Cats are known to be one of the cutest pets but are also notorious for their aggression. Unlike many other pets, cats show authority and anger when something goes against their will. It makes us wonder how to stop cat aggression towards humans?
Cat aggression is often behavioral, but it may be due to other health issues. So, calming your aggressive cat requires understanding the types and causes of aggression. This article covers everything in detail, including controlling agitation in cats.
What Causes Cat Aggression?
Cambridge Dictionary defines aggression as “threatening or involving harm to someone or something.”
Aggression in cats refers to their angry or stimulated behavior when feeling threatened or fearful. It means the primary cause behind cat aggression is their fear. They typically get aggressive to defend their young ones, guard their territories, and have health issues. Cats may also exhibit aggressive behavior for different reasons, requiring specific solutions.
Types of Cat Aggression
Fear aggression is a common type of aggression in cats that arises from being insecure. Cats exhibit this behavior when they feel threatened or cornered. In such situations, the cat typically avoids the person they are afraid of and expresses defensive body language. It may be due to the cat’s personality, lack of socialism, and a history of punishment.
Petting aggression seems to result from an external stimulus, i.e., patting or petting the cat. Your cat might be happy playing with you but starts showing tantrums when petting for longer. It usually happens because they do not enjoy playing with you anymore at that time and want you to let them go.
At the same time, if you think about how to stop cat play aggression, there are plenty of tactics and ways to do so. They enjoy vigorous play that often mimics anger. However, it must be addressed if your pet’s play aggression harms you physically.
Who knew cats disliked high-pitch noises like us?
Noise-induced aggression is also common among cats, and they might get stimulated by a crying cat or even a crying baby. Squeaking sounds also do not seem to be a favorite among these pets.
As mentioned, one of the reasons for aggression among cats is an underlying medical condition leading to pain. Arthritis is a common pain-related disease irritating a cat, so a veterinary doctor provides medication for such aggressive cats. Moreover, liver and neurological issues may also cause agitation in felines.
Cat aggression in heat is understandable, but this sexual belligerence in males can be hurtful sometimes. Male cats exhibit sexual aggression by grabbing your skin with their teeth and mounting your arm or ankle. The cat might also bite your neck, resulting in injury.
If you have ever tried playing with a young kitten in front of the mother cat, you’d know what we’re talking about here!
Cats have a maternal instinct to protect their kittens, eventually resulting in cat aggression toward humans. They will attack if you try to take their baby away, and it is worse when they are nursing. The best approach is to provide a secure, quiet environment – maybe bring a new bed for kittens? The rest is just the wait until the little one grows.
Redirected aggression refers to changing the direction of the aggression when the cat is agitated over something else. The cat could be angry at another pet or situation but might show aggression to humans, called redirected aggression.
Cat aggression towards other cats is real as these fur babies are very attached to their family members. When anyone of you showers love and importance to other pets, your cat will become aggressive. You can point out this behavior when your cat tries blocking the door or swats at other cats when passing by.
Territory aggression is similar to status-induced aggression, replacing a person with a place. Pets are usually comfortable in a specific space and feel disturbed when someone else occupies that place. They depict their authority by hissing at the other pet or person taking over their territory.
Signs of Aggression in Cats
Besides being distant or hissing, an aggressive cat may show the following signs:
- Crouched body posture
- Mounting on your arm
- Growling or spitting
- Direct staring with dilated pupils
- Twitching tail
- Flattened ears on the side of the head
If your cat does not exhibit these symptoms but still seems tense, it is best to stay distant as they might attack you.
How to Stop Cat Aggression Against Humans and Pets?
Besides aggression towards humans, cats also exhibit anger towards other pets like dogs and their surroundings. Here’s how you can manage your cat’s attitude and calm it:
How to Stop Petting Aggression in Cats?
Petting aggression is among the common forms of cat aggression towards humans, which is quite unexpected. You might enjoy playing with your furball, but them showing signs of cat aggression are not hidden! Cats often bite their owners when petting, and if that’s the case, you may feel like screaming or getting angry, but don’t do that. Try to read your cat’s body language and distract it by throwing something in the other direction.
How to Stop Play Aggression in Cats?
Cats often get aggressive and stimulated when playing. While it is okay, you can control play aggression by scheduling play time, staying away when the cats are playing, offering a variety of toys, and moving away slowly if you think the cat will harm you.
How to Stop Fear Aggression in Cats?
Controlling fear aggression in cats requires understanding the triggers and avoiding them. Reduce or eliminate their causes of depression and provide a safe space for the cat to feel secure. Stay vigilant of your cats’ changed behaviors in different situations.
