8 reasons why a cat is aggressive

aggressive cats

Why cat is so aggressive?

We personally as owners and caretakers of cats (Cat Sitters) , have been front row spectators of aggressive cats, which usually attack without any warning; but this behavior can be very normal, since we are strange people in their territory. Even so, in our experience as home caregivers, aggressive cats are only 2% of cases, most of them are friendly, social, scary but not aggressive and very affectionate, especially when they have been without their family for many days. human close. Because of those few cases of aggression that we have experienced in our profession, it is why we wanted to broaden this topic and look at explanations that can help our community to understand the reasons that direct such behavior in a cat.

First of all it is good to know that aggressiveness is one of the most common problems that cat owners complain about, as aggressiveness could be considered a risk to people in the home or their visitors. It is important to make it clear that regardless of the intensity of aggression experienced by your cat, you must clearly understand the reasons that can generate a constant situation of violence, and thus be able to find the appropriate solution with the support of your veterinarian or ethologist to stop it. those behaviors.

Cat is really aggressive

But what exactly is aggression in cats?

Aggression is threatening or harmful behavior that is directed at a person, another cat, or other nearby animal. This violent behavior can refer to a wide variety of behaviors that are the result of different reasons or circumstances that are present in your cat’s life. 

These behaviors are always preceded by body language, which can make it easy for us to understand the approaching situation of danger and to be able to face it; Among the most common are hissing, facial expressions, an arched body position, ears, tail and hair position, dilated eyes, among others. Understanding these body signals and evaluating each situation in measure will be of great help to discover the reason for your attack, here we will explain eight (8) possible reasons :

Cat aggression:

In this category, the first reason is the power struggle between two or more males, both to gain territory and to gain a partner, this type of aggression is usually common in street cats that on some nights we have probably heard with meows and strong blows on the roof.

As for the aggression between two domestic cats that live alone inside the home, it is something a little more complex. In this case, aggression can be seen between females, males or even female and male, and can be related to power roles in the home, be it due to physical size and activity within the home (larger cats tend to intimidate to the smallest or the most active to the most passive), or due to the lack of pleasant experiences in the company of other cats (perhaps in a shelter or place where they were born), or simply due to a clash of personalities.

If you suspect that your cat (s) are aggressive towards other cats, the first step and as a primary thing is to not allow your cat to have access to the street, and clearly to be neutered or spayed, since the sex hormones can play an important role in this type of aggression, such as motivating them to go out and look for such fights.

Aggression for fear or defense:

Aggression by fear can occur when the cat perceives a threat, which is magnified by feeling that he cannot escape it. It is common that in this type of fearful-defensive aggression, the cat bends and flattens, lowers its ears and dilates its pupils, begins to hiss or growl to get away what is causing it fear.

The best way to deal with this type of feline aggressiveness is to identify the situations that produce a fearful response and avoid or move away from it. Seeing that your fear response diminishes as the threat is removed, you can be rewarded with a cookie, petting or praise. It is also good to know that not showing fear in front of him is important, since it can reinforce his bad behavior; and diverting attention from it is a better way to deal with the aggression of fear.

Territorial aggression:

Territory defense can occur in both cats and cats, but in cats it is much more common and they tend to defend a larger territory. This type of aggression occurs mostly between cats, but it is possible that it is directed at dogs or people, especially some specific people or cats, it is not likely that this behavior is towards all people or animals.

The reasons for this aggression can be caused by different situations such as; Kittens that have reached sexual maturity, due to the arrival of a new cat or person in the family, due to a change within the home, such as the move of someone from the house or due to street cats that are within the territory and are marking.

In these cases of territoriality it is important to know and understand that socialization or re-socialization is not done by force between two animals that will share territory, these processes can take weeks or even months-

Similarly, if you are a spectator of any fight, NEVER interfere with any part of your body (hands or feet), since you can be seriously injured. At this time it is better to use some type of barrier, such as cardboard or wood panels, to separate the cats.

Game assault:

This aggression by game is the one that the owners suffer the most with their cats. Rough games are very common and in fact natural among kittens up to 2 years old, the problem here originates mainly when the game is with people and the fury of the moment makes it an aggressive situation.

