Kids and Cat
When a fun way to play can turn a cat into a Problem Cat....
We recently took back a lovely cat, one of the real sweet kittens we had adopted out four years earlier. He had turned into an Problem Cat - he would unexpectedly bite and scratch. That is not a good way to get adopted into a new home.
We had adopted this cat to a nine year old boy, who lived with his family friends, while his mom was dying. The cat had taken to wandering around our neighborhood, even crossing a busy street. He was looking for a new home. But everywhere he found, he would get himself into trouble by scratching the humans and fighting with the cats.
We put him in our spare bedroom by himself and noticed that if we became high energy playing that he would become unpredictable and would bite. We had to be careful of him, not be boistrous - be very calm - and be careful.
Otherwise, he was a lovely cat. Loved to sit on our laps, loved to cuddle.
WHY? We assume the boys had played rough with the cat. The cat learned that biting and scratching was seen as fun to the boys ( until it wasn't). The cat did not know where to draw the line between play and not fun.
WHAT TO DO? Keep a calm demeanor. Be gentle. Keep this cat away from other cats. Give him as much love as possible.
We have seen this before, and it had taken a year for the cat we called Boyfriend to settle down where he could be trusted. Boyfriend was just the same when we got him. I imagined he had been a play toy for a big guy - make the cat be crazy and bite - oh how fun, till they get a new baby and then it is not safe anymore. So the cat ended up in a KILL shelter with hours to live. We took him in - a big orange tabby - 5 years old. Already fixed, but terrified of what had happened to him. After a year of love therapy, he was a gentleman we could trust in any situation, though, we did not thrust him into new situations without surveillance. That is a good idea, anyways.
Back to Felix - he is with a foster. Behaving himself. The foster keeps him mellowed out, and away from other cats. He is an awesome cat. One who will bond deeply with someone, Just don't play rough!