Has your sweet and gentle furball has suddenly become aggressive? According to animal behaviorists, cat aggression is the second most common behavioral problem in felines. If your cat has constantly been hissing, biting and clawing, then here’s what may be causing it and what you can do to manage it.
What Causes Cat Aggression?
Play aggression in cats happens when a cat isn’t raised with other cats. Playing is an important part of a cat’s social behavior and can only be developed when they grow up with their littermates. If your cat displays this trait then it means that it may not haves learnt to differentiate between playful and violent behavior.
On the other hand, sudden aggression in cats can be caused when they encounter unfamiliar stimuli. This can be new animals, sudden noises, flickering lights or other humans. Sudden aggression in cats may also be triggered by petting, grooming, or trimming their nails.
Cats also tend to establish and defend their territories. If your furball feels that a new animal or human is a threat to their territory, they may display aggressive behaviour. New mothers who are nursing their kittens tend to be aggressive towards any perceived threat that approaches their litter.
How to Deal with Cat Aggression?
Before you try to help your cat, ensure there are no underlying medical conditions that may be acting as behavioral triggers. These include dental disease, hyperthyroidism or feline osteoarthritis. Consult your veterinarian if you aren’t sure.
1. Provide a safe place for your cat
Researchers suggest that some types of cat aggression may be a cry for help – usually when a cat is stressed or unhappy. And sometimes all they need is a little alone time. Set up a cosy, private place for them, like a cat condo or even an empty cardboard box.
A quiet place will help your cat relax and lower their aggression. If your cat has given birth recently, create a low-stress environment for her and keep visitors to the minimum.
2. Be gentle with your cat
Loud noises, like shouting, can trigger sudden aggression in cats especially if it’s directed at them. According to animal experts, cats don’t respond well to a negative tone of voice or action.
If your cat is playing with something it shouldn’t, try distracting it with another object rather than shout at it. If you’ve lost your temper, help your cat relax or calm down by speak to it softly and lovingly.
Practise bonding with your cat to establish trust and confidence that you’re on their side. It will strengthen their connection with you and make them feel safe and secure.
3. Supervise small children around your cat
Small children should only be allowed to interact with your cat under supervision. While your cat may have proven to be loyal and gentle with you, all it takes is an innocent pull of the tail or a sudden pinch to turn your cat aggressive.
Young cats may also mistake this behavior to be playful and show signs of play aggression. They may bite or scratch too hard or just pounce on the child, severely injuring them.
Cat aggression can be easily managed by finding the root cause of their behavior. This may take a lot of observation and patience from your side. But at the end of the day, you’ll find why your furball is fearful and aggressive, and they will soon go back to being the happy, healthy kitty they always were!