Aggressive cats

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We accept occasional aggressive behaviour such as a scratch or bite from a cat if we feel we have somehow provoked it. Unprovoked aggression towards humans, who are after all much larger than cats, is less common in cats than in dogs. While some cats run from perceived threats, others take the view that attack is the best form of defence and will launch a preventive strike against the intruder. This reinforces the cat’s behaviour because it believes it has successfully driven off a threatening intruder.

 

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We accept occasional aggressive behaviour such as a scratch or bite from a cat if we feel we have somehow provoked it. Unprovoked aggression towards humans, who are after all much larger than cats, is less common in cats than in dogs. While some cats run from perceived threats, others take the view that attack is the best form of defence and will launch a preventive strike against the intruder. This reinforces the cat’s behaviour because it believes it has successfully driven off a threatening intruder.


 

There are several types of aggression. The pain-induced aggression is one of the most common. Pain is a frequent cause of aggressive behaviour in cats. If a cat that normally accepts stroking suddenly becomes aggressive, it may be due to illness or pain. Like humans, cats usually don’t want to be touched over when they feel unwell. He may have a wound or abscess that is painful when touched. One should take the cat to see the vet.

Petting anxiety is the most common aggressive behaviour in cats. When stroking a cat and it seems to be enjoying the attention, but it suddenly attacks the owner’s hand, sometimes grabbing your wrist with its front claws and kicking you with its back feet. This is a defensive reaction after they realise that they are being petted by a larger predator. Accepting being stroked has to be learned.


Most forms of aggression are reactive aggression in which the cat reacts to a perceived threat.

Occasionally, cats display proactive aggression and attack the owner for no apparent reason. The usual form is for the cat to attack the owner as the owner walks past or to prevent the owner from reaching certain parts of the house. This type of aggression is more often found in indoor cats.

They can see birds, animals and other cats through the windows and become excited, but they cannot get to the things that excite them. So they need to get rid of the energy or frustration and if the owner happens to he walking past, the movement can trigger the hunting instinct or trigger defensive aggression resulting in an attack.

Kittens often get overexcited while playing, but they have to learn that human skin is more easily damaged and to restrain the teeth and claws. Unfortunately, many owners inadvertently encourage rough play by letting kittens attack hands and feet. This is all right as long as cats are small, but it might eventually become a problem when they grow up. The owner should stop rewarding this behaviour. As soon as the kitten bites or scratches, stop providing attention.



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