How to deal with an angry cat.

I’m dating someone that has a cat. This is an angry cat.

The backstory is that he got her about 2 months old from the Humane Society and was told that it came from a crack house that was busted (according to the woman at the HS).

The cat, her name is Serena, is about 6 or 7 years old now. She tolerates her owner and will from time to time cuddle up. But usually, she meows angrily and hisses at company and occassionally her owner. Serena’s been treated well her whole life except for the possible two months at the crack house.

She was a bit standoffish with me at first, but I extended my hand and let her sniff it everytime I saw her. Serena meowed a bit but seemed OK with my existance the first few times I was over there. Now, I can’t walk by her without getting hissed at or getting occassionally swiped at with a declawed front paw. I’m not the only one she treats like that. In fact, Serena treats everyone like that. Including the owner, but that’s less severe than other people.

Last night we had an entente cordial with me giving her a bunch of Pounce™ treats and she not hissing or meowing at me. Today, without the treats, it’s back to hissing.

Is there anything the owner can do to make this kitty less hostile or anything I can do so I don’t get such a vitriolic reaction?

The cat needs to be reassured it’s not going to be bounced to another home for one thing, time will help with that. As for the other, see if there are any kinds of (safe for cat) toys she might like, chasing wadded up paper, balls, flutter balls, feathered wands, catnip mice etc. Experiment with ways to interest her in play, some cats love to chase string along the floor, others want to bat at it hanging in the air, with yet others liking the variation of a swinging string to swat. Try rolling the ball past her, or throwing the wad of paper for her to chase etc. Play with her, regularly every day without fail.

This will help her emotional health so she’s less insecure. I’d play with her for a time every time you came over. She did treat you with more deference after you gave her “special attention”, so that’s a clear indication that she feels neglected somehow. Not that your date is meaning to do so, they might not be aware of how needy this cat is, some cats need more attention and play than others. You might also look into a Feliway diffuser, it might help with some of the cat’s anxiety and stress. Good luck with helping the kitty to adjust.

It sounds as of the GF has had the cat for 6-7 years. Aproximately how much time are we talking? :eek:

I knew that pet cemetary was a bad idea. Tainted soil.

No, he’s had the cat for 2 months, the cat is about 6-7 years old. I’d give the cat a little more time to settle in and feel secure. After all, her life has been turned upside-down quite a bit in the last 6 months!


Once had a stray try to attack me. I kicked it, and it ran away. Never bothered me again, but then I never walked down that alley again either.

Agree with Zabali, the cat’s probably pretty stressed by all the change. Cats are very much creatures of habit and hate having their routines disrupted. Just give her time and gentle attention. I also second Feliway, it helped me tremendously when I had a very insecure cat some years ago. He’d lost one home and never quite got over the fear of losing another. Feliway was great at soothing him.

Any chance you could become the cat’s primary feeder? That has certainly allowed my husband to win the hearts of our 2 kitties.

Go back and re-read the OP. The cat was rescued from a crack house at 2 months of age, 6-7 years ago.

I agree that lavishing lots of affection and attention on the cat may make her more inclined to be friendly, but she may never lose the standoffishness. My roomate’s cat was abandoned and wound up frostbitten and starving before being rescued and adopted (back in 1996). She was always skittish and would disappear at the slightest out of the ordinary thing. She’s less prone to that now. Mostly because she has much love and attention from her humans.


Have you tried catnip? Fresh seems to work best with mine.

Ooooh, and it is a white cat too!

Dancer_Flight’s got it right, he’s had the cat for about 6-7 years. He got it as a two month old kitten.

As for catnip, apparently that intensified the anger in this cat and ended up getting pretty vicious. The pupils dilated, the ears went back and the cat, which was then declawed, started really tearing things apart. (FWIW, the cat was angry before it was declawed and the owner only declawed her so she could do less damage).

Thanks for all of the advice so far!

White cats are notorious in veterinary circles for being snots. So are calicos/tortoiseshells, but the white ones seem the most vicious. I have a white kitten and she is the sweetest little thing … until I try to give her medicine. My kitten is deaf, it’s common white cat with blue eyes problem. Sometimes if a white cat has one blue eye they may be deaf in the opposite ear. Perhaps the cat is deaf or partially deaf which adds to it’s insecurity or fear? If this is the case you need to be careful about how you approach the cat, if you are startling her because she didn’t hear you that could be the reason for the hostility.

