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  #1  
Old 06-16-2000, 01:55 AM
Marlitharn Marlitharn is offline
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Wherever I go, whatever I do, when I turn around and look, there he is. My big orange tomcat, Psycho, is sitting there looking at me, eyes narrowed, ears back. When I wake up at night, he's lying close by with his head on his paws, watching me. He's doing it as I type. He's never been completely normal; ever since my daughter was a tiny baby, he would occasionally walk by her and, without breaking stride, reach up and smack her in the head. But this staring thing just started in the last few days. What is he plotting? Should I fear for my life? Is he maybe possessed? If you don't hear from me again within 2 days you'll know the worst has happened!
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2000, 03:16 AM
Danielinthewolvesden Danielinthewolvesden is offline
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Cats DO indeed do the "alpha dog(cat) thing". He is probably sizing you up to see if he could dominate you. I suggest you pick him up and give him a tummy rub. Or, butt heads with him. If he DOES give you a hard time, pick him up by the scruff and hiss at him loudly, then set him down.
He also may just be wanting affection or food, but I think my 1st guess is the right one.
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  #3  
Old 06-16-2000, 04:10 AM
coosa coosa is offline
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Of course, you COULD end up losing quite a bit of blood following Daniel's advice (Nothing personal, Daniel, but a lot depends on the personality of the cat - I have some that will tear you to shreds if you try any of that stuff.)

I would guess that something has happened recently, or changed recently, that has given your cat reason to re-evaluate you. Have you gotten a haircut or changed your appearance/smell in any way? A different shampoo could be enough to make him wonder - is this strange smelling person the same one I am used too, or a dangerous imposter? A new hairstyle, color, or cut might have attracted his attention, and he is trying to figure out why your head changed color/shape! Did you do anything different recently - shout or talk in a loud voice when you are usually very quiet? Correct him in some way that you've never done before? Moved the furniture? Anything that might have caught his attention and made him think 'Whoa! I didn't know the Big One could do that!'

He could also have some physical problem that is bothering him - maybe his teeth hurt or something - and he is trying to tell you in the only way he knows how.

A lot depends on what exactly he is doing. Are his ears pinned flat down, or just sorta laying to the sides? Is he giving you a hard, concentrated stare (wide open eyes, dilated pupils) or a 'soft eyed' stare - he's looking at you, but he's not glaring.

What does he do when you look at him? Does he look away? Does he flatten his ears more, whether or not he looks away? Does he hold your gaze, but 'soften' his eyes and blink? Maybe perk his ears a little when he meets your eyes? Are his whiskers pointed forward, neutrally out to the sides, or flattened back against the sides of his face? Or does he continue to meet your eyes with a hard stare and not look away, or look away only reluctantly after several seconds?

If you can give me a good description of his reaction when you meet his gaze, I might be able to guess at his intentions. Of course, I might not be able to, either, as it's really hard to do without seeing the cat in person. But I do have a lot of experience in reading cats' body language - the non-punctured integrity of my skin often depends on it (I work in a vet clinic).
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  #4  
Old 06-16-2000, 07:23 AM
Astroboy14 Astroboy14 is offline
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This is simple... he is mad because you named him "Psycho"... I'd glare at you too!
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  #5  
Old 06-16-2000, 08:42 AM
soulsling soulsling is offline
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he's studying your every move, planning for the day when he'll take you down in a the shake of a cats tail.

my cats do the same thing, when i wake up, there they are, like two book ends, staring, so i approach them, kiss them on the head, scruff their heads and scratch behind the ears and then move one with my morning. they follow me around, then i feed them, they leave me alone.
they seem to want food, or attention in my case. but i'm pretty sure they arent going to kill you.
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  #6  
Old 06-16-2000, 09:46 AM
Rosebud Rosebud is offline
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My parents have had cats who would sit on your chest in the middle of the night and stare at you until you woke up. And then they'd keep staring.

