The Leader Had A Bitemare

Disciples of Otis,

Brother Oliver here. Last night was very scary! Leader Otis and I were sleeping on the bed with the Guardians. He was snuggled up against the side of the smaller Guardian, and I was on her opposite side, snuggled between her and the bigger Guardian. At around one o’clock in the morning the smaller Guardian suddenly sat up and shouted out in pain. The bigger Guardian bolted upright and asked what was going on, and the smaller Guardian said that Leader Otis had bit her in His sleep!

Otis haunted by bitemares

Last night, Leader Otis bit one of the Guardians while He was asleep.

Leader Otis has always suffered from nightmares, and He has always been prone to twitching and sometimes moving his legs like He is running in His sleep. In the last year or so though, He sometimes gets worked up into terrified fits of hissing, scratching and generally lashing out while sleeping. He always calms down immediately after the Guardians wake Him up, but these bouts are often very upsetting to Brother Henry and me if we are snuggled up to The Leader.

Apparently, last night The Leader was caught in the throes of one of these episodes while the Guardian’s hand was resting on His belly. Without even knowing what He was doing, The Leader grabbed her hand with his paws and pulled it to his mouth, sinking his teeth deep into the meaty part of the palm below the thumb. The Guardian was bleeding badly as she rushed off to the bathroom, and I think I even heard her get sick in there from the pain. Meanwhile, Leader Otis had woken up and was acting like nothing at all was out of the ordinary. He was completely unaware of what He had just done.

The next morning, the Guardian that was bitten went to the doctor. Her hand is badly swollen and very warm. The doctor put her on some pretty strong medicine to help her get better. Neither of the Guardians are upset with The Leader, but the whole situation was upsetting none-the-less.

Otis haunted by bitemares 2

The Guardians aren’t upset with The Leader. He’s still getting plenty of scratches and pets.

I have never heard of cats lashing out and biting or scratching in their sleep. I heard the Guardians discussing what had happened and it sounded like they were trying to figure out whether or not these episodes were some kind of seizure related to The Leader’s other neurological issues. They said they were going to try to film one of the episodes to show to the people at The Bad Place.

For lack of a better term, I have decided to call these events “bitemares”. It seems to fit because it looks like The Leader is having a bad dream, and then He starts to swat and bite like He is defending Himself from something. It’s like a nightmare with biting, so bitemare sounds right to me. If anyone else has ever had this kind of experience with a kitty, the Guardians andΒ I would love to hear about it. I have certainly never seen anything like it before, and it sounds like the Guardians haven’t either.

So Sayeth Brother Oliver

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55 Comments

Filed under Daily Life

55 responses to “The Leader Had A Bitemare

  1. Sorry to hear this happened and sending healing thoughts to Guardian’s hand. Also grateful this was all in the context of a loving family. Sending wags and cyber hugs to you all. Max, Bella, & biped Paulette

  2. ena

    Hope that your guardian’s hand heals, and that as you learn more about what is happening with Otis that you’ll find the answers. I am sure that if Otis knew what he had done, he would be very unhappy. Glad everyone understands about bitemares.

  3. Wow! Sorry for your Guardian who was bitten. I guess it must not be funny for Leader Otis either 😦
    Purrs

  4. 2 cats

    Poor Leader Otis and Poor Guardian

  5. This just so breaks my heart.. I am proud of the Guardians who accept that The Leader didn’t mean to do it, but even still.. knowing how upset The Leader must have been at some point to bite.

    *gentle psychic kisses to The Leader’s unconscious self who is still so scared*

  6. Best wishes to the Guardian for a speed recovery! And lots of pats to the Leader who we all know would never want to cause his Guardians any harm.

  7. I hope you are able to find some answers, so sorry to hear about the bitemare. It does sound a bit like some seizure behavior, but I’m not sure I’ve heard of biting as part of that. Hope you heal quickly!

