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Sudden Aggression Problem

SterlingsMom

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Hello everyone!
I'm new so hopefully I am starting this thread correctly and you guys can see it. Anyways, I'm having some behavioral problems with my sphynx that I would love some suggestions on how to correct if anyone has ideas or has experienced a similar issue. I'll give some background (probably too much lol) so you understand my situation completely.

I have a blue point, neutered male sphynx named Sterling, whom I love and adore. He is now almost 9 and a half months old. I got him from a very reputable breeder in my area when he was 13 weeks old. I visited her cattery several times before and after he was born. From my visit I could tell that her breeding cats and kittens were all very well taken care of and socialized. Sterling is very affectionate and lovable towards myself. He greets me at the door, sits in my lap, climbs on my shoulders, snuggles with me at night and loves to give and get kisses. I am a college student who lives alone in a small apartment so Sterling and I will often travel to my parents house a short drive away for some company and room for him to run around like a wild man (he is awesome in the car btw!). He is also affectionate towards my parents and absolutely LOVES the family dog. He is wonderful with other animals, as I sometimes bring him to visit my grandma who also has a dog that he likes.

Lately, however, I have been having problems with Sterling and visitors to my home (or my parents, depending on where we are). He has been displaying aggressive behavior to strangers. He is not scared or shy when anyone comes over, he is quite the opposite actually. He will greet visitors at the door and seem extremely interested and friendly, even rubbing up on their legs and purring, gladly receiving pets and affection. Later on during the stay, if they try to pet him again he does not display the same behavior he does when they first arrive. He will meow or make a groaning sound (I'm not sure if its growling) and turn his head and act like he is going to bite. He has never actually bitten anyone, he just threatens to. I was extremely shocked when I had a friend come over several weeks ago and he displayed this behavior as he had never done it before! Since then I have had numerous people over and it is the same story. He even hissed at one friend! And this was after he greeted her at the door and even jumped on her shoulder! I'm not really sure what is going on. I should also mention that when someone is over he doesn't really let me pet him as much either or show the same affection as when it is just us. Like I said, he is not skittish or shy when I have people over, he will still walk around or lounge (even by the visitor at times) like usual and doesn't seem to be distressed in anyway. He just will not let anyone he doesn't know pet him! I find his sudden apprehension to be pet by strangers extremely odd and uncalled for as he is friendly and receptive to them at the door when they first arrive.

Both of his parents were very affectionate and great with strangers. I know that he was socialized well as a kitten before I brought him home and he is very loved on now by myself, so this issue is not stemming from trauma or abuse. He is my very first sphynx and cat in general, as I've always had dogs. Is this some sort of kitten phase that he will grow out of? Does anyone have any idea why he suddenly is not friendly with strangers? Could it be territorial aggression? I'm nervous about having any friends or family over that he doesn't know or taking him to future vet visits because he may display aggression there as well. Any and all advise, suggestions or personal stories to help me help Sterling will be greatly appreciated!


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GoldHazel

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@SterlingsMom hello and welcome. Sterling is a handsome boy. Sorry you are having confusing behavioral issues with him at the moment. Teen boys can certainly act differently than younger kittens or adults.

Is there any way that you can video this odd behavior that you are experiencing with him? It could be very helpful.

Ok, my very first question is: Was he neutered yet? If not, get him neutered ASAP. No KETAMINE for anesthesia. Ask for ISO, it's a safe gas for a sphynx. Have the vet/tech put Sterling on a heating pad right after surgery so his body temperature doesn't drop to a dangerous level.

I'd first like to know if he's neutered before I go any further please.
 

SterlingsMom

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@GoldHazel
Thank you for your reply and the welcome! Sterling is neutered. His breeder took him in at 13 weeks and had the procedure done before I brought him home. Taking a video is a great idea! I will make sure to get a video of this behavior next time I have a visitor.

He is handsome but has a little bit of devil in those angel eyes lol :p
 

Yoda mom

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@SterlingsMom , welcoming you and Very Handsome Sterling to the lair family -
A video of his behavior is a good idea so others can chime in too-
Aggression can sometimes be an underlying health issue too we have seen things like ear infections change behavior.
I would call your vet / breeder for suggestions too.

Do your friends have pets or intact / not neutered pets, possibly females in best , that omce thr excitement of company coming over wears off he tunes in more to the scents they are bringing in ?

Is there any outside cats visiting Windows that he sees that he gets snooyed with and it just pushes him over the edge with all the new stimuli with company?

