Tips for an Aggressive Cat
13 November, 2012

As many cat owners know, our cats can be aggressive at times; it is inherent in their genetic make-up. My cat, Sammy, can become playfully aggressive and I know when to stop if he becomes too wild. Each cat is different in what he or she likes and we need to respect each cat’s boundaries. Read this article to learn about the different types of aggressive behavior and how to combat it.

Play aggression

To a cat, play is all about prey. Your kitty stalks her target from behind a door or under a chair. She crouches, twitches her tail, flicks her ears back and forth, pounces and kicks it. And cats are supposed to react this way.

However, if your cat starts to chew or scratch you, immediately say “no” and redirect your cat to a toy. If your cat continues to chew or scratch after you say, “no” and stop playing immediately. Never hit her or yell or your kitty will become afraid of you. Don’t resume playing until your cat has calmed down; then use the toy.

Petting aggression

Sometimes when you’re petting your cat, she might bite you out of the blue. Cats vary in how much they will allow you to pet or hold them. There are usually warning signs that they’re reaching their limit, but their signals can be subtle and hard to detect.

If your cat starts to react negatively, it’s time to stop petting your cat immediately and let him or her go his own way. Never yell or hit; any kind of physical punishment almost always makes the problem worse as it makes the cat more likely to bite.

Redirected aggression

Redirected aggression occurs when a cat is aroused (in a bad way) by an animal or person, but has no outlet for these aggressive feelings. For instance, your cat might be gazing out the window and sees a bird and become agitated. When your cat can’t get to the bird, he or she attacks the first thing that crosses her path which could be you!

Try to clap your hands loudly to break her fixation or just walk away and let your cat calm down on his own time.

Territorial aggression

Cats are by nature very territorial. However, cats only feel the need to defend their territory from other cats. Occasionally, a cat owner has a cat that defends his or her home and might prevent you from entering a room. If you have this type of cat, you can’t let her get away with this. If she tries to face you down, give her a squirt with a water bottle to let her know who is in charge. Or again, walk away and let your cat calm down and hope this behavior is temporary.

Make an appointment with your vet

If your cat’s aggressive behavior has started suddenly, there could be a medical issue causing it. Take your cat to the vet for a check-up; if your cat gets a clean bill of health, he or she could need behavior modification.

Our cats generally will tell us what they like and don’t like, so watch their body language and give them their space when they start acting up. If we respect them, they will love us unconditionally.

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