The game itself is a vital part of every cat’s life, not only as an act to learn to hunt, but also as a training to know its limits of strength. When two kittens play, they learn to moderate bites or scratches, because they become aware of each other the level of pain they endure in front of their teeth and claws. When a kitten did not have company for its first months or was orphaned, it did not have the way to obtain this teaching and thus know how to moderate its play behavior. Other factors that can lead to aggressive games are cats that live long periods of time alone, with no way to release all their energy with the game. 

One of the most common cases is the use of hands or feet by their humans when playing, this leads to an association of the hands as a prey that can attack every time you want to play; remember that the hands are only those that caress and feed, but not the protagonists of the game, for this there are various toys specially designed to support the teeth and nails of cats.

aggressive cats

To intervene or improve aggressiveness in the game, the main thing is to NEVER use your hands and feet directly. If you see yourself in a situation where your cat attacks you to play, avoid aggression by distracting your cat with some object that is striking to him, and guide the game towards an object or toy and go away from your hands, the wands are ideal for remote play. The use of loud noises that distract the cat from aggression and redirect its attention, is another great strategy to avoid any abuse, it is important to make clear that the objective is not to scare the cat, but to refocus its attention. It is also good to consider having more than one cat at home, it is notorious that two cats will have much more fun together than a cat with a human.

Redirected Aggression:

This type of aggression is probably one of the most violent and common, and the attacks are often uncontrolled, terrifying, and dangerous. Redirected aggression happens when a cat is motivated to aggression by a person or animal to which it does not have access, for example, your cat at home that another animal leans out of the window to incite it; Being one inside and one outside and not having the way to face it directly, it can turn around and attack someone (person or animal) who is near or approaching it.

It is here where many people argue that their cat attacked him for no apparent reason, but what they do not know or can not think of, that there was an initial trigger that caused the aggression. So the importance of not intervening personally in a cat fight, since this type of aggression is not intentional or malicious, it is simply an automatic reflection of the cat in a situation.

If unexpected attacks are common in your cat, it is important to eliminate the stimulus of aggression, such as lowering the curtains of the window at times when cats usually go outside (at sunset), or using products that keep stray cats away from the House.

Caress-induced aggression:

aggressive cats

The aggression that is usually caused in the moments of affection and petting, is caused when the cat feels suddenly irritated when it is petted, and begins to bite slightly, jumps and runs away. This form of aggression is poorly understood by humans, but it is thought that repetitive and intense physical contact can become unpleasant for most cats (it does not happen in all cats); These constant caresses can cause excitement, static in their fur, pain or discomfort for the cat, and whoever does not, surely if you have someone very mellow around you, you will also be bothered and annoyed.

Handling these situations is not difficult, you need to know your cat and its body behavior well, to understand that it is not comfortable, so you will know when to stop and not get to uncomfortable moments with your cat. It is clear that every cat owner must refrain from unwanted petting, any type of physical punishment, trying to lift or lift a cat (there are some that like it and it is not the majority, so better avoid it), interact or disturb him while he is eating, or supervise that he is not disturbed by a child.

Pain-induced assault:

As its name implies, this aggression is unleashed by pain, and sometimes by frustration, and can be directed at any animal or person. The most common cases are when someone tries to touch a painful part of the cat, or when he feels pain, he anticipates that he will be manipulated, for example by the vet.

aggressive cats

One of the main things when having a cat with aggression problems, is to do a complete and detailed medical study, which specifies if there are any painful diseases in the cat (such as arthritis) or deep wounds that may be affecting its behavior.

Thus, with the indicated knowledge, it will be possible to avoid touching the pain areas and to seek together with the specialist a therapeutic plan that controls the pain levels in the cat.

Maternal aggression

Aggression by a mother, may be the most natural thing in the world, since it is something that is seen in most animals, even in humans … well, more than the love and protective level of a mother against her little ones. A mother can become aggressive when it comes to defending her young, especially in the first days after birth, as they are fragile and cannot defend themselves.

aggressive cats

For this reason it is recommended not to handle kittens in their first days, and to provide a calm, stress-free, quiet environment with the minimum number of visits, so as not to disturb a protective mother. This type of aggression usually disappears when the kittens grow and become more independent.

In summary, there is always a compelling reason for a cat to suffer from aggressiveness, it is vital to always work hand in hand with a veterinarian or behavioral expert to check your cat medically and psychologically and find the reason for its violence. The best part is that most cases of aggressiveness in cats have solutions and are in our hands.

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