If she isn’t deaf then you probably just need to be patient. Very patient.
Very, very patient.

One thing required

Sounds like my sister’s cat (who is also named Serena - maybe a name change is the trick?). She’s had the cat for 2 years, and she still hisses at visitors, even ones who are there almost every day. She’s a long-hair tabby, though, not white.

Incidently, both the calico cats whe have had were very friendly, affectionate cats. Callie would come to meet visitors at the door and would curl up beside them (or on their coat, shoes, purse, or whatever was available) and go to sleep. Sandy was more wary of visitors but would spend the night sleeping on my pillow or tucked in beside me or between me and the wife.

I had a relative with a cat that was incredibly mean spirited. While moving to the midwest, she put the cat in a carrier in the front seat. Pretty soon she smelled some nasty kitty poo. Okay, fine, no problem, she was just going to stop at the next stop to clean it up. But nooooooooo, angrycat was not satisfied with that. The unfortunate relative felt something splat against her arm. Lo and behold, it was the aforementioned kitty poo. Angrycat had apparently made many little kitty poos, and began pitching them rapid-fire out the carrier and right on to the poor driver. As a bonus, they were nice and wet. She managed to pull over the car while trying to defend against the onslaught.

I mention this because that cat happened to have arthritis, which made her already poor disposition worse. Angrycat liked only one of its owners (yes, the one that was targeted for the ICBMs- inter car bowel movements).

Perhaps this cat has an unknown affliction that isnt enough to make it really sick, just enough to make it very, very grouchy.

I had a cat who tolerated me pretty well, but didn’t like company. He was an indoor cat and we lived alone for most of his life.
He raised hell with the vet and the staff. The vet said it was because he hadn’t socialized, and it was a common problem with indoor cats.

Heh, If I was still a teenager, I’d tell you this isn’t nothing a good sack of weed couldn’t take care of.
You’d have that cat sharing the couch, watching the game, and muching down all the nacho cheese Doritos with you in no time.

I have friends who “saved” an alley cat that was less than a year old at the time. Like the OP’s situation, it started out hostile to absolutely everyone all the time, even them. But over about 6 months it learned to tolerate its new owner couple most of the time.

Fast forward to today, 8 years after these folks adopted the cat.

It still barely tolerates anyone else. We visit about once a week, and get hissed at every time. It’ll come up, rub on our legs and look interested, almost friendly-like up at us. We can reach down and pet it once or twice & then the hissing starts & she’ll attack with her declawed paws.

They’re a childless couple in their mid-40s, and so are we. Our visits are real sedate; it’s not like we’re bringing 7 screaming rugrats who terrorize the cat, or we fire up the Led Zepellin at 150dB.

They tell us the cat is 99% normal with just them, but still can’t deal with anyone else all these years later. And 1% of the time the cat can’t deal with them either, attacking as best it can.

So my advice to the OP: Expect that unless you live with the animal, it’ll be an annoyance forever. If you live with the animal, it’ll eventually change from hating you to tolerating you.

For me when I visit, the cat is a little tiresome, but no more trouble than that. If I somehow found myself in my friends’ situation I’d make kitty burritos in a heartbeat.

This is either a bad joke, or you have anger management problems. Either way, your post is totally inappropriate.


I can see being upset if SRM had picked up a friendly little kitten and drop-kicked it into the next county, but (s)he was attacked by a creature with very sharp teeth and multiple very sharp little scythes attached to each paw. If self-defense requires a little kitty-kicking, then so be it, cat-lover that I am. Was (s)he supposed to just grin, bear it, and bleed so as to avoid offending PETA sensibilities?

My old cat had the same reaction to catnip. We finally decided she was just a mean drunk and kept the stuff away from her.

She was a stray when I got her. Apparently, she had been a house pet at some point because she’d been spayed. However, she’d been out long enough the get thin, stragglyy and have a chewed up ear. When I got her, she wasn’t friendly to anyone (though she’d never hiss at them unless cornered–mostly she’d just run and hide). It took at least 6 months for her to come around to accepting and trusting me. Longer for her to become truly affectionate. To be honest, she never liked company unless they had food. But she did stop running from them after about a year or so.

When I got her, I’d give her rewards (like Pounce) when she’d come to me or show affection. Other than that, I’d leave her alone and let her decide whether or not to approach me. That seemed to work better with her than seeking her out and trying to get her to trust me.