I am not a behaviorist by any means but my boy at about a year old was a teenage brat right after his neuter when I adopted him.
He literally would jump of the dresser and hiss etc - turning into a wild man - it was scary actually -
I wondered too home he would be at vet appointments etc -

** I trained him like a dog - redirected him with a toy amd treats and verbal praise "yes" to mark the good behavior like training a dog - only rewarding the good behavior -
he outgrew his terrible teens brat times and is very very affectionate now -always loves head Bumps amd kisses - I mean really going out of his way jumping on the dresser each morning for morning loving -
Like a totally different cat -

he has been an angel on his vet visits - never any aggression -
I do put him in a carrier and cover it on three sides with a towel
Inside I put out in a towel with my scent -

Perhaps you can solicit help from your company- have a Da bird pole toy( I like to buy the one piece long pole ) and treats .

ask them to play with him during their visit while they give some treats - only reward the behavior you want -
If he gets obnoxious - game over - I did actually give my boy time outs like a dog for s few minutes in the bathroom
And then started the play treat training again -

I personally think kitties like dogs have different levels of confidence and shyness.
Kind of like that old dog chart showing tail and ear posture and its meaning .

I do know my boy acts like the boss but he is actually the most least confident one .
I can often tell by his body language of his tail - carried high , lower , stiff etc in correlation with his ear set .
I worked with him to build his confidence. He is 3 years old now and I have not seen his odd behavior he displayed as a teenage brat.


Head smooches n loving to Sterling
I am sure others will chime in with great tips and personal experiences

(** fwiw , I tried the Feliaway / comfort zone diffusers -
It made him worse! He would sniff the plug In diffusers , hiss , growl and walk off twitching his tail angry )


Keep us updated often
Hope you can share a video

Here is a link
Search Results for Query: aggression | Sphynxlair
the top right search box may help bring up more articles searching "behavior " etc
Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of each page for "similar links" too
 
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GoldHazel

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@SterlingsMom if you can get him checked at the vet to make sure there are no health issues causing this behavior, then if all is clear, I'd start by suggesting getting Feliway Diffusers to plug in all around your home. Make sure no furniture would be covering any of them.
 

SterlingsMom

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@Yoda mom,
Thanks for bringing up some great questions! None of my visitors that I'm aware have any intact animals. The friend that he really showed aggression towards and hissed at has no pets at all! He's always been very friendly and unafraid of other animals as well.

He has a window seat that he loves to sit in and watch my front yard from. There are a lot of indoor/outdoor cats in my neighborhood that wander around. Either he hasn't seen them (which I doubt) or he really isn't bothered by their presence as I have never witnessed him reacting to something outside.

I have tried having my company play with him (those who aren't too scared lol) and he loves it. He is always down to play! He will play with strangers no problem. He has also been offer treats by strangers, however, it has been at random times, not during play or to reward good behavior. I will use your idea of training him like a dog! He is highly food motivated and I think it will work well with him.

I just can't figure out why he is completely fine with visitors until they try to pet him! He will greet them at the door and allows them to pet him there, he will play with them, receive treats from them and sit by them, but he will not allow them to pet him!

I don't think it is some sort of health issue. Eating and drinking habits, as well as letterbox use are all normal. His eyes are alert and clear. His ears canals are not red and I have not noticed a change in the amount of earwax or the color of it. His behavior towards me and people that he knows is the same in regards to the level of love and affection. His only change in behavior is around visitors. I will keep an eye on him though. A vet visit will be in order if working with him does not improve the behavior soon. Thanks for bring up this issue and giving me some tips for a smooth vet visit!

That is so reassuring hearing that your little man was a terror in his teenage years too and that I'm not alone in the bad behavior department lol. I'm hoping most of this aggression will subside with age and being worked with.

Thank you so much for your response and the ideas and suggestions! Sterling and I really appreciate it!
 

SterlingsMom

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@GoldHazel,
Thanks for your suggestions! He was at the vet not too terribly long ago to get microchipped and was given a clean bill of health (yay!). I don't think it is a health issue, as behavior towards myself is the same, but I will keep an eye on him and definitely take him in if working with him does not improve it soon or if it gets worse.

I have seen the Feliway Diffuser at my local pet shop and have heard it mentioned numerous times. I will pick one up and give it a try!

Thanks so much for the ideas!
 

GoldHazel

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@SterlingsMom I'm sure everything will work out. It's probably just the teenage time. My middle boy who was always super sweet changed during this age. He would decided he wanted a particular spot on the huge cat tree and if anyone else was in that spot, he didn't think twice about tossing them all the way down to the floor. He did that and other things for a few weeks. Then he slept A LOT and afterwards was a purrfect gentlemen again. Maybe it's a growth spurt and hormonal changes?

Keep us updated and best of luck.

