Cats are among the list of favorite house pets of all time. They are cute, snuggly, playful, and lovable. But, sometimes, they hiss and display aggressive behavior, even towards their owners.
Aggressive behavior in pet cats stems from their innate behavior as natural predators. This behavior can cause serious harm to other pets around the cat displaying aggression.
Even a well-fed cat can be aggressive to its owner.
Handling Your Cat’s Aggressive BehaviorDetermine the Source of Aggression
Finding the source of aggression is essential to determine how to handle your aggressive cat correctly. Some of these reasons include:
- Territorial aggression
- Redirected aggression
- Predatory aggression
- Maternal instincts
- Conflict with other cats
- Irritability due to excessive petting
- Health problems
It could be challenging to identify the real reason for your cat’s aggression.
It is best to take your cat to the veterinarian to rule out any medical condition that may need immediate attention.
Suppose that medical concern is not the reason for your cat’s aggressive behavior. The vet can suggest home treatments or a visit to an animal behaviorist.
Interrupt the Behavior
Once you notice that your pet cat is about to become aggressive, try to intervene immediately.
Interrupt your pet feline by calling its name, tossing a soft toy in its line of vision, or shaking a jar of pennies.
Whatever you do to interrupt the incoming aggressive behavior, do not touch or pick your cat up. A cat already showing signs of aggression could inflict injuries even to its owner.
Use Calming Products
Calming products designed to interrupt a cat’s aggressive behavior are now available in the market.
Concerns about the safety of these products have arisen. Still, most of these alternative calming methods, such as sprays and diffusers, mimic feline pheromones. These substances give a reassuring familiarity that makes cats feel safe and secure.
These products can also help lessen the cat’s anxieties and aggressive tendencies.
Resort to Alternative Stimulation
Aggression is also a way for cats to release energy.
One way of handling your cat’s aggressive behavior is to provide a stimulating environment. Here are some examples of such an environment:
- A space to hide: a small space wide enough to conceal your feline friend serves as a refuge where a startled cat can run to safety.
- Scratching posts: instead of your cat scratching on your precious furniture, provide them a scratching post. This wooden material can help your cat stretch its muscles, shred the outer layer of its claws, and have a territory to mark.
- Cat-suitable toys: you can leave bits of toys around the house to shift your pet’s focus.
You can also attempt to play with them by dangling a soft toy in their line of sight.
The dangling or swaying movement will mimic prey and encourage cats to seize the toy.
If you notice increased agitation, end the play. But if you see that your cat begins to place nicely, reward it with treats. That is a nearly aggressive mood shifted into good behavior.
Resort to Behavior Modification
A licensed animal behaviorist will best facilitate behavior modification, which entails using positive or negative reinforcement to change undesirable behaviors.
Detecting Overt Aggression
Notable overt aggression in cats includes biting, swatting, or attempts to swat or bite.
These behaviors are often reactions displayed by cats when an individual or a stranger would reach out into their cage. Those are the cat’s attempt to control its environment or the circumstances it finds aversive.
To detect aggression in your cat, you need to be observant of its postures. The feline body will help you identify when it is over-stimulated, fearful, anxious, in pain, or uncomfortable.
- Eyes: The cat’s eyes are the windows to its soul. Dilated pupils mean a stimulated cat. But when it blinks at you, it is showing affection, meaning it is relaxed. A slowly blinking cat means a comfortable cat. Return the favor by blinking slowly back at it.
- Whiskers: When a cat’s whiskers are close to its face, it means it is fearful. When the whiskers are pushed forward, this signifies that the cat is feeling confident.
- Cat noises:
- Purring is a sign of pleasure, but it could also mean that the cat is in pain.
- Vocalization series: This is what you call the series of sounds cats make when they sense threats. Vocalization is initiated by a growl which serves as a warning.
- Then it is followed by hissing to show aggressors that your pet is armed with sharp fangs.
- A yowl usually follows the hiss. Shrieking is the last sound in the series, signifying that the cat is about to make a stand or retreat.
- Chirping and chattering: This indicates excitement overlaid with frustration.
- Trilling: It is more like purring but with a higher pitch. Trilling is a sign that cats are friendly and familiar. A cat would usually trill to its owner as a greeting.
- Meowing is challenging to decipher because cats make this sound for many reasons. But if your furry friend is constantly meowing, it could mean that it is in pain. Visit a veterinarian when this happens.
- Aggression in Cats. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/aggression-cats#:~:text=They%20have%20five%20potential%20weapons,and%20can%20easily%20become%20infected.&text=Aggressive%20cats%20can%20be%20risky,danger%20to%20family%20and%20visitors