Aggressive Behavior in Cats

Aggressive Behavior in Cats

A sudden change in the behavior of cats, leading to aggression, might result from many different causes. The common reasons behind this behavior are territorial problems, medical conditions, non-recognition, etc., which are listed in this article.
A common problem that troubles cat owners is the aggressive behavior shown by their cats. There are many reasons behind a cat turning aggressive. Being a member of the feline family, it shares its lineage with tigers, lions, leopards etc. Being aggressive is thus a natural instinct. It is difficult to predict the reason behind a cat's aggression, but it can be minimized by proper training. However, there are some specific reasons behind it. These are discussed below.
Aggressive Play Acting
Playing is one favorite activity of cats other than sleeping. They can play with almost any moving object they come across, and have an inborn instinct to attack. Owners are thus caught unawares and attacked if they ignore this habit. The signs of aggressive behavior are dilation of the pupils, swishing of the tail, crouching, and flattening of the ears. Such kind of behavior can be moderated if kittens are adopted at an early age. Clapping loudly when the cat turns aggressive is also a solution to avoid getting scratched or bitten.
Territory
Tigers spray urine to mark their territory. Members of the cat family are in general possessive about their territory. The aggressive behavior that results from territory-based problems is most common in cats. If other animals try to encroach their area, they get involved in fights. Territories can range from backyards, an entire house, to a small, single room where they spend most of their time. Fresh from a fierce fight, a feline might attack its owner. In case of a multi-cat house, the territory-based aggression could increase among the member cats and the problem might actually worsen. Thus, one should be careful while introducing a new cat in the house. For the first few days, the cats should be allowed to interact under supervision. After spending some time together, they get used to each other.
Medical Problems
Medical problems should never be ignored as the cats might turn violent due to the suffering. These animals have problems such as arthritis of the spine, and neurological problems leading to intense and sudden pain. A sudden twinge of pain in cats is termed as 'ghost pain'. It is necessary to handle cats with utmost care when they develop a medical condition. A carrier should be used to take them to the vet. Their skin ripples during an episode of 'ghost pains'. Regular visits to the vet for keeping a check on any health problems is necessary.
Non-Recognition Aggression
This type of aggressive behavior is seen in multi-cat houses. If one of the many cats present in the house spends a considerable amount of time away from the others, non-recognition aggression may crop up. One of the reasons behind the development of this aggression is the scent of sprays or medicines used by a vet. A cat which is taken for treatment smells of the medicines used. The rest of the cats might not recognize the original scent of the cat when camouflaged in the smell of medicines. Thus, non-recognition aggression develops. Many owners take all the cats along for a walk to minimize such behavior.
It is difficult to predict the behavior of cats. Unlike dogs, they exhibit excessive pride in themselves. One has to be patient in dealing with them. Any kind of rash behavior on the part of an owner may be answered by an equally stinging reply by the cat.
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