aggressive cat attack

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We recently covered petting aggression and play aggression in cats. Today, I’d like to address one other form of feline aggression, and it’s one that can be very frightening, as well as damaging, for cat guardians. This form of aggression is called redirected aggression, and it happens when a cat is agitated by an animal, event, or person it can’t get at. Unable to lash out at the perceived threat, the cat turns to the nearest victim. This may be another cat or pet in the household, or it may be the cat’s humans. These attacks happen seemingly out of the blue, and they can be fairly damaging to the victim.

Redirected aggression is not unique to cats. The human equivalent is the man who gets so angry he wants to punch someone, and ends up punching a wall instead.

What causes redirected aggression?

Most commonly, redirected aggression is triggered when indoor cats see a strange cat outside the window. Since they consider their home their territory, the outside cat is perceived as an intruder. Other triggers can include smelling a strange cat on the guardian’s hands or clothing, being frightened by something or someone, coming back inside after accidentally getting outside if the cat is normally an indoor cat, or even watching birds and squirrels outside.

This kind of attack is often described by cat guardians as coming “out of nowhere.” However, from the cat’s perspective, there is always a trigger. It is important to understand that these attacks are not malicious, or even intentional on the cat’s part. The cat simply reacts to a perceived threat.

I’ve only experienced this once with one of my cats, and thankfully, it was an isolated incident. Feebee and I were standing by my sliding glass door looking out into the backyard. I even remember talking to him. All of a sudden, I felt his jaws clamp around my calf. I screamed – not because it was all that painful at that moment, but because I was so startled. A second ago he was sitting next to me, peacefully looking out the window. Now I saw a puffed up, hissing little grey monster next to me. I slowly walked away, and within about 30 seconds, he calmed down and acted normal again. He had left two deep puncture wounds in my calf. I don’t remember seeing anything we hadn’t seen before, but clearly, he had. And I now know how lucky I was that he recovered so quickly. For some cats, it can take days, weeks or even months to return to normal.

Of all the types of feline aggression, this is the most difficult form to deal with, because it may not always be possible to identify the trigger, and because, unlike with petting or play aggression, there’s usually no warning from the cat in terms of body language because these attacks happen so fast. It becomes especially difficult when the attack is directed at another cat in the household, because in most cases, the triggered cat will continue to be aggressive toward the victim.

What to do when you experience redirected aggression

The first order of business is to temporarily separate the cats. Ideally, put the aggressor cat into a darkened room with very few stimuli, and allow the cat to calm down. Never try to separate two fighting cats with your bare hands, and don’t yell at the cats to break up a fight – they are already in a heightened state, and will most likely react by attacking you. Use a thick towel, or a broom, to get between the cats.

Use the cats’ natural pheromones to remind them that they “know” each other. You can do this by rubbing a sock or washcloth against the side of one cat’s face, then leave the sock or cloth with the other cat, and vice versa. Use Jackson Galaxy Solutions Bully Remedy for the attacker, and Peacemaker and Stress Stopper for both cats. All three are available from Amazon. Pheromone plugins or sprays like Feliway may also help.

Slowly start reintroducing the two cats to each other. Follow the same steps you would follow with two cats that have never met. Depending on your cats, and how severely triggered the aggressor was, this can take weeks and sometimes months.

If you know what triggered the aggressive episode, remove the trigger. For example, if an outside cat continues to come near your windows and upsets your cats, close the blinds, or make your yard unattractive to other cats. Ultrasonic deterrent devices like the CatStop, or motion activated sprinklers like the ScareCrow keep other cats out of the yard without harming them. (The links in this paragraph are affiliate links*)

If you don’t know the trigger, and the episodes happen again, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Remain vigilant when you are at home, and in time, you may be able to identify the cause of redirected aggression.

The most unusual case I’ve seen was a client who lived in a small apartment with three cats who got along wonderfully, until a new mattress was delivered. One of the cats became very scared during the delivery and installation, and for reasons known only to the other two cats, they turned on the scared cat. It took a few weeks of separating the cats, along with the use of Feliway and flower essences, to return harmony to the household.

Feline aggression is a serious problem. If simple behavior modification doesn’t work, consult with a veterinarian to rule out medical or neurological issues, and/or consult with a feline behaviorist.

Photo: istockphoto

*The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and affiliated sites. The Conscious Cat is an affiliate partner of Jackson Galaxy Solutions. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.  

436 Comments on Redirected Aggression: When Good Cats Attack

  1. Hi Ingrid!
    My cat, Louis, bit me twice today!
    The first time today I went to go pet him, he was sitting between my bathroom door and the wall, i went to pet him and he bit me!
    Secondly, today he was playing and running around my apartment, we had gotten bug traps installed and I didn’t want him to get into them so I took him and put him back in my room, he turned around and he just latched on to me and used his claws and mouth and wouldn’t stop! He randomly has gotten so aggressive today and I don’t know why! Do you think he needs more toys or to be taken on a walk? He is a rescue cat, he was once a stray but now he lives indoors with me where he is given lots of food and love and everything he could need. I know he has his hunting instincts but I am afraid of him getting into trouble (he is mischevious) what can I do to prevent this behavior? I am not sure if he was just playing and doesn’t know the difference. He is typically very calm. He is an adult, between 6 and 8 years. I have had him for almost two months now.

    • I forgot to mention as well that he held onto my leg like a child and wrapped himself and his claws around my leg and then began biting my leg during the second incident as well!

    • I’m so sorry this happened to you, Stephanie. It’s possible that Louis saw something outside the window that triggered the attack, Stephanie. You may want to confine him to a quiet room for at least a few hours, possibly overnight, to give him a chance to calm down. If this continues, I’d take him to your vet to rule out any medical issues.

  2. Oh my, so many sad stories in these comments. I’m sorry for all of you that got attacked and I share your pain. It’s so difficult to comprehend why a pet that has loved you and that you loved back for so much time suddenly turns on you with no apparent reason. I would like to share my story.

    We have Tommy, our now 3 year old male cat, since he was about 7 weeks old. He is an exclusively indoor cat and he is not neutered. He lives in an apartment with just me and my wife, no other pets or children.
    We decided not to neuter him because he did not cause us any problems, apart from occasionally humping my wife’s arm and one time when he sprayed the inside of our wardrobe.
    He was never violent with us but did not like guests around the house, he didn’t like being pet by anyone else, but still he would not attack anyone, just vocalize loudly when someone was trying to pet him. He was on constant alert when any stranger was in the house.

    He is very affectionate to me, he greats me every day when I come home from work, and begs me for affection before bedtime and after I wake up in the morning. He behaves differently with my wife, he doesn’t beg her for affection but still enjoys playing with her, he has this thing he likes to do: he hides behind the couch and startles my wife when she passes by and then he likes to be chased and play hide and seek. He does this with me too, but rarely.

    So, all was good, until a few days ago when I went out for shopping (just me, not with my wife) and came back in 10 minutes later. I started getting undressed on the couch, and then, out of the blue, Tommy jumps on the couch, approaches me and stands on my right leg with his two front paws and starts screaming at me, in a tone that I never heard him speak before. I sensed he was about to attack me, so, being really startled and unable to move (he caught me right when I was changing my trousers) I yelled at him to go away (mistake number one) and tried to get up.
    In a flash he grabbed my right arm, which was naked, with everything he got, teeth and claws, and would not let go. His claws were very sharp since he was always hesitant to let us trim them, and we really saw no harm in letting him have them that sharp, he never scratched us.
    Because I was so startled, shocked and in pain, I did something I regret very, very much: I managed to pull him of my arm and kicked him away (mistake number two). I tried to move away towards the bathroom but seconds later he lunged at me again and instinctively I extended my right arm and he grabbed onto it again, with the same force. I pulled him off again and threw him away and managed to get in the bathroom, and he followed me there but I managed to get the door closed in time. By this time, my wife came into the room and she too was very shaken by the whole situation. He had no intention of aggression towards her and after I was gone in the bathroom he hid under the couch.

    The wounds he left on my right arm were bleeding badly, I proceeded to clean and disinfect them as best as I could. When pulling him of he also managed to scratch my left hand a bit. Now, a few days later, the wounds are bruised and my right wrist is almost immobilized by the pain and swollenness.

    But of course, the physical pain pales in comparison to the emotional one. I feel like I lost the trust of a really close friend who was always there for me.
    Now every time I come home from work, I feel like entering a battle zone. Tommy becomes very tense and he vocalizes a lot, I try to move quickly to another room to get him the chance to get used to my presence in the house. He does eventually calm down, but now I’m like a prisoner in my bedroom, he has no issues with me when I’m lying in bed, only when moving around the house he becomes “activated”, he sometimes follows me and tries to see what I am doing. I’m now always walking around the house with a water spray bottle, just in case I need to “disarm” him before he attacks. I’m sure that now he is just very scared and traumatized by my response to his attack. I’m very ashamed of myself for what I did to him.

    But there is hope, this morning I called him and he came to me and showed that morning affection I was talking about. Not as much as before, and after a few minutes of me moving around the house he started to follow me again, with that scared look on his face.

    After contacting a vet and describing the situation to them, they think that the trigger was some smell of another cat, since this time of year is their breeding season. They gave Tommy some “heat” medication and suggested we have him neutered in a few weeks, after he has some time to get past the shock.

    I really, really hope that the trigger was the smell of another cat and that neutering him will make him calmer and we’ll be able to regain trust in one another. Who knows, maybe he saw my wife as a version of a female cat and saw me as a rival male on his territory. I still love him and of course don’t blame him for any of this, after all, cats are just wild animals we humans like to call domesticated.

    • I’m so sorry this happened to you, George. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m concerned about your arm – if you haven’t already gone to a doctor or urgent care, please do so as soon as possible. Cat bites can have serious consequences. I know it’s hard to trust a cat again after an incident like what you’re describing, and I applaud you for understanding that what happened was based on instinct, not malice. When these things happen, it’s like formerly loving house cats turn completely feral. All my best to you, and please keep us updated on how things are going for you and Tommy.

      • Thank you so much Ingrid for your kind words and advice, they mean a lot.

        I did see a doctor about my arm and they prescribed an antibiotic treatment. Now, 4 days later, there is no sign of infection on any of the scratches and they are healing well. The swollenness on my wrist has almost gone away, but there is still some pain and some mild numbness on the outside of my thumb, because I believe he might have bitten a nerve or tendon. Touching this spot right bellow my wrist and thumb feels like touching that exposed nerve on your elbow.

        Some bad news I’m afraid. Last night when I came home Tommy was again stressed, came rushing towards me and stopped a feet or two away in front of me vocalizing. My wife was with him the whole afternoon and she told me on the phone that he was doing great with hear, he was relaxed and behaving almost normally. She almost regained her trust in him, which I guess was a mistake, because she tried to relieve his tension my handing me one of his treats for me to give to him.

        This triggered a brutal attack on my wife’s left arm, he simply jumped up and grabbed her arm through her sweater and would not let go. Luckily I had the spray near me, I sprayed towards him and he let go and we didn’t have to hurt the poor little guy anymore. My wife and I retreated to the bedroom and closed the door. He came after us and began begging at the door, not with his aggressive voice, but with his sweet, please let me in, voice.

        The few seconds that Tommy attacked my wife’s arm were enough to do serious damage. The sweater was torn in 3 places, there were no bite mark but instead a lot of scratches. We began fearing for our safety and searching for ways to remove the threat. This was the fourth day of “terror” and the stress was beginning to wear us out. At first, out of fear, we though: “Let’s just throw him out on the street, he’s become a savage and there’s nothing we can do”. But calming down we tried searching the internet for animal shelters that would take him away for a few days in the hope he had time to calm down. We found none that would come to our house to take him.

        After maybe 20-30 minutes Tommy was still crying at the door for us to let him in. Every few minutes we would open the door ajar and talk to him, trying to calm him down. We were afraid to open the door but we built up the courage in the end. We used the spray near the door and the sound made Tommy leave. I opened the door and quickly sat on the bed, near my wife. A few seconds later Tommy came in, he said nothing and just went under the bed. He approached our feet from under the bed and began sniffing, then moved away, still under the bed. After a few minutes, my wife stood up and slowly exited the bedroom and went in the kitchen, where I advised her to sit down on a chair, since Tommy didn’t like seeing us standing up. I saw Tommy following her, but just to see where she was going and with no intention of attacking. She said that he just took a look at her in the kitchen, but did not enter.

        He then came back to the bedroom, where I was now lying on the bed. He jumped on the bed and approached me. I did not engage him in any way, didn’t look at him, didn’t speak to him. He climbed on my leg with his front paws and started sniffing my arm and leg. He also was silent and a few seconds later he went in the living room, where he took his favorite place on the couch and began dozing. My wife was starting making calls to the vet we took him to usually, but they were closed this late in the evening (after 9 PM).

