Help! Best way to rehome aggressive cat?

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Help! Best way to rehome aggressive cat?

Post by jspr83 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:58 pm


We have a cat who sometimes shows aggressive behaviour whom we wish to rehome. We would like advise as to the best way forward.


We had our tabby from when he was a kitten. We picked him from the full litter because he was by far the biggest and liveliest so figured he was strong and healthy and less likely to have health problems further down the line. He was a lovely kitten, allbeit feisty and unfortunately not the type to want to spend much type sitting on our laps. He had a habit of playfully biting us which unfortunately we should have stamped out as quickly as possible but we did not. We decided to keep him as an indoor cat as we lived by a very busy road and could not bear the thought of him getting hurt.

We continued to live in the house for a further 3 years and kept him as a house cat (he would stay at a 'cat hotel' when we were away where he was fine). He showed no signs of aggession except for getting a bit over keen when playing and would playfully bite which never caused any flesh wounds but was rather uncomfortable. We would try not to allow it as best we could and it was infrequent. We would simply stop playing if this happened.

We then moved house with the intention of letting him out but I made excuses and delayed it as I was still worried about him getting run over (over protective 'parent'!).

We then had our first baby about 15 months ago and unfortunately we have not had much time for the cat. His behaviour has been getting worse over time - he attacked my mother in law when she was alone in the house (sunk his teeth into her ankle) and also attacked my father when alone with him in the house (my father popped in to feed him). He has also had two vet visits in the past two years where he became aggressive and it was a challenge getting him back in his carrier. My wife is now scared of him (he shows signs of aggression to her and on infrequent occassions has been known to 'stalk' her, circling around her legs looking for an opportunity to bite her feet / ankles - we get the impression this is through frustrated boredom rather than cheeful play) and we have to lock him in the kitchen whenever family come around as they are scared also. The problems seem to start around the time we had some minor work done to the house (which was a few months before our baby was born). He does not seem to like disruption in his 'territory'. He has shown no signs of aggression towards me except for the one time where he was aggressive in the vets room (up until the last couple of years he was amazingly cool and well behaved at the vets).

He has never shown any aggression to our 15 month daughter and he either keeps his distance or relaxes near her staying an arms reach away from her. But she is getting close to the age where she will be moving around and likely pestering him (pulling his tail etc). We are both concerned with what he could do especially as he is a big cat.

In an attempt to help him with his behaviour, two weeks ago we bit the bullet and let him out as we felt sorry for him / guilty that he was stuck inside with little attention. Initially he did not venture beyond our small garden. Then after a couple of days he went to our neighbours and did come back ok. The final straw was today where for the first time he went into our other neighbours garden (we live in a terrace house with small gardens). I looked through the window to see next door had their patio doors open and he was standing by the doors. Worried that he might go in their house (they have a baby the same age and they do not like cats), I went over to ask if they were ok and if they wanted me to remove him. As it turns out he was hissing at them so they could not get to the door to close it and stop him coming in. I went through their house to the back garden where i managed to squeeze into the garden with him where he was ok with me (although showing signs of being on high alert). I then gently picked him up to carry him out their garden but after a little while he wriggled and fell on the floor then turned on me. I think it did not help that the neighbour came out to try and help me so I told him to get back in. I opened the side gate and encouraged him out. He followed me down the side path to the front of the houses. I was fearful at this point to handle him so tried to give him time and some space and coax him to my house. He continued to show signs of aggression when he followed me back down the side of the house and would not let me past. I tried to coax him back to our garden via the back door but he sat down and kept his distance watching me. I put some food and water out and went into the house (keeping an eye out for him) until eventually he came in himself. I went past him to close the back gate and he was still showing signs of aggression although to a much less degree. I let him come back into the house on his own accord and swiftly closed the back doors and kept him in the kitchen for an hour by himself. Note - we have just had our garden done yesterday - new patio and artificial grass so this is all new to him also.

I have just been in the kitchen where we are keeping him currently, to make up some baby milk and he was happy to lie on the floor and then came over after a while to rub against my legs.

I am afraid after this event, we simply cannot keep him. We don't have the time for a behavioural therapist and even if we did, my wife just does not like him anymore. We cannot give him the attention he needs and obviously cannot let him out as the neighbours are now going to be concerned and rightly so. I would be really sad to see him go but I have to act in the interest of my family first and I do not want to be antisocial to my neighbours.

However, the purpose of this post is I also want a safe and happy environment for him also and am unsure as to the best path of action to take. We would like to have him rehomed asap. Don't get me wrong, 95% of the time he is fine (although I get the impression he could be happier). My concern is how he would behave in a strange environment with strangers and whether anyone would want him.


He has been neutered.
He is 7 years old.
I would want to rehome him via an organisation for his protection rather than directly with a stranger.
He has not had any interaction with other cats (apart from watching others from the window) so I do not know how he would behave amongst others.

I hope you can help.

Thanks for reading,


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Re: Help! Best way to rehome aggressive cat?

Post by Lilith » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:17 am

Hi James and welcome . I'm very sorry to hear of your dilemma - and, more to the point, your cat's dilemma.

I too have known two cats like this - one was a big ex-feral tom with a head like a python and a bite to match (he had me on antibiotics twice) and my youngest cat, who looks like an angel and can turn into a devil. What makes them act like this? I suspected the tomcat had been roughnecked with, but my Molly never has, at least not since she came to me. When not in killer mode they were/are affectionate cats.

Cats like these can be dangerous beasties - Molly's previous owners were anxious to part with her because they too had a baby.

As you say, who will want him? A mad catwoman like me, who would put up with his moods, but unfortunately I've no vacancies, though there are more like me out there, and more dedicated too. I think you're right to want to rehome him via a rescue who can vet the home. But, cat rescue shelters are at saturation point atm with the dreaded kitten season and, as a rescue worker once said to me regarding homing difficult cats - 'there aren't enough homes for the nice ones.'

However, depending on area, many rescues manage to place cats in outdoor homes, farms and stables and so on, where the cat doesn't have to be too polite, just a good mouser and general rodent deterrent. Your boy sounds to be robust enough for this kind of job and it might be worth asking a rescue if they could help to place him in this kind of home.

There's a link below to local rescues - ... uk-ireland

Hopefully other people will have more ideas but hope this helps for now - please let us know how you go on.

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Re: Help! Best way to rehome aggressive cat?

Post by Sniper1 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:49 pm

I think you need to take some responsibility here the cat was not always aggressive its a product of his lifestyle and treatment and keeping him in a kitchen is only going to make him worse your wife no longer likes him you say that will be obvious to him yes you have a child to protect but you also have a cat to do the same for but simply want to pass him on he deserves better treatment and understanding and I hope all goes well for him for his sake rescues will be stretched to breaking at mo but hopefully one will help you soon I would suggest you keep letting him out he needs space and freedom to express normal behaviour or he will get even more frustrated the fact he hissed at a neighbour really is not a reason to panic its a normal way for a cat to communicate when faced with a scary situation your over interference probably only made things worse and as he's not had a chance to adopt the flight approach to uncertainty previously in his life due to a limited indoor lifestyle he adopts the fight approach instead a totally understandable reaction

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