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Would you / should I keep my cat who attacked a family member?

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#1 ~~HappyMummy~~

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:34 PM

I am torn.  I have a gorgeous nearly 5yo ragdoll.  He is gorgeous, affectionate and mostly very laid back.

Problem is he attacked my dad - hissing, scratching, latched onto his arm, blood, pus, swelling, serious bruising - a full on attack.

He hasn't ever done this before.  Has only hissed twice that I know of - once as a kitten to the vet after shots and once when he was getting his hair cut.  No attack though as he was then left alone.

He gives off clear signs when he doesn't want to be touched or picked up, which my dad says he saw but ignored......  He kind of twists away when he doesn't want to be picked up.

Anyway, I know my dad misread the cats signals...  Dad arrogantly thought he could control cat.  But I have two little kids who love to pat the cat, pull his tail, etc.  obviously I try and stop the tail pulling...  But I'm worried now he's attacked once he might do again.  He has always been great w the kids though to date.

What do you think?  Sorry for the ramble.

#2 *Lib*

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:37 PM

I wouldn't. You're father should have read the signs. Cats aren't really that subtle with their messages.

#3 Missy Shelby

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:41 PM

Maybe get him checked out by the vet?  

Sometimes when animals are sick/in pain they will act out.  From what I have heard about rag dolls this sounds to me like very unusual behaviour.

#4 daisyt

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:41 PM

I would.
Kids can't necessarily read the 'signs'.

Edited by daisyt, 06 November 2012 - 09:42 PM.

#5 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:41 PM

No I wouldn't give the cat away. It sounds like your dad provoked the cat.

FWIW one of my cats attacked me and it was horrid. I still have the scars from it and I ended up getting blood poisoning.

Edited by Sunnycat, 06 November 2012 - 09:45 PM.

#6 Luxe

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:42 PM

I agree with *Lib*. When my cats want to cause harm, they send off a lot of signs. I suspect the kids will be ok because they are smaller and less of a threat. I guess you just have to monitor the situation.

My dad and great uncle taught my older cat to bite. They would rough house him like he was a dog and now he likes to bite as a defense or when he's grumpy. So not happy about that. Men!!

Edited by Luxe, 06 November 2012 - 09:42 PM.

#7 ~~HappyMummy~~

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:43 PM

QUOTE (*Lib* @ 06/11/2012, 10:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wouldn't. You're father should have read the signs. Cats aren't really that subtle with their messages.

Sorry, do you mean you wouldn't keep him?

I fully agree my dad should have read the cats signals :-(

#8 2puzzled

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:43 PM

If your dad was winding the cat up and didn't heed warning signals, then your dad is to blame and not the cat. Cats generally warn before attacking so your children should be able to learn the signs of when the cat means enough is enough. It sounds as though your cat really meant business when he attacked your dad, so you'll need to work out whether your dad really provoked him or whether the cat went a bit OTT.

I have a cat which was aggressive with very little warning and it turns out he has a shallow hip and suffers neuralgia, which was causing him pain and making him become aggressive quickly. He is now on meds and is a lovely cat, but of course will still let us know when he is sick of being pestered.

If your dad was just petting your cat and your cat attacked without warning then perhaps a vet visit may be in order to see if anything is wrong. If he was harassing your cat and ignored the warnings then I would suggest your dad learn not to do it again! Cats, like any animal, will only tolerate so much before doing the only thing they can to retaliate (scratch and bite). If he hasn't attacked your kids badly then I would assume they realise when your cat is cranky and back off.

good luck - I would say assume your cat and kids will be OK together and just remind your kids that cats can be mean sometimes and what the signals are.

#9 mustangshelly

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:44 PM

I wouldn't.  Poor cat was just defending himself.  

We used to have an attack cat her name was Minnie.  She used to hide under my parents bed and wait for Uncle Norman to come up the hallway and she would fly out from under the bed and dig her claws and teeth into his leg and fly off and hide again.  She absolutely hated him.  She never bit or attacked anyone else except for him.  She was such a placid cat.  She was a good judge of character in my book.  He was a very mean person.  I still laugh about it to this day and I was a little kid.


