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Cat Aggression: Common Types

8 Kinds of Cat Aggression


Cat aggression has many faces. Dealing with cat aggression goes beyond stopping cat fights. Understanding and identifying the different types of aggression, and the common causes behind of cat aggression, is vital in order to know how to deal with the problem and stop cat aggression.

Intercat Aggression

Scottish Fold "Amy"
Photo Credit © Ev Russell and Kinross Folds

Intercat aggression is one of the most common complaints of cat owners. It happens when two or more felines simply can't get along. Intercat aggression most typically involves cats challenging one another for social status. It also can be transient, and happen as a result of redirected aggression, or following visits to the veterinarian.

It can be hard to read aggression in some cats, like this Scottish Fold named "Amy" unless you know them well. The ears rise slightly and slant backwards during defense, normally wide eyes become slightly wider, and the brow becomes furrowed. These cats tighten up their upper body, with front paws tucked under, or else one paw extended, ready to take a swipe at the offending party.

Fear Aggression

Fear aggression is almost always a component of cat aggression cases. Cats unable to hide or escape a fearful situation normally respond with aggression.

Play Aggression

Play aggression involves kittens and although normal, can be incredibly aggravating or even dangerous to fragile-skin owners. These youngsters become so wound up through play that their stalk-pounce-attack in explosive games,  which injure or terrorize their victims. Most kittens outgrow the behavior, and teaching bite inhibition helps enormously.

After Visiting the Vet Aggression

After the vet visit aggression happens when the cat returns home smelling like the animal hospital. This proves scary to the other felines, or simply confuses them so that they no longer recognize their cat friend.

Mother Cat Aggression

Mom Cat Aggression is a normal behavior when a mother cat has a litter to protect. Once  the  queen weans the kittens, and as they mature, the protective aggression tends to fade.

Redirected Aggression

Redirected aggression can be incredibly confusing and frightening to owners and victim pets. These incidents seem to occur without warning, and result when the attacking cat becomes aroused by something they cannot reach. Instead, they lash out at the closest target, often an innocent bystander.

Petting Aggression

Petting Aggression is typical of pushy, call-the-shots dominant felines. They use the leave-me-alone bite to control interaction with owners, and may solicit petting only to attack after a few strokes.

Hyperesthesia Syndrome

Hyperesthesia syndrome, while rare, can be a cause of unexplained explosive aggression toward owners—or toward themselves.

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