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Linda Simmon
Linda Simmon, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 3488
Experience:  MVB MRCVS
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We have a cat who likes to be stroked but then suddenly

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We have a cat who likes to be stroked but then suddenly changes and bites/scratches. It’s not an specific area on her body that you touch that causes it and it just seems random
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Do the cat's eyes move from side to side? Or do they stay focused straight ahead?
Customer: focused
JA: Does the cat ever go outside? Is she taking any medications?
Customer: shes inside and has a 2.5 week old kitten. No medication
JA: What's the cat's name?
Customer: Jovi
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know?
Customer: she’s a foster cat and has been with us 3 weeks she friendly, eating fine , settled , let’s us stroke the kitten etc. The behaviour started a week or so ago and seems more common now
Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda.
The most common reasons for this would be
1) A source of pain such as dental disease, and ear infection or joint disease or
2) Petting induced aggression as described here:
https://www.cathealth.com/behavior/aggression/1223-cat-petting-aggressionAs she has recently given birth she is likely feeling fragile, hormonal and protective.I would be keen to give her space and avoid too much contact.
Read her body language closely and move away if we start to see e.g. ears back, freezing or tail flicking.It's not an easy issue to deal with but many cats improve with time as trust builds.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
It doesn't seem protective or pain though or too much contact. It seems sporadic and random.Jovi is currently in a large room with her kitten in a comfy large open crate. We have a extremely friendly and calm Labrador and another cat both of which are kept completely separate from her currently but mix together fine. Ideally we would like to introduce them so that Jovi can have freer reign of the house as she is likely to be with us for the next 6 weeks. Do you think this would be better for her or better where she is and keep them separate.
I understand.
Whkle the dog and cat may be good natured, they represent a threat to her and her kitten and if she has not been well socialised when younger she may find them a huge source of stress.
I appreciate the desire to introduce them but as shenis a foster, I personally wouldn't.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Ok, thanks, i've been going back and forth with it in my head I thought it may be helpful to her so she's got a freer reign and more aware of what any outside noises maybe. Our dog doesn't bark but she may hear his footsteps or maybe i'm just overthinking it and she is fine where she is.
Jovi is generally ok and comes to you when you go in the room and likes to be stoked its just seems to be random when she may suddenly bite and I can't see any obvious reason for it.
This can be typical of petting induced aggression; it is a tricky behavioural issue to deal with and is common in rescues.She likely can both smell and hear the other animals and its likely this is putting her on edge. A Feliway plug in may be worth considering.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thanks I’ll give it a go
Best of luck!
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
What about exposing the kitten to the cat and dog when it is a bit older? Is that a good thing to do or better left to whoever adopts it?
With the kitten, it would be a very good idea and their key socialisation period is between 3 and 7 weeks.
We should do a gradual introduction with one at a time and always have an escape route if kitten doesn't feel comfortable.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
the best way to do it would be to take the kitten (there is only one) from Jovi and expose her gently in a different room so that Jovi doesn't mix with the cat and dog?
In this situation, yes, I believe this would be the best thing. However, we would need to ensure this doesn't stress the mother out too much so I would only do it if she seems happy with us talking kitten away for short periods.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** she would be ok with this. Thanks again for your advice x
Not at all, very happy to help and hopefully all goes well.
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