The cat I have now has dispensed with such pleasantries, and prefers to wake me up around 3 a.m. by poking me repeatedly in the head-- claws retracted. It's breakfast time, you see, and my own need for sleep matters not. He just sits there, extending the one paw, whacking me, over and over 'til I wake up. If I'm being difficult and unresponsive, he'll lean over ever so gently and bite the base of my ponytail. I think he's trying to see if he could drag me out of bed by my hair.

Marlitharn, the ears back thing sounds like a sign of aggression to me-- my cat does that when he's mad or when he's hyped up and wants to play rough (I try not to encourage that 'cause he's got claws). You might try seeing if he responds to a kitty toy. But as coosa pointed out, he could also be in some kind of pain... a visit to the vet never hurts.
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  #7  
Old 06-16-2000, 12:02 PM
Necros Necros is offline
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  #8  
Old 06-16-2000, 12:19 PM
TwistofFate TwistofFate is offline
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he knows what you are thinking.....
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  #9  
Old 06-16-2000, 12:32 PM
Myndephuquer Myndephuquer is offline
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Danielinthewolvesden:
Quote:
If he DOES give you a hard time, pick him up by the scruff and hiss at him loudly, then set him down.
WTF??!?! Then the cat would start calling YOU 'Psycho'.

DITWD:
Quote:
Cats DO indeed do the "alpha dog(cat) thing". He is probably sizing you up to see if he could dominate you.
I think he's sizing you up to ass rape you.
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  #10  
Old 06-16-2000, 05:20 PM
JosephFinn JosephFinn is offline
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Quote:

Of course, you COULD end up losing quite a bit of blood following Daniel's advice (Nothing personal, Daniel, but a lot depends on the personality of the cat - I have some that will tear you to shreds if you try any of that stuff.)

I would guess that something has happened recently, or changed recently, that has given your cat reason to re-evaluate you. Have you gotten a haircut or changed your appearance/smell in any way? A different shampoo could be enough to make him wonder - is this strange smelling person the same one I am used too, or a dangerous imposter?
For instance, since my wife and I started using Aveda shampoo, our cat has an odd fetish for trying to eat our hair while we are sleeping. He's a strange cat...

Joseph
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  #11  
Old 06-16-2000, 06:13 PM
eggo eggo is offline
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he knows what you are thinking.....
is that a "GO" quote?
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  #12  
Old 06-16-2000, 08:34 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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  #13  
Old 06-17-2000, 12:45 AM
Marlitharn Marlitharn is offline
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coosa: When I look back at him, he starts washing, as if to say, "Staring? Me? I wasn't staring!" Then, when I look away, he starts doing it again. I can see him out of the corner of my eyes. I haven't cut my hair, moved the furniture, or changed anything around the house lately (I lead a very stagnant lifestyle). His ears aren't pinned back, they're just kind of swiveled back, but the eyes are definitely glaring. I think he wants to take over. If he can figure out how to clean toilets and pay bills, hey, more power to him.
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  #14  
Old 06-17-2000, 09:06 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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coosa: When I look back at him, he starts washing, as if to say, "Staring? Me? I wasn't staring!" Then, when I look away, he starts doing it again. I can see him out of the corner of my eyes.
In this public service announcement, we will tell you about Paranoia. Can you recognize the subtle warning signs of Paranoia? Paranoia is like having a cat that's always staring at you when you're not looking - you can see him out of the corner of your eye, but when you turn around HE STOPS! And then when you turn back away from him, he does it again, this time mocking you behind your back, judging you and finding you unworthy, but you can juuuusssst never quite confront him with it. In fact, everyone's doing it to you - not just your cat! They think they're better than you, and they're all laughing at you - their own private little joke! Taking down notes about you, whispering their little secrets and smiling knowingly at you as you walk down the street! Soon you won't be able to take it anymore! It's too much to bear! They can't do this to you! You'll show them! You'll grab your gun and...

