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Question
We have a kitten who is about 10-12 months old.  We got him from a shelter, and according to their records, he was a stray.  He is neutered.  We have had him for about 6 weeks now, and up until 2 weeks ago, we had no problems.  Recently, he has been scratching me and my husband for no apparent reason.  (He usually just jumps onto our laps and starts pawing).  The bigger problem is that he has been attacking our dog.  They got along wonderfully for about the first four weeks.  They played together and although the cat stalked the dog and pawed at him, he never used his claws.  Lately he has been drawing blood and the dog is now terrified of the cat.  We don't know what to do!  Why is he suddenly so aggressive?  Just a couple of weeks ago, everyone got along fine.

Answer
Hi
it is funny that he has suddenly decided to become aggressive. All I can think is that he has decided that he wants to be king of this roost and so is throwing his weight around to make the dog know who's boss. This is not uncommon.

There are two things to do here. firstly your cat needs to learn that scratching is bad and not fun. the second is that the dog is not a threat. So you will have to go through a period of discipline explained here /cat-discipline.html, don't worry this is not discipline as we know it it is all about negative and positive responses.

Also you will have to reintroduce your dog and cat through a period of separation and controlled introductions described here /introducing-cats.html (process is the dame for dogs)

It may take some time and patience on your side but it is worth it in the end as your cat may have not received the right socialisation skills when they were young kittens and that is why their behaviour is more aggressive.

best wishes Kate

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Kate Tilmouth

Expertise

I can answer most day to day cat problems encountered by owners. I have a good understanding of cat behaviour and problems which may arise from changes to their daily routine. I can advise on cat training including litter training and general day to day cat care issues. I am not a vet and therefore cannot answer medical questions.

Experience

I run my own cat website at http://www.our-happy-cat.com and have been a dedicated cat owner for over 20 years. I have encountered many different cat problems and situations and feel that i have a good understanding of cats and cat ownership.

Publications
I am a platinum member of Ezinearticles where i write mainly cat related articles.

Education/Credentials
Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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