    • Thanks Maura. The Guardians had not heard of such directed, deliberate biting behavior as part of a seizure either. Also, The Leader wakes up and immediately stops the scratching/biting when they shake him. I don’t think seizures can be stopped in such a manner. It’s all very upsetting and puzzling. Hopefully we’ll get some answers and solutions to all of Leader Otis’s problems soon. – Brother Oliver

  8. emilykarn

    One of my cats who was semi-wild as a kitten occasionally bite me in her sleep when she experienced flash-backs. I would still check with the Vets. Bless the Guardians for being so understanding. Emily

  9. Poor sweet Otis! And poor Guardian too! Hope your hand heals quickly and hope you find an answer as to what is ailing our dear Leader. This must be so frightening and difficult for all of you. I can only imagine. Purrs and love to all of you in this difficult time!

  10. Poor Otis and Guardian..this does sound very odd..very wise to ask the vets as it does sound a bit like a seizure,especially with him being unaware of whats going on..sending big head butts and purrs,nothing hurts more than an unwell dear friend…hope you are Bitemare free !

  11. I’ve heard of a similar condition in humans. A couple years ago, NPR interviewed Mike Birbiglia, author of “Sleepwalk With Me”. He has this odd sleep disorder that can cause people to be violent or superhuman in their sleep. In his case, it caused him to jump out of a closed seconds-story hotel window in Walla Walla. He tried to make light of it, but nothing’s really funny about that story besides the name Walla Walla.

    • Oh my gosh! Hopefully Leader Otis doesn’t do anything as drastic as jump through a window! The name Walla Walla is kind of funny though, Pezcita. πŸ™‚ – Brother Oliver

  12. Poor Leader Otis and his catmare. Glad the Guadian is okay, too.

  13. I was thinking about your post today and I remembered a Nova special on Public Television about dreams. Some humans have a condition called REM sleep disorder, which prevents their bodies from going into a paralyzed state during dreaming. I scientists were able to replicate the condition in cats (I would consider that unethical, but they did it). These cats were known to stalk and pounce when they were dreaming.
    There is a transcript of the program.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/what-are-dreams.html

  14. How frightening for Leader Otis and the Guardian both. We had something similar happen here some years ago with Louie, one of our cats who is now gone. Louie was sleeping on the head peep’s pillow and the head peep woke to a huge pain in her arm. Louie had bitten her forearm so deeply that she was pouring blood all over the pillow and sheets. No one knew what had triggered it, though the head peep thought that Louie may have reacted to pain from his diabetic neuropathy and he wasn’t conscious of how he was reacting. Perhaps it’s something similar with Leader Otis. We hope the people at the bad place can get to the bottom of it. And that the Guardian’s hand feels better soon.

  15. How scary for both the Guardians and all you. We hope the Guardian’s hand heals quickly (the mom has been bitten before and knows how much it hurts) and you can find out why the Leader does this.

  16. One of my cats had a bad reaction to the calming drug Feliway…it would make him very tense and at the end of the month when the mister ‘wore off’ he would attack one of the other cats, and once when I intervened, me, biting me very deeply and not letting go for quite some time. An odd thing was that after each episode, it was like he forgot all about it. The other cat would be hissing and growling at him and it was as if he had no idea what the fuss was all about, just a few minutes later.

    That part of this sounds much like the attack on you. He’s actually bitten me a few times before in panic attacks, but those times stopped in seconds and was apologetic afterward.

    We weaned him off the Feliway gradually while dosing him with cat valium and there was one more incident when the Feliway went out, but much milder because of the tranquilizers. Then we gradually phased out the tranquilizers and there haven’t been any other issues like it since.

    You might try the cat valium, as it did seem to take the fury out of the attacks without zonking him badly inbetween. Or if you are using Feliway, there might be a connection there.

    • Thanks for the info, Oldcat. Leader Otis’s condition sounds a bit different though in that He is 100% asleep when the fits take Him. As soon as He wakes up, the biting, scratching and hissing stops. It’s like He is acting out a very scary dream and when He awakes, everything is back to normal again. Very strange. – Brother Oliver

  17. Oh dear, cat bites can be nasty with infections, I hope the hand heals cleanly. I guess if Otis never used to have bitemares until he got this condition they might be linked, and if he has had them a while it is not likely to be a bad reaction to his new meds?

