Frivolous Friday – Why is My Cat Mad at Me? How to Deal With An Aggressive Cat

While most cats are…well, pussy cats, some seem to have been spawned by an evil Tasmanian devil cat. What makes cats aggressive? Why do some cats play so rough? What causes a cat to fight his way out of a good petting session? Do cats get mood disorders? Are some cats just naturally angry?

I’m not sure that anger is an issue as much as fear with some cats. But isn’t that where anger stems from in people? Fear? Does an aggressive cat need an anger management course? Unless you can get Jackson Galaxy to come to your home and have a serious talk with your cat, you’re pretty much on your own to figure out why your cat shows signs of aggression and how to manage it. I’m pretty sure the one thing you do not want to do is respond to aggression with aggression. First, let’s analyze the cat as best we can.

Consider his beginnings. A momma cat and siblings are more important to a kitten than simply warmth and nourishment. Kittens learn a lot about how to be a cat in those early weeks. One thing he learns is how to play nice and that’s vital to his future. Kittens get cues from mom and siblings demonstrating how to play gentle. And when the kitten is adopted into a forever home, it’s up to us to continue that lesson by using our hands for petting, not for wrestling with the little guy. Use wand toys to play with a kitten. If you use your hand to play rough with a kitten, he is going to respond by biting and scratching—grabbing and chewing. Over time, this play can get out of hand and become a bit rowdy. If you wonder how your sweet kitten became a tiger cat, look to your play tactics.

So the number one reason why a cat might become ornery is because he lacked proper upbringing by his mom and didn’t get play-time with other kittens at a young age. Number two is you—or whoever adopted the kitten when he was young. Play gentle, use a toy instead of your hand for exuberant play and your cat will be less likely to use you as a pin cushion and a chew toy.

What if we find ourselves at the claws and teeth end of cattitude—I mean negative cattitude? It happens. You might adopt an older cat who didn’t learn to play nice. Perhaps you’ve agreed to pet sit a difficult cat, you find yourself caring for a feral cat who wandered into your yard, or your grown child moves back in with a feisty kitty.

There are a variety of reasons why a grown cat “acts out.” He’s frightened, he’s territorial, he’s an intact tom, he was taken from his mother too soon, or he’s in pain. You might notice that the cat doesn’t seek you out to terrorize you, but he may react with claws and teeth when you try to hold him tightly, take a treat from him, back him into a corner, or restrain him against his wishes. I know, sometimes it’s necessary. But if you have an aggressive cat, it will behoove you to learn techniques and tactics for when you must physically handle him.

  • First and foremost, have the cat neutered.
  • If he’s afraid when your grandkids visit, make sure the cat has a safe place to hide from them. Honor his fear and the children’s safety.
  • Learn what his triggers are and avoid those situations. Pay attention to what the cat is telling you. If his ears go back, his skin twitches, he’s flipping his tail, or growling, he isn’t happy with what you’re doing to him.
  • Don’t try to make him work through the pain. Maybe he needs a vet check to see if he has a physical problem. If not, probably the cat harbors a fear you will never understand. So walk lightly, make him as comfortable as you can—so that he feels safe and calm. In time, he might actually enjoy brief periods of gentle petting or a little scratching around the neck. You might find he adores having you run your fingers softly over his fur or a vigorous scratching on top of his head.
  • Take a lesson from an expert in how to physically handle this cat when need be. You don’t want to cause him undue stress.

In case you haven’t learned it yet, that little fur ball you brought home—even the one that you’ve lived with for years now—is in charge. To keep peace in the family, most of us play by the cat’s rules. And this makes sense in many cases. But we can also help by not exacerbating the situation through teasing gestures, for example. Cats have been known to gentle down when treated with kindness and respect, although sometimes it can take a while.

Now there are exceptions. We had a terrorist cat living in our neighborhood for a few years. Boy were we glad when his family moved. He was a small ginger cat with a huge bad-boy attitude. He fought with every cat in the neighborhood. He invited petting, but once you ran your hand over his fur, he’d attack with vengeance. He ripped screens trying to get to the indoor cats. He pulled a screen off of one neighbor’s window, went inside, and attacked their elderly Abyssinian while she slept in her little bed. She was okay—just shook up and with only a few battle scars. But he seemed to have another side. His owners said he was a sweet and gentle companion for their three small children. He slept on their beds at night. They adored this little two-faced rebel and had trouble believing he did the things we reported. I have to wonder if cats suffer from mood disorders because I think that cat needed to be medicated.

