Aggression in Cats And The Reasons Behind This Behaviour

aggression in cats

Aggression is a common behavior present in almost every living thing, such as human beings and animals. The second most typical behavior expected by animal behaviorists in cats has to be aggression. But aggression in cats is seen as less terrifying in comparison to the aggression in dogs. It is mostly because of the size between the two and also the fact that dogs chase people or any other animal when they are in that state. However, aggression in cats is also alarming at times because of their sharp teeth and claws, which can cause quite the damage.

It is essential to understand the reason behind this trait and find a solution around it to keep the environment as well as the feline safe. The bite of your feline can leave high painful lacerations, which is prone to infection if it is left untreated. It can also lead to sicknesses such as cat scratch fever, which starts as a mild fever but escalates into a high fever with flu-type symptoms. Cats may also get in fights with other cats, but this does not result in major cases that need medical attention. It can be dangerous to keep an aggressive feline at home if you’re very cautious about your environment, especially when you have a baby.

Observing and Analysing the Body Language of Your Feline

Aggression in cats consists of a multitude of various complex behavioral issues that may be triggered for a ton of reasons depending on the situation. It is essential to understand the body language of your feline. Communication with your cat is critical as pet owners to understand, motivate, and relate your cat under different circumstances. Healthy communication can help cat owners respond fast to behavioral problems such as aggression.

A dead giveaway sign is the body posture the cat is in and what it is trying to portray through these postures. The facial expressions, the posture, and how the feline is carrying itself, is a major sign. It is essential to pay attention to the ears and whiskers of your feline. You should also pay attention to the tail of the cat. Body language varies from animal to animal, and the body language of dogs is more transparent in comparison to cats, which makes it harder for feline owners to interpret.
Communication is the key, and so the cat owners should get comfortable enough to understand the basic postures, which will create a safer environment.

Aggression in cats can either be defensive or offensive. When felines are offended, they tend to make themselves look taller and bigger to intimidate what they feel is their enemy. However, when cats are defensive, they tend to make themselves look smaller by adopting a protective position. It is essential to understand the postures adopted by these felines when they are behaving aggressively. The postures may vary depending on the situation, and it is always advisable not to approach your feline when it is in that state.

Acquiring an Offensive Posture

When a cat is offended, it will stand stiffly in an upright manner. It will stand in a straight-legged position. The feline will adopt a stiff stance and raise the back and lower the head in a sloped back position. The tail of the cat is lowered and sits stiffly to the ground. It puts on a direct stare to its enemy, with the ears positioned in an upright manner. The back of the cat rotates forward slightly. There is piloerection, which is bristling of hair and also the fur of the cat’s tail. The cat’s pupils become constricted. The feline moves towards its opponent directly and may produce sounds of yowls, growls, and howls.

Acquiring a Defensive Posture

In cases of the cat being defensive, it crouches with its head tucked inside. The tail of the cat is looped around the body and pushed in. The cat eyes are fully open in a wide manner and have partially dilated or entirely dilated pupils. The ears of the cat are put sideways by flattening in or at the back of the head. There is the usual case of piloerection, where the hair stands up in almost every part of the cat’s body. An anxious cat retracts its whiskers, and the whiskers of a fearful cat are panned out and put forward in this mode. A cat does it to analyze the distance between himself or herself and the opponent. During this mode, the cat usually moves sideways to the danger and avoids heading straight ahead. The feline has its mouth open and produces sounds of hissing and also spits. The cat has its claws out and tends to pounce with quick strikes. The delivery is often quick.

Acquiring the Overt Aggression Posture

In cases like this, the cat usually resorts to swatting and is ready to strike with its paws. The feline will put up a fight and will bite its opponent and will produce sounds of growling as well as shrieking. The cat will also do the common damage of scratching its opponents. The feline rolls to the side and unleashes its weapon, i.e., its sharp claws and teeth. The cat will try to grab hold of your hand and bring your hand to its mouth for a powerful bite.

