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Over-Stimulation in Cats: How I Handle it

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Published on Jul 10, 2012

Because Natasha has this over-stimulation issue, I have to stop petting her when I notice the signs (tail-twitching/lashing for her). Read on to learn more about over-stimulation in cats.

Apparently over-stimulation is a form of petting-related aggression. If you pet a cat for too long, they will attack you- but (more often than not) there are signs. Tail twitching/lashing, ears going back, fur rippling on the spine, and annoyed meows/growls. In that order (for my cat).

At first I thought nothing of Natasha's sudden attacking me while petting her. I thought she was just getting feisty and playful. But as those "seemingly" playful attacks became worse each time, and eventually resulting in me having to scruff her and pull her roughly off of me before she seriously harmed me, I knew something was up...

Which is how I came to learn what "over-stimulation" is... in all my years of owning cats (since I was BORN pretty much), I have never run across this. Apparently it is more common in feral cats than others (which is weird because I had a "feral" cat way back when and he never did that)...

From this link (http://www.littlebigcat.com/behavior/...), it says: "Accepting human touch is a learned behavior, not a natural one, and some cats may be more naturally reactive than others. Further, Nala may have missed out on vital human interaction during her early socialization period of kittenhood, so slow desensitization toward touch may be in order."

They say if you stop at the first sign of over-stimulation, (for Natasha, the tail twitching/lashing), and leave them wanting more pets, over time the length of time for them to become over-stimulated will become longer and longer until they no longer have these issues...

But say they attack you before you have the chance to stop, from the site above, they say to go limp (instead of fighting to pull away- you will seem like prey) and yell "Ouch!" to distract them verbally.

Not all cats can be rid from their "over-stimulated" behavior, but I am hoping Natasha will be able to. I was a big sobbing mess today before I found out what this was. She's lucky she found a family that can deal with this.

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