Ask the Expert: Cat’s Temperament Unpredictable

Your Pet Question: I have a 3 yr. old short hair domestic (barn cat) that is normally very affectionate and

Your Pet Question:

I have a 3 yr. old short hair domestic (barn cat) that is normally very affectionate and loving. I brush her daily, but just before I am done brushing she jumps at me and grabs my wrist, bites me and draws blood. She purrs and seems to be enjoying the brushing until she turns on me. Other times, she seems to be in heat, though she has been spayed– and when I approach her at that time, she also bites! What’s up with all this unpredictable temperament?
Paul McDonald, Niagara Falls, ON

The Expert Says:

I would have to now more to determine the cause of your cat turning on you like that; each cat has its own temperament and tolerance of humans. Does the cat sleep in the barn, or in your house? If outside, it is semi-feral and will not be too cozy with any humans, even though it likes the brushing, it will let you know that it is not comfortable getting too close to you. As for being in heat, the cat might just be trying to get some more food out of you by rubbing close. But as long as it is basically an outdoor, independent cat, do not expect it to be easily domesticated, and note what part of it your are touching when it turns on you, as it might have a sore spot that you are not aware of! If you discover that this is the case, have your vet give it a check up.
Dr. R Gilogue, DVM, LaSalle Animal Centre, Quebec

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