Cats are natural predators, they’re designed to hunt and kill, and they’re extremely efficient and resourceful, but they’re innate behaviour can also make them more aggressive than our canine companions, and it can sometimes become a problem.
Although cats can be aggressive toward other cats, most are friendly toward people unless they’ve been previously abused, roughly handled, or encouraged to be hostile.
Aggression in cats can be treated, but it takes love, patience and understanding.
Understanding Aggression in Cats
Learning to read your cat’s signals will help you understand his behaviour and why he’s acting the way he is.
What you might perceive as aggression is actually normal behaviour for cats. Things such as biting, scratching and pouncing on people and other animals is just how your cat plays, and if he’s hurting you it’s often because he hasn’t been taught appropriate play methods.
The Different Types of Feline Aggression
Cats act aggressive for variety of reasons, from the obvious such as fear and pain, to an intense dislike of being touched.
A cat that feels the need to defend himself will strike out at anyone within range. This type of aggression needs patience to make the cat feel secure and comfortable, not more aggression in retaliation.
Some cats, particularly young and boisterous cats who are really no more than large kittens, have trouble controlling themselves when they get excited playing. Most cats learn acceptable play behaviour with their litter mates, but cats that were orphaned or weaned too early might not, and encouraging the rough play just reinforces it.
Unintentional attacks are often the result of redirection. The cat has been upset or agitated by another person or animal, but they can’t take their irritation out on them, so they lash out at the first person or animal that gets too close.
Many cats are happy to be petted for a few minutes but will lash out and scratch or bite when they’ve had enough. Others hate to be touched in certain places, or sometimes at all.
When a cat is feeling unwell or is in pain, he likes to be left alone and engaging with him can cause some aggitation. Your cat just needs some space and time to himself.
Dealing with Aggression
In many cases you’ll notice when your cat is likely to become aggitated and what triggers him. The swishing tail, dilated pupils and flattened ears are a big warning.
When you think your cat is about to attack, just walk away and leave him alone.
Of course, if your cat seems to be sick or in pain take him to your vet for a check-up and get some professional advice about managing his aggressive behaviour.
Understanding your cat and giving him the respect he deserves goes a long way to calming his aggression.
Sydney Animal Hospital and Specialist Vet
Sydney Vet Specialists is dedicated to providing quality 24 hour veterinary care for your pets, as well as specialist services for a wide range of conditions.
To speak to one of caring, professional team members, call us on 02 9197 5800, or contact us online.