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Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:33 am
by Deathstardisco1
Hi all,
I'm hoping someone can help and give me some advice regarding my nine month old cat Hugo. Basically I'm a bit lost with what to do with him behaviour wise and I'm getting so close to the point were I just can't cope with it anymore. I feel really ashamed to admit it but I'm close to the point of trying to rehome him and if it wasn't for upsetting my partner a lot I would have already chosen this route.
He's a very healthy cat and has had a check up with the vet who said there wasn't any medical issues with him, he's also been neutered, treated for fleas and worms etc. He has lots of toys, played with a lot, always gets fed properly, gets treats, milk and is generally spoilt by us.
He's very vicious and when he turns it can be sometimes very scary as I panic about how much he could hurt me, silly I know as he is just a little cat but I can't help it. He can approach me looking all loving and jump onto my knee making out that he wants to receive strokes or cuddles but the second I go to do it he latches on to my arm with his claws and teeth making it difficult and painful to remove him. He draws blood on a lot of occasions and I'm left with quite a few scars on my legs and feet. This is because if he attacks my arms I'd put him to the floor, so instead he latches on to my legs instead.
I've tried every punishment I can find online, I've stuck at them and been persistent but nothing has worked. Punishment doesn't seem to bother him and if anything it just makes him worse. You name it, it's been tried.
The worst part is that I haven't slept properly for at least four months now and its starting to affect me a lot. When we first got him he slept in the bedroom with us but he began clawing and biting us in our sleep so we had to put him out of the room. We let him sleep in the lounge but he would just come and attack the bedroom door instead resulting on more noise. We fixed this by applying double sided tape to the door and it kept him away from it. By us doing that he ended up smashing the lounge up during the night, every night causing a lot of problems with my neighbour. He would knock pictures off the walls, smash ornaments, pull things off shelves, bang doors, bang everything and create as much noise as possible. He now sleeps in the bathroom and has done for a while but now he just screams the place down every single night of the week, all through the night and morning so i'm constantly being woken up all the time.
On top of all the behaviour punishments we've tried we bought a feliway plug in to try, it still hasn't really had a calming affect on him and nothing has changed. We tried to allow him to become an outdoor cat so he had more freedom and would allow us to put him outside if things got too much but he doesn't want to go out. We tried baby steps by going out with him for set periods of time which we thought would work but it didn't. If put outside he screams like he's being murdered and attacks the back door until I let him in.
It's getting to the point when I haven't been able to sleep properly for four months, it's affecting me health and general moods meaning I'm just snapping and taking it out on people that I am constantly tired and feeling run down. Some days I have actually just sat and cried because I can't take the endless screaming and vicious attacks from him.
There's a lot more to add but this is far too long a post for my first one as it is. I'm just at my wits end, I need a good nights sleep, to not be attacked and for something to happen to give me one piece of hope that things will change with him, it breaks my heart not being able to make him happy but I can't go on living like i am anymore. Thanks for reading, i hope someone can help. X

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:28 am
by Mayday21
Hi Deatstar I'm no expert nor have I experienced this behaviour but could it be anxiety related & perhaps talk to your vet to try some calming medication. One of the vet nursers where I volunteer has a rag doll who suffered regularly with cystitis - Chloe the cat really doesn't like women & gravitates to her husband who travels a lot. Chloe's now on anxiety reducing medication & no cystitis for around 2 months where previously every 3-4 weeks. I'm sure others will have more words of wisdom. Keep us updated. Vivian

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:10 am
by greenkitty
Might be an idea to consult a feline behaviourist, he's obviously got some deeply ingrained issues which need expert advice.

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:27 am
by Kay
have you seen how he behaves with other cats, I wonder? he sounds like a bored and frustrated teenager to me, lashing out and pulling apart anything and everything for the fun of it

a companion who would lick him into shape could be the answer, but a risky one, as it would have to be a cat who would stand up to him if he tried it on - would you be open to that?