#10 bakesgirls

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:45 PM

I wouldn't get rid of him.

I would take him to the vet though, to check he isn't sick or has some sort of injury that could make him react that way. If all is OK, I think your dad has learnt to not ignore your cats signals.

Edited by bakesgirls, 06 November 2012 - 09:48 PM.

#11 chic mummy

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:47 PM

i wouldn't till you got him checked out at the vet, like a PP mentioned if he was in pain he could have been acting that out. if all is fine and he still acts strange and on alert all the time then i would consider it. I always hate to think of things like this happening but no matter how calm and well trained a pet may be they can turn (just like people) into fiesty little things.

#12 Mummy Em

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:47 PM

Another suggestting a chat to the vet if the cat's Behaviour was unusual.

#13 Guest_- Poppy -_*

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:51 PM

I ring up your vet clinic and ask them.

My dog bit my toddler once and the vet clinic said I can keep the dog but I have to keep them seperated. Which is easier to do with a dog than a cat.

In the end (after about year) after lots of tears and backwards and forwards and heartache we worked out the best thing for everyone would be for my dog to go to new home.

By seperating my dog from my toddler it meant seperating my dog from me, and she was very isolated and not getting enough attention and she was acting out.

I tried slowly introducing them again but my dog was aggressive straight off the bat so it just wasnt working.

Your case is different to mine though so I would seek a proffesional opinion. It didnt cost me anything to ring up and talk to the vet clinic.

#14 opethmum

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:52 PM

I would keep the cat and tell your father not to manhandle my animal like that. Ragdolls are known for their timidness and their resilience. Your dad did the wrong. Patch him up, tell him "There there" and send him on his way.

I agree with PP take your animal to the vets to rule out any underlying cause.

#15 *Ker*

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:52 PM

Take puss to the vet for a check, then give your dad a serve for being an idiot.

Not the cats fault.

#16 *Lib*

Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:59 PM

QUOTE (~ jen ~ @ 06/11/2012, 09:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry, do you mean you wouldn't keep him?

I fully agree my dad should have read the cats signals :-(

Yes sorry. Keep him.

#17 Quack Quack

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:11 PM

I have a pair of the most beautiful Ragdolls, Absolutely Breed Standard... everything you expect from a Pedigree Raggie.  

However, My largest one ( weighs close on 9 kilos!) was being held by my sister who loves cats, but was trying to introduce Teddy to her new Puppy.  I told her to put him down as he was showing his displeasure at being forced to meet a bouncy baby Maltese... next thing Teddy swiped her face and she ended up scratched from the top of her nose down to her chin.  

She was quite upset, as was I that she had gotten scratched, but also I told her in no uncertain terms that she had caused it and now she had to just wear it.  Ultimately after a little whinge, she did agree with me.  Terrible that it had to happen at all, he is the most placid laid back cat... but if you push any animal past its natural boundries it will strike out.

Keep the cat I say and give your Dad a stern talking to!

#18 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:19 PM

I'd keep the cat.

I have an aggressive cat. She has never hurt a child, even when they've done horrible things to her like drag her backwards across the room by her tail! ohmy.gif If she's annoyed at them, she'll come and find DH or i and bite us instead. And she doesn't like to be picked up, so we just don't pick her up (i try to remember to warn guests now after she scratched one). Hasn't really been a problem, except for grown ups.

#19 kadoodle

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:22 PM

QUOTE (Missy Shelby @ 06/11/2012, 10:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe get him checked out by the vet?  

Sometimes when animals are sick/in pain they will act out.  From what I have heard about rag dolls this sounds to me like very unusual behaviour.

This.  My very placid Tomcat became a grumpy, spitting turd when he pulled a claw out on the carpet and it got infected.

My sister's cat was very docile, but used to bite her ex and poop in his shoes.  Good judges of character, cats.

