MCFH S6E3 - Swatting and Scratching, Hand Shy, Aggressive Towards Children

Show: My Cat From Hell Season 6, Episode 3
Episode Title:  Real Housecat of Orange County

By Beth

Photo: Animal Planet

Photo: Animal Planet

Cat: Shadow
Female, Russian Blue, rescued about two years prior


Peggy and Micah Tanous.  Married 9 years and have two daughters: Capri (age 5 ½) and London (age 7); Peggy is a former reality star who appeared on Real Housewives of Orange County.

How Bad Is It?

Shadow has shown aggression mainly towards Capri and Micah, to the point of scratching Capri’s face and barely missing her eyeball. Micah is fed up and insists on rehoming her.


  • Shadow’s skittish and sometimes aggressive behavior towards Capri is putting her in danger of a serious injury
  • The children (mainly Capri) rough handle both of the cats in the home and do not approach them correctly, and can potentially hurt them
  • Shadow is extremely hand shy, and reacts to hands with fear and aggressive behavior

Physical Approach

The huge problem in this situation was the way Shadow and her companion Persian cat, Sophie, were being approached by the children in the home. Thrusting your feet towards a cat or manhandling it like a rag doll is no way to interact. While Sophie would go limp and take the rough handling, Shadow would react by swatting and scratching, which was stemming from genuine fear.  A great way to ease the stress off of a cat who is hand shy and being approached wrong is to implement a “hands-off” policy until everyone in the home is educated on proper animal handling. A nice way to teach children where and how to pet a cat is by using stuffed animals and demonstrating, as Jackson did. 

In addition, a retractable spoon is a useful tool to be able to give the cat a yummy treat without the use of hands. This will help the cat to associate the children with positive experiences, not negative. And of course, tons of play therapy using fun and intriguing toys will help to push the cats challenge line and help with positive association.

Emotional Approach

It is extremely important for everyone in the household (both guardians and children) to understand how to treat and handle animals, especially the pets in their own home. Jackson stresses that we must teach our children compassion for animals, and if they cannot treat their own pets with respect and empathy, then they will be taken away from them.

Photo: Animal Planet

Photo: Animal Planet

In a case where a cat in the home is hand shy, you should evaluate what can be causing this and make changes. Think of how you would feel being approached feet first, or how you would react if you were tossed around like a rag doll. It is important to empathize with our pets and make strides to help them feel safe.


Holistic Approach

Spirit Essences remedies that might be helpful in this type of situation are:

Stress Stopper

In a situation where a cat (or any animal) is reacting to the events occurring in the household with fear and aggression, Stress Stopper is a great remedy to consider using for him or her. Stress Stopper is formulated to help animals adapt and cope with unusual or stressful situations, such as thunderstorms, boarding, remodeling, visitors, or similar situations. This remedy is designed to help animals to feel grounded and protected. If you have a pet like Shadow who has experienced major stress due to being manhandled and treated rough and is acting out because of this, Stress Stopper can help to ease this stress, while still focusing on fixing the other conflicts in the home.

Every pet is different, and has different needs and healing responses. Some other possible Spirit Essences remedies that may be helpful in this type of situation are:

Safe Space for Cats is formulated to help cats establish appropriate boundaries and reduce territorial stress that may manifest as spraying, inappropriate elimination, aggression, or other stress-related behaviors. This remedy works great when misted in the areas of the home where the cat is experiencing this territorial stress.  A cat like Shadow - who is fearful when hands enter her personal space, and who displaying aggression as a result - may benefit from Safe Space for Cats. The key in a case like this is to first stop putting hands and feet in front of the cat's face, then begin using this remedy to help the cat feel more secure in the home.


Trauma-Free is a remedy that is formulated to help clear the energy system of animals that have suffered from past abuse, neglect, accidents, or other negative “baggage,” and also to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This remedy is also great to use on animals that were recently adopted from a shelter or rescue, as we sometimes don’t know what they have been through in the past. In the case of Shadow, if the family would have given up and chosen to re-home her, Trauma Free would have been a remedy to give to help her heal from the trauma that had occurred in the previous household.

MCFH S6E4 - Cats Fighting, Pooping & Peeing in Shower, Young Cat

MCFH S6E3 - Excessively Licking Toes, OCD, Munchkin Breed