How To Deal with an Aggressive Cat

While some cats are shy both with people and with other animals, others are too aggressive. An aggressive cat may be territorial, attacking any other cat in the home. Aggressive cats may also inflict injuries on their owners because they play too rough. Here's how to deal with an aggressive cat:

  1. Examine the situation. Why is your cat acting aggressively? Try to pinpoint his triggers. An aggressive cat may be territorial, fearful, stressed, or over-excited. By determining why your cat is aggressive you can work around these triggers. Learn your cat's thresholds; some may become aggressive only when the situation passes a certain point. For example, many cats become too aggressive after a long play session.
  2. Remove your cat from the situation. If your cat is acting too aggressively towards a human or another animal, separate the two so that no one gets hurt. This also gives your cat a chance to cool down before the fur starts flying. Let your cat approach new people and animals on their own terms, rather than forcing them together.
  3. Socialize your cat. Cats must be socialized from the time they are young kittens so they know how to behave appropriately around people of all ages, cats, dogs, and other animals. The older the cat, the longer this process will take, but it doesn't mean that an older cat who is aggressive can't learn to get along well with people and animals. Exposing your cat to these types of situations can teach them appropriate, non-aggressive responses.
  4. Help your cat relax. In some situations, simply allowing your cat to hide in their "safe area" can stop their aggression. Cats that are fearful really just want to make the situation go away. If they can hide out for a while, they will likely be much less aggressive later.
  5. Allow appropriate outlets for aggression. Some cats may become aggressive at inappropriate times because they simply don't have any other time to let their natural predatory instincts come into play. Cats love to hunt and pounce on toys. Keep your toes and hands out of the game, or they will learn that aggression towards people is acceptable. Do not allow biting during play, even while your kitten is young. If they do bite you, scream "Ouch" loudly, even if it did not hurt.
  6. Veterinary advice. If your efforts to decrease your cat's aggression don't seem to be working, visit your vet for advice. It is possible that there is a medical issue affecting your cat's mood and temperament. Like people, cats may become grumpy when in pain. Some veterinarians may recommend spaying or neutering your cat, which can make them less aggressive.

To deal with an aggressive cat, you must be persistent at enforcing the correct actions. Figure out what makes your cat aggressive, and then try to avoid these situations, if possible. Then, teach your cat the correct behaviors.


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