Oh, I was also thinking that while your company is hanging out with you, tell them not to reach over to pet him for right now. Let them play with him with toys...give treats, but not to reach out otherwise for the time being.
 

Nicolemorgan

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You have received great advice already, but I thought I would chime in about the Feliway diffusers.
We swear by them in our house. Loki seems to get aggressive once the diffusers run out...I always know by how he is acting when it gets to the bottom of the diffuser, and he will act out more, bites and scratches his brother.
But the Feliway helps so much! We always have it plugged in!
 

Toa and Ross

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Great advice already given so I only chime in to sent calming vibes to your boy. The felliway diffuser helped a lot in my house.
 

andreanar

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Oh, the teenage boy! My boy was an absolute lunatic at that age. Archie acted like a bi-polar nut! Pet me, pet me, then turn around and bite me! He grew out of it and hopefully yours will too. Why not just have your guests try ignoring him? Pretend he isn't there even if he is rubbing on them or jumping on their lap. Maybe he perceives some threat and needs to learn that there isn't anything to worry about.
 

SterlingsMom

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@GoldHazel, thanks for sharing a little about the rough patch you had with your middle boy. I'm thinking his behavior is mostly due to age (hopefully). Fingers crossed he will outgrow it soon!:happy:

That's great advise, I'll make sure to tell company not to try and pet him for the time being. Ill get that video soon!

Thanks so much for the help!
 

SterlingsMom

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@Nicolemorgan, thanks for seconding the thoughts on the diffusers! That's crazy that it makes that much of a difference for your Loki! I picked one up this afternoon! How long did it take for you to start noticing a change? I have a small one bedroom, do you think one diffuser will be enough?

Thanks so much for the help!
 

Nicolemorgan

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@Nicolemorgan, thanks for seconding the thoughts on the diffusers! That's crazy that it makes that much of a difference for your Loki! I picked one up this afternoon! How long did it take for you to start noticing a change? I have a small one bedroom, do you think one diffuser will be enough?

Thanks so much for the help!
They say it can be different for each cat, but I think they say to give it at least 1 week to notice a difference. I usually notice a difference in a couple days though.

I would think 1 would be enough :) We only have 1 on each level of our home as it is a two story house.
And a tip, when you want to buy refills, they are cheaper on Amazon than in store! :)
 

SterlingsMom

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@andreanar, it is such a relief hearing your boy went through something similar and grew out of it! Sterling is definitely doing the pet me, pet me, never mind thing right now. Great advise! I'm going to have company ignore him for the time being. It's just so hard when everyone is so intrigued by him! None of my family or friends have ever seen or pet a sphynx before so they all just want to love on him lol.

How could you not want to pet him with a face like this? ;)

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I'm sure that when he's ready he'll come around :joyful: I really appreciate you chiming in to help!
 

SterlingsMom

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@Nicolemorgan, excited to see if they make a difference for my Sterling! Hopefully I'll have a much calmer little man soon :) I will make sure to get my refills from Amazon!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
 

GoldHazel

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@GoldHazel, thanks for sharing a little about the rough patch you had with your middle boy. I'm thinking his behavior is mostly due to age (hopefully). Fingers crossed he will outgrow it soon!:happy:

That's great advise, I'll make sure to tell company not to try and pet him for the time being. Ill get that video soon!

Thanks so much for the help!
@SterlingsMom you are welcome. I pretty much believe it's his age from my experience here. Whatever you do, don't reward him with treats or whatever when you see this bad behavior. You don't want him associating this bad behavior with getting rewarded. Even with pets, hugs and kisses....those are all positive rewards too. A very dirty look..."daggers coming out of your eyes" is the look you should give him when he isn't being a good boy along with a firm, "NO!!"
 

Yoda mom

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@SterlingsMom , omg he is so stinkin cute! Head kisses !
Keep us updated on the diffusers

If they work and I read you use Amazon - they sell a 6 pk of comfort zone no frills packaging
 

andreanar

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Oh he's just so handsome! I know how hard it is for people to ignore such a cool cat! Everyone wants to touch them. Kinda like men with boobs! ;)
You've gotten great advice and I hope something starts to work for him.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

GoldHazel

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Oh he's just so handsome! I know how hard it is for people to ignore such a cool cat! Everyone wants to touch them. Kinda like men with boobs! ;)
You've gotten great advice and I hope something starts to work for him.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
@andreanar oh Andrea is back alright! LOL You are reminding me of your lifting your shirt in the window story!
 

andreanar

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Omg @GoldHazel ! I almost died that day! Haha. So embarrassing. Lol. Now tho,I can crack up when I think back on that memory

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