Last week with the help of Celia Haddon I made some points aggressive behaviour in cats, here I continue on the theme…
Some cats are aggressive only in specific situations that frighten them. They are friendly much of the time but lash out, for instance, when being picked up. Or they are aggressive if they feel they are cornered and cannot escape human handling. Soon they learn that being aggressive keeps humans at a safe distance. If this happens, they begin to be aggressive quicker because they learn that this tactic works . A pet behaviour counsellor can help you work out exactly what triggers your cat’s aggressive reaction and how to avoid or manage it.
Frustration aggression may be more common in hand reared kittens, as these were not weaned in a natural way. Kittens learn to tolerate frustration when their mother starts pushing them away from the teats. As the bottle is never withheld by a human, they are never frustrated. Hand reared cats have no emotional control because they were not put through this process.
Cats that have no coping strategy for frustration (for whatever reason) just lash out. They may try to control their owners by this. Their aggression is encouraged because the owner (naturally) backs away showing the cat it can control its human. Turn round the relationship by clicker training or reward training the cat. Get help from a cat behaviour counsellor for this.
Occasionally an otherwise docile cat will attack its owner, because it is aroused by something else. For instance, if it is watching another cat through the window, and feels threatened by it. If there is a threatening cat on the block, or cats within the same household are fighting, your cat may take out its aggression on you. You will also get bitten severely if you interrupt a cat fight. Consider a microchip cat flap to stop strange cats entering the house. Block off the view of them through the window using greenhouse paint or lots of house plants. Deal with the aggression between household cats.
As this is such an important subject I will return to it next week