        She found the number of another vet that offered us an extreme solution: he would come to our house, tranquilize Tommy and take him to his clinic where he would perform the neutering operation immediately. He would also give him this shot that would lower his hormone levels and aggression, it would be like pressing a reset switch on a computer he said. My wife told the vet we would think about it and hung up and then came to tell me. By now Tommy was relaxed and did not follow her around the house. When she told me what the vet said, I though it was too good to be true, but after we both thought about it together, we decided to go for it, we saw no way out of this that would be good for both us and Tommy.

        In the mean time, by some random chance, Tommy decided to get into his transport cage we had lying around the living room for him to get used to. My wife approached and locked the door. Tommy was OK to this, he didn’t struggle. We called the vet and he said he would be at our place in 20 minutes. After a while, Tommy became annoyed, but not aggressive, for being in the cage and we kept talking to him to calm him down.

        The vet came and he advised us to move to another room, so that we would not be emotionally impressed by the tranquilization procedure. I took my wife, who had already cried a lot and was very shaken by the whole experience to the bedroom and covered her ears. The vet was very quick and professional about it, and I did not hear Tommy struggle too much. He said that the procedure would in most cases get rid of the aggression, but of course it is not 100% guaranteed it would be so. Typically, he said, male cats should be neutered around six months old. He suggested we leave Tommy at his clinic for two more days and then we can come to take him home. He left quickly and an hour later he sent a text message saying that the neutering operation was a success.

        This is our last hope and I pray that it will work. If not, we would still not think of putting him down, we can find a farm somewhere and bring him there.

        Sorry for my long comment, but I hope it will help someone else who is in a similar situation. I will keep you updated on Tommy’s condition in the weeks to come.

        Take care and love your cats.

        • Oh George. I can’t even imagine going through what you and your wife are going through. I admire you and your wife so much for how you’re handling this traumatic situation. I’m also glad you found a vet who was willing to come to your house and deal with this situation and offer a possible solution. I hope and pray that this will work out and you get your “old” Tommy back. Please keep us updated.

          • We just love Tommy (and all animals in general) too much and try not to judge his actions and behaviour like we would a human’s. He does seem to be overall better, but he’s still unpredictable and we can’t trust him yet.

      • Hi George,

        Long story short, my gf and I are going through the same situation. A friend came over and my cat didn’t like it. She growled at him so my friend rushed to the bathroom, then Coco turned on my gf and he looked like he was about to attack her, so I ran out to help and tried to calmed him down but this was a huge mistake cause he lunged at my arm and wounded me pretty badly, and honestly I much rather it being me than my gf. We all ran for the bedroom and closed the door. My friend stayed for 20 min and left, while Coco remained under the couch growling at us. We left Coco in the studio overnight and let him out the day after but he was very weird. He would stare at me with his big eyes and would March with her back legs and her tail in the air lightly puffed, at one point he hissed at me so we had to lock her in the studio again. It’s been 4 days and we let him out for 20 min at a time but still same behavior, it’s like he’s keeping tabs on me and always has his tail a little puffed. I’m devastated to see my gf cry over the thought of giving up our Coco. He’s been with us for 4 years and I’m not sure we couldn’t handle losing him. He’s not neutered, so I would really appreciate it if you let us know how Tommy reacts after the surgery. Good luck to us 🙁

        • I’m so sorry, these situations are devastating. If you haven’t already contacted your vet, please do so, Daniel. While this sounds like redirected aggression, possibly triggered by something Coco smelled on your friend, it’s unusual that it takes days for a cat to settle down.

        • Hi Daniel,

          I’m sorry for you guys 🙁 That sounds devastating and I know how you must feel. It’s been almost two weeks since Tommy’s surgery and I have to say I only see little improvement. Tommy changed quite a lot, he is no longer playing with us, he is retreated and he just sleeps a lot. I’m not expecting to see results over night but I’m thinking that neutering him may not help the situation that much and the cause might not be his hormones.

          He does not feel threatened by my wife but when I come home he still becomes “activated” and ready to attack. I did learn to just stay calm, don’t move and don’t look into his eyes. After a minute or two he calms down and I can move to the bedroom.

          So my advice would be to study her body language and behaviour, and NEVER look your Coco straight in the eyes and try to ignore her when she seem like she wants to attack, just stay still and let her calm down. Also, is there something that triggers her violent reaction? Does Coco behave the same with gf? Try to figure out her trigger, if she has one, and try to avoid doing that. For Tommy it is opening our apartment door. Even when I stay close to the door after being in the house for a while makes him uncomfortable.

          Best of luck to you Daniel, I hope you’ll get your Coco back.

          • I’m sorry neutering Tommy didn’t correct the behavior, George, but keep in mind that it can take several months for hormone levels to go down after the surgery.

          • Hey George, I’m sorry that Tommy hasn’t calmed down for you yet. My cat Amber has calmed down a lot though, my vet suggested I start using a FELIWAY diffuser in the room where Amber is at most of the time, it uses a small amount of the pheromone that mother cats secrete while nursing to calm their kittens. Also, I’ve been spending as much time with her as possible. Sitting on the the floor with her and remaining calm when she hisses or seems “activated” making sure that she gets used to me again and realizes that I’m not a threat to her regardless of how she behaves. I play with her as much as possible, and make sure that I am the one that feeds her every day. We recently bought a laser pointer for her and she absolutely loves that. Even at first when she was acting aggressive and as you said, seemed to be “activated,” she would get distracted by that red dot and start playing and almost forget about the aggression altogether. It seems that my Amber just needed to spend a lot of time with me after the incident to get used to me again and realize that I wasnt a threat to her.

  3. So this morning my cat started sniffing obsessively at my head, before suddenly mauling me. Scratching and biting and kicking and my head and face. She had been sleeping right up against me most of the night with absolutely no issue but suddenly smells something and attacks me this morning- seemingly out of the blue. I had a shower right before going to bed last night, and I haven’t left the house in several days, so I can’t imagine she could have smelled another cat or animal that she isn’t already used to. Any idea what could have caused this?

    • I’m sorry this happened to you, Caitlin. Unfortunately, it’s often impossible with these seemingly out of the blue attacks to identify a trigger. Please take your cat to the vet as soon as possible, sometimes there can be a medical issue that causes this kind of behavior.

    • My cat is alot like yours but no sniffing.He will be sitting with me and he is very aggresive for love.He purrs loudly and keeps rubbing against my arm etc wants lots of petting which is fine.Then he will sit down or lay on me just chilling out.I am not petting him anymore but he doesn’t really want to be. Then out of nowheres he lunges and bites.He had done it to my head many times. Once when I was sleeping. It is extremly upsetting he bites hard and scratches then is gone
      I’m so scared to pet him now. Right now he is sleeping next to me and I’m on alert. It makes me cry not just because it hurts but because it’s so scary and mean.like he snaps or something. He does it to all of us and I have made him tired by aging with him all of the ideas and advice everyone gives out.it doesn’t work.He is neutered but he also humps things mostly my blanket he doesn’t even rub on it alot just a weird shimmy. He did it before he was neutered. I don’t know what to do I am a strong believer of forever homes but he is dangerous.

      • Please take your cat to the vet if you haven’t already done so, Bethany. As I mentioned to Caitlin, sometimes, extreme behavior can be an indicator of a health problem.

  4. My cat, Ringo, recently got attacked by my dog, Bear. We always kept them separated because we knew Bear would attack him. One day, he got outside and jumped our privacy fence and Bear got ahold of him and he got his trachea. Normally, Ringo is a very loving cat, always calm. We have 3 dogs and Karmel, our little Beagle, did fine with Ringo, (mostly he was scared of Ringo), and they would just play. Ringo would sometimes play and scratch you, as normal cats do, but he was never mean. I used to pick him up and just hold him, he would sleep with me every night, and he loved anyone who came around him. The incident happened a week ago and all up until tonight, he has been fine. I moved and brought him with me as soon as the vet released him and he’s still taking medicine. He started jumping up on my bed and then just attacking me. Its happened 3 times in just a couple hours and every time I was doing something different. No sudden moving, no touching him where he hurts, I really didn’t touch him at all when the incidents occurred. He’s been my baby since we got him and I know he’s hurting and I know he went through such a traumatic experience but I just want him back to how he was. I haven’t been around any other animals or anything and I just don’t know what to do or what caused him to be aggressive. He hasn’t hurt me or anything but he bit my arms and ear and its just not like him. Any suggestions? I just want him to be okay and be happy.

    • It sounds like Ringo somehow associates you with the traumatic experience – I suspect it may be because he smells Bear on you. If this happens again, you may need to confine him to a separate room for several hours, possibly overnight, to allow him to calm down. I would also discuss this with your vet – it’s possible that this is a reaction to one of his medications.

  5. I’ve been trying to find a site that would help explain issues we are seeing with our 4 year old female Siamese and this site has given us the information we need, so thank you. Just to provide some background, our Siamese was brought to our home as a kitten. She was purchased from a pet store. She is currently 4 years old. Our issues began in October when our 8 year old cat (he is a Heinz 57) was in for a full day at the vet for teeth extraction. He came home around 7pm and, at first, all seemed fine. We were woken up at 3:30 am to a cat fight. Our Siamese was attacking him. They were immediately separated. After doing some research, it appeared our Siamese was exhibiting “normal” behaviour. Over the next couple of days, we did the towel rub, used Feliway and rotated them between the basement and the rest of the house. I even went so far as to rub a little bit of his pain medication on her face. It smelled quite strong so I figured it couldn’t hurt. Two days of this and I thought I’d let them interact. I’ve had cats for over 40 years and felt confident I could recognize the signs of aggression. Let me just say I was wrong. I let her out of the basement and she ran upstairs and followed him downstairs, sniffing his behind. He appeared to be acting normal. He walked into the living room and I noticed she looked tense. I nudged her as she seemed to be fixating. She darted off and my other cat, I’m assuming based on his behaviour, thought she was playing. There was no warning .. no hissing, no fur up. She went from 0 to 10 in less than a second. I had a full blown cat fight on my hands. She scared him enough that he literally peed as he ran. Over the next few weeks, we continued rotating them, using the spray, the towel rub and, using a gate, let them see each other. Unfortunately she didn’t seem to be responding to anything that we tried. In early November we had a trip scheduled and both cats were kennelled. We didn’t think to tell the kennel of the issue as the cats were in separate cages. What we didn’t know, until we picked the cats up, was the kennel had been giving them “play time” together in a common area. We got the cats home, and this seem to “reset” them. We had peace for over 2 month up until last week, when our older cat had to go to the vet for his annual visit. Both my husband and I thought maybe the Siamese should go too but it was just a short visit. He came home and once again she exhibited the same behaviour. We managed to separate them before she could take after him. We figured the kennel trip worked the first time, maybe it would work a second time. They were gone for two days and came home Saturday morning. Sure enough things were back to normal until Sunday morning. We have no idea what the trigger was that set her off. She was in full attack mode again. So they are separated again except this time we left her in the undesirable location, the basement, while our older cat has the run of the house. We are going to try a car ride tomorrow thinking the “shared trauma” might help, similar to the kennel. We also have an appointment at our vet this Thursday. I’ve read the advice you’ve provided but if there’s anything else we can try, please let me know.

    • I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this Kim. It’s interesting that the kennel experience “reset” the relationship between the two of them, at least temporarily. I wish I had something else to add, but you’re already doing all the right things. Please keep us posted on how things are going for you.

  6. I have had issues with periodic aggression with one of my cats, and I’m wondering now if it might be redirected aggression based on this article and the comments. Jasper is 13 years old, and I’ve had him since he was a kitten. We went through a period of some frequent vicious attacks when he was 2-3 years old just after the older cat I had had when I got him passed away, but those stopped when I got two new kittens who are both still with us. Over the years since then, he has randomly attacked me while I’m sleeping or falling asleep for no apparent reason. It will usually happen a few time spread out over several weeks or months, and then stop. It hadn’t happened in the past few years at all, and now he’s done it again twice in less than a month. These last two times, it’s been as I’m falling asleep, lying on my tummy. Last time, he bit and latched on to the back of my shoulder, leaving 4 puncture wounds, and the tonight, it was just above my eye, where he actually tore out a little chunk and caused a lot of bleeding. When he does this, there is no warning sound or growling, and he just latches on and won’t let go. He’s a big strong boy. As soon as a get him off of me, he usually calms right down. In fact, he’s curled up sleeping next to me on the bed right now. Normally, Jasper is my super affectionate lap and cuddle kitty. He is assertive about asking for pets and never shows petting aggression. He’s indoor only, neutered, and up to date on his shots. As far as I know, there aren’t any strays around and there wouldn’t be an easy way for him to see one from my bedroom if there were. Nothing else has changed in our household or routine, so I can’t guess what he might be reacting to. I would love any suggestions on approaches to curb this behavior once and for all…

    • That’s the trouble with redirected aggression – sometimes it’s impossible to identify the trigger. If Jasper hasn’t been to the vet recently, I’d take him for a thorough exam just to rule out any medical issues. If that doesn’t reveal anything, you may want to consider working with a feline behaviorist.

