Aggression in cats is a common complaint of cat owners, and if it is something you are experiencing, you may be wondering what is causing this behavior or if you have done something to make your cat aggressive toward you.

When it comes to dealing with an aggressive cat, patience is key. Aggression is not a choice your cat is making. Cats who are happy and calm are seldom aggressive. If you can be patient and identify what is triggering your cat’s aggressive behavior, then you can typically make some improvements to their behavior.

What Causes of Feline Aggression?

Stress is the root cause of aggression in cats. Two types of stress include chronic stress from living in fear of another animal or acute stress that comes from illness or a significant change in environment such a move to a new home. Figuring out why your cat is stressed is essential so that you can remove the stressor, but if you can’t determine why, you can at least identify when they are stressed to help make their behavior more tolerable.How to Deal with an Aggressive Car

How to Deal with Aggression

If you know what is causing your cat stress, then you can work to get rid of that stressor for them and make their home happier and more comfortable. Everyday stressors your cat may be experiencing include:

Aversion to Being Touched

Some cats can become very stressed out by touch. If your cat seems to be stressed out by touch, it is important for you to respect this by avoiding touching them. It is possible that once your cat is not stressed by unwanted touching, they may become more willing to accept touches.

Feeling threatened or defensive

Cats most commonly experience stress due to fear. This fear can be caused by many factors such as another animal or even loud noises from the washing machine. If you can remove the source of the stress from the home, but if you can’t try to limit your cat’s exposure to the stressor, try to limit your exposure to your cat. If you think your cat is experiencing fear or acts defensive, be sure to consult your veterinarian about different treatments and medications that can help.

Playing Roughly/Aggressively

In some case, cats can become aggressive when they play too rough. Cats have a natural desire to work on predatory behavior when they play with both humans and other animals. A cat who was orphaned or weaned from their mother too early typically did not learn how to control their play aggression. Make sure your cat has a way to stay entertained throughout the day, so they are less likely to release their aggression through play. Cats who socialize more also tend to be less aggressive.

Acting Territorial

When it comes down to it, your cat is an animal, making them protective of their territory. Male and female cats can be prone to territorial behavior with male cats being more aggressive than females.
Territorial behavior can be a specific problem in a household with multiple animals. To lessen stress on your cat, be sure that they have their own space in the home where they can be left alone. Neutering a territorial male can help curb that behavior.

Being in Pain

Cats suffering from physical pain tend to be aggressive. It is normal for your cat to lash out in reaction to the pain they are experiencing. Your cat’s aggression is because they are feeling vulnerable and trying to protect themselves. If your cat is behaving aggressively with no apparent explanation, they should be examined by the veterinarian. Your cat’s aggression could be caused by an underlying issue such as infection, arthritis or cancer that are causing them pain.

How You Can Help Your Cat

You love your cat and want them to live a long, happy life with you. To help you achieve that goal, below are some tips on how to help curb your cat’s aggressive behavior.

  • Learn your cat’s warning signs. Watch for changes in their body language and temperament and pay attention to the noises they make. Give your cat space when the signs indicate aggression is likely.
  • Reward them. When you cat displays calm behavior, be sure to reward them with a treat, playtime, touches, or whatever motivates them. Avoid punishing your cat for their aggressive behavior because it may escalate the problem.
  • Reassure them around the fear-inducer. If your cat’s aggression is caused by fear, be sure to give your cat treats when the fear-inducing situation is unavoidable.
  • Talk to your vet. There are a variety of therapies and supplements that can help treat your cat’s aggressive behavior.
At the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, our skilled staff will perform a comprehensive examination on your cat and can discuss the various options available such as medication and specialized training to help improve your cat’s aggressive behavior. Call us today to schedule your appointment!