Aggressive Cat that was Traumatized by a Woman

by Cynthia
(Houston)

April Aged 11

April Aged 11

My cat problems started 9 years ago when my female cat April (2 years old at the time) was sprayed directly in the face with a bottle of Fantastik cleaner by a lady I had come clean my home. The chemical got into her eyes, and I had to use eyewash immediately to wash them out (the maid did not tell me what she had done to my cat).


The next time the lady came to clean (I wanted to give the woman a chance to tell me what she had done), she said that April was coming towards her and she was afraid of her. I told her that was not the proper thing to do to my cat.

Anyway, on the day the woman returned, April did not forget her or what she had done to her, and she attacked the woman and bit her on the leg. I didn't blame April for doing that at all.

The upshot is, for the past 9 years April only trusts me, and mainly is leary of women. She doesn't seem to be too affected by men, but she is afraid of people in general now and will attack if she gets scared. I have put her on tranquilizers prescribed by my vet when I knew someone was coming over and would be spending more than a day in my home, but I prefer to avoid using them. If someone is coming over for a few hours I just put her in my bedroom.

I have 2 other female cats and April gets along with them just fine (none of my cats have ever been around a dog - you will see why I am mentioning this further down), and April is the sweetest and most loving cat with me.

I am now entertaining the idea of becoming serious with a man, and he has a 6-year old male American Staffordshire Terrier dog, and 3 kids ages 17, 16, and 10, so I am worried about that posing a further problem regarding April, and our future living situation. Please advise.

Sincerely,
Cynthia.


Reply from Liz (Editor): First and foremost, I'm really sorry to hear about what happened - I'm not surprised little April is scared of people - especially women - after that incident. I have to say I'm delighted that April bit the woman when she came back - it's no more than the woman deserved for her totally unneccessary and cruel behavior.

It sounds like you've managed these cat problems really well over the last 9 years, and I can understand your concern over introducing her to a new set of people and a dog.

You're probably quite fortunate with the people you want to introduce her to in that none of them are women. Also, it's good that none of the kids are really young, as little kids can often (unintentionally) scare cats.

If you do introduce them, I think it needs to be very gradual, and on April's terms; in other words, maybe have the family round to your house, let April come into the same room when she's ready, and let her approach the new people in her own time. I'd suggest they don't try to appoach her at all - let her go to them when she's ready. Also, ask them not to stare directly at her, as cats see this as a sign of aggression. She may well hide at first, then hiss, spit and growl for a bit, but if you persevere and let her come round in her own time, she should do. I'm sure you will remain her favorite human, but she could, in time, learn to trust and like the new people too.

With regard to the dog, do you know if he's been around cats before, and if so what he's like with them? If he's the sort of dog that can't stop himsel barking at and chasing cats, you may have a real problem with them all living together. However, if he's good with cats, it shouldn't be too difficult to get them all acquainted and living in relative harmony. You may actually find April is better with the dog than she is with people.

I think all the introductions need to be done slowly, and I feel it would be better not to all move in together until all the animals and humans are used to each other!

Thank you for your question, and for the lovely photo, and I hope you find a way of getting round these cat problems that happened through no fault of your own or of your cat.

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