A typical evening scenario: Isis is sleeping on the futon. Suddenly, her head shoots up and, growling ferociously, she attacks a back foot. I intervene and stroke her head until she  seems calm  again.


Isis October 22nd 001


She settles back into sleep. Until the next time. This can happen in as short a space as five minutes. Sometimes she does it three or four times or more during the evening.

As I write, I realise that these bouts now take place most often in the early evening. Generally, by about nine, she is sleeping quite soundly.

When she first came, the attacks occurred at night. The first time was soon after she arrived. Hearing the snarling I shot into the kitchen to see what was happening. Isis lay on her bed, looking quizzical, one back foot in her mouth.

During the first few weeks this happened several times. Generally, by the time I arrived downstairs the incident would be over.

She no longer wakes up in attack mood when she’s sleeping downstairs on her own at night. Nor does she when she’s sleeping on the human bed – unless inadvertently I startle her.

But it’s still happening while she’s asleep in the evening.

I want to know why. I decide to keep a log of ‘attacks’ over a week and see if any pattern emerges.

(Stating this intention here is the best way of making sure I do it.)


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

This entry was posted in self-damaging, self-harming, strange behaviour and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to nightmares?

  1. Amber L. says:

    Hmmm, I’ll be interested to see if a pattern emerges. My dog Boo, who just came to live with me in November, likes to chew on her feet occasionally, but there’s no rage involved, and it’s not horribly extreme. It’s not unusual to see her with an entire back foot in her mouth!


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