      • Hi ingrid.
        My cat has been acting strangely recently, and it seems a lot like redirected aggression. I was on the couch today. With my cat sitting next to me asleep, I patted him and all of a sudden he went absolutely berserk, and scratched me. It gave me quite a fright. My family reckons he was dreaming about something he wanted to attack ? We have never seen him like this before. He did recently get fleas. Any suggestions ?

        • I’ve never heard of a cat exhibiting redirected aggression as the result of a dream, but of course, we don’t really know enough about how cats dream, so I don’t think it’s impossible. I think it’s possible that you simply startled him when you petted him. Try speaking to him before touching him and see if that helps.

  7. I have a 5 year old Sylvester cat who I have had since he was a kitten. I have recently become a volunteer firefighter and when ever the pager goes off my cat goes into attack mode and will not back down for hours/days even if I try to move away to give him space. The first one happened at 07:00 where he attacked my leg and left arm before I was able to get him locked in a bedroom. This attack surprised me as he has been ok with the pager in the past. It took him almost 3 hours locked in the room for him to calm down and a few more before I could pet him and almost a full day and a half before he seemed back to normal. I waited for him to come to me giving him all the space he could want. I called my vet and we decided to have him neutered, try changing his diet and using the calming pheromone defusers. The vet was great they had him in for the neutering the following day after the first attack and advised me on to approach him. They did say that it would take up to a month to see the full difference in him from the change in hormones. Four days later the pager went off around 17:30 and he attacked again. This time getting my left wrist. I again locked him in a bedroom again using a spray bottle to keep him from attacking me. When I got back from the call an hour later I checked on him and he hissed at me so I left him locked up for another hour and a half. When I let him out he continued to hissing and follow me around, I kept a blanket with the calming sent on it between me and the cat while I moved around my home. About an hour later he jumped on my bed with his tail still going crazy but wanted some attention from me. I very cautiously extended my hand and he allowed me to pet him and then curled up right next to me for a sleep… I have no idea when my pager will go off (it will at some point) and I am finding it hard to trust him as I don’t know if he will attack me at any moment… I do play with him everyday with a few different toys for about 20-30mins, we watch TV together, I also spend time petting him and making sure he is very well taken care of. I’m really the only person he has ever know but I can’t continue living in fear of him. Is there any other options that I may have missed as it has been extremely hard on the both of us and I would hate to be left with having to give him up or… as my only options.

    • I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this Chris, I understand how distressing this is. Since you’ve already tried various calming methods and behavior modification, and the pager still triggers the behavior, I would recommend discussing putting Sylvester on medication. It may be needed to “rewire” his brain so he doesn’t associate the sound of the pager as a trigger to attack. You may then be able to use desensitization techniques to get him used to the sound of the pager as something he doesn’t have to react to.

      Alternately, and I don’t know whether this is an option, change the sound the pager makes (I don’t know whether pagers have “ringtone” options like a phone does?) That may be enough to remove the trigger for his behavior.

      • Thank you for the advice, I have been attacked by Sylvester again… Again when the pager went off for the FD. I went to the vet and they suggested putting him on Clomicalm (2.5mg once a day)… He has been on it for 3 days now… I am not sure how its working as Sylvester has become distant, hides under the bed and under a dresser (uncommon). He also hasn’t been sleeping where he normally sleeps (on or beside me) and has been avoiding me during the day. Due to the New Years being on the weekend, my vet was closed today, due to the side effects that I have seen in him within the first three pills, i am very hesitant to continue giving him the medication. I will be calling my vet tomorrow to discuss the medications to get their opinion on the issue.

        I have looked into the pager and have put it on Vibrate only and had the voice announcement muted. I’m hoping that if he doesn’t hear/sense the page it will help calm him down when I have to go for a call.

        • Drugs like Clomicalm can take 3-4 weeks to take full effect, and his distant behavior may be temporary. See what your vet says. I hope just silencing the pager will make a difference. Keep us posted!

  8. I was severly attacked by our sweetest cat when she seen cat outside our glass door and she took off and ran into me. She climbed me like a tree biting and clawing until my husband grabbed her before reaching my neck. I was bleeding everywhere and almost passed out from the pain. I had over 30 puncher wounds too many cuts to count and my wrist split and had to hold arm up for 3 days to seal the wound, hands & fingers deeply cut. It took 6 weeks to heal and she was cuddling with me hours later? I should have went to ER but was afraid to tell them it was my cat! Well I now have PTSD from this & I’ve learned, no matter how much they love you never to trust my cats again. So always be careful, I know I am now….

    • I’m so sorry. When these attacks happen, cats revert to completely wild, instinctual creatures, and it is nearly impossible to ever completely trust your cat again. Dealing with PTSD as a result of an attack like that is a normal reaction. I would urge you to consider counseling for that aspect – it will not only help you, it will also help you mend your relationship with your cat.

    • I too was attacked by my cat. He was 2 at the time and it was an all out attempt at killing me. He bit me so hard I had yellow and purple bruises all over my legs and was cut to ribbons. I always say if he was just slightly bigger I would have been on the hospital. He just launched at me one morning at feeding time. I had the flu and my voice was very deep. maybe he smelled illness? Maybe it was my voice? I’ll never know. My son pryed him off of me wearing a Carhardt coat. He glared at me for days after. I still don’t completely trust him. He is sleeping next to me right now and it is 6 years later. I pray that never happens again! Vets, ASPCA, no one could give me a clue why it happened. I kept him, but it did break my heart because I love him

      • I’m so sorry this happened to you, Laura. That is the awful thing with redirected aggression: sometimes, it’s simply impossible to identify the trigger, which makes it even harder to trust your cat again.

  9. Hi, We rescued a 12 day old kitten over a year ago. She was bottled fed and loved. She had numerous upper respiratory infections and our vet said to keep any germs away from her, basically people. About 5 months ago she started getting aggressive when my husband or a stranger tried to pet her. She starts out growling to hissing to screaming and scratching. She seems to recover fairly fast, but no matter what we do to introduce strangers, she continues to flip very fast. She’s not afraid because she’ll come up to anyone and rub against their legs, but just don’t try to touch her. I can pick her up and snuggle with her, but if anyone is around she goes ballistic with me. Any ideas? We don’t want to have an aggressive cat for the next 18 or so years! I would appreciate any help you can give me.

  10. Hi there. I have a 4 year old rescue kitty who I have referred to as my fur baby for all of her life! She spends most of her time cuddling me and is the sweetest, cuddliest, most dog like cat ever. I had a baby 10 months ago who she really hasn’t reacted to at all. My daughter is 10 months old now. The baby will kiss her and pet her in small doses and my cat handles it just fine. Then I move the baby and we play. My girl has cried (she’s a baby) many times and even pulled at my cat and she’s never reacted. Tonight, however, was terrifying. My daughter began to cry really loudly at dinner time after being scared because she choked on something a little bit. I was consoling my daughter, patting her on the back, and I picked her up to calm her crying. My cat attacked my leg full force like something I’ve never seen before. So much blood, and I didn’t know how to stop her. I had a crying baby and an attacking kitty. She somehow stopped and we all calmed down. I made sure to stay calm around my usually amazing and calm cat, but I couldn’t help but to be scared and fearful. I went ahead and put her in my room for the next hour while I played with my daughter and got her ready for bed. I have never seen this sort of behavior before. And she has since cuddled me and I’ve tried to act as normal as possible, but I’m terrified. I have another cat who is an angel, too, and I’m scared of what my cat might do to her now, even though they are always glued at the hip. She still seems off, but I’m not sure if that’s just my fear. This shocked me. I’m scared of what might happen the next time my baby cries (tomorrow?), and it would KILL me to have to re-home her. She is my sweet baby kitty and I am so scared of her now. Any ideas? I am so broken hearted over this. How do I get my kitty back? Nothing has changed :(. I am open to anything. While my daughter sleeps peacefully, I am filled with fear of my amazing cat. I would not be able to forgive myself if she ever attacked my daughter like this.

    • Oh Arielle, I’m so sorry this happened. Sometimes it can take a couple of days for cats to settle down after an attack like this, so you’re wise to be careful. I would recommend working with your vet and/or a feline behaviorist to help you. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Daniel Quagliozzi https://gocatgosf.com/, Marilyn Krieger http://thecatcoach.com/ and Pam Johnson-Bennett http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/ All three offer remote consultations. My heart goes out to you – I know this is extremely distressing. Please keep us posted on how you are doing.

      • I can’t thank you enough for your reply and suggestions! Being that they’re both my babies, it’s a tough place. I appreciate you! And I will for sure. <3

  11. Hi! I adopted my 6 y/o cat a little more then a year ago now and she has never had a problem with me that I couldn’t understand before but I happen to have a new roommate now. When my new roommate first moved in about a month ago we knew the cat was going to be on edge but we didn’t know how bad it would get. My cat will hiss and scratch at my roommate when she’s simply trying to go to the kitchen. She hasn’t really hurt my roommate but it makes her very fearful to move around the house. This isn’t all the time though to be honest when I’m home it doesn’t happen all that much, she even lets my roommate pet her sometimes. We have tried to redirect the behavior with a laser pointer, my roommate feds her treats, and I even bought a feliway plug in about a week ago. It doesn’t seem to help, my roommate is so done with my cats behavior that she wants me to lock the cat up when i’m not home or she wants to move out. The problem is that my room isn’t big enough to lock her in that long, she already gets shut in with me at night! I had her act this way to a slighter degree with my first roommate but we thing she had done something to provoke it that time so I don’t understand why she is doing it now and why it has gotten worse… please if you could give any insight I would be so happy… Cierra

    • It’s almost impossible to determine what may have triggered this behavior toward your roommate. Since this has happened with a previous roommate, although not to the same degree, it could be a territorial thing, with you being her territory, and she considers anyone else a threat. I would recommend working with a feline behaviorist. Locking your cat up may keep your roommate safe, but it’s not going to correct the problem.

  12. I have a 3 year old rag doll kitty, and a 3 year old khao manee kitty. Last night we were laying on the couch( me on the big couch, and my fiance on the loveseat) my fiance was laying wait our rag doll cat and all of a sudden she jumped off the couch ran up to me hissed in my face and then ran back over to my fiance and tried to attack her, she then jumped behind me and I had a blanket up in front of us to keep us from the cat. I had my fiance run up the stairs quick and the cat ran right passed her stopped at the top of the stairs before my fiance and started hissing and growling. So I ran up there with the blanket as my fiance ran downstairs and locked herself in the bathroom. Our cat laid at the top of the stairs for about 5 minutes untill I managed to get her to go into our bedroom and close the door. Our other cat was perfectly fine and was by me the whole time. We made sure to put a liter box and food and water in the room and turn on a small light. The next morning my fiance checked on her while she was getting ready and seemed to be back to her normal self until she came back downstairs, and then she started hissing and acting like she was going to attack again. I then got up off the couch and made sure she was back in the bedroom. 6 or so hours later after I had woken up again I went upstairs and looked under the door, she seemed to be ok sticking her paws under the door so I stuck my fingers under the door and she was playing with me and licking my fingers, so I put the other cat in the bathroom and closed the door. I then opened the door to the bedroom to let our rag doll cat out, she was being normal rubbing on my leg and letting me pet her, and then the same thing she went down 2 stairs and then started growling and hissing and was acting like she was going to attack me again. I put her back in the bedroom and shut the door again. I did the same thing about 12 hours later when I got home from work and the same thing happened except she never made it to the stairs before she started hissing again. We have no idea what to do, and my fiance is not taking it well. She is very dependent on her cat and is very down right now. We are taking her to the vet tomorrow but still would love advice from anybody that’s had this happen before. And my fiance is about 3 months pregnant and is worried if this is going to happen when the baby comes?

    • It is very distressing when something like this happens and I can understand that your fiance is not taking this well, Chad. Unfortunately, in these situations, it can sometimes be impossible to identify what triggered the behavior. A vet visit is a good start – there may be a physical issue that caused this. I would definitely keep her in a separate room until she has calmed down completely.

    • I am so so sorry this happened to you. If you scroll down a ways you can read my experience with my 2 year old cat Lucy. Extremely similar instance only she did indeed attack me. I was able to narrow down what caused it. I had checked on my neighbor’s cats while they were away and I scooped their litter box. Even though I had no physical contact with the cats or the litter she caught a whiff and saw me as a threat. Giving your cat space is key and the vet is a good idea as well. I did that too. I also bought some herbal supplements on Amazon and a calming collar and her favorite treats. It was honestly a long time before my cat was back to her normal self. It wasn’t just some quiet time and she was fine. I had to constantly read her body language and made sure I didn’t surprise her in any way. Pretty much earning her trust back. If you’re narrowing it down to your downstairs area, clean it from top to bottom. Wash blankets/clothes. If it’s a smell that’s setting her off eliminate it. But I will say to reassure you and your fiancé, she will be the same cat again!! If anything, I think my cat and I are closer now because of it. The transition from hissing then turned into a cry. Like she was confused. And then eventually the trust was back and I’m not on edge at all anymore. And I don’t worry about company coming over. It’s been just under a year since it happened. But I’ll probably say it took about a month for me to feel comfortable again around her. Good luck and follow what everyone says on here. They saved me during Lucy’s incident.