Let’s hope that all of your cats are sweet, gentle, loving beings. In case you find yourself at the paws of one who isn’t, here’s an article on better understanding the aggressive cat.

Posted in About Cats, Cat Care | Leave a comment

Thoughts for Thursday – Inspirations for This Blog

Where do all of the ideas come from? From a cat’s whiskers to cat motif, from the cat’s anatomy to the perceived extinction of birds because of cats in the yard, from cat color to cat breeds and more—we cover the gamut of cat topics in this Catscapades blog.

When I was writing articles for magazines, I wrote on a huge range of topics for animal, pet, business, spiritual, health, travel, parenting, technical, foods, education, crafts, self-help, writing, youth and other category of magazine. And even my Klepto Cat Mysteries are brimming with diversity when it comes to themes, situations, premise and so forth. You never know what you’ll find as you turn the pages. Consequently, for years, people have asked me, “Where do you get all of your ideas?”

I spoke to a group of authors last night and coached both nonfiction and fiction authors to look everywhere for ideas. We can find a plethora of information and concepts on the Internet, of course, but also in our everyday life—while interacting with other people and our pets, while out walking or driving in the neighborhood, during meditation, when in a crowded mall or coffee shop. Conversations with others often bring to light an opinion, point of view, fact, or inspiration that can foster a story plot or article idea. I love eaves-dropping. Many of my article, story, book, and blog ideas come from overhearing what others are saying in line at the grocery store, brief conversations I have in passing with someone, and observing other people (as well as animals) in a wide variety of situations.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Do you remember my post on whiskers? I decided to do that after seeing the photo I took of a cat with some of the wildest whiskers I’ve ever seen. I used that photo in the blog post this week. I saw three cats wandering in a dry riverbed one day when I’d made a wrong turn. I shot a photo and created a post featuring feral cats.

As you know, I created the Klepto Cat Mysteries after adopting a kitten who carries her toys around in her mouth. Lily still does that. In fact, she just brought me baby lambie—her little stuffed lamb.

If you’re a writer or would like to be or if you are trying to come up with an idea for your supper meal or a gift for a friend, try getting out of your head and look outside of yourself for ideas. It might come from a sitcom on TV, a commercial, something in a magazine you’re flipping through in a waiting room, something someone says, your favorite blog, a newsletter you usually don’t read, a brief conversation with a neighbor… I think you get the idea.

And if you want to know what your cat’s thinking? Just spend time observing him. After a few minutes he’ll probably either walk out of the room or end up on your lap and you’ll be left still wondering what’s on his mind. Cats don’t tell, you see. They like to keep us guessing. And sometimes it’s that guess, based on the cat’s activity or lack of activity that spawns a blog or story idea for me. What’s on that cat’s mind? My imagination goes bonkers when I look into Lily’s eyes. I might start thinking about a plot where the cat is sneaking in invisible alien kittens who visit earth every third Wednesday of the month to learn the ways of earthbound cats so they can create similar mystery and cunning on their planet to liven things up for their people. Yeah, I need to stop staring at my cats. But, hey, wouldn’t it be nice if the alien kittens showed our cats how to use the litter box without spreading litter all over the house and how to stop shedding on our clothes?

Posted in About Cats | Leave a comment

Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – All About Whiskers

One of the cutest things about a cat is his whiskers. Have you ever noticed how your cat uses them? When he’s focused on a toy and excited, he might point his whiskers forward. This is called his game face because he’ll also do this when he’s in pursuit of a mouse, moth, or cricket.. Cute, right?

Cats shed their whiskers naturally. Sometimes you might find a whisker on the floor or on your bed. Some say cat whiskers are lucky. I like to keep the whiskers I find until they disappear. Does the cat take them back? Or do they simply become swept up in the duster?

I find the color of whiskers interesting. Lily’s are all white, for example. She’s a torbie—a tabby with smears of pale orange. I’ve read that most cats have white whiskers, even most black cats. Hmmm, that doesn’t seem right. Sophie is a tortie and her whiskers are all black with one white whisker.