  18. Please be very careful with the cat bite – that’s a tender spot – Mucho Oucho to be sure.
    Sounds like bitemares indeed. Perhaps disrupted sleep patterns like someone said – can be caused by meds or pain. We have always been cautious about petting RC when asleep or not interested as she does react rapidly with strong bitie defense…learned to be cautious from an incident like yours with another cat that was very old and ill. She just didn’t feel good.
    Otis purrs to sooth you in sleep! RC sends calming snuggles for dreamland

  19. Oh my gosh, I hope your guardian is going to be ok! Bitemares sound awful, poor Otis. Poor guardian. Hugs and purrs to all!

    • The Guardian has a pretty puffy hand still, Andrea, but I think the stuff that they gave her at the human Bad Place has prevented a bigger problem from developing. – Brother Oliver

  20. Your poor guardian and poor leader. I hope they both get better.

  21. Yow Leader Otis…dat bitemare soundz bad!! Me haz dem too 😦 Me let Mum tell ya bout it:
    Since NYLABLUE has been with me she has had serious nightmares; she wakes up startled sometimes howling, sometimes snarling & a few times she has tried to bite me….thankfully she has no teeth so I get ‘gummed’ instead!!! She always looks so startled when she realizes she has my hand in her mouth…..I have asked the Vet about this & he says she must be relieving something bad from her past & striking out…..inadvertently ‘gumming’ me….I was thinking she was having seizures too but that is not the case for her, thankfully!!!
    Not sure I was of any assistance. I am in a simialr boat tho….sometimes I think I should wear gloves to bed!!!! πŸ˜‰
    Sherri-Ellen & Nylablue xo

    • Thanks so much for that information Sherri-Ellen! It is definitely helpful to know that other kitties may be doing something similar. Hugs and purrs to you and Nylablue! – Brother Oliver

      • Hi there Borther Oliver..i can say none of my other cats have ever gone thru this..only NYLABLUE. She came to me as a adult rescue so who knows what is left in her subconcious from her old life? Was Leader Otis an rescue (kitten or adult)? I have found that cats who have a ‘past’ usually are more susceptible to bite/nitemares….
        I hope Mom iz healing well & Leader Otis is bitemare free at this point!!
        Sherri-Ellen & Nylablue xo

      • Leader Otis was the son of two feral cats, Sherri-Ellen. He spent most of His first year of life wandering alone in the wilderness. I’m sure He has many terrifying memories from that time. He has always seemed to have nightmares, but the bitemares are a new development. – Brother Oliver

      • HHMM Brother Oliver definitely The Leader could be dreaming of his wilderness past…those bitemares might be from his illness tho’….I hope Otis is doing all right & that the Guardian is healing from the bite!!!
        Sherr-Ellen & Nylablue xo

      • The Guardian is much better after taking some medicine, Sherri-Ellen. The Leader is hanging in there, even though He hates taking His medicine. – Brother Oliver

      • We iz both happy da Guradian iz takin da meddycashun!! Purrleeze Leader Otis take da meddysin fer yer Followerz sake n fer da Guardianz who wuud be lost wifout ya!!!
        Lub Nylablue n SherriEllen xo

      • I will try SherriEllen and Nylablue. It tastes pretty gross though. 😦

      • Dear Leader Otis: Mum crushez me meddycashun in a bowl in addz it to me brekkie n me eatz wat no prublem…it doez not have a taste so diz iz guud!!! Maybee yer Mum couud give ya a treet of sum kind after da meddycashun??
        Lub Nylablue xoxo

      • The Guardians have been giving Me freeze-dried chicken snacks right before and right after My nasty meds. I gotta admit, it helps Me not hold a grudge about the nastiness too much. πŸ™‚

      • Treetz werk….me iz relieved da Hu’manz are takin guud care of ya!!! Da are such GUUD Guardianz!!!
        Lub Nylablue xoxoxoxo

  22. I think bitemare is the perfect way to describe this – I hope the guardians find out the cause of these!

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