Adopting or purchasing a new cat is exciting, but you need to make sure you’re prepared and have everything you need before you bring your new furry friend home.
Evil cats, or maybe just misunderstood?
Causes of Aggression in Cats
Cats can be mean little creatures. They can be happily purring away one minute, then attached to your arm with their teeth the next. Cats can be unpredictable and aggressive, especially when overstimulated or bored. However, there are many other causes that can cause your cat to lash out at you. It’s important to acknowledge these factors so you can better understand your cat’s behaviour. This information could help you avoid future attacks from your cat and have more knowledge about what might have caused them.
Cats can display aggressive behaviour if they are in pain. If you accidentally step on your cat’s paw or tail, they can attack you as an initial reaction. Additionally, if your cat is recovering from surgery or an illness, then it can be aggressive if you stroke a particularly tender area. If you notice your cat show extreme aggression when you touch a specific body part, then it might be a good idea to get it checked at the vet.
Fear goes in hand with pain. When cats are fearful, like when they are hurting, they can lash out and bite/scratch at the threat. If your cat is scared of you or something else, such as another animal or a loud noise, then they will act defensively. This is mostly true when cats are unable to run away from what is scaring them. This is usually why some cats are aggressive towards vets. With aggression associated with fear, it is best to find out what is scaring your cat to try and rectify the situation. If it is another animal, move it or your cat to another room. If you own a rescue cat not used to humans, then patience and slow movements are key to winning your cat’s trust.
Sometimes your cat can act aggressively towards you when it is stimulated by something unrelated to you. This could be caused by another cat, a bird, or an argument you and another family member had. This type of aggression is called “redirected stimulation” and can show hours after the stimulating event. Although you can’t prevent this type of aggression, it is a good idea to steer clear of your cat if you suspect it is stimulated by something. Flicking tails, dilated pupils, and pinned back ears are generally tell-tale signals.
Playing and Hunting
If you find your cat jumps out of nowhere and lunges at your feet and ankles, then it is either trying to hunt you or play with you. Cats can become aggressive when bored, so it is important to set some time aside to play with your cat. If your cat attempts to attack your fingers or feet, then redirect its attention with a toy. You should also avoid playing with your cat using your hands as your cat may view them as toys.
Aversion to Petting
This type of aggression is normally seen when your cat is enjoying being petted and then suddenly turns around to attack you. Cats like to be stroked in moderation. If you pet your cat for too long or touch an area it doesn’t like, then it may bite or scratch you to let you know it’s had enough. If you notice your cat beginning to flick its tail, then this is normally a sign that indicates your cat is becoming annoyed or overstimulated.
Cats can view aggression as a device to get what they want. If your cat bites you when you pick it up and you quickly let it go, then your cat will see this type of behaviour as something positive. By biting or scratching, your cat gets its desired reaction. To prevent this type of behaviour, it is important not to give up when your cat acts aggressively towards you. If you need to handle your cat, then don’t release it even when it lashes out. By doing this, your cat learns that biting and scratching does nothing and won’t get it released any faster.