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:13 pm
by MarySkater
I'll probably be vilified for saying this, but in your place I'd get rid of him and look for a friendly cat who deserves to be a pet. Either ask a rescue if they can find a farm home for him, where he wouldn't need to interact with people, or take full responsibility and have him put to sleep. We spend time, attention and money looking after our pets. In return, I expect to get some pleasure from them; I wouldn't put up with being tormented.


Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:12 pm
by Crewella
I'm tending to agree with Kay - he sounds a bored and needy cat. Punishment of any sort won't work, he won't understand why you're being mean to him. The only thing that does work with cats is removal of attention and affection when they're being 'undesirable' and positive reinforcement - treats and attention, when they're being good. He sounds like a cat that wasn't properly 'licked into shape' by his mum and siblings - was he taken from her too early as a kitten?

He also sounds lonely - another cat might well help, but as Kay says, it will need to be one that can stand up to him. My old Giddy used to trash the living room (many years ago as our first cat) until she had feline company.

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:48 pm
by Jacks
I'll probably be vilified for saying this
Personally, although it's not an outcome anyone wants, I think MarySkater's is an understandable comment, particularly considering the physical damage Hugo inflicts. If he were a dog, the recommendation probably would be to put him to sleep if he randomly attacked and injured humans, or possibly be placed in an environment where his aggressive tendencies could be turned to work, if he was trainable. But he is not a dog and I agree that Hugo needs a chance to have a better life and that a behaviourist (there are suggestions on CatChat for contacting one) would be a good start. As he's only 9 months he could well benefit from a playmate, but you run the risk of doubling your trouble. My first 6 month kitten was ripping wallpaper off and attacking feet in the bed until we got her a playmate, then it was non-stop romping. But she was never violent or did any other 'trashing' apart from the wallpaper peeling...

Did you have Hugo from a baby and if so what age was he? Has he behaved this way ever since you had him or has it started at some point? Did he live with other cats prior to coming to you?

It does sound like he hasn't been properly socialised by his mother - not in terms of humans particularly but very early training about playing rough and controlling aggressive impulses - after all as a born predator he has the reflexes of a killer (as you've discovered). His mum should have taught him some basic etiquette. One of my girls will instinctively lash out if she's frightened or over stimulated and she was found abandoned in a bucket as a tiny kitten, with no mum in sight. I don't blame her, but then I'm her adopted 'mum' and she is rarely bad tempered with me. I've heard of kittens raised from newborn by humans who have grown up without behavioural problems, so it's not an if x, y occurs equation.

I hope you can get to the bottom of Hugo's problems.

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:18 pm

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:14 pm
by Jacks
Some very good advice from OHWS!

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:03 pm
by ashleyberner
I don't have any advice... I just wanted you to know you're not alone. I am dealing with play aggression with my two cats. My boy wants to play, my girl decided he went to far and will no longer tolerate playing with him. I haven't slept much either. Please don't give up on him. He seems a little like mine... bored. I am making it a point to play with him every night try to wear him out... and I also plugged in a Feliway diffuser. And I ordered one of Jackson Galaxy's Spirit Essences. I cannot vouch for them yet... but am like you, willing to try anything to get some sleep and keep the peace. Talk to you vet about possible medications... just to see what your options are. Good luck.

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:04 pm
by lilynmitz
To me it does sound very much like he's a very Alpha male cat who is bored and frustrated, but his reaction to being outside suggests that he also has fear issues. It's a pity he doesn't want to go out, as it sounds like he has a lot of energy to burn off, and he also sounds like an intelligent cat who needs a lot of stimulation. Continue to give him the opportunity to go out by all means, but don't force him, as it will only make things worse.

The rough play and biting could also relate to him having a conflicted relationship with humans, possibly due to past abuse, inappropriately rough play when he was a kitten and/or being taken from his siblings too young, as they get their first lesson in manners from playing with their siblings and mother.

I would definitely get in a behaviourist to start with, as you need to understand his psyche to get to the root of his problems. Once you can begin to see his world from his viewpoint, taking into account his needs and personality, then you may be part way to helping him cope better. Your vet may be able to recommend someone sensible.