A cat’s whiskers act like radar for the cat. We’ve all heard that cats use their whiskers to determine whether they can fit into a tight space. I’m not sure that’s absolutely true. I’ve seen our cats pull their whiskers back in order to fit into a very small space, but a cat’s whiskers do help them to navigate in certain situations and especially in the dark.

Should you trim a cats unruly or long whiskers? Absolutely not! It could disorient the cat. They will shed whiskers, thus the gift of whiskers you find once in a while. And the whiskers will grow back naturally. Leave your cat’s whiskers alone. As you will notice when watching your cat groom herself, she’s pretty darn proud of those whiskers. Here’s an interesting site if you’d like to learn more about a cat’s whiskers Here

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Newsday Tuesday – Swimming Cats

Yesterday we talked about adventuring cats. In the past, I’ve featured cat breeds that tend to like water, such as the Turkish van, Turkish angora, Maine coon cat, Abyssinian, and Bengal. But have you ever seen a cat love…I mean absolutely love swimming in the ocean? Or is it his people that he loves so much? This video is amazing to watch. You’ll fall in love with this little black kitty named Nathan and marvel at his lack of fear—even of ocean waves and the feel of water on his fur. Here

Any cat and all cats can swim, but most of them don’t want to. They will, however, when they have to, like this poor cat who was caught up in the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey last year. He’s swimming for his life and he doesn’t look very happy about it. here

Some cats actually like water and will play in it, but not too many will allow themselves to get wet. Here’s a picture of a Munchkin who delighted in taking a shower with his human when he was a kitten.

Lily loves—I mean LOVES water. She drinks a lot of it and she doesn’t mind getting her face sprinkled while lapping water from a spigot. But let me accidentally make a splash in the kitchen or bathroom that results in a few drops landing on her fur and she does the shimmy all the way to the back of the house.

Our odd-eye white cat used to drink water with his paw. He’d dip his paw into the water bowl and lick the water off his paw. That’s how he drank water. After he tipped his plastic and metal water bowls over several times doing this, we switched to heavy pottery bowls designed for feeding and watering rabbits. That worked.

Would you like to teach your cat to like having a bath or romping in the water? Good luck. Most experts say that a cat either likes getting wet or he doesn’t. So if you dream of swimming with your cat, you’d better adopt one who already shows signs of being a water-kitty.

Posted in About Cats, Funny Cats, Interesting Pets | Leave a comment

Mindful Monday – Adventuring Cats

While at the Cat Writers’ Conference in Houston last week, the topic of adventuring with cats came up in one of our side conversations. It was discussed that more men are getting involved with cats thus, perhaps, the increase in hiking, beach-going, traveling cats. I think it’s grand—well, for the cat who enjoys that sort of thing. As much as Lily likes to be with me, I’m not sure she’d agree to accompany me on my daily walks or go hiking with me where dogs roam or even stand for a long excursion cross country or to another country. And I’m absolutely certain that Sophie would complain and complain and complain. In fact, Sophie was so traumatized when we evacuated the her and Lily to my mother’s house during the awful fire here in December that she later had signs of PTSD. She began licking a patch of fur out because she was so stressed by the ordeal and the memory of the ordeal.

But there certainly are cats who will tolerate traveling and some who actually enjoy it. In fact, it appears that there are enough cats who enjoy traveling that manufacturers are making cat packs and backpacks and other carriers for adventuring cats. Here’s a great site that features some of the best cat backpacks and carriers I’ve seen. I love the backpack carrier where the cat can sit comfortably while being able to see through a mesh window and get fresh air as well. Lily might even become comfortable with this if I were to work at getting her used to the idea of hiking with me. This article also offers some great tips for traveling and hiking with your cat. Here

This link shows a wide variety of backpacks for cats and dogs as well as other types of carriers. Here

And be sure to check out this site featuring the adventuring cat. Share it with your cat. That’s one way to find out if she would really like to go adventuring or if she’s an arm-chair traveler. Here  There are some interesting stories about cats that enjoy getting out and about, including one who likes sailing.

I have friends who used to travel in their motorhome with their cat. Even though Sally had some fears—of strangers in the home, for example—she became quite the contented travel companion. But her “parents” knew what she would tolerate and what she wouldn’t. They understood her fears and her needs, so they spent a lot of time planning and preparing for her comfort.

Have you traveled with your cat? Sometimes it’s necessary when you’re moving cross country, for example. Do you have any tips or stories to share about your experiences traveling with your cat?

