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Aggressive cat

Species: Cat
Breed: Turkish Fan
Age: 5-8 years
My cat attacked me out of the blue today. This is very much out of character for him. I didn't provoke him, didn't wear new perfume or bring any new smells by him that I can think of. He started sniffing me, and then really sniffing me more than usual, like aggressiv esniffing, and then he started swatting at my hand, maybe he was just playing like he usually does? Basically, he started playing by clawing at me which is normal, but I didnt want to play so I walked away. he came up behind and scratched my leg and kept clawing so I turned to him and said NO! and put my hand up. This is my boyfriend's cat and I understand now that it wasn't the best move, and I jumped into bed under the covers to protect myself from his claws because I was getting scared. I'm sure that provoked him. When I jumped out of bed I tried to get away from him and he jumped on my back and scratched me pretty bad. I shook him off and shut the bedroom door, and stayed in my bedroom for a few hours to calm down.

Later, a few hours after I separated myself from him, he hissed at me and seemed to go into attack mode again, getting down on all fours. I got scared again and ran out the door, which I understand now also wasn't a good move.

Now he seems to be acting normal. Any ideas why he did that, or how I can gain trust back? Could he be sick? Or maybe he sensed my fear? Any advice and ways to prevent this in the future would be really helpful. Thank you!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Wow...that sounds like a scary situation!

It is not common for a cat to suddenly attack repeatedly like this. At first when I read your question I thought that perhaps this was a little play aggression. Sometimes if we are playing or petting with a cat they will get overstimulated and then bite. But, the fact that he came back at you again afterwards is not normal.

It is possible that he has some pain somewhere. If this continues then I would have the vet examine him to determine if there is a pain issue. But, cats with pain usually tend to be withdrawn and avoid people.

One possibility for an animal that suddenly turn aggressive is rabies. In my area rabies is very uncommon. I think the chances of this being rabies are extremely small, but it is worth mentioning. Animals with rabies will get progressively more and more aggressive very quickly. They will often have neurological symptoms as well such as wobbliness and seizures. Animals with rabies get sick very quickly and will die within 10 days of being infected. They would get rabies from a bite from a wild animal. Again, I don't want to frighten you because this is extremely unlikely but if Charlie is getting much worse with his aggression over the next couple of days or if you are seeing neurological signs then he needs to see a vet right away and you need to see a doctor right away. But again...this is probably not what is going on.

Is Charlie neutered? If not, then he needs to be. This is the number one cause for aggression issues in animals.

If this continues, then your vet can talk to you about putting him on some behavior modification medication which may help.

Another thing that can help is to purchase some feliway which you can read about in this article here: Feliway for cats.

If any of your wounds are looking infected or swollen then don't wait too long to see the doctor. Cat scratches and bites can become very serious infections and sometimes need to be treated with strong antibiotics.

I really hope things are better soon!

Dr. Marie

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.