Sometimes it happens out of the blue - a usually happy-go-lucky, affectionate cat starts biting or hissing and their owner can’t work out why. Other cats may have displayed aggressive tendencies for as long as their owner can remember.
Living with an aggressive animal can be really stressful, no matter how cute or fluffy they might be! However, in good news, cat aggression is usually able to addressed providing you have the right knowledge, patience and understanding.
There are a few reasons why a cat may display aggressive behaviour. Often, it’s out of fear or a response to being over-stimulated.
However, aggression can also be a response to pain, so it’s important to rule out any medical conditions first by visiting your vet. For example, neurological disease, liver disease or other pain-inducing diseases such as arthritis and hormone imbalances can all cause aggression.
To address aggressive behaviour, it’s important to identify what type of aggression your cat is showing.
1. Patting aggression
This type of aggression is displayed while you may be patting your cat for a prolonged period of time. Usually this occurs when the patting is initiated by you, rather than your cat. To address this behaviour:
2. Fear-based aggression
This is a common form of aggression displayed when your cat is scared. Usually, it is paired with strong body language signals such as enlarged pupils, pinned back ears and a fluffy tail and spine. To address this behaviour:
3. Redirected aggression
This is common in multi-cat households or situations where pet cats are allowed outdoors. Redirected aggression can happen when a cat has an altercation, or wants to have an altercation, with another animal. The cat will instead redirect that aggression toward someone else, such as a different cat in the household or even their owner. To address this behaviour:
4. Play aggression
This is common in young cats and kittens or adult cats who were removed from their mother too young. In this situation, the cat does not exhibit dominant or fear-based body language.Instead, it will usually hide low to the ground with its tail swinging, waiting for the unsuspecting victim – usually a pair of ankles or hands dangling over the edge of a couch! Kittens will usually grow out of this behavior, but to nip it in the bud:
5. Noise aggression
Cats may respond to certain sound frequencies with aggression, such as a baby crying, another cat crying, high-frequency whistling or squeaking sounds. This can be addressed by:
If you require more support or advice on cat aggression, give our friendly team a call on 9224 2222.