Aggressive cat challenge for owners to eliminate.
An aggressive cat can be extremely dangerous, especially toward infants and kids who typically are not able to recognize cat body language that are the indications of aggression. On top of that, cat bites and scratches are very painful and can transmit disease.
Your cat may possibly show one or more kinds of aggression, and the challenges may be more serious than just those discussed below. All the same basic rules apply to all sorts of cat behavior aggression :
Does your cat have one these aggressive tendencies?
- fear aggression
- multi-cat aggression
- maternal aggression
- medical aggression
- pain-induced aggression
- petting-induced aggression
- play aggression
- predatory aggression
- Redirected aggression
- status-induced aggression
- territorial aggression
A cat showing fear aggression hisses, shows her teeth, and crouches low with her legs and tails tucked under her body. Her ears are flat against her head, her fur stands on end, and her pupils are dilated as she’s trying to observe everything around her that may be a threat.
Two essential things not to do with a fear aggressive cat are:
- Do Not comfort your cat. Caring gentle words and petting show your approval of her bad behavior.
- Visitors to your home should not retreat or show fear in front of a fear aggressive cat, because this teaches the cat that her behavior can make unwanted visitors go away. It is a much better strategy to ignore and not give her any attention.
Multi aggressive cat
Cats showing this type of aggression will display puffed up hair, flattened hair, hissing, and howling. They are usually trying to show their dominance, and this will kick in at about 2 – 4 years of age. Hormones are running wild and rampant about this age and plays a big part in this aggressive tendency.
Since hormones are a primary reason of the aggressiveness in these type of cats, it is important to spay or neuter them to curtail a lot of these aggressive tendencies. Other methods of resolving this issue involve, separating them with their own food, water, and litter box until they are able to get along better.
Reward them for proper peaceful behavior. If you need to separate aggressive cats, NEVER use physical force, but use a loud noise like compressed air, shaking a can with a few rocks placed inside, or using a water spray bottle if you don’t mind a little water inside the house.
Everyone loves holding, looking, and playing with newborn kittens but mother cats can have a maternal aggression. They want to protect their young kitten which is natural. As the kittens get older this aggressive cat nature usually subsides. It is best to keep visitors, especially children, away for a time and allow the mother and kittens to bond.
If you must handle the mother cat during this time, you should probably muzzle or gently restrain her. If you need to handle the kittens, try coaxing the mother cat away with some special food and then closing the area from her but only for a short time.
Cats don’t like to be touched where it hurts and will show hostility to keep you from handling her. Trying to determine if she is hurt and needs a veterinarian is important. Wear gloves for protection if necessary to try and pinpoint the affected area. Offer treats during this examination period to console her.
If she had a traumatic painful experience from something in the past, this may have an effect on her attitudes. This type of trauma will require long time therapy for her to trust you.
Your aggressive cat may want you to pet her and then suddenly she acts as though she has had enough and attacks you. You may not have the time to recognize the signs of her displeasure because she was only on your lap for a few seconds.
The idea here is to put her on your lap for only a few seconds, pet her and then reward her with a treat. Put her down on the floor and give her one other small treat. Do this again the next day or very soon thereafter, but increase the time she is being petted by a short amount.
If you will continue to expand the time on each subsequent visit to your lap and offer treats to praise her good behavior, you should be able to reduce or stop her petting induced aggression very soon.
Playing with aggressive cat
Biting and scratching during play are usually signs of a aggressive cat that did not grow up around other kittens. Kittens learn how to play with each other and know the intensity of biting and scratching so they do not inflict pain on their playmate.
Without a playmate or another kitten they do not understand how painful her scratches and bites can be. Observe when she is aggressive and the circumstances surrounding this aggressiveness.
Find a way to startle your cat, such as hissing or blowing a can of compressed air, whenever she attempts to be overly aggressive during playtime. You are trying to cease the behavior of playtime aggression but not playtime. It may be effective to walk away when your cat becomes aggressive during playtime.
Under no circumstances do you want to physically discipline your cat for this playtime aggression. She may become scared of you and avoid playtime altogether if she is disciplined like this. The Humane Society talks about playtime aggression with some good solutions also.
Develop games to play with your cat where your hands are at a distance from her claws and teeth. Games such as ball toys that deliver food when batted about, tossing small balls, or even feathers on a long stick or fishing pole.
Other great tips with cat behavior problems from WebMD.
Cats have a normal instinctive desire to hunt, stalk, and chase rodents and birds. Of course this type of behavior is not welcome when it is directed toward children, adults or even small indoor pets.
If you do not want your cat to show this predatory aggression you must deny him access to these small animals and possibly even keep him indoors. It is a natural behavior for cats to hunt and if this behavior is not wanted you will need to curtail any of the temptations.
Be aware of the postures of a hunting cat such as a lowering of the head, twitching tail and lunges when a small animal is within reach.
Redirected aggressive cat
Sometimes your cat may be so engrossed on what is going on outside while sitting on the windowsill that she doesn’t hear you walking toward her. If you startle her she may take a swipe at you or some other type of aggression.
A cat that has redirected aggression may growl and pace, hair stand up on its end, tail swish profusely, and pupils will be dilated. This is a very stimulated cat. If you approach her while she is in this state, you may get hurt.
Avoid the aggressive cat until this aggressive nature has calmed down. If you must pick her up to move her to another room, use a towel or something thick so she does not get her claws into you. Treat her like you would any kid who has been in trouble and put the cat into “time out.”
If the aggressive cat nature was because of another cat, you will need to separate the cats and slowly reintroduce them once they have some time apart. This may need to be in pet carriers for at least one of the cats, but give them time to work out their issues.
If your cat wants to control the situation she is in, such as getting angry and aggressive when you try to move her this is called status-induced aggression. Other forms of this are blocking doorways, or swatting when an owner passes by, or another cat gets close.
Signs of this type of aggression include tail swishing, dilated pupils, growling, hissing and flattened ears.
You must ignore these types of aggression for play, food and attention. Only reward your cat with playtime and food when she is relaxed otherwise, she will see that she can be bad and get rewarded for it.
A cat is relaxed when her tail is held up, pupils are normal sized and she is not swatting. Just as before never physically punish your cat as this sends the wrong message to her and she may become more aggressive.
The best way to handle a aggressive cat that has status-induced aggression is to completely ignore the cat. Another good article on this kind of aggressive cat is by catbegood.com regarding cat fights.
Cats protect and defend their territory by chasing, swatting, and even attacking a new or visiting cat. Cats that even return from a visit to the vet or hospital can be the recipient of territorial aggression.
The best way to deal with this type of aggression is to prevent it from happening when bringing a new, returning, or visiting cat to the home. Apply the following steps to prevent problems before they occur or even after a problem has happened.
- The new cat to the house should be in its own room but with the ability to hear and smell each other through closed doors.
- After a couple of days, switch rooms with the cats and allow each cat to explore the scent of the other cat.
- After a day or so switch the cats back again or if all seems well put the cats in carriers and place them close to each other. Observe for a while and if all is good release the cats and feed them.
- Don’t hurry through this introduction period because if there is a problem it will take longer the second time around.