Aggression in domestic cats is usually the second of the most common feline behavior problems , in forums many questions are raised about certain aggressive behaviors that owners have sometimes observed in their cats and that in many cases they start suddenly.
A cat that is aggressive , is a dangerous animal to live in our home, it can attack not only family members, it also usually shows its aggressiveness with everyone who passes the door of our house.
Aggression is not reflected in the same way in all cats, some avoid relating and others attack or bite you as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
You should know that any sign of aggressiveness that happens regularly, no matter how intense, should be studied by a veterinarian.
Until they can determine the cause of this aggressiveness, the best thing is try not to provoke or encourage aggressive behavior, for example, play with our hands and allow the cat ‘s bite or scratch .
You must bear in mind that before entering to assess this type of aggressive behavior , possible diseases that may be causing the problem should be ruled out.
Signs of an aggressive cat
- Dilated pupils.
- Stare at the person to be attacked, with the whiskers and neck stretched out and the ears back
- Tail separated from the body, bent down or vertical with the tip bent up.
- Bristling of the hair on the back.
- It could be growling, or howling.
- Ears erect, slightly turned forward.
- A rigid and straight posture.
Types of aggressiveness in cats
In addition to aggression between cats, you can find these other forms of aggression:
- Aggressive cat with children and babies.
- Aggressive cats at the vet.
- Cat aggressiveness after neutering.
- Aggressive with the owner.
- Aggressive cat when people come home.
- Aggression after anesthesia.
Causes of aggressive behaviors in a cat
1. Pain makes the cat aggressive
The pain in cats is a common cause of aggression that happens suddenly , particularly in older cats or those who have always had a calm temperament.
The feline arthritis , dental disease, trauma and infections are just some of the conditions that can cause pain and subsequent aggressive response when touched to a cat in the painful area. If the warning signs are ignored, a scratch and even a bite may follow.
2. Aggressive cat out of fear
Fear aggression is triggered by a cat sensing a threat from which it cannot escape. It can be a learned behavior based on a past traumatic experience.
The terrified cat will respond with body language that is obvious to the experienced cat : it will turn to the side and puff its tail and fur to appear larger, its ears will flatten back, it will hiss, and its pupils will dilate.
3. Hormones can cause a cat to become aggressive.
A non-spayed or neutered cat is much more likely to be aggressive. It is the most obvious and easy to understand type of aggression, male cats are biologically prepared to fight with other male cats when there are females in heat. If you see two cats fighting, do not physically interfere because you will almost certainly become the target of the cats’ aggression.
As males reach adulthood, they begin to challenge each other to gain access to their mates and territory.
4. Redirected aggressiveness in cats
It is a very common type of feline aggression . The Redirected Aggression occurs when a cat is aggressively incited by an animal or a person who can not get (because there is a window between them, for example).
Unable to reach the one causing his agitation, he turns around and attacks at that moment, anyone who is unlucky enough to be around, be it another cat, a dog or a person. There may be a considerable delay between the initial arousal and the redirected aggression.
It is not a malicious or intentional type of aggression. It is almost like a reflection, done automatically without thinking by the cat.
5. Aggression when introducing a new pet into the home
Some cats find it very difficult to accept another pet in their territory and this can lead to fights and tension within the home.
To get cats together in the same household, this must be done by following certain steps and gradually.
6. Aggression due to maternity of females
The maternal aggression can occur when a cat with her kittens is approached by people or other animals which she perceives as a threat. Although aggressiveness is directed especially to other cats, it can also be suffered by people.
Mothers can be quite aggressive when defending their young, especially in the first few days after the young are born.
7. Aggression could be the response to trauma
Cats can suffer from PTSD . Their brains are wired in a similar way to ours, and the effects of chronic anxiety from human violence or the need to survive on the streets can lead cats to be aggressive.
8. Aggression for territorial defense
Both male and female cats are territorial, but males can defend larger territories than females. The territorial aggression of cats usually be direct to other cats, but can also target dogs and people.
Cats mark their territory by guarding, rubbing their chin, and urinating. They can stalk, chase, and ambush an intruder while displaying offensive body postures, including hissing, punching, and growling. The perceived territory of a cat could be not only the house, but also the yard.
Some of the most common situations that trigger territoriality are:
- The cat in the home reaches sexual maturity.
- A new cat is introduced to the family and home.
- Major changes are made to the cat’s family or environment (for example, moving or someone moving)
- Neighborhood stray cats enter the cat’s territory.