Posted in About Cats, Activities for Cats, Cat travel | 2 Comments

Frivolous Friday – Winning Cat Writers and Artists

As I’ve mentioned, we have some amazing authors and artists and other professionals in the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA) and many of us enjoy entering the annual CWA competition with our meaningful, useful and entertaining work. I’d like to introduce some of the winners this year.

One of the most outstanding books among the one-hundred-plus entrants was called Caticons: 4000 Years of Art Imitating Cats by Sandy Lerner of Virginia. Check it out here.

My artist for the Klepto Cat Mystery covers, Bernadette Kazmarski, won a Certificate of Excellence for this work along with a Muse Medallion for her Pittsburgh C.A.T. Calendar and she won a cash award—huge recognition—for an article she wrote on kitten rescue. See Bernadette’s work here.

Other books you might be interested in—all winners in the CWA 24th Annual Awards Banquet include Layla Morgan Wild’s Black Cats Tell all: True Tales and Inspiring Images,

Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Cat Shining Bright, and a book of poetry by Vicky Pittman called Cat Haiku: Sweet Verses.

Winning Blogs posts, (aside from this one—Catscapades) were Mollie Hunt’s Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries, Feline Opines Blog by Anita Aurit and JaneA Kelley’s Paws and Effect Blog. Be sure to visit them and give them a paws up.

Thank you for supporting this blog and don’t forget to purchase your print or Kindle copy of my latest Klepto Cat Mystery, Meowmoirs of a Klepto Cat. Yes, it’s Rags’s memoirs.

Posted in About Cats, Artists and Cats, Cat Books | 1 Comment

Thoughts for Thursday – What is a Cat Writer?

I’ve been talking all week about my experiences at the Cat Writers’ Conference. Some of you might be wondering what in the heck is a cat writer and why do they have a conference. I mean, it’s obvious that a cat writer is someone who writes about cats or writes with a cat nearby or writes on cats… Now we’re getting silly. But then there is some silliness within the group, which is why I fit in so well and enjoy it so much. However there is certainly a serious side to the members and the premise of the organization.

Members of the Cat Writers’ Association are serious about their work and their passions. They include veterinarians, cat rescue specialists and volunteers, breeders, show judges, artists, authors, article-writers, poets, media personalities, pet behavior experts, and more. And most (if not all) of us have cats of our own. We’re focused on educating and informing the public about cats while also entertaining them through our writing and art. So we have members who write nonfiction articles and those who write short stories; authors with books (fiction and nonfiction) as well as artists who use pencil, paints, chalk, photography, and other mediums. Some of our members are TV and radio personalities.

We do our writing or art at home, but once a year we have the opportunity to gather someplace within the US—New York, Texas, Arizona, California, South Carolina or ?—and we network. We present and attend seminars, mingle and share, cheer each other on at the awards banquet, exchange information and resources. It’s just the most wonderful opportunity to connect with those folks who we know only from their comments online, or their blog, etc.

This is also an opportunity to share the work we do through our annual competition. At stake are sought-after Certificates of Excellence, Muse Medallions, and money. There are cash prizes of $500 up to $2,000. Yeah, serious money.

Now we sound like highly competitive stuffed shirts. On the contrary. Most of us step up onto the stage to accept our awards wearing our favorite cat motif clothing, shoes, jewelry and—oh yes, cat ears. And we generously celebrate the winners with applause, cheers, and embraces.

So now you know what a cat writer is and why we enter the competition and attend the conference.

Tomorrow I’ll reveal some of the winners and their amazing work.

Posted in About Cats, Artists and Cats | 3 Comments

Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Cat Show Mania

First, I invite you to take a look at the latest review for Meowmoirs of a Klepto Cat. Michelle, at Miki’s Hope is the fourth reader to give this book a 5-star review. Yay! Read her review  here: I wasn’t sure how this very different addition to the series would do. Rags’s fans are evidently enjoying it immensely.

Now to the Cat Show!

Have you ever been to one—a cat show, that is? Did you enter your cat in the competition or just go as a curious spectator? I’ve been a looky-loo at several cat shows. I even attended one in Los Angeles once where Morris was on display (well, one of three Morrises—you know, the cat that helped to advertise 9Lives Cat Food in the late ’60s and ’70s).

I fell in love with the Persian at a cat show, then later the Maine coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, Himalayan… I even thought about showing a Persian that I bought once. But that never happened.

