Aggressive cat behavior after lockdown

Just to clarify beforehand I have had cats nearly all of my life & I’m 62 now so have had my fair share of kitties but one thing outside of playfighting with, I have never had to deal with aggression in any of my cats. But This is unfortunately something I came up against about 2 years ago which resulted in me being severely attacked by a cat. The cat lived alone with just it’s owner and was unknown to me because of this very territorial which meant when the owner left the cat had for it’s idea been left to fend for itself with a total stranger.
Now fast forward to post-covid lockdown and One thing that happened was of course all animals have for 1.5years been in strict codependency with ONLY their owners and some have taken to this too strongly and have taken territory to an extreme level. This is the case with the pet that i am now sitting. From the moment the owners walked out of the door it was a complete jekyll & hyde turnaround.
Within a minute it was me with a complete arched back, fur overend kitty and it hasn’t gotten much better in the last 24 hrs. I actually slept with the bedroom door closed which I have never done before on a sit (after the attack by the other cat I left the sit after getting medical assistance).
I am still following my own routine as much as possible ….ie: let kitty go it’s own way, come to me when it wants etc etc. BUT it keeps having really sudden change of character modes. And will come to me and invite me to do tummy rubs BUT if i move 2 seconds later to go get some coffee it’s full on back in near attack mode, excuse the language but its like WHO the flip are you, WHY are you here, I don’t know you AND I DON’t trust you.
As I still have 4 days to go I need some advice. Anybody experienced a very territorial cat before and did you manage to swing the situation

Sorry to hear that Maggie, I guess the best is to warn the team. My cat was sweet, all cats I sat were kind or shy but never agressive.

yes I’m still holding out that it will turn around and that it’s just extra nervy after a year & half of lockdown. But it’s got me a little off nerve myself as I know now how much injury even a little 3 kilo fluff ball can inflict (the 2 year ago kitty) and this is a bigger cat.
No me neither, I ‘ve had at least 10 +cats but never any that did the whole sidewinder attack mode (not in a playful way) so I’m relly, really hoping this will turn around in the next day

Did you tell the owner ?? May be they dare punish the cat if they know it becomes a crazy cat sometimes ? Throwing some drops of water on its face when it behaves badly ? Shouting at him ?? Making it run away ?

yes told the owner. I Don’t want to use scare tactics as i think that would only make it worse. I’m taking the whole leave alone and keep as calm as possible route. Just hope kitty thinks the same :slight_smile:

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Hi @Maggie I completely understand your approach with the owners however were they surprised, did they offer any advice? You do have access to the veterinary help line through their account and it’s not just for emergency situations.

I’m sure like most you will have searched for help and advice, I have found this from the PDSA How to help a nervous cat - PDSA

There is a product called Rescue Remedy which is effective but of course you would need to get the owner’s permission to use, what I would advise is having an open conversation post sit and explain your concerns about their cats behavoir so that there isn’t the same unexpected situation happening with another sitter.

Good luck and well done for being calm and present.

Hope you understood my advices were given under the owner"s permission only. Not on your side initiatives.
A friend of mine lost one finger with her cat injury at her vet !

Keep it closed in the room, or give it a space untill it calms down! Let it in, and as soon as it starts again get her closed again for while, repeat untill she stops doing that and reward for good behaviour.

yes certainly and yes I know the Bach Rescue remedies as I use them myself. Cat is keeping itself distanced so I’m giving it the space to do just that. Will not shut it up anywhere as I feel this would just stress it out even more.
Will see how it goes this evening with feeding and hope it starts to calm down and realize it’s safe and there is nothing to worry about.
I have another cat that i regularly do sits for and she is even advertised on TH as the most antisocial cat ever by her owner but there I just know what to do and NOT to do with her. Basically just feed and don’t interact ( was a maltreated rescue so likes no one except my friend her owner).
Cats …………

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Yes I now have scars from head to toe from the little 3kg fluffball. My hand looks like a cobweb got stuck on it when i get cold its a complete web of really fine scars. Took nearly 6 months and two killer antibiotic courses to get it healed.

Hi. You already have many suggestions for your current situation, so I won’t address that. I do hope that you will give a fair and balanced review of this sit. By that I mean, in a reasonable manner, mention the challenges that you met with this cat. You may also say that you wonder if it was because of the lockdown situation, etc. If you can mention the positives of the sit, that also helps keep it balanced. There are many posts here about leaving fair reviews, for the sake of those who come after you, so I won’t explain any further.


thanks Snowbird for the reaction but i have been on TH for a number of years & will of course be giving a fair review

Cats are masters of their own destiny and as a sitter we usually follow their lead.

precisely as I am doing, had cats for more than 40 years so know that by now :slight_smile:


I know it’s probably too late now as your sit comes to an end in a few days, but what you might try in a situation like this is You probably know this if you have had cats all your life. But for those reading this and don’t know, it’s calming pheromones which can be either a spray or used as a plug in to the sockets in the room.
What also helps is Zylkene. It calms the animal, because it contains lactic acid. It’s not a sedative! I give this a few days before a scheduled vet appointment or before new year’s, because here we have really loud fireworks at midnight and my tom is so scared.

yes i know of feliway and also Bach rescue for animals. The cat is keeping very much to itself and I have been able to feed it and actually stroke it a couple of times but it still has moments in which i hold in my step and let it go its way. So I think we will get through the next few days but will definitely try to mention my difficulty in my review

This was before the pandemic but I was warned about the small cat by the previous sitter who left me a note she was bitten right to the bone.also friends of the house owner warned me too.the house owner was very ill so she hadn’t been at home for a long time due to treatment at hospital.the larger cat was a lap cat who like to sit on my lap constantly or near my neck.until one day he without any warning sank his teeth into my arm.blood coming up like a fountain.went to local chemist in the mountains he didn’t speak English but most of the Spanish didn’t. But managed to explain what happened with my Scottish Spanglish a antibiotic cream.he got on my lap again but not near my neck🤣

Wow Genevere this sounds bad. Yes same for me when I got attacked totally out of the blue. This is why this has had me soo stressed the last couple of days. The cat I was looking after 2 years ago (so also before the pandemic was also just in a house with the owner so the house was it’s house !) I was just getting ready to go out and as usual I always checked to see where the kitty was I found her and in a millisecond I just saw her “change” and she had her claws in my arm and was busy pulling herself up toward my face. I literally had to grab her where i could get hold of her and pull her off. Unfortunately she got herself loose and came back for more. so I literally have scars from my foot to the crown of my head. Hope you actually got some antibiotics later when you got home like as i said I ended up having two full 10 days course of antibiotics as a couple of spots were not healing.
Took me nearly 8 months before I dared look after a cat again other than my friends cat. So any aggression really scares me now.
Has this made you more careful too towards cats too ?

Also Genevere forgot to ask. Had the previous sitter who warned you left a review about their bad experience with the sit.?

The previous sitter left me a note in the house but it was about the cat I knew about.wasn’t expecting it about the other one.I usually can read cats been about them all my arm swelled up and was bruised but antibiotic cream from chemist seemed to help.I think cats were missing their owner so much with different sitters coming to stay.and ho so poorly I don’t blame her at all.difficult situation all round.but having said this really enjoyed being there.would still go back if I got the chance.