  13. Hello! I have recently experienced redirected aggression with my two babies, Biscuit and Gravy. They are litter mates and have always been best friends. I have had them since they were 8 weeks old and I have so enjoyed the relationship they have had over their lives. They are a year and a half old now. Last Sunday morning, we were awoken by a really loud cat fight coming from the living room and ran to find out what was going on. Biscuit the female cat was attacking Gravy, her brother. We had no idea what started it but it was extremely violent sounding so we separated them for a few hours. When we let them be around each other again, Biscuit saw that Gravy was by the sliding door where the first fight happened and ran after him to attack him, hissing and yelling. My first reaction was to stop her so I did, cat scratches and all, but now I am reading that might have made the situation worse. I found out about redirected aggression while researching what was going on. The next night, a cat showed up on our porch so I knew that’s what triggered it! I have been keeping the cats separated but having their food bowls on either side of a closed door and sometimes opening it a crack while they eat together. It has been 4 days of separation and today I opened the crack a little wider but Biscuit hissed so it must not be time yet. I have also put a Feliway diffuser in the larger room and I have been rotating the cats back and forth so they smell each other in each room.
    Is there anything else I can do to help the process? I would be completely heartbroken if I had to give away Biscuit because she is the one who has been closer to me and sleeps in my bed covers at night.
    Thank you!

    • I’m so sorry this happened to you, Megan – it’s so distressing. You’re doing all the right things, just go slow with the process of bringing the cats back together again. Follow the steps outlined in this process: http://consciouscat.net/2011/08/15/cat-to-cat-introductions/

      If you’re open to holistic remedies, you may also want to consider using Spirit Essences Peacemaker and Stress Stopper bit.ly/SpiritEssences

      You may also want to consider working with your vet and/or a feline behaviorist.

      • It’s impossible to tell what may have set this off, Katie. It could be that your cat smelled something on your friend that set him or her off. You may need to slowly reintroduce this friend to your cats.

  14. Thanks for this article. I think it explains the strange behavior we’ve seen from our cat for a bit now…

    He is strictly an indoor cat and does ok with visitors who come inside (mostly checks them out and then ignores them but will scratch if approached or petted) but he goes bonkers with delivery men. He now recognizes the noise of someone buzzing our apartment to get in to the building and goes immediately on high alert. When we open the door to sign for the package/food/whatever, he then meows and attacks our legs, often drawing blood. He will calm down after a couple of minutes but he’s definitely caused some minor injuries. We live in NYC and limiting the number of deliveries is not really an option – we get 2-3 per week. We’ve tried locking him in a bedroom beforehand if we know something is coming and this usually works but is a hassle. Have also tried giving treats before and after deliveries but didn’t seem to work. Any thoughts?

    Also, any tips for how to prepare a cat like him for a new baby? He’s usually gentle but can play rough, especially with my husband, and we worry a bit.

    Thanks

    • I would recommend working with your veterinarian and/or a feline behaviorist on both issues, Lala. The delivery issue itself is challenging, and I completely understand your worries about how your cat will react to a new baby.

  15. So glad I found this article. I have an indoor tabby (10 years old) and an inherited 7 year old bichon yorkie. There are also two strays that stayed that live on my front porch in a yard with a perimeter hedge. Eventually they will all be inside. One (Dorian) is real mellow fixed male unknown age but adult, the other is a fixed male (Magic) younger and assertive. Within the last year an unaltered adult male (call him Rocky) started coming around. I tried to catch him numerous times to get him fixed since he gets in fights. He is not aggressive at all. When I leave food out, if Rocky comes by I try to feed him in the far corner of the yard by the hedge. Magic will follow me and swat at me or nip my feet. I figured it was a control issue since he is territorial. He only does it for Rocky. Could it be because Rocky isn’t fixed? What can I do to negate this behavior? Thank you for the valuable information

    • The only way you can stop this behavior is to stop Magic from following you into the yard. Be aware that even if you don’t let him out when you feed Magic, he may still redirect aggression toward you when you come back inside since he will be able to smell Rocky on you.

  16. Thank you for this site. A neighbor’s adopted outdoor (previously feral) cat used to come around all the time. He was a love bug, but definitely preferred to be outdoors. Though, I’d leave the screen open and let him come in to nap on my bed, hang around, have a bite to eat, sit on my lap, or whatever. It was more attention than he was used to. Then, one day after had jumped up and spent some time on my lap, I went to put him down to get up when he full on bit me….all four fangs into my forearm . In spite of my best efforts, it became infected (what pain!) requiring a trip to the doctor. Because of a rabies outbreak, they had to report the bite to animal control. Long story short, the cat is now relegated to be an indoor cat per animal control, but I hear he is relegated to a cage. This just breaks my heart. I later learned that he had just been vaccinated a few days earlier when he bit me, so I think I may have touched the sore injection spot. The thought of him stuck in a cage makes me very sad because I know he hates being indoors and does become aggressive when he is. Animals do not think like people, and I honestly believe that, in some situations, an animal is far better off being euthanized than living a life of misery in confinement. Thanks for letting me vent. I miss the little guy.

  17. Thank you so much for this article! You don’t know how much this helped me! This is the only explanation and documentation for this phenomenon I have found online, and I’m relieved to learn that there’s nothing wrong with my cat. My cat is 1.5 year old castrated bengal male, the most loving and good-tempered cat from a good breeder. I love him more than anything and he loves me too. I take him out in a leash every day to provide adventures and activation.
    BUT: If he smells urine of another male cat, he transfers to a scary, fierce monster, biting me so hard that his teeth sink all the way trough my skin, leaving me bleeding and causing hideous bruises. He stares me looking like a different animal, the expression on his face alien and terrible, and jumps to attact and bite me again and again, up to my waist. I try to stay calm and unprovoking but I have to protect my head and the movement of my hands seems to urge him. I have tried to scream to make him realize he’s hurting me (and that it’s ME) but his mind is out of reach. After a couple of minutes he calms down if I manage to lead him away from the smell. He seems scared and unhappy for a little while and then we continue our day like nothing happened. This has puzzled me SO much. I am a biologist and I do know something about animal behaviour, I have also had cats my whole life, but I have never encountered this behaviour nor could I find any information online in my first language. It is good to know that this behaviour is normal, although unfortunate.

    • I know Bengals need a lot of stimulation and activity, but given his extreme reaction to smelling other cats, I wonder whether it wouldn’t be better to find ways to help him burn off energy inside your home. I realize that in Europe, views on keeping cats indoors are quite different than in the US, but this may be one case where you may want to consider turning him into an indoor cat. Have you considered an exercise wheel for him?

      • Hi, and thanks for the reply!
        We have considered an excercise wheel, but I doubt it could replace going out. It could be a nice extra activity, though, and maybe we wouldn’t have to go out quite so often (once or twice a day at the moment) when it gets cold. Cat wheels are very exotic where I live but luckilly amazon sells and delivers anything, anywhere 😀 However, my cat needs mental activation as well as physical, if you know what I mean. Outdoors, we meet new people and dogs (he greets them all friendly), chase birds, smell things and explore new areas, and he seems to enjoy it very much, and so do I. Indoors, I tire of playing with him before he does, I’m ashamed to admit. We do play a lot, of course, but I could not provide enough activation indoors. We have met other cats a few times, and his reaction has been to avoid them, it looks as if he tries to pretend that he did not notice them, and he goes away from them. If they come close, he growls and hisses and seems scared but does not behave aggressively. So the problem seems to only occur when he smells urine with probably very provoking/scary pheromones. I guess I’ll just have to avoid places where there has previously been urine. I hate it when he bites, but now that I don’t worry that he’s not normal, it’s OK if it happens very rarely. Luckily, his bites never become infected on me, even if I don’t clean them (a bad habit, I know).
        I just want him to be happy and live his life to the fullest, and he likes the outdoors so much.
        Anyway, this website seems like the best thing I’ve found in the net for a very long time, thanks for all the good articles! 🙂

        • I know how it feels to love a cat. I had 2 cats one a tabby the other a Siamese. They lived to 18 and I never remember seeing aggressive behavior from either one of them. 2 yrs ago I adopted my sisters 5 yr old cat who was always sweet. Last night out of nowhere when my daughter and I were petting her while she sat in between us on the sofa, purring , she suddenly jumps on my 12 yr old daughters face. I immediately grabbed her and threw her off and as I tried to grab a towel right next to us to put pressure on her bleeding face the cat ran back to us where I was able to push her away with a blanket next to me. As I screamed for my husband who was upstairs the cat ran off. My daughter sustained scratches to her cheeks to her forehead with a gash on her eyelid that required the ER doctor to glue it. Before I was able to get the cat off her she put her head in her lap and the cat was able to put many scratches in her scalp too. I had my husband lock the cat in our basement while I was at the hospital. My husband said the cat was aggressive towards him but didn’t attack. Aside from the physical damage to my daughters face, she is now terrified of the cat and refuses to live with her. I am heartbroken because I believe pets are family but my daughters health and safety are first always. I would like to know how you can feel safe living with your cat ? Sadly I am looking for a no kill shelter now.

          • I’m so sorry, Tori – what a traumatic experience for all of you. I would recommend working with your vet and/or a feline behaviorist to see if there’s something that can be done to address this situation before you surrender her to a shelter.

  18. We got our cat 1 year ago and he has been an indoor cat since then, today after much discussion we decided to introduce him to the outside world – he had been in the back garden previously and was fine with this but today he went out the front of our home, after about 15 mins he came up to my partner purring and then suddenly attacked him make two puncture marks on his arm and two on his leg, this was completely out of character but as we have a 3 year old daughter my partner now wants us to get rid of him, would it be worth attempting to let him out again when it is later and quieter or should we (reluctantly) pass him to a new owner as we were unsure before this with keeping him as an indoor cat

    • I would not let your cat outside again, Holly. It sounds like he was over stimulated and then discharged his excess energy by attacking your partner. Give him a chance to cool off. You may need to put him in a darkened room (with food, water and his litter box, of course) for a few hours or overnight. Please work with your vet and/or a feline behaviorist to figure out how to solve this issue.

  19. Hello,
    I have an 8 year old female cat that I have adopted 6 months ago. She has had 5 previous owners and while she got comfortable in my house very fast, her relationship to me is still growing.
    A real problem develops when I leave the house for a night. I came back from a 7 day vacation and she would not even acknowledge my presence for a bit but then turned into her usual self, most of our cuddling happens at night when she likes to sleep next to my head on the bed. Then I left for just one night and returned the following evening and while she greeted me normally at the door and got her attention, petting, and brushing as always, when we went to bed and I petted her she bit my hand after a little bit. She first accepted my petting like always with purring and moving closer but then she full on bit me.

    I understand that my absence is upsetting her but I can’t change that. I do use feliway in the house, have not noticed any difference thus far.

    Thank you,
    Andrea

  20. My cat binx (female) attacked me for the first time today, I was so shocked and upset, she’s normally a happy, purry cat. she’s only a year old, I was sat with my friend and lent down to get something off the floor then suddenly my cat was attacking my head and hissing, my friend grabbed her off me straight away and she then went in her bed, was it because I moved a bit too fast for her?? Or is it a different reason? She’s currently not living with me anymore as I’m not in my own house and the people I live with are allergic, this is her second temporary home as her first no longer wanted her there, she’s an indoor cat and is an anxious cat around new people, I’m very upset and worried that maybe her previous temp home was aggressive towards her? Or could this be the upset of moving around? I’ve used feliway in all homes she’s went to for calming her down and settling her until I get my own place. Please help! I dont want to see my baby like that again and would like to get down to the cause of her sudden misbehaviour.

    • I know this is distressing, Amy. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to identify the cause of redirected aggression. It could be that the stress of moving contributed, and something – a scent she caught, something she saw outside a window – set her off. Since she’s already an anxious cat, it may not take much to tip her over the edge. I’d be very careful around her until she’s settled down from this attack. You may also want to consider a veterinary exam to rule out any medical issues – sometimes, sudden aggression can be caused by a physical problem.

  21. Hello, my boyfriend and I “adopted” a cat that was in the back alley about 2 years ago. We took him to the vet and at that time we were told he was about 9 mos. old. He had his shots, and was neutered. Friendly and soooo loving, he is just a little cuddle bug, always wanting attention….but…..when others come into the house, he approaches them to be petted, and when they stop and try to walk away, he attacks them, and hisses. He does not do this with us, he may pat us with his paw if we are busy doing housework and such, and meows for attention. but doesn’t attack us like that. We know nothing else about this cat, no one had fliers out stating he was lost. There are no other pets in his house, and he is the only one who lives there. I come over all the time, he is comfortable with us, used to hide when others came over, but is not shy anymore. What could be the issue? Thank you.