My favorite cat show was one that I attended with Cat Writers’ Association members in White Plains, NY some years ago. I was signing books there. Aside from the beautiful pure-bred cats in all colors, sizes, and shapes (including my first sighting of a Savannah), they had a section of ordinary cats and kittens that were up for adoption. And every time a cat or kitten was adopted, a bell rang out and everyone cheered. Those were happy moments.

I must confess that I no longer have a desire to be a part of a cat show. There are certainly some beautiful show people who obviously love their cats and are excited to share them. With these people, you can tell that the cat is their number one priority in all of this. But I have observed others who seem to be there for one purpose—to receive some sort of personal gratification. They seem to treat their cat as an object of beauty and reward—interested primarily in what he or she can gain by showing it.

It’s obvious that some cats are not happy in this environment. I’ve seen frightened cats, unhappy cats and also unhappy handlers. The breeder might have started out in this arena from a joyful place, but it appears that now they are somehow disgruntled—maybe just going through the motions of showing because it’s expected. But the joy seems to be gone. And that can’t be good for the cat.

It’s wonderful that there are breeders working hard to improve some of the great cat breeds. Although I’m not a fan of those who create breeds from a mutant situation and I hate to see over-breeding—as all of us do.

Bottom line for me is—after my own experience of buying a Persian cat from a breeder and later buying a Himalayan from a pet store—it is more important to rescue cats that are already here and who need help, than to support a breeder. How do you feel about this?

Posted in About Cats, Exotic Cats | Leave a comment

Newsday Tuesday — Adventures at a Cat Cafe

I’ve researched cat cafes, I’ve written about them, I’ve talked about someday visiting one. Finally I did it! While at the Cat Writers’ Conference in Houston last week, we were treated to an outing to El Gato Cat Cafe. What a lovely experience.

The cats and a gift shop with everything “cat” are housed in a charming bright yellow cottage. There are double doors leading into the cat area to keep cats from escaping. But what cat would want to escape? They have all sorts of climbing and hiding apparatus, windows through which to watch birds and other activity, tunnels, bridges, cozy beds, and toys. They also have people visiting and a caretaker who sits with them during visiting sessions to answer questions and, I’m sure, to help give the cats a sense of safety and familiarity. She also happens to be a vet tech and she observes the cats for any health issues.

As guests, you can interact with the cats, observe them, photograph them, and even pet those who will allow it. And this is important because the cats are all up for adoption and the patrons at a cat cafe help to socialize them–calm them, help those that are skittish to feel more comfortable around loving people. I’m sure that many of the cats have chilling stories to tell.

One thing I observed is how healthy all of the cats look. They must be getting great nutrition and veterinarian care as well as a loving temporary home.

These photos are of some of the cats at the El Gato Cat Cafe. While there, I also bought a pair of kitty earrings and a sweater with cats on it. I do believe some of the others in our group helped to support the cat cafe through purchases as well. And the gal who runs it is absolutely charming.

So where’s the “cafe” element of this cat cafe? Out in the parking lot. It’s a food truck operated by equally friendly people. They serve many interesting coffee drinks, other types of refreshment and a few food items.

Several of us signed books in the parking lot at the cat cafe each wearing a pair of kitty ears that had been handed out. We met some of the neighbors and got to talk about our books and make a few sales.

There are a few cat cafes in nearby cities here in Southern CA that I keep saying I’m going to visit. Now I’m definitely going to do so and I’ll write about them as well. Would love to hear/read about your cat cafe experiences as well.

Posted in About Cats, Cat Rescue | Leave a comment

Cat Writers’ Association Annual Conference SUCCESS

I’m just home from the annual Cat Writers’ Association  conference in Houston and what a wonderful conference it was. For me, it had everything–amazing educational opportunities; plenty of networking time with fantastic people (writers, animal professionals, and definitely pet lovers); a beautifully orchestrated awards banquet,  and even the opportunity to get my cat fix at a cat cafe and cat show.

And I won a coveted Muse Medallions for some of the work I do in this blog. Lily was happy that I came back to her, but she isn’t too impressed with the medallion.

Thank you all for subscribing to and visiting Catscapades (an award-winning blog). Stay tuned through coming weeks and months as I share with you some of the new information and fresh  perspective I gleaned at this conference.

Posted in Announcement | 2 Comments