Cats are lovable, loyal, lifelong companions, and being able to cuddle up with your kitty truly is one of those beautiful, simple joys in life. That makes it even more upsetting then when sweet Sophie swats at you or scratches you.
Unfortunately, aggression in cats is not uncommon. Did you know aggression is the second leading cause of owners taking their felines to a behavior specialist?
You may be wondering what the cause of the aggression is and how to help. Below, we’ll briefly detail potential causes of the unwanted behavior and what to do.
Causes and Types of Aggression in Cats:
Perhaps not surprisingly, fear can be a huge trigger of aggression in cats. You most likely have heard of the flight or fight response. When a human is in a stressful situation, he or she either chooses to flee the situation or to fight through it.
When a cat has a perceived threat, oftentimes aggression, their “fight” response, is the result. Past abuse or previous threatening situations may induce an aggressive reaction when your cat feels uneasy.
Some cats become possessive of their space. When someone or something begins to encroach on their area, they may respond with an unpleasant hiss, a swat at the intruder or a bite.
This type of aggression may be more common when a new baby is introduced, new pets move in, when neighbors get new pets or if you move to a brand new location.
According to PetMed, redirected aggression is the most dangerous type of aggression. It can seem abrupt, out of the blue and be rather unpredictable.
Most often, redirected aggression stems from another animal, person or distraction. For example, your cat may be looking out the window and spot another kitty. If the strange, outdoor feline catches your cat’s attention, kitty may start to become enraged that some stranger is wandering on the property.
As soon as you walk by, your cat takes out her aggression on the first thing she sees – you.
Cats who are in pain may lash out. If you are petting your kitty and touch a sensitive area, it is likely she will scratch or be on the offensive to alert you to avoid that area.
Infections, arthritis, trauma and dental disease are just a few examples of what may cause an aggressive response to pain.
Most cats enjoy having their backs and bellies rubbed. However, if you keep petting for too long, the repetitive motion of you rubbing their skin may seem to be more of an irritation than a pleasure to them.
If your furry friend starts to squirm or becomes agitated after awhile, it may be a warning sign to stop petting.
What Should I Do If My Cat is Aggressive?
If you notice your cat has started acting out suddenly, consider taking them to the veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions.
If it is determined the aggression is limited to territorial aggression, make sure to keep a spray bottle with you at all times. If kitty starts to attack when she feels you are in her space, use the spray bottle to remind her you are the boss and in charge.
If the unusual, aggressive behavior continues, and other corrective measures, such as a spray bottle, have not worked, it may be time to take sweet Sophie to a behaviorist. Animal behaviorists will be better able to work with your cat and smooth out any issues.
We hope you were able to learn a little more about cat aggression today. If you think your cat is struggling with this, you are not alone. It is a common problem, and help is always available.
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