Does your cat attack your other pets? Does it attack the new cat you brought home? Or does it fight with your pet dog? Animal behaviorists have different names for each of these behaviors. When kitty attacks your pet mouse, or the bird in the garden, it's called predatory aggression. It is just following its natural instinct to hunt for prey. Unfortunately, it is difficult to stop this kind of behavior. The best you can do is put a collar with a bell on your cat. This will keep it from sneaking up on its prey. You should also keep your other smaller pets (like your pet hamster) away from your cat.
Fear aggression is yet another instinctive behavior. How do you recognize when kitty is frightened? It hisses, bares its teeth, and crouches low with its tail and legs tucked under its body. It flattens its ears against the head, the pupils dilate, and the fur stands on end. To the person triggering this reaction, it almost seems as if your cat has doubled in size. Just the same as a puffer fish doubling its size to frighten its enemies away. Push kitty any further and it may attack.
- So, what can you do? For a start, you should not try to pet or console your cat when it displays this frightened yet aggressive behavior. Petting your cat in this situation not only could get you hurt, it reinforces in kitty that this behavior is okay. You do not want this to happen. Even though it seems uncaring, it is better to ignore kitty in this mood.
- Where possible, you want to gradually desensitize kitty towards this trigger. Treat it like a phobia in a human being. Expose kitty to the fear trigger a safe distance away for short periods of time, and reward it with treats when it does not show aggressive behavior. Once it gets used to the trigger at a certain distance, gradually decrease the distance. Eventually, like a human being, your cat will stop being afraid.
The other kind of aggression which causes kitty to attack other animals is called territorial aggression. This mean that kitty will chase or fight with the new cat which you bring home. It is trying to protect its territory. If this happens, you will need to take their introduction to each other slowly.
- First, you need to confine both of them to their own quarters. Let them hear and smell each other, but do not allow any physical contact.
- Once they get used to each other like this, switch their quarters. Let kitty investigate the newcomer's smell, and let the newcomer investigate kitty's smell and its new home.
- After this, place them in the same room, but at opposite ends of the room. Let them eat, in order to condition them to associate food with each other's presence.
- Slowly bring then closer to each other.
- Finally, free them from their carriers and feed them, while making sure they cannot attack each other.
- If they eat their food and remain calm at this stage, then you are successful. Be warned that this could take weeks and even months.
In the end, there is no single way of keeping your cat from attacking another animal. You need to be patient and use a complete process.