What Was Causing My Cat’s Aggression
And thats what I did, but what I found was there wasnt a whole lot of information that explained what would have caused this new behavior between previously affectionate siblings.
After some research and talking with the shelter where we adopted them as kittens, we found that the cats may have had an experience that led to a misunderstanding. This was confirmed after talking with Dr. Marci Koski, certified feline behavior and training consultant.
Dr. Koski explained that sometimes an inside cat can have a perceived threatening experience, such as seeing another cat or strange animal outside. At the same time, your other cat passing by carefree, can send the wrong message to the threatened feline. That aggression is then transferred to the carefree cat just chilling and minding their own business.
If youre like me, I was asking, What? This cant be true! Apparently, its not that uncommon for felines, who have been familiar with one another, to have some traumatic event reshape the way they look at one another. Friends turned foes overnight. Or in their case its literally a family feud. So, I decided I needed a plan of action and with the help of Dr. Koski, heres how we started.
My Kitten Is Biting Me When We Play What Should I Do
Kittens fight each other when they are young and engage in enthusiastic rough and tumble fights. These are always interrupted if they become a little too violent so that the kittens learn to inhibit their biting when playing. Unfortunately, when humans attempt the same kind of games, using their hands, they often reinforce the highly excitable behaviour and encourage kittens to grow up, biting and scratching in the name of play with an intensity that can cause injury. The cats preferred target of hands soon generalises to bare feet and, as an adult, the cat will pounce on hands and feet at every opportunity.
You need to address this now to ensure your kitten doesnt grow into a cat that plays roughly and gets labelled as aggressive. Play aggression is easily prevented by ensuring that human body parts never form part of any games with your cat. There are numerous toys on the market, many of which are attached to rods or sticks to enable easy manipulation from a distance. Hands are then associated with gentle stroking, holding and feeding rather than predatory play. Dont be tempted to shout or tap your cats nose or any other form of intended punishment as this will either be seen as part of the game or as a threatening gesture. This will not teach your kitten new, acceptable ways to play.
Aggression Between Family Cats And Feline Social Behavior
Its impossible to estimate how well any particular pair or group of cats will ultimately tolerate each other. Some cats are unusually territorial, may never adjust to sharing their house, and may do best in a one-cat family.
However, many aggressive problems between cats can be successfully resolved. To do this, you may need help, both from your veterinarian and from an animal behavior specialist who is knowledgeable in cat behavior. Cats with aggression problems may never be best friends, but can often learn to mutually tolerate each other with a minimum of conflict. Working with aggression problems between family cats will take time and commitment from you. Dont give up without consulting the appropriate experts.
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If Your Cats Keep Fighting
If your cats aggression is severe or becomes unmanageable, contact a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist for guidance. These professionals can provide deeper insight and guidance on behavioral modification for your cats.
Unfortunately, some cats simply cannot live together peacefully. If youve exhausted your resources, time, and energy in the hopes of resolving aggression or fighting between your cats, it may be time to consider finding a new home for one of them or keeping them permanently separated.
Why Does My Cat Walk Around The House Meowing
If a cat isn’t feeling well, she may roam the house and vocalize her distress as she tries to find a comfortable place. A variety of illnesses, including hyperthyroidism, can cause a cat to feel restless, irritable, thirsty and/or hungry, prompting them to wander and meow.
To tell if your cat is in bodyguard mode, look for the following cat body language:
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Why Does My Cat Hiss At Me When I Approach
Aggression can be used both offensively and defensively. When it is fear-based it is purely utilised as a survival strategy in circumstances when the cat feels vulnerable and in danger. Many cats deprived of early socialisation with humans will remain fearful in their presence and unwanted advances and attention can result in the use of aggression as a deterrent. If the threat of aggression does not result in your withdrawal then, unfortunately, teeth and claws may then be employed to enable the cat to escape.
Change Your Cat’s Environment
Providing enriching experiences for your cat doesnt have to require a lot of time, effort, or money. And providing an enriching experience within their environment was the first step we took. One of the first suggestions Dr. Koski made was pheromones to help keep our cats chill. If you have a larger home, I recommend the starter set from Comfort Zone Multi-Cat.
It comes with three diffusers and six refills, which we needed with each cat on separate levels of the home. However, if you are in an apartment or smaller living space, you may not need multiple diffusers, in which case Feliways Multi-Cat Starter Kit is perfect.
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Fear Can Cause Cat Aggression
A terrified cat will respond with body language thats obvious to an experienced cat caretaker: She will turn sideways and puff up her tail and fur in order to look larger. Her ears will flatten backwards, she will hiss and her pupils will dilate. Attempting to approach a cat in this state is risking an aggressive reaction, not because the cat dislikes you but because shes in the middle of a panic reaction.