How to Stop Territorial Aggression in Cats?
If your cats are aggressive towards each other due to privacy invasion, it is best to keep them distant. Assign them to specific areas in the house, away from each other. It will keep them at a distance, enabling them to stay out of sight.
How to Stop Status-Induced Aggression in Cats?
Cats fight anyone threatening their status or trying to be close to their favorite people. In case your cat attacks someone, don’t scream or drag the cat away. Distract the cat and slowly put it on the ground.
However, if two of your pets fight, stay away. Make loud noises (not screaming) to distract the fur babies from the fight.
How to Stop Sexual Aggression in Cats?
The best way to stop sexual aggression in your cats is to get them neutered or spayed, especially when male and female cats live in the same house. Even if you do not have both at home, spaying and neutering can help them control their aggression.
How to Stop Maternal Aggression in Cats?
Cats recently giving birth often exhibit maternal aggression, protecting their kittens from harm. You must try to provide a safe and quiet environment for your cat. Also, do not invite many people to your home to see the kittens. Let the mother cat settle down first without disturbing her.
How to Stop Noise-Induced Aggression in Cats?
If your cat gets stimulated by loud noises, it is best to avoid high-frequency noises around it. Keep the cat in another room if you have a small baby when crying induces aggression in the cat; it can be dangerous for the baby otherwise.
How to Stop Redirected Aggression in Cats?
Sometimes, cats may redirect their aggression towards humans, so you must stay away from them when agitated. They calm down on their own eventually. Yet, if the cat attacks you, take it away slowly.
How to Stop Pain-Induced Aggression in Cats?
The only way to stop pain-induced aggression in cats is to determine and treat the underlying cause. Take your pet to the vet so they can assess their medical condition and offer a treatment regimen; avoiding pain-related cues can lead to deteriorated health.
What Works Best for Cat Aggression? – Tips to Consider
If you still get confused in how to deal with cat aggression, we have these following tips for you:
- Stay away from the cat when it exhibits aggression
- Do not make eye contact with your cat during aggressive episodes
- Do not block the cat’s escape route, and stay out of the way
- Cover your legs and arms to avoid scratches or bites
- Analyze the situation thoroughly and avoid the triggers in the future
What Not to Do?
While you know how to stop cat aggression towards humans and other pets, there are also a few ‘don’ts’ you must keep in mind.
- Do not try to handle an aggressive cat, or it may bite or scratch you
- Do not shout or scream when your pet shows aggression or attacks you
- Do not block the escape route
- Do not punish your cat after the episode, or it may worsen the problem
How to Calm an Overstimulated Cat?
Cats may get overstimulated by various stimuli, including petting and patting. Staying calm is the first and most important step for an overstimulated cat. You can identify an overstimulated cat by the following indicators:
- Skin rippling
- Twitching tail
- Laid-back ears
Controlling an overstimulated cat requires letting go of them slowly and gently to prevent scratching. Avoid petting them for longer times to not overstimulate your pet.
What to do if my Cat Bites me?
Cat scratches and bites are common in cat parents, but they must not be too aggressive. Reacting to the situation can stimulate the cat to behave the same way again. So, you must avoid interacting further with the cat,
Try to take the cat away from the person or animal it has attacked. Stay calm to not frighten the cat further, as it can cause fear aggression. Let the cat go away if it wants to and stay in another room for some time. Treat your wounds with an adequate medical remedy to avoid infections.
The Bottom Line
Cats are fighters and get aggressive due to various reasons. Your cat might have fear, petting, noise-induced, maternal, sexual, territory, status-induced, play, pain-induced, or redirected aggression. The most important element in how to stop cat aggression towards humans is staying calm when your cat is agitated. Different types of cat aggression require specific solutions, as mentioned in the article.
How do I stop my cat from being aggressive towards me?
First, stopping your cat from aggression requires controlling your reaction and slowly letting your cat go. Let your cat escape from the room if it wants, and do not give any attention until it comes back to you eventually.
How do you train an aggressive kitten?
Kittens are easier to train than cats, and you can control their aggression in the starting years. Try loud noises to distract your cat and engage them in another activity to prevent harm to humans or other pets.
Do aggressive cats calm down with age?
Young cats are typically more active and, thus, more aggressive. As they grow older, their energy levels drop, and they become less aggressive with time.
Does anxiety make cats aggressive?
If your cat exhibits aggression frequently, anxiety could be one of the underlying reasons. Your cat could be fighting its own thoughts, leading to aggression towards humans and other pets. Thus, you must get your cat assessed by your vet.