    • I’m not sure what could be causing this behavior, Beth. It actually sounds like it could possibly be a combination of play and petting aggression.

  22. Sir my cat is one year male cat and I could not sterilize him yet….He is male cat and complete indoor.cat….if I dont send him out for mating since he keeps mewing from window for female cat than will he rebeal or attack insider people owner…till I make necessary arrangemtes for his surgery…I have to take care that there.should nor be any anger.directed towards us at least for three-four months….any suggestions that what to do in such situation….as outside there are three oudoor aggressive cat waiting for him to come out so they can bully my cat…

    • There is no connection between a cat being unneutered and redirected aggression – it can happen with any cat, any gender. Since there is already a pattern of redirected aggression, I doubt that it will stop just because you’re getting him neutered. You need to block off access to the windows so he can’t see the outside cats, and it sounds like he should probably be kept indoors at all times to prevent being bullied by the outside cats.

  23. Hi, I have a feral rescue cat, 9 months old. He was neutered several months ago. About 6 weeks ago, he rather viciously, attacked me. I was cleaning his box, my back was to him. He launched at me, leaving a perfect puncture from each of his 10 claws on either side of my calf, and his teeth pulled cures in the back of my knee. He has done this 2 more times since. Both times when my back was turned. Once on my upper arm, and once on my shoulder and into my armpit. Very painful. He is normally very cuddly, and friendly. From the time I first got him, I spend the week with him and the weekend with my boyfriend and his 2 cats. I have 2 other people in my house, that keep him company, and I always come by for at least a couple hours each day of the weekend. I don’t understand what started this behaviour, but it always happens on Monday when I come back. This week, not only did he launch at my turned back, he also defacted in my travel bag. I am fairly certain he is angry that I am spending time away from him with “other” cats. How can I diffuse this?

    • I’m sorry this is happening, Kristen. He smells your boyfriend’s two cats on you – but he’s not angry that you’re spending time away from him, it’s an instinctual reaction to the scent of the two cats, although it’s odd that he doesn’t react like that when you come by for a couple of hours during the weekend. While I’m pretty sure based on your description that this is a behavioral issue, I would still consult with your vet – a sudden change in behavior can be an indicator of a medical problem.

      As far as addressing the behavior, start by not bringing your travel bag into the house when you return. Change your clothes and thoroughly wash your hands before you interact with him. Once he’s back to not reacting to your return, slowly start introducing the scent of the two cats to him via small objects, such as a washcloth that has the cats’ scent on it. Given that he has such an extreme reaction, be careful about introducing the cats’s scent. Once he stops reacting to the scent, you can slowly try returning home from your weekend away like you normally would, but go slow, and back up a step if he reacts violently.

      Since this is a pretty extreme reaction, you may also want to consider working with a feline behaviorist. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Daniel Quagliozzi https://gocatgosf.com/, Marilyn Krieger http://thecatcoach.com/ and Pam Johnson-Bennett http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/ All three offer remote consultations.

  24. Thank you for the article. I have two 10 yr old female cats from the same litter. They are very affectionate with each other. One of them is quite determined to sneak outside whenever she gets the chance (they are indoor cats) and every time she gets out after she comes back in for several hours she hisses at the other one. One time she even attacked her. It just seemed so strange. I’m glad to understand a little more of why she acts this way.

  25. My cat is a castrated male cat, soon 3 years old, he´s father was a maine coon and he´s mother a norweigian forest cat, but I have not seen any birth certificates so I don´t know this for sure, he´s mom look like a forestcat and he has a long nose. I always had this cat living inside a big apartment with climbingtrees he loves and things he can sharpen his claws on. He have veterinarian food and have alot of energy. I also have buyed a round ball with food in it, he goes after it and have to work for the candy. He is smart and can do some trix, if I learn him to do things he do it, he´s like a little dog sometimes. He´s funny and always by my side… BUT… the big problem is that he ALWAYS finds my shoulder as something threathning for some reason. He look me straight to my eyes for about 2 sec and then he just BAM! jump on to my shoulder and attack me. I don´t think is something he do for playing, he see me for some reason as a threat. Why is shoulders a big threat for this cat?! I have tried to NOT look him in the eyes but that doens´t matter, he still attacks me if my shoulder is something he see. This not only happening to me, my spouse get this attacks to, it´s the same thing. Sometimes when Im sad and cry for different things (been a tough time) he ALSO attack me because he doesn´t like the sound of sobbing, he doesn´t understand what Im doing. I live with my spouse but we have no children or other animals, my cat can go outside on the balcony and look out, sometime I take him out in a collar but he just want to go back inside, he likes “he´s” apartment. I like this cat but I don´t like that I can´t do whatever I want to do because of this attacking, Im afraid he will hurt me someday and I get infectionated. I can´t even cry for godness sake without put him in another room, it´s not fun 🙁 If somebody has any advice please do contact me. I have sometimes have thoughts about having one more cat so he could play with that instead but my bathroom is too small to have two catlitter boxes and I dont like that.

    • That is rather odd behavior. I wouldn’t consider it redirected aggression, but something is definitely off. If you haven’t recently taken your cat to your vet, I would do so – a sudden change in behavior can be an indicator of a medical problem. Once you’ve ruled that out, your best bet may be to work with a feline behaviorist. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Daniel Quagliozzi https://gocatgosf.com/, Marilyn Krieger http://thecatcoach.com/ and Pam Johnson-Bennett http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/ All three offer remote consultations.

  26. Hi. Thank for this website. About a week ago, my cat Chewie slipped outside our home and hid underneath my car. I didn’t know this and accidentally ran over him. I took him to the vet, they did x-rays and told me there’s not a lot they can but manage his pain while he heals by himself. He also have to be in a small cage so movements are restricted. For the first week Chewie was calm but responsive to my touch. He took his pain med, had the normal bio functions and I was able to sit with him in the mornings. However, about 2 days ago, after I fed him, gave him his meds and started cleaning and changing his litter box, he started growling and hissng at me. It was instant change. Now every time I feed him, he growls, hiss and strikes at my hand. I since used dishwashing gloves and wrapped a towel around my arm to feed him. And put medicine in his food instead of injecting to this mouth. I also am not able to clean his cage which I know is wet and dirty from the water being knocked over by one of his attacks during feeding. Am very stressed and depressed and don’t know what to do. I will call our cat- they are closed today- but am afraid they will suggest putting him down. Do you think Chewie will return to the calm cat that we know once he heals? Healing is time is 6 weeks.

    • Oh Amelia, I’m so sorry! I wonder whether this is a pain response – something may have hurt him while you were caring for him and now he associates being cared for with that experience. I would call a local emergency clinic to see if they can advise you. You may also want to consider contacting a feline behaviorist. I believe that you and Chewie can overcome this as long as he can heal from his physical injuries. If you can’t find a behaviorist local to you, I can recommend Daniel Quagliozzi https://gocatgosf.com/, Marilyn Krieger http://thecatcoach.com/ and Pam Johnson-Bennett http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/ All three offer remote consultations.

      All my best to both of you!

  27. If our cat sees a dog in our back yard she attacks us.
    A couple of years ago, she climbed me like a tree leaving puncture wounds on my legs and torso.
    Today I got home from work and she has redirected aggression toward my husband and has him in fear. This is the worst she has ever acted. She repeatedly attacked our sliding glass door and would then turn on him hissing and growling viciously. We can only shut ourselves in another room when this happens until her aggressive behavior subsides.
    Fortunately she is not behaving aggressively toward me this time but it is so sad. She is “daddy’s girl” and I know she is confused as to why she is behaving this way.

    • I’m so sorry, Janice, I know this is distressing. I suggest that you work with your vet and/or a feline behaviorist to help you work through this.

  28. I have cat since he is 9 days old and now he is exclusively indoor cat, recently he is being attacked by outdoor agressive cat when he was sleeping near me inside home. Now he is strange cat as he is become aggressive too. Staying urine .now outside two cats keep patrolling outside of home….I have to use stick to run away these outdoor cat. Problem is after seeing immediately these outdoor cats he is become aggressive too. These two outdoor cats keep spraying outside window every night sometime poo also….now it’s day by day it’s getting difficult as my cat now 12 months this June and aggression is getting increase ….I have plan to nuture / desex him soon. Keeping him inside home I go out to runaway those two outdoor cats…But my one year cat does he understand that I am trying to protect him …and I love him like my kid…he has first time bite me today and I have heart broken…my cat sleeping with me on my shoulder kiss me suddenly changes and it’s hurt me but with all patience I am trying and ready to understand my cat behaviour….God help all those foster parents to cats and give them solution on this problem.

      • Thanks for your immediate reply it’s help and good to listen from you as in India we have very less people who do in-depth study on cats and do root cause analysis of every cat behaviour.If I discuss with someone they will laugh at me that I am emotional fool.

        What you have suggested that I did almost for a 25 days when he is been attacked by outside cats…. I kept him inside all window door close than after I started feeling more guilty that I am taking his freedom. And since he is indoor cat if I free him than I know he will be again bitten by outside cat. And that I can not see as my heart goes for him llike my own kid. I am stuck in what is right and what is wrong….now only hope and waiting for his desexing operation if he calms Dow.
        Is there anyone tell me that ….

        1. Is cat understand that we are trying to protect them from another.cat?

        2.Do cat understand that how much owners love them?

        3. Do they feel guilty / bad or even realise that they had bite their foster mom guardian who loves them.Love like own kid and heart bleeds when something happens to them….

        I cried last month when outdoor cat come inside home and attack my 11 months cat. Felt guilty that I could not protect him. Now I take precautions.

        • Redirected aggression is primarily based on instinct – the cat is protecting his territory, and since he can’t get at the outside cat, he’s lashing out at the nearest target, which, in your case, was you. At their core, our cats are still wild animals driven by instinct, and unfortunately, that’s what we see in these situations. I know it’s distressing when this happens, but you’re going to have to approach this by understanding cats’ behavior rather than focusing on your own emotions around it.

          As for keeping him inside, I know it’s a controversial topic, but I am a firm believer that cats should be kept indoors. It’s safer for them, they live longer, and as long as you provide an enriched environment, they can be just as happy if not happier than outdoor cats.

          • HI, finally my male cat bunny 1year & 3 months old who is been nurtured on 9th sept16. He has chewed and open his one side incision second day only so from scrotum some tissue he has pulled out which was some vein which is refix by veterinary on 23rd Sept 2016 by suture. Today his 7th day on e-collar. Pee and poo started and I am relax….All three weeks he was sleeping on my lap..feel bad that he has to go for two times anesthesia but now he is fine….and I am happy since he is fine now……

            since may 2016 when he is been attacked by bully tomcat he is inside home…..Now since he is neutered shall I take him outdoor on harness? He has stop spraying since 9th Sept 2016 he has spray only three times…..now I wish he should enjoy his freedom at least 30 mins everyday….is it too early to take him out?
            He also try to catch my leg whenever I come from out like asking me to take him out…roll on on his back and bite my leg not hard…..
            When shall I take him out and what if he again sees those aggressive tomcats who attacked him? Will I keep him inside only?

          • Is it forever indoor, or for few more days/ months since he is neutered recently….Also I have missed out one question why he hold my hand with his front legs and keep kicking from his back legs and bites me as per him lightly but it hurts…..he first roll on his back than he does kick from his back legs

  29. Hi, I am so glad I found this site. In a nutshell, I hope…I had two cats, one skittish (name Beast), couldn’t be held, but loving. One very, very, very loving and could be held (name Missy). My boyfriend would brings his dog for visits, all got along. I had to move and I knew the skittish one was going to be a problem. So the day we decided to move my cat’s to my boyfriends, the skittish one attacked me while I was trying to put her in the cage. This was witnessed by both the other cat and my boyfriends dog. The cats had obviously become untrusting and became reclusive in the new home. Missy started coming around and Beast spent all of her time in the basement except to eat and do her business. Three weeks after being in the new home, Missy started attacking the dog and when Beast would come around Missy would hiss at her. This continued for another week, when my boyfriend just couldn’t take it anymore. His poor three pound dog was being terrorized. We found a loving, pet free home for Missy with one of my friends. Now Beast will come around, but she is still skittish, which I understand. I know we are going to be moving again in about four years, Beast is 6 1/2, and I am so stressed how I will be able to move her, considering the events that occurred when I moved this last time, she literally became “Chuckie”. Is there any kind of sedative I can give her in her food, or anything that can be done by me to make this transition even possible. I cannot obviously take her to a vet, she refuses to be picked up, let alone carried. I know this is way off in the future, but I woke up this morning really concerned about it. I don’t want to cause further harm to Beast.