#20 #YKG

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:37 PM

The first cat we ever had was a chinchila she was my uncles but hated him to the core. At his house when he had her she would sit on the bookcase behind that front door and pounce on him when he walked through the door and not in a nice way however if anyone else walked in she would let anyone else but him touch her.
She came to live with us somehow and was an incredibly gentle girl with us but if she saw my uncle would get her shackles up and if he went near one of us when she was in the room she would try and stop him. We have no idea what happened for her to hate him but she never once attacked anyone else.

TBH your dad is an adult and should have known better and not ignored your cats cues that she was not happy at all. I wouldn't get rid of her due to someone ignoring her warnings.

#21 BlackWolf

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:40 PM

No I wouldn't get rid of him, I would keep him for sure.  He was very obviiously provoked to attack and your Dad really has no one to blame but himself.

I would concentrate on teaching your kids to move away at any signs the cat is growling or hissing, as well as to be gentle at all times.

I also agree it wouldn't hurt to get your cat checked out, but I have seen my cats react to isolated incidents aggressively but it was never part of their basic nature.  

Good Luck

#22 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:10 AM

I wasn't listening to my cat's warnings when clipping her claws a couple of months ago. She put a tooth through my finger and it was a deep injury. Totally my fault. I could have done the claws in a couple of sittings.

She has let me 'have' it when administering meds, and on one or two other occasions (not too bad a record for a 20yo cat). She has never drawn blood on DD, even though DD as a toddler tried to shove her off her perch. She got the 'gentle' version, which didn't even break skin (was nice to know she's discerning).

DD learnt to respect the cat's space, and they're still besties.

Your dad was totally out of order, and I would not be getting rid of the cat. BTW, unless your dad lives with you, the cat wouldn't regard him as a 'family member'. Your kids are different.

I'd be policing them a bit more strongly on their interactions with the cat - at one point DD was not allowed to touch the cat unless I was helping her to do so. Its a really good rule, and it means the cat is not likely to be accidentally hurt.

#23 Nora.

Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:28 AM

We had a cat like that. He would develop this glazed look in his eyes (as if he was looking for an escape route), and his tail would begin to move & then wham, he'd attack.

I warned everybody about that cat. For some reason it was always men who would ignore me & say "oh he won't do anything, cats love me". And inevitably they'd get attacked.

When the kids were born I did worry about him attacking them & pretty much from the word go they were told they could pat the other cats but they weren't allowed to go near him. We had him for 5 years after my oldest was born & not once did he attack. I think it was a combination of telling the kids to stay away from him & he somehow sensed that he was not to go near the kids (he was relatively shy anyway, so not exactly hassling them for a smooch).

So in my usual long winded way, yes I would keep the cat. I do think it wouldn't hurt to have him checked over by the vet.

This form of aggression in cats is known as "petting induced aggression". It's quite common.

#24 icekool

Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:45 AM

I am not a cat person, only fostered/babysat one as I am allergic to them.

I would keep the cat. You have had him for 5 years? If he was a problem, you'd know way b4 then.
Moreover, your kids can be taught to be gentle with him and animals know kids are yet to learn how to play with animals. Your dad also doesn't live at home with you.

We have a big dog and DS2 is the one who is rough with him. I am always training DS2 to behave with the dog. Our dog is fully aware that DS2 misbehaves and he is patient with DS2.

Although that being said, I would still warn the kids to treat the cat very gently and perhaps to monitor their dealings with the cat until you feel confident with them alone. Like explain to them, kitty is sleeping, don't disturb or leave kitty alone cos kitty doesn't want to play etc. I always do that with the kids, though most of the time they don't want to listen!

#25 librablonde

Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:51 AM

Of course I would keep the cat. It sounds like it wasn't entirely the cat's fault, and I mean, it's not like owning a rabid pitbull charging after you is it?? How much damage can a cat do to someone if they're just left alone to bask in the sun as they want to do?

Edited by librablonde, 07 November 2012 - 06:52 AM.

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