Controlling Aggressive Cat Behavior

A cat with aggressive behavior may be dangerous. Cat aggression materializes in biting and scratching. There are health concerns for the victim of this type of behavior, because the cat saliva contains several bacteria which can lead to infections and the scratches can also get contaminated.

Types of Cat Aggression

The cat aggressive behavior can be categorized as follows:

  • play aggression
  • defensive aggression
  • pain aggression
  • redirected aggression
  • territorial aggression

It helps to know what the cause of this behavior is, so that you know how to deal with your cat.

Cope with Types of Cat Aggression

The easiest way to avoid cat aggression is to allow your pet to spend his first 8 weeks with his mother and the other kittens. That way he'll naturally learn how to moderate aggression.

To avoid play aggression, you should not initiate rough games in the first place. Don't make the mistake of using your arms and legs when playing with the cat. There are plenty of toys you can get for your cat. You can play along as long as you have power over the game.

Also, when you notice your cat tends to be aggressive while playing, you can prevent this behavior with a loud and high-pitched voice signal that the cat is not used to. Try to make a different noise every time the cat is aggressive towards your hands. After this noise, say a determinate "No" (but don't include the cat's name, as this may confuse your cat) and simply ignore him for 10 to 15 minutes. If properly used, this correction should give results in one to two weeks.

A different alternative to reduce the play aggressiveness of your pet is to get a companion for your cat. All their energy will be focused on the other pet.

Types of Defense Aggression

The defensive aggression occurs when you least expect it: while petting your cat. When your cat has had enough affection, he may get aggressive. To determine your pet's tolerance level, you need to observe a few signs: the twitching tail, and laid-back ears. When you see these, it means your should stop. To increase your cat's tolerance level you could use treats; give your cat treats as long as he keeps calm.

The cat may also get defensive in new situations (like going to the vet). In these cases you need to be patient and allow your pet to get used to the new people and new situation. If the cat feels safe, he will let his guard down.

When a cat has spotted something or is engaged in "hunting" and is disturbed, he may get aggressive with you. To avoid this, you can just let the cat finish the activity or hide the cat's target.

Territorial and Pain Aggression

The territorial aggression is usually not directed towards humans, but other animals. However, if territorial aggression is present, this can be corrected only by a behavioral therapist.

In case your pet becomes suddenly vicious, having no history of violent behavior, this might be an indicator of pain aggression. Go to the vet as your cat might be hostile because of an injury or health problem.

However, there is a golden rule when dealing with aggressive cats: never hit your pet, because this can cause more intensive hostility.