    • What you’re dealing with sounds like stress induced aggression, Sue. I would consider working with a feline behaviorist and/or a vet who makes housecalls. I would approach this from a behavioral angle first, working on helping Beast become more confident, but you may also want to consider medication. Living with the level of stress that Beast is most likely living with (from his perspective) is the same a a person living with severe anxiety disorder. I applaud you for thinking about this so far ahead of the move, and encourage you to think of this not just as getting Beast ready for your next move, but also about making his life calmer and happier.

      • Thank you so much for the reply. I hadn’t realized that vets make housecalls. Also, as a person who has experienced anxiety, I feel so bad that this could be what Beast is experiencing. I will keep you posted of the outcome. Thank you again for your site and valuable advice. Have a wonderful day.

  30. My indoor cat Angel has suddenly started showing signs of aggression due to outdoor cats. They spay outside my bedroom window which is Angels favorite spot. She is up to date on all her shots and is perfectly healthy. I started boarding the window with cardboard because I was hoping it would prevent her from getting agitated. But she can still smell them. Before when she got agitated I would just not say anything or even move. But now she is attacking me anyway. I can’t keep her out of the room because she will cry at the door all night if I try. I’m in the process of contacting animal control to hopefully get the other cats removed but I’m not sure if this will work. What should I do concerning my cat?

  31. I have a 2 year old male outdoor cat. I have had him since he was a baby and he has always been a very great cat with my kids and myself. I go outside the other night and go to walk up the stairs and he attacks my foot. I swatted his nose and told him no. He ran away but about five minutes later he came back and attacked me. He came running and hissing and jump up on my thigh and bit and scratched me. since then during the day he is fine but at night if I go outside he stalks me and then will run up and attack me. Tonight he tried to attack again so I ran to my car because it was the closest thing. My neighbor came down to help me to my house and he tried attacking her also. Why would he be acting like this and especially just at night time? Thank you

    • I’m not sure what could be causing this behavior. A sudden change in behavior can be an indicator of a medical problem, so I would have him checked out by your vet. I would also keep him inside at night if you can – it sounds like something outside is triggering the behavior.

      • My cat is always attacking me and hissing at me I try tapping his nose and saying no but it just makes him more mad playing with him makes him mad at me too even if I play with him for 30 minutes or more I’m so nice to him but he doesn’t care about that he never tracks anyone else in my house unless they antagonize him he will go from purring and rubbing against me to carving lines into my skin with his teeth

        • Not knowing what is triggering your cat’s aggression, it’s hard to give you any useful advice, Cody. I can tell you that tapping your cat on the nose when he’s aggressive will only make things worse. I recommend working with a feline behaviorist to help you figure out what is causing the behavior, and to correct it and mend your relationship with your cat.

  32. I’m currently having a terrible experience with my cat Harlem. He’s 3 years old and has yet to be neutered (which I’m fixing ever since this terrible incident this morning). He’s incredibly sweet and always stays by my side and sleeps literally curled up right under me, so I was beyond shocked when just a couple of hours ago, he walks up to me and stares right at me, his eyes dilated. Usually when I see this, he wants to play pounce and run around but he viciously attacked me, scratching my right hand and arm. I couldn’t get him to stop and had to force him onto an enclosed front porch and close the door. When I looked through the glass window, he was staring at me angrily, body puffed up, hissing, and making that low long moan sound. I got a blanket to protect me from him and slowly led him to my room and locked him in. I checked up on him 2 hours later and he was still hissing, the second he saw me. When my mother came home i explained the situation and she peaked in on him. He hissed and stayed on guard with her but didn’t attack her once! A few more hours passed and I (foolishly) let him out thinking he was fine since he wasn’t hissing and was now meowing normally. He was fine for about 5 minutes before he suddenly started attacking me again, just as aggressively. The worse part is I had my blanket with me just in case he did and he still jumped, trying to find a way under the blanket to latch onto my thigh, which he did. My mother saved me and led him back into my room. My heart is completely broken. This is my baby, and I feel like I’ve done something wrong to him and he’ll always be this aggressive towards me. I’m afraid me getting him neutered on Friday won’t solve anything. As I write this, I can hear him outside my door meowing to come in (normally) since we sleep together every night but I’m terrified of him.

    • I’m so sorry this happened to you, Lulu. It is heartbreaking. Since you don’t know what triggered the attack, it makes it even harder to deal with. Chances are he saw something outside and you were the next available target. If you’ve read through some of the more recent comments, you will see that these things resolve over time. I’m hoping that he calmed down overnight. If you haven’t already done so, contact your vet so they’re aware of what happened.

      • There is hope!!! You can read my post below and through a lot of love and patience my Lucy is the loving cat again before the incident. It’s been a few weeks and she’s still a bit of a scaredy cat and skittish but I’ve learned her body language better. It took DAYS for her to stop randomly hissing and growling. Make slow movements around your cat. Avoid eye contact for a while. And when you bend down don’t face your cat. It’s threatening to them. Buy LOTS of treats. Cats pick up on what you’re feeling too. I found it easier to just talk to her out loud. I’d say I feel so bad you’re upsets and you’re really scaring me but things will get better. Leave the cat be and it’ll come around you when it wants to. I’m so sorry it’s happening to you but it will get better!!!! I walked around with a broom for awhile just to have as a barrier in case she attacked again. It relaxed me more too. Good luck!

  33. I’ve had my two year old cat since she was a kitten. Never had any sort of aggression towards me ever. Never even heard her hiss. Tonight I did my neighbors a favor and changed their cats’ litter box while they were away. I came back about five minutes later and started to play fetch with my cat. When she brought her toy back I reached for it (as I always do) and she must have smelled the cats on me because she full blown attacked me. Chased me around my apartment growling and all puffed up. I have a bloody ankle and she got my hand pretty good. It was probably ten minutes before I could even move and she left me alone. She started to seem okay. I changed my clothes and washed my hands but then out of nowhere she did it again. I got her into a room and left her there for about an hour. Terrified. She’s never ever done this and now I’m so scared of her. When she finally comes out she is rubbing against me and I quietly go sit on the couch and she curls right up and falls asleep. She even licked my hand. But about 20 minutes later I moved my foot and she got startled and attacked me again!! I through a cup of water at her just to get her away from me. She cornered me into a room and it’s the room with her litter box. I waited until she went to attack me again and I shut the door with her in it. I don’t know what to do. I’ll call my vet in the morning but I feel awful keeping her in there but I’m terrified of my baby. Will she ever get back to herself? I’ve never seen this aggression towards anyone let alone me. Help.

    • I’m so sorry this is happening to you, Erin. You did the right thing by shutting her in a room overnight. Sometimes, it can take hours for cats to settle down after an episode like this. Hopefully, by this morning she will have returned to normal. Please keep us posted on how things are going.

      • I took a shower and wound up letting her out last night. She didn’t have food and water in that room. She slept on me but this morning when I went to move I kept talking to her nicely and warned her but she got up and hissed right away at me. I was able to talk her down this time. But she proceeded to watch me throughout my whole house. After reading a previous post I had a broom handy this time so when I finally made the move to stand up I could put it between us. She seems torn. She cries for me to pet her and play but then gets threatened every time I move. I’m really concerned. I got her food and water and put her back in that room so I could have some time as week. Any other tips on winning back her trust? The aggression has lessened but because it came out of nowhere in the first place, I don’t know what will set her off. My vet was not helpful at all. I did set up a check up for next week but he’s never heard of such a thing. How long should I keep her separated? The way she’s acting towards me is very territorial. She sleeps on me but it seems more of a dominance thing now instead of affectionate like it was before.

        • Erin, I learned from a behaviorist that cats will need positive reinforcement after a bad experience. In your case, the scent of the other cat, which scared her. She is simply acting scared, in my opinion, not dominant. If you would calmly give her a favorite treat, and speak gently to her, she will associate a positive experience with you again. It won’t take long. Just keep reinforcing the positive experiences. She just needs a bit of time to go back to her old self. The poor little thing. I understand how upsetting it must be for you, but don’t be afraid of her. She is just being a cat, and will come around.

        • How is it possible that your vet has never heard of redirected aggression! It sounds like your cat is still in a heightened state. Aislinn is right, you’ll need to replace the negative experience with positive things. Move slowly around her, use a gentle voice, and give her treats if she stays calm. Just be careful to not inadvertently reward negative behavior. Be careful with play until she’s calmed down some more. Play may ratched her energy up too much and tip her over into aggression right now.

          One of the most important things you’ll need to do is manage your own energy. Cats pick up on our energy, and if she senses you being afraid or upset, she’ll most likely mirror that.

          If you’re open to using holistic remedies, Rescue Remedy (available at Whole Foods grocery stores and other similar stores) can help both of you.

          • I ordered some cat calming treats and rescue remedy. Being overnighted 🙂 we’ve survived the day but things are still pretty much the same. She hasn’t hissed since this morning. I’ve limited play and she’s really been sleeping a lot. I was supposed to go visit my sister from Thursday to Sunday. Lucy (my cat) usually comes with me. She’s very comfortable there. But now I don’t know if it’s a good time. Of if Its a good time for me to leave her either? She hasn’t been around other people since the aggression so I’m anxious about that too.

          • That’s a tough call whether you should take her with you, leave her, or stay home. Do you have someone you trust who could take care of her while you’re gone? If so, I would have that person over to see how Lucy reacts. That may give you more information on what’s best. If she’s fine with the person who would take care of Lucy if you go away, it might be better to leave her at home.

          • Just an update. Things are definitely much better. She just had her first dose of rescue remedy. And in more than 24 hours she hasn’t hissed at me or attacked. She just held back one because she found my stance threatening. But I was able to reassure her with my voice and she relaxed. So there is hope everyone! I see major improvement. Thank you so so much for your help. I’ll continue to keep you updated. Don’t know what I would’ve done without you guy.

          • That is wonderful news! I had no doubt that things would calm down. It sounds like everything is on the right track, and her fear has abated. I am so happy to hear this.

          • Thanks for the update, Erin. I’m so glad things are settling down. I suspect that as you’re relaxing more and more, she will calm down even more.

  34. My cat is a sweet boy never caused problems. until today i was leaving the apartment and a stray cat was at my door a male one at that. my cat charged past me started growling and hissing then he turned on me and latched onto my leg. after he let go he ran back outside and then acted like he would come after me again. i grabbed a broom and put it between us. i dont know what to do though. this was his first time doing this. i called my fiance and he told me to get rid of him but i dont consider that an option yet. what can i do especially when i dont want to take the chance of being attacked while trying to grab him. i dont want to put him down but i have 8 puncture wounds from his teeth on my lower leg and 5 scratch marks. he is being sweet now by cuddling with me but im still nervous.

    • I’m sorry this happened to you, Amanda. I understand how frightening and unsettling this is, and it’s probably going to take a while before you will trust him again. Since you know what triggered the attack, you can take steps to prevent the stray from coming near your house. Here are some tips: http://consciouscat.net/2015/07/22/how-to-keep-roaming-cats-out-of-your-yard/

      If it does happen again, do not try to grab him. You did the right thing by putting a broom between him and yourself. Ideally, get him into a room where you can close the door and give him time to calm down for a few hours before you even go check on him. Hopefully, you’ll never need this advice and this was a one time thing.

  35. I have spent the past month reading everything I could about redirected aggression. My male cat saw a feral cat on my deck, and began to hiss and yowl, horrible, gutteral sounds. Unfortunately, his sister wandered over to see what the fuss was about, and he attacked her in the most vicious way. It was horrific. I managed to separate them, putting him into the basement, waiting for him to calm down. A few hours later, I let him out and he seemed to be fine, but his sister became terrified and his under a bed. He chased her and sat next to the bed in attack mode again. I once again separated them, and cried helplessly over the situation. I enlisted the help of a behaviorist who via telephone told me how to slowly reintroduce them, and to make a long story short, their first sighting of each other after 10 days was a complete repeat of the initial attack. I was heartsick. I had them both on anti-anxiety meds, and restarted the reintroduction process. No change. I made the gut-wrenching decision to return my male to the rescue group where I had adopted both of them 5 years ago, and now question my decision daily. I miss the boy terribly, and worry about him every day. I feel guilty and depressed over my decision and wonder if I gave up too soon. It is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to me. What was once a happy home with two loving cat siblings turned into a nightmare. I never knew such a thing even existed, let alone could happen to my two litter mates. I am curious to know if anyone ever made the same decision that I did, and how they coped with it.

    • My heart goes out to you, Aislinn. I cannot even imagine the agony of the decision you had to make – but the sad reality is that sometimes, no matter how slowly and carefully you try to reintroduce two cats after an episode like that, in some cases, the cats will never get along, and rehoming one cat is the best solution for everyone. That doesn’t mean it’s not devastating. It sounds like you did everything you possibly could. I hope in time, you’ll find peace with your decision. Be gentle with yourself – in a lot of ways, this is no different from mourning death. You’re mourning the loss of life as it was before the attack.