Anyways, I think when one of my cats stares at the wall intently for an hour or so it's more creepy - like the dog staring at the wall in Poltergeist 1.
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  #15  
Old 06-18-2000, 02:17 AM
Marlitharn Marlitharn is offline
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thkjids iss pssychho thkke catttt
marllllittharrn notds heer nnno moore
ddamn ittss hharrrd to tiipe wihtth nnnoo tthuummmms.

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  #16  
Old 06-18-2000, 03:23 AM
Boris B Boris B is offline
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I love you all

This is the funniest thread I've seen in a long time.

Smacks baby girls in the head? Maybe he is a psycho. I think he's jealous of your daughter. In order to make him feel loved, dress him up in baby clothes and put him in a stroller. Give him a pet puppy for his very own. Send him to school when he turns five. Make him drink lots of apple juice. He'll be right friendly in no time.
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  #17  
Old 06-28-2000, 03:09 AM
coosa coosa is offline
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Oh God, I hope I'm not too late! Marlitharn, are you okay? You're cat hasn't killed you yet, has he?

Seriously, I'm terribly sorry - Real Life intervened and kept me from my computer for a while, and when I finally got a chance to get back to the board the first thing I saw was the news about Wally, and I couldn't bear to read any further for a few days.

quote]When I look back at him, he starts washing, as if to say, "Staring? Me? I wasn't staring!" Then, when I look away, he starts doing it again. I can see him out of the corner of my eyes. I haven't cut my hair, moved the furniture, or changed anything around the house lately (I lead a very stagnant lifestyle). His ears aren't pinned back, they're just kind of swiveled back, but the eyes are definitely glaring. I think he wants to take over.[/quote]

Okay, this is non-aggressive behavior. Looking away is his way of telling you that he is NOT challenging you. Washing himself is even more of a 'Who me? I'm not staring!' signal - cats often use grooming in this way. If you've ever watched two cats romping and rough-housing together, you've probably seen this. Cat A will decide that Cat B has gotten entirely to serious about the game, maybe gotten a little pissed off, and will suddenly stop in the middle of everything and start grooming himself. Cat B will watch Cat A for a few seconds, usually with an angrily swishing tail, then stalk off in disgust.

I always imagine that the feline conversation goes like this: Cat A: "That does it, you little twerp! That hurt! Now I'm gonna kick your ass!" Cat B: "Look, I KNOW I bit you on the ear, but I really didn't mean to bite you that hard . . . oh, wait, look here! I have this absolutely NASTY spot on my tail, do you see it right there, on the underside about halfway down? It's driving me crazy, I just have to clean that up RIGHT NOW, so could we postpone the ass-kicking for a few minutes? Thank you so very much!"

I also don't think he is trying to get your attention for any reason - otherwise he would meet your eyes and probably perk up his ears, maybe even stand up and make a throaty noise or something to encourage continued communication.

I really couldn't make a more accurate guess at what his motives are without knowing a lot more about the cat, how you live, etc. He could just be curious and trying to figure you out so that the household runs more smoothly, or wondering just how you manage to operate that can opener.

HOWEVER, it is possible that he is studying you and considering 'taking over'. Considering his behavior towards your daughter, I'd guess that he is a dominant cat that doesn't suffer fools (or kittens) gladly. He may feel that he has firmly shown your daughter her 'place' in the household hierarchy, and is now wondering just where he stands with you, and whether or not, despite your size advantage, he can get away with bullying YOU. (I had a cat that treated my little niece that way - after watching her (the cat), we concluded that Big People got respect, but Little People were categorized as Other Cats and treated as such.) He's not likely to suddenly attack you with teeth and claws, but he may start taking swipes at you like he does your daughter just to see how you react. You'll probably want to take corrective measures, in that case.

First thing, if he is not neutered, get that done - getting rid of those hormones might make a world of difference in his attitude.

You can't dominate a cat like you can a dog - dogs are geared to submit-and-obey, and will worship you and tolerate almost any abuse if you demonstrate dominance; cats operate on a basis of mutual respect - try to push them too far and they will push back. A cat that feels that it is defending itself will fight back viciously, and they become defensive much more quickly than a dog.

