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Question
I'm a long time cat owner and I've always felt comfortable around our cute and cuddly feline friends. However, just the other day, I was sitting with my two cats (Cinnamon and Salty) and my dog (Pepper), when something I was not used to happened. It was a pleasant sunny day and everything seemed fine.

I had played with the two cats using a feather cat toy before both cats lost interest and wandered to do their own things. Cinnamon sat next to me, while Salty explored the side yard shed as Pepper was sunning himself on the grass, rolling around like... well, a dog. I was doing some bird calls, and was petting Cinnamon, who was cat napping next to me, when suddenly, Salty charged at me.

He yowled very loudly and hissed at me, while crouching in an aggressive manner. (As if I was a cat he didn't like who was encroaching on his territory.) I had thought perhaps he didn't recognize me, since that had happened before, so I spoke to him in a quiet calm voice to let him know who I was, while I held a closed fist out low to the ground out for him to smell. (This method usually worked, since he would then recognize me.)

He continued to hiss and appeared ready to lunge. I backed away and managed to get into the house, thinking maybe I was too close to him and he was probably just upset with how my posture was, but he began to approach me as I went into the house, and crouched, as if ready to leap at me.

(I knew he was angry at me and not Cinnamon or Pepper the dog, since both ran to the opposite side of the yard as soon as Salty began to hiss and yowl at me, and Salty stayed behind to growl and hiss at me.)

A minute later, with some quick maneuvering, and I managed to get Cinnamon and Pepper away and inside the house as well before Salty decided to turn his aggression towards them. He continued to stare at me through the backyard door window, and hissed and growled until I was away.

I kept away from Salty for about 20 minutes before checking on him. By that time, he had calmed down somewhat, but he seemed to follow me closely, and stared at me rather intensely, while licking his chops as if he had just eaten.

I looked him over (He allowed me to examine him) and saw no bites or wounds, since I assumed he was hurt, but I didn't see anything. I later looked around to see if maybe another cat had scared him, but there was no other cat, and since my other animals also were as surprised as I was, I was wondering if perhaps you could tell me what could have triggered this?

He's normally timid, but otherwise friendly towards me, and has never bitten or scratched me. He is a skittish cat, and he usually runs if something frightens him, and is never aggressive towards others, unless they threaten him. He generally stays away from my other animals, choosing to be by himself, and I give him attention whenever he wants it. (He keeps away from me otherwise, since he is a bit of a loner compared to my other animals, who love attention.)

I've never done anything mean to him to warrant such angry behavior. I'm sort of scared to be alone with him now, since I don't know what could have caused this. I thought maybe it was something I did, because I did bird sounds, but when I did them later, to test if maybe this upset him, but he just ignored them. I also figured it wasn't another animal, since our dog is quite diligent in noticing and smelling animals anywhere near my house. In addition to that, he didn't lash out at my other cat or my dog, just me. (But just to be safe, I'm keeping him away from me and my other animals for now by keeping him isolated.)

Do you have any opinion as to what might have caused him to lash out at me in such a way?

Answer
Hi
how odd, that sound like very strange behavior. But your right there must have something that triggered it.
You didn't say how old your cat was, i only ask as in some occasions as cats get older they can suffer from similar symptoms to Altizmers, where they suddenly don't know where they are and feel very scared. of course the natural reaction to this is to be aggressive.

Other than he may have experienced aggression trauma, this is when something frightens a cat and for strange reason they blame the fear on something or someone else even if it has nothing to do with them. he may have been nipped by an insect or a frog or even a leaf could have started him and this caused him to be afraid. Way he would choose you to blame is a mystery but then this trauma behavior is rather strange.

I wouldn't worry too much, cats are very forgiving animals and usually return to their normal selves and behaviors shortly afterwards. Try to not to be afraid around him, he may pick up on your fear and this will just make the situation worse. It is very unlikely that he would have attacked anyway as you are much bigger than him and it is not in a cats interest to take on anything where they will come out second best. His behavior was all show, to warn you off and to help himself get over what ever had upset him.

Try to get back to the way you were with him as soon as possible and just see it as a temporary blip.

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.

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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.

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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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