How To Calm An Aggressive Cat
Cats become aggressive in order to catch prey or deal with conflict with other cats. Cats also play fight, so its important to understand when your cat is being serious with their aggression, or when theyre just playing.
Cats arent born aggressive, and its not a personality trait. In most cases its simply an expression of something theyre feeling and there will be a cause and a solution. No matter the situation, when a cats aggression is turned towards us as owners it can be very distressing. Sometimes just understanding why it happened and how to prevent it happening again in the future can help.
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What Can I Give My Cat To Sedate Her
Drug Dose-AcepromazineRecommended: Injectable : 0.01-0.05 mg/kg Small volumes can be diluted with 0.9% saline for easier administration Gabapentin 15-30 mg/kg For most average cats, 100 mg capsule recommended Trazodone 5-10 mg/kg For most average cats, 50 mg tablet recommended
What Should I Do If The Cat Begins To Exhibit Play
Wherever possible, ignoring the cat, or perhaps even walking out of the room, will teach the cat that there will be no interaction or reward when he or she initiates play. Play with you should be initiated by you, and not by the cat.
Physical punishment must be avoided! First, pain can cause aggression, so if you hit your cat, you may increase the aggressive behavior. Second, punishment may cause fear and owner avoidance. Third, attempts to correct the playful aggression with physical contact may actually serve to reward the behavior.
“For a deterrent to be effective it must occur while the behavior is taking place and be timed correctly.”
For a deterrent to be effective it must occur while the behavior is taking place and be timed correctly. Deterrents should be species-appropriate. Noise deterrents are often effective in cats. For very young kittens, a hissing noise may deter excessive play behavior. The noise can be made by you, but if not immediately successful a can of compressed air used for cleaning camera lenses may be more effective and is less likely to cause fear or retaliation.
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How Do I Stop My Kitten From Attacking Me
8 Ways to Stop a Kitten from Biting and Scratching
Why Has My Cat Started Hissing At Me
Asked by: Esta Gerlach
Last update: November 5, 2021Score: 4.2/5
Contrary to popular belief, hissing is a normal way that cats express fear, not aggression or hatred. … And as Alana Stevenson, a certified animal behaviorist based in Boston, confirms: Hissing is a normal behavior in cats. They will hiss when they feel threatened, fearful, or are upset about something.
because they feel threatened by another cat or by you or are in painusually a warning to another person or animalWhat You Should Do When Your Cat Hisses or Hides
warning sign15 related questions found
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Sudden Causes Of Aggression In Cats
Have you ever been peacefully petting a purring cat, only to have them turn around and swat or try to bite you? Ever felt hurt, maybe even a little betrayed by your furry friend? Cats are interesting creatures with complicated social cues. Feline aggression can occur unexpectedly for a multitude of reasons and can be difficult to predict. By learning to recognize causes and signals of feline aggression, you will be better able to help your feline friend feel more comfortable and minimize the risk of triggering less than desirable behavior.
Changes In Eating Behavior
Cats are creatures of habit. They will quickly learn when its meal time if you meal feed or that there is always food available if you elect to leave a bowl out. If your cats speed of eating or the amount of food consumed changes drastically, then it may be an indication of a problem.
If your cat is eating more food than they used to and not gaining weight, you may want to ask your veterinarian about hyperthyroidism. This is a common thyroid problem in older cats and it will cause your cat to never feel full but also prevent them from gaining weight. People with untreated hyperthyroid cats often describe their cats appetites as ravenous and that they will try to eat anything that isnt nailed down.
If your cat starts to eat less or stops eating altogether, it is a good indication that it is not feeling well, has dental disease, or is . Of course, some cats are simply just picky eaters and prefer certain flavors of food, but if your cat is not eating and is also vomiting, lethargic, and/or losing weight, you should have your veterinarian check them out. may work themselves out of the body but sometimes they, and other items, get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, tumors can cause digestive issues, and other illnesses may cause a cat to stop eating.
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Physical Causes Of Cat Aggression
Before assuming your cat is just plain mean or aggressive because of some behavioral problem, it is important to rule out a medical condition. If your cat is usually friendly and now out of the blue is hissing, does not want to be picked up and this is totally out of character, assume a painful condition or some other underlying physical problem known for causing aggressive displays.
How To Deal With A Cat With Fear Aggression
Cats demonstrating fear aggression may flatten their ears against their heads, hiss, bare their teeth, or crouch low to the ground with their tail tucked under their body, and their fur may stand on end. The best way to deal with fear aggression is to identify and avoid situations that produce a fearful response.