If you're daughter is old enough to do this, or if your cat decides to swat at you for no reason, try this: yell real loud (NO is a good word), stomp your feet (jump up if you're sitting down), clap your hands together loudly, throw something noisy onto the floor if you've got it handy (not at the cat, no matter how tempting). You don't want to actually frighten him, just startle the hell out of him. Psycho should respond in one of three ways: he will run away and hide, he will run a little ways and start furiously grooming himself (probably with his back to you), or he will crouch down, pin his ears, and hiss or growl. If he does the latter, you've frightened him and made him defensive - don't try to touch him or anything, as he might seriously strike back. Just stand still and glare at him until he decides it's safe to turn his back and run. Give him some time to calm down and then be really nice to him, as you don't want him to be afraid of you, just respectful.

The first two responses are what you really want, especially the stop-and-groom thing - this means you've made the right impression, but without actually frightening him. If he runs and hides, you might have to reassure him a little later (with some nice head rubs) that you're not going to eat him, you're just not going to tolerate being slapped at. Don't chase him when he runs, that will also make him defensive - let him go off and think about it. If he's frightened and defensive, he won't be thinking, he'll just be reacting, so please don't think that hitting him will work better!

Cats do a lot of bluffing to avoid actual physical confrontations - hence the fluffed out hair, Halloween-cat arched back, and sideways posture when they meet, for example, a strange dog. They look bigger and more dangerous that way. What you are wanting to do is remind your cat that you are bigger and stronger than he is, and that you COULD be dangerous if you were pushed to it - the same message he would try to send to another cat or a strange dog.

Of course, if Psycho has been possessed by aliens and is trying to hypnotize you into submitting your body for experimentation, there's nothing you can do about it. Hopefully he is just trying to figure out how you open the refrigerator door.
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  #18  
Old 06-28-2000, 03:32 AM
GaWd GaWd is offline
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Wherever I go, whatever I do, when I turn around and look, there he is. My big orange tomcat, Psycho, is sitting there looking at me, eyes narrowed, ears back. When I wake up at night, he's lying close by with his head on his paws, watching me. He's doing it as I type. He's never been completely normal; ever since my daughter was a tiny baby, he would occasionally walk by her and, without breaking stride, reach up and smack her in the head. But this staring thing just started in the last few days. What is he plotting? Should I fear for my life? Is he maybe possessed? If you don't hear from me again within 2 days you'll know the worst has happened!
Wow Marlitharn, My orange girl cat(the raving psycho she is), aptly named 'Killer' after a fixing gone wrong, does the same stuff. She even hates it when girls come in the house and will hiss at them until they leave.

She's out to get me for sure.

Time to file another police report

You don't think that's weird, do you?
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  #19  
Old 06-30-2000, 06:40 AM
Larry Borgia Larry Borgia is offline
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I'm going with the coup-d'etat theory. I wonder if something recently happened which might have caused Psycho to wonder if you are as tough as you really are. However he isn't sure of this, so he turns away when you look at him.

Although Coosa knows more about this than I do, I have to disagree with her approach. I'd actually favor something along the lines of daniel's idea, although toned down considerably. If possible hold Psycho down and pet him vigorously. I have a cat book that swears that in multi-cat environments (barns, multi-cat houses etc.) Dominant cats will pin and groom submisive cats to express superiority. I have no personal experience of this, but it's worth a shot
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  #20  
Old 06-30-2000, 11:46 AM
CrankyAsAnOldMan CrankyAsAnOldMan is offline
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This is why I love cats. This sort of oddball behavior.

