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Cats' Aggression Toward People

Aggressive Biting

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Cat Behavior & Training > Cat Behavior 101 > Cats' Aggression Toward People

Causes of Aggressive Biting

  • Overstimulation
    Aggressive biting often happens during a petting session, when the human companion either doesn't understand, or ignores the cat's body language. While some cats love to be petted for hours on end, sometimes a cat will become over-stimulated for one reason or another, and will want to opt out of the petting session. Your cat will signal his feelings with narrowed eyes, ears pulled back. If you wait for the inevitable tail-lashing, you've waited to long, and you may be rewarded with a bite. The rule here is towatch the cat's signals and stop whatever you're doing to prevent this behavior.
  • Fear or Redirected Aggression
    Your cat may become upset at seeing a strange cat through a window, and react by attacking the first thing he sees at hand - either you or another cat. This kind of behavior will require creative thinking on your part. First, remove your cat to an area where he can't see the strange cat. Next, you need to reassure him as to his status in the household. Spend extra time with him, petting (carefully) and playing with him. Give him extra treats when he is able to interact calmly. In extreme cases, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to help him get over his fears.
  • Medical Causes
    Medical causes should never be ignored when new and unusual behavior problems arise, including aggressive biting and scratching. These could range from undetected wounds, distress from mites or fleas, or a hormonal imbalance. If an otherwise docile cat exhibits sudden and unexplained aggressiveness toward you, especially when being handled, a visit to your veterinarian is in order.

Know Your Cat

One of the most important duties a cat caregiver owes to his or her cat is to be aware of kitty's normal condition, both physical and mental, and to be observant of any sudden changes. This awareness can be accomplished by routinely examining your cat so that he is accustomed to your touching every area of his body, from head to toe. Then, keep your eyes open for the warning signs of impending aggression.

Intimate knowledge of your cat will forestall many potential problems, both physical and behavioral.

Cat Behavior & Training > Cat Behavior 101 > Cats' Aggression Toward People

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