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Aggression Due To Medical Issue
Aggression with a medical origin is also common.
Pain is the most sudden medical cause for sudden aggression, particularly in older cats or those who have always had a calm temperament. Arthritis, dental disease, trauma, and infections are just some of the conditions that can cause pain and subsequent aggression when a cat is touched or thinks he or she might be touched, in a painful area. In addition to pain, cognitive decline, a loss of normal sensory input, or neurological problems can all lead to aggression.
Why Are My Cats Fighting All Of A Sudden 5 Reasons For This Behavior
There is something so disheartening about two best pals turning into enemies. If your cats have always gotten along but seem to be at each others throats all the time nowyou know there has to be a reason. Sometimes, you just need to brainstorm a little to find out what that might be.
Well discuss five main reasons why your cats might be quarreling. Plus, we will go into depth on specifics to dig deep into the underlying factors. Hopefully, with this insight, you can solve their worrisome woes and help them square their differences.
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Always Work With A Professional
Aggression can be a dangerous behavior problem. It is complex to diagnose and can be tricky to treat. Many behavior modification techniques have detrimental effects if misapplied. Even highly experienced professionals get bitten from time to time, so living with and treating an aggressive cat is inherently risky. A qualified professional can take a complete behavior history, develop a treatment plan customized for your cat and coach you through its implementation. She can monitor your cats progress and make alterations to the plan as required. If appropriate, she can also help you decide when your cats quality of life is too poor or when the risks of living with your cat are too high and euthanasia is warranted. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or board-certified veterinary behaviorist in your area for guidance.
Hetts, Suzanne. . Pet Behavior Protocols. Lakewood, CO: AAHA Press.
Understanding Feline Body Language
Your cat’s eyes, ears, body, and tail all attempt to communicate their feelings with you and with other cats and animals. Some postures and cues to look for include:
- If your cats ears are backward, sideways, or lying flat , theyre likely annoyed, angry, or frightened.
- If their pupils are dilated, they may be feeling nervous or submissive, or defensively aggressive.
- If their tail is held low or tucked between their legs, they may be feeling anxious. If its thrashing back and forth, theyre likely agitated.
- If their back is arched and their fur is standing on end, they might be scared or angry.
Cats vocalizations also communicate their feelings:
- Growling and/or hissing indicates your cat is annoyed, angry, frightened, or aggressive.
- Yowling or howling means your cat is in some kind of distress. They could be in pain, trapped, or afraid.
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Is There A Way To Prevent This Behavior
You must provide ample outlets and opportunities for play on your terms. These should be aerobic play sessions so that the cat gets plenty of exercise. Keep a diary of when the cat is most active and when the play attacks are most likely to occur. Then schedule the play sessions in order to prevent and preempt these attacks before they are likely to occur, at a time when the cat would be most stimulated to chase and pounce. For example, if the cat seems most active or destructive in the evenings, try to circumvent problems by offering play at approximately the same time that the cat would begin. Should the cat begin to initiate the play session before you are ready, remember that you must ignore the cat and restart the session after the cat has calmed down. Next evening, begin a little earlier so you can beat the cat to the punch.
“You must provide ample outlets and opportunities for play on your terms.”
To try to maintain your cats interest in toys, you might consider a daily rotation of toys so that the cat is presented with a few new or different items daily. Pick up all the toys and place them in a box or basket out of the cats reach. Every day, take out a few toys or a bag or box, and set them out for the cat to play with. Increase novelty and interest by stuffing or coating the items with food or catnip.
What Not To Do
- If your cats are fighting, dont allow the fights to continue. Because cats are so territorial, and because they dont establish firm dominance hierarchies, they wont be able to work things out as dogs sometimes do. The more often cats fight, the worse the problem is likely to become. To stop a fight in progress, make a loud noise, such as blowing a whistle, squirting the cats with water, or throwing something soft at them. Dont try to pull them apart.
- Prevent future fights. This may mean keeping the cats totally separated from each other while youre working on the problem, or at least preventing contact between them in situations likely to trigger a fight.
- Dont punish the cats involved. Punishment is likely to elicit further aggression and fearful responses, which will only make the problem worse. If you attempt punishment, you may become a target for redirected and/or defensive aggression.
Because their social organization is somewhat flexible, some cats are relatively tolerant of sharing their house and territory with multiple cats. Its not uncommon for a cat to tolerate some cats, but not get along with others in the house. However, the more cats sharing the same territory, the more likely it is that some of your cats will begin fighting with each other.
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