Cat is Biting and Scratching

I have a 2 year old cat name Maddie, that I rescued when she was only 4 weeks old. She had no siblings or mother cat. I nursed her and she has grown to be quite a big cat.


The problem is that while I am petting her, she will be purring and then she'll bite, latch onto my arm, dig in with her sharp nails (since I can't trim them) using all four paws and draw blood. I can't even pull her off me by scruffing her since she is so heavy. I always cry in pain and the scratches can be very deep.

I rescued 2 other kittens about a year ago and they are the sweetest kittens. Maddie and the other kittens don't get along, but they learned Maddie will tolerate them as long as they don't get too close to her. At this time, I was living by myself in a 2 bedroom apartment. Maddie had her room and the kittens had my room (since I stopped Maddie from going into my room because I wasn't sure if she would bite/scratch me).

Now, I have to move and I'm moving to a smaller place with young girls I'll be taking care of, who love cats. I'm afraid Maddie might bite and scratch. Also, since I'll only have one room in the house I don't know how Maddie is going to get along with the other cats.


Basically, I'm afraid of Maddie. She's a big cat with sharp claws that I can't really groom because I'm afraid of her attacking me. What should I do? Can anyone recommend any rescue organizations that will take in an aggressive cat like Maddie?

I just don't think I can take care of her anymore. I feel so bad, but I'm scared she might hurt someone. Are there any options for me?

By Janet from Fullerton, CA

March 12, 20100 found this helpful

My daughter has a big male cat that acts just like yours! In fact, he scares me to death because he will be nice & purr while I pet him, then suddenly he will lash out & scratch or bite me & I never know WHEN this will happen. My daughter seems to know his subtle clues, but I can't see them!

I will tell you what I do when my new (older) kitten bites me. At first, I'd just yell "no!" quickly & loudly, & sometime that works, not always. But what I've found (at least for my cat) that works even better is, I make that same loud hissing sound that a cat makes if its warning another cat to back away. This loud-quick hissing sound never fails to stop my older kitten in her tracks. She stops, looks at me & just stares. It's like I am talking in her language. In our family we call this cat hissing sound "Keying" because the cat says "Keeey!". You'd have to practice this "hisss" sound in the car or somewhere that your cat can't hear you until you have it down pat.

Your cat will most likely not be safe around small children. But, what's interesting is, my daughters big male cat that I described above, will never hurt my granddaughter. She can pull his tail, lay on him or do anything to him & he will not hurt or even hiss at her. She is now 7, but even when she was learning to walk & fell on him, he never did anything! & the strangest thing is, that whenever she cries (for real, not if she fakes it) this big male cat will always come running & lay or sit right next to my granddaughter to make sure she is okay! But he was there when she came home from the hospital as a baby, so this may make a difference. But even as a newborn, he would always come running whenever my granddaughter cried. But with me? He'll reach out & bite or dig his nails in to me when I least expect it! Yikes!

What I am saying is you don't yet know how you cat will handle children in a small space. Maybe he will run & hide under the bed, maybe he will lash out. I'd build him a high, sheltered perch up by the ceiling where he can go to escape & feel safe. At least get him a special box to hide away in, with holes cut so he can look out. Also, be sure to think positive & keep calm when & if you introduce him to the kids!

I will talk to my daughter who reads every "Cat Fancy" (the magazine about cats) & see if I find a possible solution. If you cat may bite someone, be sure he has all his shots (especially rabies!) & keep the paperwork handy!

To cut your cat's nails, have someone hold him inside of a big thick towel while you quickly & carefully cut his nails, or take him in to the vet & have it done for $15. Or you may want to try the "Emery Cat" as seen on TV. A scratching pad that supposedly files a cats nails.

To buy emery cat:

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March 12, 20100 found this helpful

I have a large female cat like this. First I changed her food. That actually helped out a lot. She had digestive problems that were causing her pain and thus causing her to scratch. It sounds like this may be part of the case with your cat. If the cat is purring while being petted then starts to scratch and bite, that is usually a response to pain. We started using a cat food for cats with sensitive stomachs on a guess that this was it, and it really helped out very much. She stopped almost all together.

The other problem is that she was the first cat in your house then you brought in 2 others that took her place. By all rights she should be the lead cat since she was first and she lost that to the other two which would cause her to be very angry and resentful to you and the cats. You need to find a way to make her feel that she is still the first cat not the third cat. The last and most important thing is this. If that cat bites you, you do not let her bite you or scratch you. You have to show her that this behavior will be met with equal resistance.

I mean that you have to be her boss when she is doing this to you she is being your boss and that is not good. That is letting her know it is ok to hurt you and it is not. So when she bites you really need to give her a firm smack on the bottom end. I know many people would look down on this but look at this way. If she were to do this to another animal they would do much worse then this. They would bite and scratch her and pull out her hair causing her to bleed and cry but in the end showing her that she can not do this to them.

If and when you give her a firm smack on the bottom you do not back down from her. She will run then you will tell her no no no in a firm voice. You keep eye contact with her until she looks away from you making sure she looks away first so that she know you are dominate. This should only have to be done by you a few times before it stops happening all together. Then you will have a happy cat again. Please let me know how this works out for you.Thanks.

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Anonymous Flag
March 12, 20100 found this helpful

There's good advice here but IMHO the best place to call and ask these questions is the ASPCA! They are specialists and can give you advice and/or help you find Maddie a new home if need be!

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March 14, 20100 found this helpful

Earlier I posted that I use the same loud hissing sound (with my mouth) that a cat uses to warn other cats away, but I wanted to mention another effective technique that someone recently told me about. If you buy a can of air (like you use to clean camera insides & computers with) at the office supply store (like Office Depot) or Walmart and you quickly spray it when the cat does something wrong, you can eventually teach the cat not to bite (or do whatever). The air coming out of the can makes the same noise as a snake hissing, so the cat immediately stops what he's doing!

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February 17, 20110 found this helpful

Chuckie did that and is still tempted to (I can tell), but he does not do it since I yelled at him in a very loud and angry tone. I then take my hand away and will not pay attention to him for several minutes or more-it worked. It hurt so bad unlike any other kitten or cat - he would draw blood and not let go.

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