Paws and Effect

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

Our cat Apollo is 2 years old and is very territorial towards myself and my partner. Whenever guests come to our house, she gets very upset and doesn’t allow us or anyone to touch her. She hasn’t gotten spayed yet and we want to do so soon because she’s getting older and we don’t want her to continue going through the pain of being in heat. But taking her to the vet is a struggle because since she doesn’t like anyone, she puts up a horrible fight when we get to the vet’s office and they need to examine her. I’m not sure what to do. I feel as if I can’t get her checked out because she’ll go crazy on anyone that tries to touch or get near her. I’d appreciate help and advice. Thank you!

~ Judy

Thomas: Fear not, Judy — there are ways you can get Apollo to the vet, get her checked out, and get her spayed.

Bella: It’s going to take a little extra work and research, though.

Thomas: The first thing we recommend is that you find a clinic that is certified by the American Association of Feline Practitioners as a cat-friendly practice. These clinics have staff specifically trained in handling cats, including aggressive ones.

Bella: This video from DoveLewis Animal Emergency Clinic in Portland, Oregon, is designed to help vet professionals learn how to handle fractious cats with minimum stress to the cat.

Thomas: The clinic might recommend giving Apollo a sedative before her trip to the vet. Some sedatives are easy to hide in food, and Mama gives us pills in a special treat called Pill Pockets. We love Pill Pockets so much, we beg Mama to give them to us just as treats.

Bella: But she never gives me any! *pout*

Thomas: You should be glad about that, Bella, because that means you’re not sick so you don’t have to take pills.

Bella: *pout*

Thomas: The bottom line is, veterinary professionals are trained on how to handle fractious animals — just let them know ahead of time.

Bella: There’s another issue you need to address, though, and that’s Apollo’s aggressiveness in your home.

Thomas: It is possible to resolve this kind of behavior. In fact, cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy in his Animal Planet TV show My Cat From Hell handles quite a few cases of aggressive cats. He’s got a whole section on his website about aggression problems, which you can check out here. Jackson is our hero!

Bella: We’d also recommend checking out subscription-based video streaming services like Netflix because episodes of My Cat From Hell are available to watch online if you don’t have access to them on cable TV.

Thomas: Sometimes the solution ca be pretty simple — adding more vertical territory like tall cat trees, closing off areas where Apollo likes to hide in order to ambush people, and using a calming pheromone like Feliway Comfort Zone.

Bella: We’re not shilling for Feliway; we’re recommending it because it’s worked wonders in our household, and our vet clinic uses Feliway plugins in the exam rooms because they’ve seen it work, too.

Thomas: One other thing — it may be counterintuitive, but often the most aggressive cats are the least secure. You might be able to help diminish Apollo’s aggressiveness by doing lots of interactive play with her. That will help her feel more confident because she’s catching things, but it’ll also make her feel more confident in the space.

Bella: So, Judy, we hope these tips help. The solution to Apollo’s aggression isn’t going to be immediate. It’ll take time and patience, but we believe it can be done.

Thomas: What about you other readers? Have you had to deal with an aggressive cat? What did you do to help your cat be less aggressive? Please share your tips in the comments!

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