by Michael and Leah
(Deerfield Beach, Florida)
Dear Mr. Broad, I have read your blog on Aggressive behavior in A Cat and I am fearful that I may not have been correctly raising my cat. I have an 11 week old male Bengal kitten. I purchased him from my job which is at a Reptile and exotic pet store when he was 6 weeks old.
At first he was nervous and very needy for attention, I believe the issue arose when I began to play with him with my hands. I would let him scratch and bite my hands thinking it was playful.
I soon read that cats can get used to using hands as play things and began encouraging him to bite on the toy and his blanket. Although he would play with his toys he continued to bite and scratch hands and playfully chase our ankles. He would also arch his back and run around sideways growling.
When the biting and scratching became more intense, I made the mistake of taking advice to bop him on the nose lightly to discourage this behavior. I know now this is wrong. This worries me because he is getting increasingly aggressive and sometimes seems almost scared of us. He can be the sweetest cat sometimes, he sleeps with us a lot and seeks affection, but he can sometimes quickly turn and begin to bite. Which I discourage with a loud NO! now.
I hope I haven't traumatized him or hurt him, I work with animals and I would hate this to be true. His bites and scratches are becoming more and more painful and he is more likely to bite than to let you pet him. It hurts me to think I may have caused this behavior. I want to include as much information as possible to identify the problem.
We have left him alone for hours at a time on occasion. I don't tap him or physically reprimand him at all anymore. He wags his tail while biting and pulls your hand into his mouth. He is now "attacking" and then running away to hide. He also purrs while biting.
I am sorry for writing so much its just I am so fearful that it may be too late. I appreciate any guidance or advice you may have for me and thank you for your time,
Michael and Leah