      • Ingrid, thank you for your kind words. Giving up my boy, to me, was actually harder than a death. With death, there was closure. With surrendering him, all I do is worry and cry for the poor thing, who must be sad and confused after leaving the only home he has ever known. I wish I could turn back time and could have prevented the aggression. I question my decision, but know that we could not have lived the way we were living much longer. The stress on me, and my little female cat would have been unbearable. There is no good answer. I only pray that in time, my sweet boy is loved by someone else as much as he was loved by me.

      • I read this article and stumbled upon your response. I have to say this made me so sad, I just want to cry. I understand you were frustrated, but return your baby boy? He didn’t do this on purpose. I am so sorry if I sound harsh, but my heart is aching for this baby boy, but most likely not more than yours. Have you considered picking him up from the rescue? The reintroduction process may last longer than 10 days…months even. Would you rather he live unhappily somewhere else? I really hope you reconsider and go get that baby you left behind. He feels abandoned for sure. Adoptions are for life…

        • My heart is aching for Aislinn just as much as it is aching for her boy, Olivia. The sad reality is that it’s not always possible to successfully reintroduce two cats after an episode of redirected aggression, no matter how much time has gone by. I doubt that anyone who hasn’t gone through the trauma of redirected aggression can truly imagine the agony Aislinn went through, and is going through every single day. It’s a truly heartbreaking decision, and I cannot imagine having to make it.

          • Olivia, If you knew me, you would know how devastated I am. I cry every day. I miss my boy more than I could ever explain in writing. I tried everything imaginable to bring my two, formerly loving cats back together. I prayed every second of every minute for a miracle. I cannot tell you how badly I want to beg the rescue for my boy back, but I know that nothing will ever be the same between him and his sister. Believe me, there is nothing I would not have done to bring them back together. I am heartsick over this. I appreciate that you feel for my poor boy, but believe me, I could not have loved him more. All I do is worry about him. I have never felt a pain like this in my life. I am just so sorry that this ever happened, and had I known it was a possibility, I would have moved mountains to have prevented it. Thank you, Olivia, for caring about him, and thank you, Ingrid, for your understanding.

        • Olivia, I wanted to clarify something. I did not decide to rehome my boy after 10 days. I made the first reintroduction attempt after 10 days, after following a behaviorist’s protocol. I subsequently made two more attempts with disastrous results. I understand why you thought that I gave up too soon, and would have felt the same way you did after reading my post. The entire separation and reintroduction attempts lasted 6 weeks. Even that may not seem long enough, but the stress in my household for all involved was unbearable, and the statistics on a successful reintroduction after a violent attack are grim. I did what I thought was in the best interests of both cats, as heartbreaking as it is.

          • Aislinn,

            You sound like a caring person, so I apologize if my comment made you feel bad. I don’t mean to be judgmental because only you know what the animosity felt like in your household and I understand you want to protect your little girl. My thoughts and feelings only went out to your cat and I tried so hard to imagine what I would do in your situation. But like I said, I only thought about his feelings when I replied to your post.
            I may not agree with you and I don’t think I’d make the decision you made, but I also hope I never have to find out. Perhaps it’s selfish to say that regardless of what’s going on between my two kittens, I’d keep them together and with me…no matter what.
            Regardless of what I think I would do, my heart goes out to you. I hope you can find out if your baby boy went to a wonderful home, like yours. I hope he gets adopted soon and lives a great and happy life. I am tearing up as I type this and I don’t even know him or you.
            I’m sending you a big hug and I really hope everything works out for you!

            Olivia Hedden

      • It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I wanted to report that I’ve brought my boy Finn back home. I missed him terribly, and regret he ever letting him go to the point that I could not focus on anything but having him back in my life. He’s been back for over a month, and I’m keeping him separated from his sister who is not too happy. I will just give this all the time it takes. I learned a valuable lesson. I couldn’t give up an animal for any reason now, and could not be happier. Here’s hoping that they’ll eventually be able to tolerate each other once again. I’m in for the long haul.

  36. I have a 12 yr old cat (Lucy) who is completely indoors. We just moved for the first time in her life with me (10 yrs) so I know that is not helping, but, that being said, there is a neighbor cat. An outdoors neighbor cat. He LOVES to sit at my sliding glass doors and get her worked up. This was never an issue at our old house (I think) because we only had windows that she sat in to look outside. I can’t keep her away from the sliding doors and I have blinds…she just goes behind them…so, how do I keep the other cat away?

  37. I have been having some issues with my cat being very aggressive lately that I am truly baffled by! My husband and I adopted our 2 year old cat from the Humane Society about 6 weeks ago now and he started out very friendly and comfortable. But recently (last 3-4 weeks) he has been attacking us a lot. Specifically, he seems to get really aggressive and worked up after smelling my armpit odor, yet he wants to smell it and often goes out of his way to do so. He will smell it either by coming up and grabbing my arm with his paws and burying his face in my armpit and biting it (not in a friendly way), or by rubbing up against coats or shirts in the armpit region. While this is odd, it hasn’t been a huge problem. The real problem is that after he has smelled it he gets really worked up and often attacks me or looks like he is about to. He will go into a pounce position and then will jump at my face with his claws and teeth out. I’m not sure what to do about this. It has gotten to the point now where he is either really cuddly towards me or he looks like he is going to attack me/does attack me. At first I started out just ignoring his behavior and aggressiveness but he would follow me or attack anyway while I was ignoring him. So now I spray him with a spray bottle. I am concerned because I am now afraid to be around him. I can’t pet him without him showing signs of aggression, and he has recently started attacking my husband’s feet as well. Any thoughts on what we should do?

    • If you haven’t already done so, contact your vet. Behavior changes can be an indicator of a medical issue. Discontinue the use of the spray bottle, it is only going to make things worse.

    • Not a pro here, but maybe try. Putting some heavily soiled clothes in a cat cage/carrier, lock cat in with clothing. Feed treats through cage holes. Rub armpit funk all over his toys, sleeping area and even food Bowles. I think you need to associate that smell with good positive things. And get him used to it.

      • Interesting suggestion. Getting him to associate the scent that seems to set him off with something positive like food or treats may break the cycle. I would not lock the cat into a carrier with the soiled clothes, though, as that will probably create a negative association.

  38. Do you believe redirected aggression can come from something like separation anxiety? Or similar related feeling due to the owner being absent?
    (My two girls do not get along, they were making great progress whilst I was home over the christmas holidays, they have been gradually getting worse since I went back to work even with routine 15 min play sessions morning and night)

  39. I have had my cat for 2 years she has never shown any aggression what so ever. Very cuddly and a lap cat. Last night our power went out and she went nuts, hissing growling swiping wouldn’t even let me in the room without hissing and growling trying to attack me. We keep her in my room cuz my step brother leaves the door open and we can’t have her getting out. She is strictly and indoor cat and is upstairs in my bedroom. That being said mind you this has been the arrangement for 2 years and she’s been amazing. Today after the power has been back on she will be up in the bed cuddling me and everything but the minute I leave the room and come back it’s back to the hissing and growling aggression toward me like she doesn’t even know me. I ease my way into the room easy by talking to her letting her smell me and everything and everything is fine when I’m back in my bed. :'( it makes me so sad. What’s wrong with my baby?

    • That’s an odd case of redirected aggression, Megan, but unfortunately, it sounds like she associates you with the power outage. Please contact your vet or a feline behaviorist for assistance. You’ve got a unique challenge since the bedroom where the initial incident happened is also the only room where she can be (based on your description) and I’m not sure how to advise you, given those restrictions.

  40. Does anyone have advice for me? The owner of my apartments told me someone in the complex was sick and that they needed their cat watched for a month. Well, I didn’t want their cat to go to a humane society, so I agreed to it. But the cat is keeping me up all night.. She keeps meowing and scratching at the door. I tried to calm her down by petting her, but she basically tries to attack me by growling and swatting her paws.. 🙁 I am just trying to do the right thing, but the cat doesn’t understand that and is scared. I am pretty sure she doesn’t like me, because she thinks I tried to kidnap her. 🙁 I kind of wish that I could’ve just come up to his place and took care of her that way, rather than bring her to my apartment.

    • I would return the cat to her familiar apartment and take care of her there. It would certainly lower her stress levels to be in a familiar environment, and keep you safe.

      • Yes, I agree. I am surprised we didn’t think of that in the first place. When my manager is back on Monday, I’ll ask her about that. Hopefully, it’s not against the rules for me to go into his apartment with a key and take care of the cat from there.

  41. Thanks for this information! You just saved a cats life.
    I have a 7 year old Tabby, that turned unnaturally aggressive today. I have very very deep claw marks on my leg that look like a werewolf horror movie. Through my screen door, He saw a cat in my yard, I closed the door, because he was going crazy climbing the screen. Next thing I know, he is attacking me. A cat I raised from a baby, a cat I’ve spent lots and lots of money on for medical, a cat that has his own bedroom with cat houses and castles from floor to ceiling, and lots of toys. A cat that forces me to buy very expensive food, because he won’t eat anything else!
    Until I read this page, I was considering eviction, or having him put down one way or another!

      • Yes, I am in the same boat. My cat has had the life of a king like yours only eats the very expensive food and has toys and towers galore. The hatred towards me has arose since I have been taking care of my friends cat for almost a month now. They refuse to get along. Her cat has never been aggressive towards me but mine becomes so aggravated he lashes at me and today he was particularly more aggressive than previous times, he even went for my face which he had never done. I immediately established dominance over him. He does have claws, sharp fangs and is about 13 lbs but I am way bigger and I will not coward to him. I grabbed him by that area behind his neck, told him a few strong words and put him away in my bedroom. He has everything he needs in there, food, water and his litter box. Tonight I will sleep in the guest bedroom with my friends cat.

          • I’ve been trying to figure out why my cat will attack me if I get up to use or answer the phone. If I call someone, while I’m talking, he just won’t leave me alone (not in a nice I love you way, more like stalking) and meows at me (weird meow) and will sometimes attack. If the phone rings and I answer, he will just attack my feet and legs if I’m standing or go for the head if I sit down. (I’ve learned to stand when on the phone)
            I’ve been trying to show him that me on the phone is not a bad thing by “slow blinking” at him and talking to him in a soothing way (while the phone rings) or scratching him on the face (his favorite). It all works while I do it, but if I stop or walk away he’ll attack or stalk me again.
            What is his problem with me and the phone?
            I would like to add that he does have anxiety issues and we are working on them. He used to attack for more than just the phone thing, this is the last trigger (hopefully) that we need to fix in relation to his attacks. We’re still working on his fear of everybody but my husband and myself. Just so you don’t think I’m a horrible pet parent I have 2 other cats that I have raised from kittens now 15 and 14 that are perfectly well adjusted, happy and healthy. Thanks for any input or advice.

        • I have to agree. I adopted a rescue cat that I could see had experienced trauma. However, she was so affectionate with me – though didn’t like anyone else. Then one day nearly 2 years later my daughter brought home a kitten that was being mistreated, and the older cat was NOT happy – she took off for three days. I was a wreck. I had those cats with me through thick and thin the following 15 years before I lost them both within 6 months of each other. The older one never bonded with the younger one – she just learned to tolerate him (barely)…as long as he didn’t get too close to her. I loved them both, but I made sure to show the older one that she was the queen. Eventually, they both slept on the bed with me…and the dogs 🙂
          It’s been 4 years since they’ve been gone, and I still miss them every day. <3

  42. We had a few neighbourhood cats doing their weekly visit to our house before we got a new kitten. They stayed away for about three weeks before visits began again. My daughter woke up one morning to find a “mommy cat” on the couch next to our new kittens “couch bed” (or the “room” he chose himself). Today I was resting on my bed (kitten sleeps on my stomach most of the day) when he suddenly jumped on my bed. But, to my surprise he was full grown and ginger. My Little kitten was standing terrified and puffed up in the dining room. I picked him up and petted him when suddenly the ginger cay started hissing. I don’t usually chase these random cats away but sprayed him with a water bottle and he left. About 20min later my kitten jumped on the bed and attacked me out of nowhere. It wasn’t the usual rough play but rather scary episode. I had to spray him with the waterbottle aswell to calm down. My first thought was that he was living out his imagination on his mommy, you know, the “I should’ve done this or that”. I’m the one who feeds the cat, pets the cat, taken naps with the cat and overall the nicest with the cat but I’m also the only one who he bites and attacks. Is this normal?

    • This is definitely redirected aggression, Tania. The kitten couldn’t go after the intruder, so he attacked you. I would prevent the neighborhood cats from coming inside your house, and you may even need to keep them away from windows where your kitten can see them, otherwise, you’ll most likely have repeat episodes of this.

