Your Questions: 'My cat has turned into a crazy feline and attacks my ankles every time I walk past'
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Saturday 14 February 2009
Q. I have a six-month-old, female, British short-haired cat. We had been getting along just fine, but recently she's turned into a crazy feline. Nearly every time I walk past her she attacks my ankles. I don't know what do to. Any suggestions? Steven, via e-mail
A. Firstly, you need to be very careful about the treatment of your cat bites, which can be dangerous because their mouths are full of bacteria. Your wounds are therefore more likely to get infected, so I'd suggest you see a doctor if you have a deep scratch.
Your cat does not hate you or want to cause you any pain. This is a natural behaviour that has turned, in these circumstances, into an unwanted one. What starts off as a game soon gets out of control, especially when cats grow from kittens to large, strong adults, and can inflict even more of a powerful bite. We need to find an outlet for this hunting urge.
Indoor cats can be especially prone to this problem. Make sure your furry companion has lots of playtime with you – for this there are so many interactive toys on the market. The laser light seems to be one of their favourites. Cats will spend hours playing with you!
Now, to tackle this issue you need to be patient and consistent. You need her to know her position in the house so that when you pass her you can reprimand her. All pets need rules. When she goes to chase you, stop, bend down and tell her firmly "no". If she starts to attack your hand keep saying no until she stops. If you run or move away she'll think it's a game.
What may help is to put a lead on her so that you can hold her back and in this way she won't be able to attack you. Only leave this on when you can see her and NEVER leave her alone with the lead on as this may cause injuries or upset her. Good luck!
Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort an early visit to the vet is always recommended
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