9. Idiopathic aggression
Within the idiopathic aggression would be any type of aggression whose cause cannot be determined or explained through a behavioral history or a veterinary examination.
Cats with this type of aggression can violently attack their owners , bite repeatedly, and remain in a state of arousal for long periods of time.
If I have an aggressive cat, what do I do?
I offer you two solutions to the aggressiveness of your cat:
1. Identify the causes of aggressive behavior
The first thing is to prevent your cat from hurting you . Trim your nails so that if you scratch it does less damage.
The next step is to identify the triggers for aggressive behavior . Write a list of all the circumstances surrounding such behavior, including the time and day of the week, interactions with other animals and people, etc.
Once you have identified them, avoid the triggers to resolve the aggressive behavior.
It is very important that you pay attention to your cat’s body language and learn to recognize the signals that occur shortly before your cat attacks.
2. Benefits of enriching your cat’s environment
Improving the cat’s living environment can improve, if not avoid, aggressive behaviors.
You can ease boredom and frustration, stimulate the mind, and provide a proper form of play and release of energy. Many undesirable behaviors can be reduced by providing your cat with plenty of enrichment options.
However, some forms of enrichment may not be suitable depending on the triggers, so make sure that what you provide doesn’t make your cat overly excited or fearful.
Here are some ideas:
- Create a toy box for your cat –the same toys all the time quickly get boring. Cats like novelty and fast movement. Rotate the toys in and out of the box every three days, so that only play with the toys for a few days, and then you will add some new and exciting toys.
- Smell is important for cats:take small toys with you before you give them to them to take on your scent, or put them in the garden to take on the scent of the outdoors. Some cats love the smell of catnip toys.
- The interactive toys:they tend to keep the interest of cats for as long. If you have an active cat, you should play with him for a minimum of 20 minutes twice a day. Never use toys that involve using your hand, or any other part of the body, as you could encourage aggressive behavior by teaching your cat that it is allowed to attack your hands.
3. Use soothing products for cats
You can add the GimCat Antistress Paste to its diet , to reduce acute or chronic stress situations and their consequences on the health and well-being of your cat.
Pipettes results also give Calming Spot On for cats , calming and reduce behavioral problems in cats naturally based valerian extract will suffice with a weekly application to relax your pet.
The use of the Beaphar Calming collar for cats. It contains natural component products (valerian and lavender) that are released slowly in 3 to 4 weeks. In this case I have read opinions against and in favor, that it works depends a lot on the cat.
Additional tips for handling an aggressive cat
Controlling the behavior by avoiding all circumstances that cause aggressive behavior is an appropriate solution if you stand your ground and your cat does not seem to have emotional problems.
If the application of the advice has improved the situation, do not consider taking additional measures. However, you should seek professional help if the situation has remained static or is getting worse.
There are veterinarians who specialize in cat care and certified feline behavior counselors. One of these professionals can offer to help you and your cat while keeping everyone safe.
Meanwhile, basic behavior modification techniques you can try include:
- Reinforce the behaviors you likewith rewards.
- Try to focus your cat’s attentionbefore she acts inappropriately.
- Combine unavoidable facts with delicious treats:When the dishwasher is turned on it means it is about to receive a treat, the noisy appliance becomes less scary for your cat.
You may want to try pheromone products like Feliway. It is also a good idea to check with your vet.
There are some techniques that you should always avoid:
- Don’t punish your cat. Punishment makes your cat more aggressive, and it will also damage your relationship. Even punishments that are considered mild, such as spraying a cat with a spray bottle, throwing objects at the cat, to cause noise, shaking a can with something noisy, and prolonged isolation, should even be avoided.
- Don’t push your cat beyond his comfort level as you are likely to cause setbacks and hinder his progress.
Finally, put yourself in your cat’s shoes: think about how he might feel and try to understand his behavior from his point of view.
Sacrificing an aggressive cat
This is the last of the resources, the subject of the sacrifice of cats is quite delicate because it depends on various factors.
Euthanasia can be considered in cats with serious behavior problems, aggressiveness towards people, who do not respond to an ethological and pharmacological treatment, endangering the physical integrity of those who live with them, especially if there are small children and babies .
Taking into account that we accept pain differently, that we have our beliefs and that each person loves their cat more than anyone else. The decision to euthanize our cat hurts a lot and therefore we can delay it perhaps too long.
Think about it before carrying out it, it is an important decision that you must be clear about before ordering the sacrifice. If you decide on feline euthanasia, you should take your cat to a veterinary clinic, although there are those who want to euthanize their cat without pain at home, this option should be ruled out .
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