Meanwhile, the "punishments" really need to stop. He won't relate you being mean to him to anything he's done, nor does he understand that what he is doing is wrong. So the punishment will simply be souring his relationship with you and making him more likely to "attack" as a means of self defence. Shouting at cats should also be avoided, as once again, this just makes them fearful, and a lot of "aggression" is actually a defensive fear reaction. If he's getting too worked up/biting etc, then time out is the way to go - put him in a different room for 5 minutes or so to let him calm down, then approach him calmly as though nothing had happened, maybe give him a little food, which will also distract him from what's just been happening. And I don't believe that cats see this as a reward for bad behaviour. They won't connect the two.

And perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but your user name "deathstardisco" suggests yours may be a lively household? He may be finding noise and busy behaviour distressing, and this could be contributing to his reaction. Just a thought, but I may be way off, so apologies if I am.

I would be very wary of getting a companion cat - he could find this threatening, and given his personality I think he would also dominate the other cat very badly, which can be distressing to watch and worse for the other cat. But wearing him out with some lively play in the late evening would keep him a bit quieter at night.

Good luck with this one, some cats really are challenging, but with perseverence you may find a way to improve this difficult situation.

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:11 am
by lilly

This may be a stupid question... but: are u playing with him?
What I found in my cat is, that play is a key for relationship.

Make him teaser. It can be very long, if u are afraid, so u can keep distance. I use bamboo stick, cotton rope and any small toy I can find. And play with him, every single morning and every single evening, until he not gonna be able to do it any more and he will just lay down. U will be surprised, how he will change.

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:45 pm
by bobster38
This popped up on my facebook page. Usually dont bother looking at them but its kind of interesting and may help! ... g-playtime

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:15 pm
by lilynmitz
Good grief, your latest post came up in gibberish! Check your keyboard settings! :lol:

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:20 pm
by bobster38
I think that particular post is probably so laden down with viruses its best not to hit a hyperlink lol....

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:35 pm
by Joe_Danger
I read the OP twice and I can't help but feel like the initial behavior described is the same usual behavior I've experienced with pretty much all of my kittens, though yours does seem a tad amplified.
I have yet to have a kitten who doesn't bite or claw at me in my sleep but they eventually grow out of it if they feel like but they do grow out of it eventually, especially if ignored.
The best punishment for a cat is to ignore them if possible, it shows they get no reaction from you when doing something and they give up eventually.

I'm not sure how severe this is, but if he doesn't hiss at you it all just seems like regular hyperactive behavior. Also keep in mind kittens and cats can growl sometimes when playing, I've only seen this in male kittens and male cats but it happens and it doesn't mean they're dangerous or anything. It's dangerous if they start hissing at you i believe.

When I was a boy I had a cat named Leo, he was a HUGE cat, we all had scratches from him, he played rough, he attacked people's legs and hands but to us that was simply seen as regular hyperactive behavior, I used to play fight with him all the time since...well I was a hyperactive kid myself :) and I was full of scretches, so were my mom and dad.
He'd run around, go crazy, climb everything he could but it was all in good fun, as he got older he calmed down tho he was still playful and active but he became an outdoor-indoor cat on his own account(at the time getting cats fixed wasn't popular at all here) and he ended up wasting all of his energy outside.

The suggestion to put him down downright appalls me, I can't believe someone would put a cat down over this kind of behavior.
Here in Macedonia we have tons and tons of stray cats and believe me they're happier than being dead. If a cat can't be kept at home it's best rehomed at a farm or a house with a yard, sure he is afraid of the outdoors now but he will come around, he is a cat after all.
Killing a cat just because it's wild is not right, if the cat is wild then it should be let go in the wild so having him become an outdoor/indoor cat would be perfect for him, he'll come around eventually.

