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Cat Aggression

Cat aggression or violence can be a frightening thing to either see or be the one being attacked. There can be many different reasons for a 'cat attack'. Sometimes your cat will attack you because she is afraid. You need to do some work to find out what is frightening her. It is impossible to solve a problem without knowing what the problem is. Once you understand her fear, you can start training her not to be afraid in those particular situations.

Pain Induced Aggression

There is pain induced aggression where your cat bites or scratches when touched in a certain place. Try gently finding out what the problem is and if it can be treated at home. If not, a trip to the vet will be necessary to see what the problem is. And vets are trained in handling pain induced aggression.

Petting Induced Aggression

Another type of cat aggression is called 'petting induced aggression' where your cat is happily sitting in your lap being stroked when she suddenly lashes out at you. She may not draw blood but she is telling you that she's had enough, and wants you stop now. Ignore this message at your peril.

Fear Type Cat Aggression

Some fear aggression could become evident when your cat is introduced to new people or situations. One of my cats hides whenever someone new comes into our house. Our other cat is not at all worried about people or most other animals. You need to be careful that your cat doesn't become aggressive or violent with your visitors. The last thing anyone wants is their friends being scratched or bitten!

Territorial Cat Aggression

Just like humans, cats have a fight or flight method when presented with something that frightens them. If they feel cornered, they will fight and you don't want to get in their way. If their aggression is territorial and another cat has invaded their space, never try to stop them fighting by pulling them apart. This is a recipe for disaster and deep scratches and bites. The best thing to do in this situation is to spray some water on them (either from a hose or a water bottle) or to start making loud noises. Bang some pots together if possible. Either way you will distract them and usually that is enough to break up the fight.

Predatory Aggression

It is normal for cats to chase and hunt their prey. These predatory behaviors usually involve chasing, leaping, stalking, attacking, playing with and eating of their prey. Prey can include birds, mice, lizards, grasshoppers and anything your cat thinks it might be able to catch and eat. Try to redirect your cat's attention to a game. This way she will hopefully forget about that bird or whatever she was stalking.

Redirected aggression

Normal behavior in animals is to direct the aggression towards the source of whatever is upsetting it. Sometimes the source is not accessible, for example a dog or another cat that is on the other side of a fence - visible but not easy to get to. You could find your cat redirecting her aggression to you. You need to distract the cat again away from you.

Play Aggression

It is normal for kittens to show play aggression as they mature. Kittens love to play at pouncing and swatting at toys or each other. This is the way they learn survival tactics and they normally grow out of this stage.

I have found, through painful experience, that cats tend to bite while grabbing you with the front claws and using the back paws in a cycling type motion. If this happens you need to try to stay calm, which I know is not easy. The more you show panic or anger, the more the cat will pick up on that and intensify their violence to you. By staying calm and trying to stroke your cat's nose or paws, you will relax your cat so you can extract your hand of whatever is being attacked. Take some deep breaths and try not to yell or push your cat away.

Kathy Robinson has been writing and publishing articles for many years. She has recently retired from being editor of a country newspaper which allows her to spend more time on her growing online interests. She lives with her family in rural Western Australia. Her website offers a growing repository of articles on many cat problems.

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