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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 30751
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat is not acting the same as usual. I came home

Customer Question

My cat is not acting the same as usual. I came home fromantic work like I always do and went the she to see her. I gave her a stroke and she clawed and bit me. Now she is hissing at me when I enter the room
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Cat
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner and I regret that my state board of veterinary examiners doesn't allow me to speak to customers by phone in this venue but other experts in this category may be able to assist you in this regard. Please let me know if you'd like another expert to do so and I'll opt out of this conversation. Please stay in the conversation if you wish.

I have advanced training in feline behavior and can tell you that there's a good chance that she's demonstrating redirected aggression towards you. This occurs when the target of her 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 her. 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, 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 her 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 her when she 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.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.