This follow-up article to our November pet feature looks at cat aggression towards us.
Aggression Towards Humans
This can show itself as follows:
A sudden dislike of being handled – observe closely if any area triggers the aggressive reaction. Make an appointment to see your vet if your cat in is pain.
Sudden, unprovoked attacks – read your cat’s mood before interaction. For example, don’t interfere if the cat is on the windowsill and upset about something outside.
Dislike of being stroked – some cats just aren’t tactile, but they can be converted over time. If your cat wants attention, touch/ stroke for only for a very short period. Look for the warning signs that they are starting to change their mind. Stop before there is any negative reaction.
Around children – children may need close supervision. Picking a cat up inappropriately or taunting it will often result in bites and scratches.
Aggression Towards Other Cats
Sudden dislike of another cat in the house – cats can sometimes fall out as they age and start feeling more vulnerable. They may feel resources are under threat and need to compete. The solution is to bring them together only under controlled conditions . Ensure they have their own litter trays. Don’t leave food down and check that both cats are well.
Dislike of a new cat – incumbent cats often take it badly when a new kitten/cat appears in the home. So, introduce any new cat slowly, and if you have the chance, introduce the new cat’s smell first via scattered cloths. Consider installing a Feliway plug-in to circulate calming pheromones. A kitten pen so the resident cat can see it is an excellent idea. A mesh or netting between rooms may also be useful with an older cat too, so the first introductions are smell and sight, without any physical interaction.
Aggression with outside cats – two scenarios are common here.
Firstly, the house cat is continually attacked in its own territory, ie your back garden. This happens when another local cat decides it wants to expand its influence. Keeping the resident cat inside or only going outside when supervised might be necessary. Try to dissuade the attacking cat from entering the garden.
Secondly, we have your own cat becoming the local bully and causing mayhem with neighbourhood cats. If your cat is recognised and you are identified, a stream of vet bills might come your way! Confining the cat to the house and garden may be the only option. If it’s one particular cat that your cat has problems with, arranging staggered time outside can work.
Remember that although we see our cats as cuddly family pets, they often see themselves more as a tiger than a Garfield.
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