  43. My cat is about 4 months old, I play with him 2 to 3 times per day. He has never intentionally bite me during play sessions, but very keen on sneak attack. I’m not sure whether this is a redirected aggression or not, and he mostly stays inside. I tried to tell him no, yell “ouch” and freeze any movement. None of these work. He was startled for a second, still in his bite and scratch position, and the next second, he continues. I tried to disengage from his grab and walk away, but sometimes he chases right after me. At first I thought maybe I kept the training and eventually he would learn, but this has been going on for nearly 2 months. I don’t enjoy the idea of him inflicts wounds on my parents so I really want to figure out how to stop this behaviour. He seems to mostly do this at night time.
    I’m really appreciated if anyone can give me some advice. I feel frustrated.

      • Thank you for answering Ingrid. I’ve read the link before, and I do play with him 2 to 3 times per day, around 15 minutes per session. Maybe it’s not enough in his case, or there something wrong with the way I play, but he does seem to be very energetic and can keep going for a long time. There were times when I play with him over 30 minutes and he still didn’t look tired.
        Again, thank you for the advice, I’ll try to work from there.

        • It’s not unusual for a kitten to have that much energy. I still remember being amazed when I adopted Allegra at the age of 7 months. I hadn’t had a kitten in over a decade, and forgot just how energetic kittens can be!

  44. I commented on here quite some time ago. Before I accidentally dropped something taking it of the oven, so my over reaction spooked my cat and he bit my leg. It was painful…not so much the bite (b/c it was unexpected), but the swelling and infection due to the bite, and the antibiotic shot. Now, about a week ago I hear my cats hissing and growling downstairs. I go down there and assume they had an interaction with an outdoor cat by our front door. The younger cat scampered away and was ok. However, the cat that previously bit me redirected his aggression towards me. I had a squirt bottle and only used it once when he got too close for my comfort. But it took 20-30 minutes for him to calm down. This morning, I’m taking cupcakes out of the fridge and half of them fell. I of course curse and got upset, close the fridge door and there is my cat all fluffy and hissing at me. Again, it took 30 minutes for him to calm down. I just talked soothingly, didn’t use a squirt bottle, kept slow blinking him. I was able to grab my husband’s jacket as a shield, all the while with frosting all over my hands. *Sigh*, I feel so bad that he’s getting like this, he’s only 5 years old. He’s normally such a sweet cat and sits in my lap and loves to cuddle. But I can’t be worried about getting bit (or him attacking our other cat) if he gets spooked over an outside animal, or me dropping something. I know this upsets my husband to the point he wants to put him down. We have a friend who’s cat gets worked up when he sees an outside cat, but never gets aggressive towards his owner.
    At what point does one decide to put a pet down. The rational side of my brain says he’s an animal and his unexpected behaviour can (and has) caused harm to me. But of course, we love our pets and they are family. I feel so bad, I don’t know what to do. But I certainly don’t want him to bite us or the other cat.

    • I’m so sorry, Rachael, I know this is distressing and traumatic. Sadly, it’s not uncommon that, once there’s been an incident of redirected aggression, it happens again. The best thing you can do is to confine your cat in a dark room with few or no stimuli after an incident, if you can get him there without getting hurt, and give him several hours to calm down. I wish I could answer your question about when does one put a pet down for this type of behavior. It’s a completely individual decision, and depends on your relationship with your cat, how much you’re able and willing to work with the situation, and many other factors. I would encourage you to consider working with your vet and or a feline behaviorist to help you deal with this. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Marilyn Krieger http://thecatcoach.com/ and Pam Johnson-Bennett http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/ Both offer remote consultations.

      • I was thinking…Linus has always been a cuddle bug with me, but scared around strangers. He use to be scared and run away and hide, no biggy. This redirected aggression started since we moved into a house (from being in apartments). We do have a neighbor cat that is inside/outside, and a noticed a new litter of kittens around (not sure If i should take it on to get them fixed, they seem to be hanging mostly around one house). Would it be a good idea to put Linus in his carrier and walk him around the house? Maybe a little every day so he gets use to the other scents, give him some treats when we come back inside. Only thing is, I don’t see how me dropping cupcakes has anything to do with outside cats and was any reason for him to get aggressive…

        • If he was already in a heightened state from seeing other cats outside, the fact that he was startled when you dropped something may have just caused an instinctive reaction to perceived danger. You may want to consider temporarily blocking off his view of the outside so he doesn’t get triggered over and over.

  45. I took my cat from a animals foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT my cat bites me A LOT and scratches walls . Fluff has been driving the entire family crazy because of that. How can i stop it? Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!

  46. Thank you so much for this article. I just woke up this morning, and my kitten (6.5 months) came to my room and I thought she was going to rip me to pieces. Tail puffed out, back arched, hissing and growling. I was able to calm her down within about 30 seconds and now she’s fine.

    She loves to look out the window in the living room and there is at least one cat and TONS of other animals in our neighbourhood. This article explains her behavour perfectly. Normally she’s the cutest, most friendly cat you can imagine. I’d like to point out that normally she wouldn’t able looking out the windows first thing in the morning, but she recently taught herself to open the curtains. lol

    I’ll keep an eye on her, but I think she’s going to be fine. Thank you again for this, it really made me feel better as I have never experienced this before and I have had cats my whole life.

    Duane

      • It really was. I was worried she had gone crazy. That happened to my aunts cat. Was normal one second and just snapped and never calmed down. They couldn’t do anything, the vet couldn’t do anything. They had to get her put to sleep. So with that in my mind, I was really afraid.

        But, she’s good now. Been a normal kitty all day, playing, purring, all that. 😀

  47. Wondered if someone could give me
    Some advise… I have a 2yr old male cat and he is a house cat doesn’t go outside and he is the nicest cat 6days a week and then it comes to a Saturday he’s nasty starts hissing, growling, showing teeth, trying to attack me and my partner, we don’t do anything different at a weekend, it’s really upsetting for me and my partner we love him so much and just wondered what we can do to make this stop???

    Thank you

  48. I’ve had my cat for 5 years. She’s a bit feisty but we can usually read her pretty well. Two night ago, out of nowhere,she attacked my leg. This was an aggressive, latch on my leg type of attack. I screamed and she began trying to attack me again. Me and my husband were finally able to get to bed and hoped she would calm down if we left her alone. I figured maybe she was startled by something that we didn’t hear or see, so she just needed a little time. The next day, I woke up with her on my head ( which is normal). Our morning was normal.. I tried to keep it calm and not show her that I was nervous. Things were going okay until she attacked me out of no where again. I had to blanket her and get her in her cage. I took her to the vet to make sure she wasn’t acting out because she was hurt. He did a basic exam and concluded she was okay. I couldn’t think of anything that has changed that could have triggered this behavior. So, here’s my problem. I love this cat. Very much. However, now I’m scared and nervous around her and I’m sure she feels it. I’m really not sure what to do. He gave us the feliway option, but will it work if I’m constantly nervous around her? My husband and I came to the conclusion that we may need to give her up. Which breaks my heart. Is this the road we need to take? Or does anyone have any helpful advice?

    • Oh Heather, I’m so sorry this happened to you. It may take a few days or even weeks for her to completely settle down, but you are absolutely right, she probably picks up on your fear, and that’s not helping. I would definitely use the Feliway, and you may also want to consider other calming remedies such as Spirit Essences Stress Stopper or Rescue Remedy (Rescue Remedy might be a good one for yourself, too.) I would highly recommend that you work with a feline behaviorist before you consider giving her up. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Marilyn Krieger http://thecatcoach.com/ and Pam Johnson-Bennett http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/ Both offer remote consultations. All my best to you – I know this is terribly distressing.

      All my best,
      Ingrid.

  49. Hi we were away on holiday and one of my cats got into a cat fight with another cat;( now my other cat is scared of her and his and swats at her. They always get along so this is sad.
    Any thoughts on what to do with them?
    Thanks Charlene

  50. Hi, my cat has gone crazy! So this morning I had my backyard door open adn my cat was outside but there wasa squirrel trying to get into my house, so I tried to scare it away by banging on the window and eventually it left but my cat got really scared and started hissing at me and moewing quite loudly. I closed the door so he wouldnt attack me — this has happened before when I made a smoothie and he got scared when I popped my head out the kitchen to see where he was, and he was hissing and growling at me for the whole day! I was trapped on my couch because he was watching me. But i dont know what to do! Please help! How can I calm him down when he does it? And im home alone most of the time so I dont have anyone to help me dezl with him.

    • It sounds like the trigger for your cat is the loud noise (of you banging on the window, and the noise of the blender, which he probably associated with you as well when you popped your head out the kitchen.) Be conscious of this moving forward, and avoid letting him see you when you have to do anything that makes a lot of noise. You may want to consider making your smoothies behind closed doors in a different room.

      If there is another incident, I would confine him to a closed room for a few hours if you can safely do it without getting hurt. Draw the shades, and let him cool off. If you can’t safely get him to a closed room, I would leave the house for at least a couple of hours to give him a chance to settle down.

      You may also want to consider working with a feline behaviorist. If you can’t find anyone local to you, I can recommend Marilyn Krieger http://thecatcoach.com/ and Pam Johnson-Bennett http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/ Both offer remote consultations.

    • Hi Gloria, I had the same redirected anger issue a few weeks ago.It actually reared it’s ugly head a few months ago but it disappeared quickly.
      Recently, I was terrified with my cat’s growling, loud angry meow and attacks at our family. This recent incident drew blood! I was sad that we had to possibly put him down. It lasted for almost two weeks. (I did buy the calming spray for cats that Pet Smart carries. I sprayed it everywhere.)I took him to the vet to make sure no other health problems exist. Over $200 later, he was found to be slightly anemic, but the vet thinks our other cat and outdoor stimulus started the aggression. It took two days to get him to the vet. Finally, they offered a slight sedative so we could get him in the carrier. It worked great. He stayed all day. We picked him up and left him in the mudroom all night with all his needs. He was still hissing but lethargic. We stayed away and locked him in a quiet room at night. So, we made the decision to have him euthanized a week later. Ironically, a day before he was to be put down, he turned around. He was calm, no aggression and very loving.We wondered if the whole trauma of the vet and sedatives did something? It’s like he knew what would happen if he continued his anger. Also, I do think the calming spray was helpful. I spray his bed and the areas he sleeps everyday. So far, we are OK. But, if he would become severely angry again, our safety is first. My suggestion would be to get the spray. Also, lock your cat in a quiet room away from you. That down time seemed helpful. I hope things get better for you. I completely understand the fear and the worries with this redirected anger. Hoping for the best!

      • This week I euthanized my Boo Radley because of aggression. He started out in life with problems due to living in a wall as a kitten and not having socialization. I became his mom from my vet who had taken him in. He never was an overly affection cat, but he was my sweet baby boy. Early on he started showing signs of aggression when he attacked my ederly diabetic cat, so unless I was present I kept them seperated. After I moved from an apartment to a house he showed redirected aggression when he would see outside animals. He mostly terrorized my female cat, who has cardiomyopathy and I still kept him mostly seperated from my older cat. He also woluld direct some of this aggresstion to me. I started him on calming collars, and natural calming meds which helped some, but it didn’t go away. I had to be aware of the sign of an attack coming on. My elderly cat died at almost 19 years of age and a 6 month Burmese was brought into the household. There didn’t seem to be any additional problems as those 2 seemed to get along,but he started to go after me more often and still went after Gracie. Then one day after Boo saw a cat outside he attacked me biting and scratching me on both sides of my head. Scared and hurting I took him to the vet the next day and the vet suggested that I might want to consider putting him down, since there are some cats that “have a brain dysfunction” and will continue to exhibit this behavior. After pleading we decided on a treatment plan to see if that would work which consisted of Feliway and meds. We had to change the meds since the first ones only made the problem worse. He seemed to settle down for a while and with me watching for signs and seperating him when needed, it was manageable,but I aways had to be on my toes. It was like living in a prison sometimes,but other times things were fine. Recently the attacks started up more especially against me. Last Sunday when I went to bed, he jumped up to sleep in his normal spot. All of a sudden he was attacking the back of my head. Bleeding and in pain, I got him out of the bedroom to his area where I would keep him when he was having his episodes, I knew then for my safety and the safety of the others. I could not continue any longer. I called the vet the next day and aftter discussion I made the decision to put him down. I feel like I killed a healthy cat even though I know he was mentally ill. I Have cried all week and am depressed and guilty, but deep down I know it was for the best. He could have killed me that night if I had been laying the other way. Now I have to try to forgive myself and it is not easy. Whatever you decide to do in these situations, it is not easy. Please understand I loved this cat to pieces and am grieving terribly, but you have to do what is best for all others involved. Hopefully I can start healing mentally but it won’t be easy. He was and always will be one of my babies. Good luck to anybody who is dealing with this and my prayers are with you

        • Oh Alyce, my heart is breaking for you. Having to make the euthanasia decision is always difficult, but when it’s for a behavioral issue like this for an otherwise healthy cat, it’s simply devastating. I have no doubt after reading your comment that you made the right decision. You didn’t just give up, you tried every possible way to live with this behavior. I wish I had some words of wisdom on how to help you heal from this traumatic experience, but the best I can offer is my heartfelt condolences. Be gentle with yourself during this hard time.

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