Is Your Cat Aggressive? Here’s How to Deal With It
A cat will often grab at your hand or try to nip at you if you pull your hand away and she still wants your attention. This is not necessarily aggressive behavior, and unless she breaks the skin, it can be considered normal. It’s also normal for cats to pounce on and bite each other when they don’t want to play with the other cat or when they are feeling territorial.
In these cases, the cat’s biting is being used as a means of communication with you or another pet in the home. But, there are some instances where a cat’s biting is more than simple communication. Some cats can be very aggressive towards other pets and humans, and there can be a few different reasons for this.
Causes of Feline Aggression
Cats can become easily stressed, and fear is one of the most common reasons why cats can sometimes turn aggressive. Moving to a new home, bringing a new baby or pet into the home, or simply changing your furniture can spark a cat into a period of aggressive behavior because their life has suddenly changed.
Medical issues can also cause a cat to become aggressive. Often, when a cat has a medical problem, she will be experiencing pain and/or discomfort, which is worsened by touch. As a result, it is not uncommon for ill cats to lash out at their owners because they don’t want to feel the pain that touching causes.
Some cats have difficulty playing with others because they become so overexcited that their energy is directed into their actions, which can be rougher than intended. In these types of cases, a cat will need to undergo behavior modification to increase her level of self-control.
Cats can even also suffer from a dislike for petting. Usually this is caused by a certain part of her body being over-sensitive to touch. In this type of case, a cat might be perfectly fine with you petting her back, but when your hand strays too far to her tail, she may suddenly yell and lash out at you.
It is currently not known why cats react this way, so the best way to curb aggression in this case is to not touch the sensitive area.
How to Protect Against an Aggressive Cat
If your cat is acting aggressive, the first thing you should do is take her to the veterinarian to determine whether there is a medical reason for her behavior. While she is at the vet, have them trim her nails so if she does lash out at you, the cuts won’t be as severe. This is especially important because cat scratches and bites can easily become infected.
Make sure you give your veterinarian all of the details relating to your cat’s change in behavior, such as when it started, the time of day when she is most aggressive, any changes to her lifestyle or environment, etc.
Depending on the case, a cat may need to undergo behavior modification or be medicated to help ease her stress and anxiety. Keep in mind that your cat’s behavior won’t change overnight. Therefore, it is important for you to be able to identify key traits that your cat exhibits right before she lashes out.
Examples could be that her tail becomes puffed up and shakes back and forth or her pupils may become dilated and her ears are pulled back. These are warning signals that if you see them, you’ll know it’s time to step away from your cat.
Tips to Help You Deal With an Aggressive Cat
There are a few things you can do at home to help improve your cat’s behavior and these include:
- Reward her for calm behavior
- Refocus her attention on something else when she starts showing her warning signs
- Give her treats when you do something that normally scares her, such as when you start the vacuum
- Avoid punishing your cat as this will promote more aggression
- Use a pheromone-based product that’s designed to calm cats (only after discussing with your vet)
- Add a nutritional supplement to your cat’s diet (only after discussing with your vet)
If your veterinarian diagnoses your cat with anxiety or another medical condition that’s causing her to act out, you can receive a free quote for your pet’s medications from Diamondback Drugs. We can help you save money on all of your pet medications.
As always, be sure to inform your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your cat is currently taking so your vet can make the best treatment decision for your pet’s unique case and help reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.
Author: Giano Panzarella