Show: My Cat From Hell Season 6, Episode 5
Episode Title: Fat Elvis
Male Siamese mix; adopted as a kitten.
Celebrity Photographer; works out of his small studio apartment.
How Bad Is It?
Jeff’s assistant, Jessie, is tired of being attacked and scared by Buster, and threatens to quit if this behavior doesn’t change. Buster’s behavior is also compromising Jeff’s work relationships, and his career is now on the line because clients do not want to work with him out of fear of Buster.
- Buster’s aggressive behavior (growling, hissing, biting, scratching, swatting) towards any visitors in the home.
- Buster has a terrible relationship with Jessie, who is in his home consistently.
- There is no place in the home that Buster feels is his own, and as a result he is territorial over the couch.
When you have an animal like Buster who is displaying fear-aggressive behavior towards anyone who enters his home except for his guardian, a good way to combat this behavior is to practice petting exercises. Usually these animals feel comfort when their guardian is close to them, so with the guardian sitting next to the animal, try having a visitor give them a treat, which can possibly help the cat see that people bring good things. This can lead to positive association with human hands, and then the visitor can practice petting the animal for short periods of time with their guardian nearby to comfort them. If you pet an animal too long, they can become over-stimulated, and the aggression may come back. These exercises do take time and may need to be practiced consistently to see results.
Jackson observed that Buster had a wide “challenge bubble,” meaning his comfort zone spanned around him like a bubble, and he became aggressive once this bubble was crossed. Jackson also observed that Buster had no place in the home to call his own, and was being territorial over the couch, which is where visitors should be sitting in comfort and not in fear. In this case, the animal may need a vertical world to explore and call their own. In a small home, you can use window and wall-mounted cat furniture to build a “Cat Superhighway” for your cat to climb, observe, and have their own territory in the home. Catify your home!
Sometimes we do not realize that we give off our energy to an animal, and they may react with negative behavior as a result. In the case of Buster, Jackson advised Jeff to take photos of his assistant interacting with his cat. In one photo, we see Jessie holding Buster, but they’re both full of fear and are literally pushing each other away. If you approach an animal with fear and discomfort, they usually do the same. If you approach them with confidence and comfort, they can sense this and tend to follow your lead and be relaxed as well. It may not be instantaneous, but while practicing other exercises to improve your cat’s behavior, make sure to be confident and positive to help them along the way.
Spirit Essences remedies that might be helpful in this type of situation are:
Bully Remedy is formulated to help in situations where one animal wants to control and dominate others, whether it is animals or humans. This remedy is designed to help the bully relax and let others go about their business. This is a great remedy to consider using with your pet if you feel that they’re displaying bully-type aggression towards you or any visitors who enter the home, and may help them not feel the need to dominate. Jackson used Bully Remedy on Buster because he was aggressive towards any visitors who entered the home, and seemed to want to gain control over these visitors. With consistent use of Bully Remedy, as well as the other exercises that Jackson put into effect, Buster was on the road to recovery!
Stress Stopper is formulated to help animals adapt and cope with unusual or stressful situations, such as visitors, thunderstorms, boarding, remodeling, or similar situations. This remedy is designed to help animals feel grounded and protected, and can also be helpful for animals who get stressed while traveling or who get carsick. This remedy can be a great supporting remedy to use along with a remedy that is addressing an animal’s core issue. Buster may have benefited from Stress Stopper because he was experiencing a high amount of stress and fear, and needed to feel grounded and protected in his space.
Safe Space for Cats is formulated to help cats establish appropriate boundaries and reduce territorial stress that may manifest as aggression, spraying, inappropriate elimination, or other stress-related behaviors. The combination of a small home with clients constantly coming in and out and no place for Buster to call his own was a recipe for disaster. He was clearly experiencing territorial stress and acting out aggressively as a result. This remedy may help other animals in a similar situation feel safe and reduce their aggression, along with giving an animal his or her own place in the home and practicing other positive exercises.