Aggression in Cats: How to Effectively Handle an Aggressive Cat

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Unprovoked Aggression in Cats, Know How to Deal with a Violent Cat Behavior.

If you’re a cat parent, you’ll need to deal with an aggressive cat at some point or the other, as aggression is one of the most common behavior in cats. Though you love your cat, you have to take the cat’s hostile conduct seriously and perhaps have to deal with a violent cat in an effective way without hurting it.

Cats use their teeth and their clawed paws when they are in an aggressive mood and this could be a considerable danger to the family as well as visitors. Some of the common sign of aggression in cats are:

  • Hissing
  • Biting
  • Growling
  • Clawing
  • Spitting
  • Scratching

It could result in severe lacerations and infections and even cause fever and infectious diseases. The reason for aggression in cats are various and it differs with circumstances and it’s important for cat parents to understand cat body language in order to deal with aggressiveness. There are different types of aggression in cats and there is no one size fits all. There are also some more aggressive cat breeds.  However, here are some general tips on how to tame an aggressive cat.

Tips on How to Deal with an Aggressive Cat Behavior

Aggressive Cat

  1. Rewarding Calm Behavior with Cat Training

This is known as positive reinforcement. Instead of punishing them when they are aggressive, try rewarding them when they behave well or do something that you like.

  • When you want to encourage a behavior, such as behaving in a friendly manner to your guests, friends and visitors, reward her with a treat.
  • If you want your cat to remain quiet, reward it when it’s quiet.
  • Motivate them towards good behavior by giving them food treats. They’re really not interested in just a ‘good kitty’ or a pat. Later, you can move on to praise as well as non food treats.
deal with an aggressive cat
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  • Do this right before a meal, when your cat is hungry or she may not be interested.
  1. Resolving Pain Aggression in Cats

Has your cat suddenly changed her personality? Firstly, rule out any medical condition that could be the cause of the aggressive behavior.  Cats are usually able to hide their illness very well, so it’s difficult to know if your feline friend is sick.

  • For instance, your cat might be grumpy because it has arthritis or has developed poor eyesight.
  • Your cat could be injured and in pain, so you need to take advice from the vet
  • Look out for symptoms.
  • See if her appetite has reduced
  • whether it’s limping or has a hunched body position;
  • whether there is any change in urinating and litter habits;
  • Whether she yowls or meows continuously
  • Any sneezing or coughing
  1. Try Distraction to Treat an Aggressive Cat

You can deal with aggressive cat behavior toward other cats by distracting them and redirecting the cats towards a toy or some form of play.

  • Clap your hands and say ‘NO’ in a loud voice to such bad cat behavior
  • Blow a whistle for such cat behavior problems
  • Make a loud hissing sound
  • Give the aggressive cat a toy and start playing with your cat to redirect its attention to you.
  • Try physical intervention by
  1. Dealing with Redirected Aggression in Cats

One of the major reasons why cats become aggressive is that they see a threat and are not able to respond to it.  They feel fear and then become aggressive towards the person or animal nearby.

  • If the threat is another cat in the neighborhood, keep it away from your cat for some time. Introduce them later, if possible.
  • Take your aggressive cat to a quiet room, containing water, litter box and food. Turn off the lights and help it to calm down. Give a time out of a few hours or even a day.
  • Try to keep unwanted visitors, strange dogs and other intruders away from your cat
  • Remove scents of cat spraying by neighborhood cats who might have sprayed or urinated around your house.
  • Reintroduce your cat to the stranger and try to mend the relationship.
  1. Handling Play Aggression in Cats

Cats suddenly grab your ankle or your hands and start scratching and biting, in a kind of rough play. It’s a little more than just normal play or fun behavior and can be seen in the form of cat aggression towards owner.

  • Give different types of toys to your cat to satisfy its hunting instincts and helps to burn off excess energy.
aggressive cat behavior
Image Source: telegraph.co.uk
  • Have play sessions with your feline friend for 10 to 15 minutes at least two times a day to strengthen bonds and reduce aggressiveness.
  • Play creative games to satisfy its hunting or preying instincts, simulating what it would experience in the wild.
  1. Controlling Sexual Aggression in Cats

Some cats indulge in forceful or aggressive approach by biting and terrorizing other cats. You can stop cat from biting and other such aggressive behavior by taking the following measures.

  • Make your cat wear a loud bell, so that the cat being aggressed upon could hear it and move out of the way.
  • Try a topical pheromone medication on the victim, so that your aggressive cat is discouraged from making such attacks.
  • Use medications or antidepressants for the aggressor cat
  1. Ways to Deal with Territorial Aggression in Cats

Male cats usually get into a fight on territory in the mating season, while all cats defend their territory against an interloper. They also display this aggressive behavior if a new cat comes into the household. When two cats are hostile towards each other, they are likely to become aggressive.

  • They might meet in an outdoor environment and are challenging each other over a status or for a territory.
  • It could also be the entry of another cat in your house
  • It is due to insecurity and fear that their routine is disturbed, so they try to defend themselves by being aggressive.
  • Spaying or neutering might solve the problem, as it takes care of hormonal triggering issues.
  • Keep your cats separate. Don’t allow it to see other neighborhoods cat roam about in your yard.
  • Give them a lot of scratching items as part of steps for calming an aggressive cat.

You can spray artificial pheromones to keep it calm or ask your vet for some anti anxiety medicines.

Aggression in Cats

  1. How to Reduce Petting Induced Aggression in Cats

Some cats are okay with petting and hugging, whereas others do not tolerate it. When they are irritated by petting, they become aggressive and bite or nip the person and run off.

  • Observe your cat for the warning signs like flattening of the ears, restlessness, dilating pupils or twitching of the tail.
  • Just stop petting or stroking the cat and the problems should be resolved.
  1. Addressing Cat Aggression

When a cat has gone out to the vet, the groomer or some other place and returns home, other cats in the house turn aggressive on it. It is probably due to the smell.

  • Try putting a drop of vanilla extract on all the other cats, so that they are not put off by the smell on the returning cat.
  • Try separating the cat from the rest of the aggressive cats for some time
  • Do a complete introduction of the cat all over again.
  1. Tackling Unprovoked Aggression in Cats

When you cannot pinpoint any one reason for your cat’s aggressive behavior it falls under the category of unprovoked aggression in cats.

  • You must look out for the warning signs of aggression.
  • Understand the body language of your cat. It takes time and patience, but it is worth it.
  • Go to the veterinarian and have it thoroughly examined.
  • If there is no medical condition, go to a behaviorist who can identify the cause or trigger for the aggressive behavior and suggest steps for resolving the problem.
  • Give your cat space to be happy.
  1. Do Not Punish an Aggressive Cat

Cats are not dogs, so you cannot give them stern commands or punish them.

  • Punishing only makes their behavior worse. It gets stressed and scared of you.
  • Modify your behavior, understand the cause and rectify the problem
  • Ensure that your cat has a rich environment with plenty of scratch posts and a lot of play time.
  • Take preventive measures like cat proofing and offer incentives and treats to your feline pet.

Wrap Around

Aggressiveness is an important survival skill that all felines learn in order to survive in the wild. You have to find the reason for your cat’s aggressive behavior in order to effectively rectify it. There could be any number of reasons, such as play aggression, noise, sexual aggression, redirected aggression and so on. Pay attention to the events leading to the aggression in order to find out the kind of aggression and them take the remedial steps.

A word of caution though. Always work along with your veterinarian. The causes can be tricky to diagnose on your own, so treating a really aggressive cat could sometimes be risky. Consult a qualified professional and create a customized plan for treating your cat taking into account its complete behavioral history.

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