How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question

Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 27325
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
55012488
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr. Michael Salkin is online now

Hi-3 weeks ago i was passing my 16 year old pet cat when he

Customer Question

Hi-3 weeks ago i was passing my 16 year old pet cat when he wrapped his paws round my bare leg & viciously sunk his teeth into a vein-i later had to attend hospital.
Any thoughts why he would do this?-Am a foster mum & if he does it again he will have to be put down
Linda
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I believe that the clue that explains his aggression toward you is that you're a foster mum. I have advanced training in feline behavior and although I can't be there to examine the dynamics of your situation first hand, I would consider redirected aggression to be most likely.

Finn's redirected aggression, then, occurs when the target of his aggression (you) is not the stimulus that triggered the state of aggressive arousal. Territorial, fear-induced and defensive aggression are the types of behaviors that are likely to be redirected by him. Stimuli that can cause an aggressive state of arousal include the sight or sound of another cat (at times quite far away from the home), unusual noises, odors of other animals, unfamiliar people (you're a foster mum), and unfamiliar environments. A common situation is one in which the pet becomes aroused upon seeing or hearing another cat while sitting in a window. When the owner attempts to pet it, pick it up, or nudge it away from the window, it attacks. It may show aggression toward another pet when approached in similar situations. Redirected aggression is a common cause of the sudden appearance of aggression between cats in the same household that have been living together amicably for quite some time. This type of aggression is probably the most dangerous type of aggression cats exhibit due to the uninhibited nature of the bites. Treatment involves identifying triggers for arousal and then removing the pet's access to the stimuli. You may have to be quite the detective as stimuli can be imperceptible to owners. Medication can be beneficial for reducing Finn's response to environmental stimuli - psychoactive drugs such as Prozac have been used. The most important thing that I can impart to you is to be careful around Finn when he is aroused. Too many of my owners have ended up in the hospital due to infected bite wounds. One encouraging fact is that many of our cats will habituate to the arousing stimuli and "self-cure" within weeks to months.

Altering this behavior in a 16 year old may be next to impossible and I don't advocate psychotherapeutic drugs at this age particularly because there may be significant cognitive dysfunction (senility) in such an elderly cat and such drugs may be contraindicated. This doesn't give you many options. Not being a foster mum because your cat is unhappy doesn't make sense to me. Unless you can avoid Finn when he's aroused - and that's very difficult to predict - rehoming him or euthanizing him are reasonable options. There's simply too much risk to you and other people's health.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 27325
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a week for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found ""JustAnswer"" on my Google search -- you are now in my ""Favorites"" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George
< Previous | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found ""JustAnswer"" on my Google search -- you are now in my ""Favorites"" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Joey

    Dr. Joey

    Board Certified

    Satisfied Customers:

    576
    15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ZF/zforward/2012-6-6_202211_headshot1.64x64.jpg Dr. Joey's Avatar

    Dr. Joey

    Board Certified

    Satisfied Customers:

    576
    15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetdeb/Debbie Headshot 500.64x64.jpg Dr. Deb's Avatar

    Dr. Deb

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    186
    I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NE/nekovet/2013-8-20_23339_nekovet.64x64.jpg Dr. B.'s Avatar

    Dr. B.

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1361
    I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3955
    15 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    3073
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2359
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/fshlee/2009-7-15_23110_drlee.jpg Dr. Lee's Avatar

    Dr. Lee

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1219
    8 years of experience in veterinary medicine and surgery