Aw, geez, I'm about to post a "me too" style response. I HATE MYSELF!
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  #21  
Old 06-30-2000, 12:51 PM
Joe_Cool Joe_Cool is offline
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In this public service announcement, we will tell you about Paranoia. Can you recognize the subtle warning signs of Paranoia? Paranoia is like having a cat that's always staring at you when you're not looking - you can see him out of the corner of your eye, but when you turn around HE STOPS! And then when you turn back away from him, he does it again, this time mocking you behind your back, judging you and finding you unworthy, but you can juuuusssst never quite confront him with it. In fact, everyone's doing it to you - not just your cat! They think they're better than you, and they're all laughing at you - their own private little joke! Taking down notes about you, whispering their little secrets and smiling knowingly at you as you walk down the street! Soon you won't be able to take it anymore! It's too much to bear! They can't do this to you! You'll show them! You'll grab your gun and...
LMAO!!! hahahahahahaha...hey, wait...don't give these people any ideas, ok?
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  #22  
Old 06-30-2000, 01:30 PM
KCB615 KCB615 is offline
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This one's easy....

There's a very simple adage in regards to this problem:

Dogs good, cats bad.

Happily a dog person since the late 1970's...
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  #23  
Old 06-30-2000, 03:11 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Larry Borgia: I'm going to have to disagree with your claim that the dominant cats groom the submissive ones... In my mom's household, the dominant mammal (a cat, of course) is routinely groomed by the one lowest on the kitty totem pole-- If there's any doubt as to the dominance, just watch what happens when Origami tries to eat from Spunky's dish. Spunky (the dominant one) seems to regard it as a service which she deserves as top cat. On the other paw, she also has a defect in her rear legs which makes it harder for her to groom herself... Maybe she just tolerates Origami grooming her because she knows that, regardless of the symbolism, Origami doesn't pose any real threat to her.
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  #24  
Old 06-30-2000, 03:25 PM
tcburnett tcburnett is offline
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The paranoia answer is clear the correct one. Now that I know they are doing it, I realize that people ARE staring at me, but when I turn, they LOOK AWAY SUDDENLY!

Cats started this. They stare at me like they are carnivorous and I am a tub of meat. The faces in magazines stare at me as well. And the voices! YES! I WILL DO WHAT THE VOICES TELL ME TO DO!
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Old 06-30-2000, 11:50 PM
Larry Borgia Larry Borgia is offline
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Chronos,

According to the book I read (Keeping Cats by Muller) the dominant cat will pin the submissive cat and then groom it. Again I have not witnessed this personally, so I can't vouch for this, but the book included a picture, with the pinned cat looking rather vexed.

Also this was a German book featuring (presumably) German cats. Maybe Cats do things differently over there.
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Old 07-01-2000, 01:03 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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OK, I can see how pinning would be a gesture of dominance... When Origami grooms Spunky, she sort of puts a paw or two on to hold her head steady, but from all I can tell, Spunky would be able to get free easily, if she so desired, so that's probably not a pin.
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Old 07-01-2000, 01:12 PM
Fillet Fillet is offline
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According to the book I read (Keeping Cats by Muller) the dominant cat will pin the submissive cat and then groom it. Again I have not witnessed this personally, so I can't vouch for this, but the book included a picture, with the pinned cat looking rather vexed.
Larry, my best friend's cat will do this when her kittens (now about 9 weeks old) get a little too rambunctious with biting her tail & pouncing on her - she just whips around, gets the offending kitten under her front paws and starts licking them vigorously until the squeaks of protest stop. So it happens on this side of the pond, too.
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Old 07-01-2000, 11:36 PM
Mr2001 Mr2001 is offline
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OK, so when my cat starts licking me (usually my hands, face, or hair) is he being nice and trying to groom/pet me, or is he trying to make me think he's the boss?
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  #29  
Old 07-02-2000, 06:44 AM
lindsay lindsay is offline
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Could be the cat likes the salt on your skin, but my guess is that he wants to mark you, and also make you smell right, according to the cat.

Smell is important, that is why when introducing a new kitty, you take a towel and rub it all over the current cat and use the towel to rub down the newcomer. Cat recognises smell and is less aggressive.
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