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Problems with my cat, need advice

613 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Pam_and_Abigail
(sorry this got long-winded)

We're having problems with our cat, Porter. He's always been a pretty uptight kitty, even as a wee kitten. He's playful but not overly affectionate, definitely NOT a lap cat. You pretty much have to give him affection on his terms.

He is also very wary of strangers. He's not one to run and hide when we have company. He will stay in the mix of things but will swat at anyone who approaches him from the front. He packs quite a punch but came to us declawed
so most people think this is funny. My mom moved to the area a couple of years ago and is at our house nearly everyday. It took him months to warm up to her.

All of this was fine, we accepted this as his personality and life with Porter was good. Until recently...

We thought he was doing pretty well with the addition of kids to our house. He'll let our 22 month old pet him if we're around to supervise (and she is very gentle) but sometimes she runs after him which I think freaks him out. Sometimes he'll run from her but more often than not he'll start swatting at her. Since he's declawed I don't know how big of deal to make of this. He's not hurting her but I think it's a bit problematic that he is striking out at her, a member of the family. A higher "ranking" member of the family.

A couple of weeks ago, Porter bit my mom. For no reason. She required a stitch in one spot because the bleeding wouldn't stop. Since then, I've been trying to figure out what the right thing to do is. My mom doesn't live with us but she is around almost every single day. She is very much a common presence in our home.

Yesterday, Porter snapped at my ankles and managed to scratch the surface of my skin. He's never lashed out at my DH.

I don't like that I now feel like I have to be hypervigilant with him when he's around the kids (we have the aforementioned 22 month old and a 4 month old).

I love my cat but I always said I wouldn't have an animal in the house that I didn't trust with my kids. I wouldn't really be thinking twice about finding him a new home but who wants an uptight, aggressive, bad-with-kids cat?

Please tell me what you would do, I'm really at a loss.
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I really REALLY wish people would stop declawing their cats!! I think it messes with their heads (and yes, I know YOU didn't do it!)

We had a cat that had come to my MIL from my SIL, who had it declawed at an early age. Her name was Mischief, and the reason she went to MIL was because she was snapping at SIL's kids. I swear, having her claws removed made her feel defenseless, so she went on the offensive first. She would hiss, bat, growl, you name it. I used to call her "grouchy kitty".

Anyway, she was really happy in a home with an older woman. She got left alone until she ASKED for attention, and then she got it. And when she was done with MIL, she would leave. If you can find someone who doesn't have kids, who is good with cats and doesn't mind having a loner, that would probably be a good fit for him. He may or may not be okay with other cats, so be careful of that. But, if introduced the right way to other cats, he might be fine.

Let me know how it turns out. PM me if you have any other questions; I'd be happy to help. I love cats, and am very good with them.

Oh, end of the Mischief story: after 15 or 16 grouchy years, Mischief took ill this past fall. We finally had to put her down this past spring. But, in the end, she was happy, after her own fashion.

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I'm sorry you're having trouble with him
Here are my thoughts.

First and most importantly, is he fixed? I assume he's a rescue (as you said he's declawed), so I'd assume he is fixed. But, if he's not, that might help a *lot*.

Cats don't perceive family "ranking" in the way that dogs do, so his swatting at a family member doesn't hold the same implications. However, since this is something he's never done before, it does indicate that he's acting out trying to gain control of his environment since he's currently freaked out by it. Biting your Mom was also an indication of stress. It sounds like he's really not happy with your household situation, unfortunately.

Even though he's front declawed, if he's really feeling threatened, he can do a lot of damage with his back claws. It really sounds like he's freaked out by all the changes to the household and by your toddler (and toddlers can be really freaky from pet's perpectives!) If she were to get ahold of him, he could hurt her.

Try looking for a local cat rescue. You might be able to find one on They may be able to help place him. I'm sorry
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I would take him to the vet for a physical just to make sure there's nothing wrong with him - cats sometimes get very grumpy when they're not feeling well for whatever reason.

The vet may also be able to refer you to a behavior specialist who could help you figure out what you're dealing with.

I'm sorry, it's so hard having an animal with issues!
He is fixed and he has NO claws, front or back
so it's the biting that I'm most concerned about. I don't blame him at all. Given his personality, it is really no surprise that he's acting out with the active toddler in the house and now a new baby.

He really is a funny quirky beautiful cat but I'm worried that no one will take him and love him with his other personality traits.

Thanks for the replies and for the petfinder link. I'll check it out...
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when ds was born our older dog started doing weird things. i posted here and asked advice about homeopathic remedies and i got good feedback and gave her some. i can't for the LIFE of me remember what it was called but maybe someone else will know. that may be an option for you...

poor kitty.
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I've BTDT. I had a great cat and then I decided to declaw her
: , before really looking into it and now I feel terrible. As soon as she was declawed her personality changed for the worst much like what you described. Nipping at our ankles, biting me for no reason, and so forth. I really wish I would have never had her declawed. It got so bad we had to bring her to the humane society because she would attack my neices. If its too much of a problem I would consider not keeping the cat.
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Hey Porter and Daphne should get together
(she is our dkitty with attitude) anyway they sound a lot alike, Dk does have all her claws though, and she's never bit anyone (but has swatted) .

Anway does he have "his own space" maybe a tall cat tree that small people can't get too, it sounds like he needs a save space all his own for when the kids get to be too much.
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Between furniture and two cat trees, yes he does have his space. But for all his quirkiness, he likes to be around the action. So he's only away from the action when he's sleeping.
My perception is that the biting has increased recently, probably due to increased negative affection from your dc, and having no other defense, uses teeth.
Your story reminds me of my cat, who I think was suffering bipolar disease till we moved to the country and he let us know he wanted to be an indoor/ outdoor cat. he is a changed man, er, cat! Of course that may not be a solution for you!
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