 days. He then started again. The cat stares at the door and hisses with his jaws fully open every time I walk by or try to calm him down. He then comes up to me so I can pet him....then he was ready to attack me again. He ran behind a couch and stayed there. I had to sleep with bedroom door closed to avoid this psycho cat. I am ready to put this cat down because of safety reasons...but been an excellent cat for 6 years. What do you think? Kman

Dear Kman,
It certainly seems that Stu has had a rather traumatic experience. Poor guy. There are a couple of things you can try. One is to place him in the bathroom for a 10-15 minute time-out whenever he misbehaves. This should get him calmer. Another is to go your vet and discuss placing Stu on feline anti-depressants. These have been known to help cats live happy and healthy lives (their people too).

A cat is a friend and a companion and I would do my best to help Stu out in this situation. He is still the cat you reared, but he is having problems. Help him. Keep me posted. Your Pal, Simba


Cat with Traumatic Experience



Dear Simba:
Please help! I have a beautiful 1 1/2 year old domestic female kitty, fixed, and has her shots. She never goes outside, and there are no other cats in my apartment (and I live alone). Recently a friend (who has cats but has been by many times) was looking after my apartment one night and Pippi attacked her! Growling, hair up, clawing at her, so bad that at one point my friend locked herself in a bedroom with Pippi on the other side and waited till I got home! When I got home Pippi was fine, but by the next day she was at it again with another friend, who does not have cats. She even bit me hand and drew blood! She is back to normal now...could it be psychological? Pippi recently witnessed my breakup with my boyfriend…it was pretty messy. Could she be reacting to that with the strangers?- A Worried Mommy

Dear A Worried Mommy,
Assuming that this behavior began after the fight with your boyfriend, I think the following.

Seeing you stressed and hearing yelling probably affected poor Pippi. She is likely taking out her angst with all people other than you and me so wound up that she is unable to calm down, even when you are around. They say it is always the children that suffer the most after a relationship breaks up, and in this case I think you got it right in your thinking. So what to do? Play with Pippi and spend some time with her before you ever leave her alone with a friend. Let her know that people you have over are friends and help her feel comfortable around them. If she misbehaves place her in the bathroom for a 10-15 minute time out. Repeat as necessary. Simba


Dealing with a Mean Cat


Hi Simba!
I need your help. My husband brought home Ivy 2 years ago.
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  • Ivy has always had a mean streak. She was very bad with a kitten we were rescued and returned to its owners. She would attack the new cat and us! Our vet said she was not properly socialized as a kitten. Ivy HATES everything and everyone, except me. Sometimes she will let me hold her and love her but other times she just bites and howls to be left alone. I warn guests not to touch her. My husband bought me a beautiful new kitten for Christmas. She is so sweet I want to keep her, but I'm afraid Ivy will kill her. Ivy will kill anything she comes in contact with, rabbits, squirrels, birds, you name it, she kills it. And she tries to hurt my husband all the time. I read all of your letters about introducing cats (in Lifestyle Changes), but I'm not sure about Ivy. What should I do? She is so mean...yet I love her.

    I want a "normal" cat that loves people and plays. I have spent hours crying about this. I am so torn. It is not fair for Ivy to lose her life, but it is not fair to me, a person who loves cats, to have a cat, one cat, who hates me and will not tolerate any other animals. Please help. I need some advice. Ivy’s vet does not have any opinion...she dislikes Ivy because Ivy has hurt her a few times. I want to have cats in my life more than anything in the world, I do not have children, I have cats. I am worn. Tracie


    Dear Tracie,
    How very frustrating this must be for you. You have more options than keeping her or having her put to sleep. You can place Ivy in a no-kill shelter, through PurrfectPals or Adopt A Pet. By placing Ivy in one of these places you can rest comfortable knowing that she will not be put down. You can also place ads with people that need a hunting cat to control gophers or other animals in their yard. Lastly, you could make Ivy an outdoor cat (not something I recommend usually) and not allow her in. This way she does not have contact with your new kitten and she patrols your home. She will still be part of the family but not hurt anyone. Keep me posted. Simba