Aggressive Cats: What Can You Do?

shutterstock_151917041You’ve adopted a new beautiful cat and there is one problem, your cat tends to attack you and family members and other animals in the house. When cats scratch playfully, they usually do not leave marks or draw blood. You may have been “punished” by a cat when you stroke its belly by having it bite your fingers and kick at your palm. However, in almost no cases do you end up with marks as a result or even a small amount of pain. This is a different story when cats actually attack or are aggressive. Cat scratches are not to be taken lightly and can cause infection. This kind of behavior can lead an owner to declaw a cat. However, declawing a cat is like removing the forefingers of a human being, and this kind of trauma can cause a cat to be even more aggressive.

Cats have a complex relationship with the world and that is one reason why they may seem so moody to people who don’t understand. Dogs are hunters and usually, have no natural predators they have to be worried about and can afford to be calm and loyal to humans because they are not’s having to run away from predators. Cats are in an interesting position of being both predator and potential prey, and that is why they are often either attacking something or running away. Cats can become aggressive because they are frightened and experience certain stimuli. Guarding their young, marking their territory and protecting themselves are situations that can make a cat aggressive. Signs of aggression in cats begin with the looking bigger, giving a direct stare, straightening their tails and putting their ears back. Any combination of these physical signs signals that the cat is about to be aggressive.

You should not have to tolerate aggression if it could potentially lead a cat to scratch seriously or bite. Talk to a veterinarian about what to do if your cat is unacceptably aggressive, especially if you have small children at home. Many cats are aggressive if they were feral at some point. Your veterinarian may have suggestions about potentially taming a cat, particularly if it is a young kitten. If your cat has been fine for most of its life and suddenly becomes aggressive, it could be a sign of a sudden trauma or medical condition. The cat might be irritated with a skin ailment or have something more serious like epilepsy or hyperthyroidism. Older cats may be vulnerable to mental dysfunction later in life.

If your male cat is not neutered you are very likely to see aggression. Male felines are geared towards marking their territory, looking for mates and as a result, tend to get into fights. Neutered male cats are much less aggressive than their non-neutered counterparts. House cats are less openly aggressive than outdoor felines, but they can act up if there is a new member of the household, particularly if you adopt a second cat.  There are therapists who are expert at smoothing things over with a troubled cat.

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