Now him screaming at night...well, here's the thing.
If Milla, my current cat is left alone she starts screaming regardless of whether she is in heat or not, this especially happens when everyone at home is asleep but as soon as she hears somebody's voice she calms down and either comes over or calms down and keeps doing what she does. Now until Milla had her kittens some 3 month ago she was insanely hyper

see this shelf of games I have?
Even pregnant as you can see in that pic she'd get up there and start knocking down everything she could, one by one, games, figurines, everything...glad she hasn't figured out how to climb the shelf yet to start knocking down my amiibos and porcelain figurines
Sometimes she does it for attention, sometimes for fun.

Now on to the closed door issue, Milla can not and will not stand having a door closed with somebody on the other end, she screams and claws at the door or finds a way to open it and for us, for the way our house is set up that's ok we don't really keep our doors closed unless there's a reason to.
BUT...when I have girlfriends over and such...yeah it gets kind of funny and uncomfortable especially since the door to my bedroom can't be locked due to some cables going through and while it can be closed Milla know show to open it and promptly does the moment it's closed.
If she can't, she is going to scream her head off until she gets in.

I understand where you're coming from but to me his behavior seems like that of a perfectly normal hyperactive boy kitten, now you guys have all sorts of fancy behaviorists for cats and such over there so do give one a shot by all means, but please, for the love of everything do not even remotely consider having the kitten put down just because it won't behave the way you want it to.

This notion that a cat or an animal in general is better dead than let outside is simply unbelievable to me, it's one thing if a dog is being vicious and constantly attacks and bites and can even be life threatening and another if a cat is simply more aggressive and hyperactive, everything I read here suggests he is simply not the type of cat who can be kept at home is all unless he changes his behavior.
Tho to be honest I don't know if his biting and scratching is as severe as you think it is or if it just seems worse than it is because you're under pressure and a lot of stress with it all.

EDIT: as for him knocking stuff from shelfs down, he might do it for attention or just for fun
You can't put anything on a shelf with Milla, if she can get to it she WILL play with it and knock it down, she doesn't do it as much now as she used to until the kittens arrived but she is still hyper.
Some cats are like that, they constantly play and are on the move while others are better behaved.

I'm not saying it's easy since it clearly is an issue and he is hyper and then some, but I just fear that you might listen to advice to put him down and I know in the western world this is very very common and I can't imagine doing that to a pet over something like this.

I always tell the story of Johnny, a huge sharplaninec dog who for whatever reason grew up to be rather aggressive towards strangers despite being raised by experienced people with that breed. They didn't put him down, rather took him to a farm where he lived the rest of his life 10+ years easily and yes he was a dangerous dog.

So if Johnny could live out his life without hurting anyone despite being very aggressive, a dog who can easily kill a person in a matter of seconds, so can Hugo

Re: Feeling depressed over my cats behaviour and need help

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:51 pm
by nethanvet5scotland
This sounds that exagerated play behaviour- probably as a result of reduced maternal influence as a kitten (either inexperienced queen or leaving the queen too early). Ensuring that a singly housed cat living indoors is given enough stimulation, and an interesting environment, can be a challenge, but irrespective of how much space and budget you might have, there are lots of things you can do: cat trees and shelving, cat grass, access to windows or glass doors to view wildlife outside (though need to be careful of frustration response), enriching scents- lavender, chamomile, catnip, food dispensing toys (take away the food bowls and get him to work by moving the toy to dispense the food). Remember that naturally cats like to be more active at night- irrespective of whether this fits in with your schedule (does he sleep/ rest most of the day?) so giving him tasks to do and restricting him to areas where the damage he can do is limited at night might help?
Feline pheromones will only help if your cat is stressed by something in his environment and it sounds as if he is looking for play and stimulation as opposed to being stressed. Introducing cats to the outdoor world as an adult (or teenager in this case) can be challenging and it is better to go gently- go outside with him during the day and ensure the door is open so he can retreat if he needs to. As his confidence grows and he starts to scent mark his own territory (eliminating and marking behaviours) he will start to be more bold and this may provide the outlet he needs for all of his energy.
If you need more tailored help and support you can contact a feline behaviourist, pet behaviour counsellor or veterinary behaviourist local to you who will probably want to come out and see you at home to assess both your cat and their current environment. Good Luck! :)