Wed Sep 18, 2013, 02:43 PM
Voice for Peace (10,867 posts)
I've been working for the past two years with an aggressive cat. The transformation is phenomenal.
The secret has been a lot of strong physical dominance
combined with VERY physical affection.. strong massage,
immobilizing him with one hand as a mother cat would
do, firmly massaging petting loving all over the body.
There's a biology behind why this works. I understand
only the gist. It has to do with the somatosensory
The psychology of it is: he did not get the mothering
physical and emotional that would give him a sense that
the world is a safe place. He was born on high alert,
immediately stressed, and soon abandoned.
Without the mother nursing, and stimulating the body,
mammals' brains don't fully develop. They are highly
prone to depression, hostility, aggression, illness, etc.
It is hardly different for a cat than for a human, in
I made it very clear with this cat that biting and
scratching me was a VERY BAD IDEA. As soon as it
would happen, or starts to happen, I grabbed him
by the scruff of the neck, and made it impossible
for him to do any further damage.
But then I held him close to my body and kept him
there, as long as it took for him to calm down and
(more or less) surrender.
When I am holding him (against his will) I massage
and pet him all over, especially around the face and
ears. I speak lovingly to him and explain in simple
terms that I am not his enemy.
I massage him and give him a ton of love.
Then I put him down firmly, and release him
with firm touch all the way to his tail. I don't
allow a hasty departure. Next time he is aggressive,
same thing. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
I never punished him and rarely scolded, though I have
screamed in pain (in the beginning, not any more)
& he got the message.
He has no choice in any of this. Since I am feeding
him I require his cooperation. He sees I am more
powerful than he is, and indispensible not only
because of food -- but he has learned there is a great
deal of pleasure and fun to be had, if he is on
my good side.
A loving but DOMINATING response to aggressiveness
works, has worked. He has become so affectionate,
and playful. He still slips once in a while, but he
always stops himself before he hurts me. It's a
knee jerk reaction from when he didn't have a
person and he had to always be on high alert.
Now he must submit to me. I am his momma cat
and his person... I don't take no shit. I love him to
Whenever there is a difficult creature of any kind,
human or not, my first assumption is this: they
need more love. More holding. More patience.
So many damaged creatures on the earth at this
good luck!!! don't give up!!
It's a project and a commitment but inside every
mean aggressive cat is a little kitten who only wants
his momma, and to have fun.
My advice is either you or wife take charge of this cat
and don't let up. Be proactive about it. Seek the cat out
for interaction. Every time he responds aggressively
do the love thing. Hold him a lot. Massage him
firmly a lot. Be his, but seriously be the boss. Scruff of the neck
is a wonderful secret. Not only for holding and
immobilizing, but deep gentle rhymic massage in that
area. An aggressive cat is afraid. Make him feel safe.
Pleasurable physical stimulation all over his body
is key. It has long-term effect, not just immediate.
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