Under that warm ball of purring fur curled up on your lap beats the heart of what was once a predator. The instinct to stalk, pounce and kill is still very much alive in today's domesticated kitties, some breeds more so than others.
If kitty has not been adequately gentled and socialized to accept humans and their touch while in kitten hood, you will more than likely have a grown cat with aggression behavior problems on your hands. Aggression is the #2 cat behavior problem as reported by veterinarians and animal behaviorists.
There can be a variety of reasons besides touch as to why your kitty may appear aggressive but mostly he is only doing what ages of instinct has bred into him.
What can cause this aggressive behavior?
The cause probably comes from very early personality development experiences in your cat's life. Things like abuse, accidental injury, loud noises like thunder and lightning or even other animals that have frightened kitty can make a lasting impression on his mind about his surroundings. Generally from about 4 to 12 weeks of age any or all of these events can be permanently programmed into the brain's "personality structure" and be set there for life. Most cats will retreat to a safe place or leave the area when afraid but when prevented from retreating because of being cornered or held, it will more than likely fight. The best solution to lessen the danger is to just leave the cat's immediate area and get out of its eyesight.
Fear aggression toward a family member can result from punishment or other unpleasant experiences connected with that individual. Body postures like an arched back, raised fur, a bushy tail and hissing or growling, in conjunction with aggression, are sure signs of a fear aggression behavior.
Kitty will become even more fearful and aggressive if he is harmed or further frightened by restraint or punishment for his actions. People or animals that don't approach your cat in a calm, confident or friendly way are more likely to be shown a fearful, aggressive response.
What can you do?
First consult your vet or the breeder about your cat; possibly even consult with a professional animal behaviorist. If you have decided to keep your cat and try the behavior modification yourself, be prepared to devote all your time and the time of every member of your family to making the modification work. Most owners give up out of frustration because of the intensity and the length of time required for results--results that may never come.
The fact is that the cat can't help being who it is. It can't understand that its owners aren't a threat, that it is loved and the things that are triggering its aggression are not a real danger. The kitty is simply reacting and responding as its brain is ordering him to and, in all probability, he will never be able to change his responses.
No matter how much you love your pet, you are responsible for this cat's actions. Are you willing to take a chance that it won't seriously hurt someone at some point in time? How much of kitty's aggressive behavior is an acceptable risk to you, your family and neighbors? How many bites, scratches or stitches are OK? Is the animal a danger to people? How far are you willing overlook his behavior now and live with the possible consequences of that decision later?
All these problems and actions on the cat's part came about because of genetic predispositions, early brain sensory input and traumas and events in his life. The cat can't help who it is or the actions its brain tells it to do. It is acting in what it thinks is the right course even though no real threat or danger was really there.
If your pet has shown over and over again that it is a danger to itself and others and nothing has worked to change its behavior, it may become necessary to resort to euthanizing the animal. As much as we love our pets, the welfare of the humans they come in contact with must take final priority.
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