Yet another trait well know to most cat lovers. There you are, happy to relax with your little friend, content in each others company. Cat purring as you gently stroke and caress it, totally unaware of the turmoil that is about to be unleashed as the previously angelic feline turns psychopath in an instant!
Ok, a little dramatic but you know what I mean.
The causes for feline aggression can be many and varied and may need careful examination. One thing is known for sure. A severe reprimand, which may work for your children, will not work on a cat and may even make the problem worse.
All living creatures come with a fight or flight mechanism built in. Its how we have managed to survive for so long. It is instinctive cats behavior to try to run away when threatened, but, like most animals, it will lash out if cornered.
Cats have a tendency to redirect their aggression. So, if something startles them and makes them feel threatened or vulnerable they may refocus their aggression on you.
Look out for aggression that may be brought on by some form of discomfort. If you are petting and pussy suddenly hisses or snarls, it could be due to a number of physical conditions. Get this checked as soon as you can with your vet.
So what about the aggression alluded to at the beginning of this piece, why does a seemingly contented cat lash out during petting ? This well known aspect of cats behavior is just part of feline fickleness. It could be down to early socialization patterns. It could be because cats have very sensitive skin and we may have inadvertently caused some discomfort. It could be that cats can become over stimulated.
Once a bond is built with your cat you generally get to know the signs, and know when to back away (usually), but it can be a rather steep and painful learning curve.
Red in fang and claw!
It is almost certain that at some stage during your relationship, pussy will attack! What to do?
Cats tend to bite whilst at the same time grabbing with its front claws and raking with the back.
The worst thing to do is pull your hand sharply away . Keep calm, don't shout or smack this will make things worst. Gently talk to the cat at the same time rub its paws very gently with your free hand until it releases its grip. Do not pet it, let it rest where it is until calm. If it is on your lap only then gently try to move it and then leave cat well alone for a while to calm down fully.
That's the theory, sounds easy doesn't it. Truth is you will probably act like most of us and instinctively pull away, don't feel bad about this, it takes some time to get use to leaving your hand to be mauled by this, suddenly gone mad, ball of fluff tooled with fang and claw!
Neutering may be a solution as this has the tendency to calm an aggressive tom. It is also recommended to help reduce cat overpopulation.
Also appreciate that not all biting is a sign of aggression, it may be a sign of affection. That said, it is not too difficult to spot the differences between these types of behavior
If aggression becomes too much of a problem, as always, consult your vet who should be able to advise on the best way to combat this aggressive cat behavior.
Jenny Harper: http://www.catsbehaviour.blogspot.com