The Cause of this Behaviour in the Feline Family

It is always smart to evaluate and make a thorough study on what could have caused this behavior in your cats. You have to study on what situation caused this behavior and who your feline was aggressive towards. You should take into account the time and place of the incident. These little details will help you understand the root cause of this behavior around the concept of “Cat suddenly aggressive towards owner” and “cat suddenly aggressive toward me.”

An array of medical conditions can also be the trigger of this havoc. Some of the conditions that can cause this would be Toxoplasmosis, cases of rabies, disease pertaining to dental health, arthritis, reduction of sensory organs, epilepsy, and also abscesses. It is always advisable to make a trip to the veterinary to understand the underlying problem behind aggression in cats.

Why there is Aggression Between Cats

A cat aggressive with other cats is a very common thing. It is usual for cats to be engaged in fights. Aggression and conflicts mostly occur between male cats. It happens when male cats age and they resort to challenging other males for power, easier access to female cats, and, most importantly, for their territory. The fights usually occur when tom cats are out of their homes and busy roaming in the neighborhood. They tend to stand stiffly with their hackles turned up and stared at each other, while they hiss and growl. The fight usually ends up in one cat slowly leaving, or both cats might just pounce on each other directly instead of calling off the fight.

Aggression between two felines inside the household is more fine-drawn than two tomcats battling it outside. The aggression between the household cats is too subtle to the extent that the feline owners don’t even notice it. The aggressive cat positions itself in an aggressive mode, and the other feline makes itself look smaller and turns away from the aggressor. The aggression can take place between the same sex as well as the opposite sex. The situation may arise as a result of their physical sizing, activities, socializing with other felines, a sudden association between two cats, and the most common case, which is the clash in personality.

The Types of Aggression in Cats

Cats can be aggressed for a variety of reasons and not just for fearful and defensive cases. Some of them:

Territorial Aggression

Most animals tend to like their own space and aren’t open to sharing their territory with other animals. In cases of cats, it is more extreme because cats aren’t naturally open to sharing space. Male cats defend larger territories in comparison to female cats. Felines usually defend their territories against other cats, but they also defend them against dogs and human beings as well. Cats tend to mark their grass by patrolling and rubbing their chins as well as by peeing a little. Felines will stalk and chase as well as ambush their intruder by resorting to their aggressive postures. Some cats chase their intruder directly, while some may take it slowly. The territory of the cat could be the entire house or a specific part of the house, the backyard, or even the entire neighborhood. Territorial aggression occurs when a kitten is sexually matured, the introduction of a new cat, changes in the environment, and stray cats finding their way into a cat owner’s house. All of these lead to territorial aggression in cats. It also leads to issues such as cat aggressive with new kitten and cat aggressive with a new puppy.

Play Aggression

This is usually seen in a kitten or younger cats that haven’t crossed two years of age. The cats tend to be playful with human beings. However, this playful streak can escalate into injuries to owners or guests and also destroy household items. It is the most common type of aggressive behavior that is directed towards the feline owners. The behavior can range from playful to predatory. It can ambush, leap, pounce, stalk, run, swatt, batt, grasp, bite, leap, and fight as well. It varies in cats on how rough their playful aggression is. Orphaned kittens may lack control in their temper. There are also other factors determining this behavior, such as extended hours spent alone with no activity and even encouragement on the part of the owner to chase. All of these leads to play aggression in cats.

Redirected Aggression

It is one of the most dangerous aggressive behaviors from a cat because the bite of the feline is wild and scary as well. It is also a very typical form of aggression and can be very damaging. It usually happens when the cat is flustered and triggered by another cat or a human being it can’t get at. Cat aggression towards the dog is also often the cause. This, in turn, will lead the cat to lash out or take out its anger on someone who is approaching it. There is a considerable amount of time between the time of its initial trigger and the redirected aggression. Most feline owners describe this behavior in them as unprovoked aggression in cats or indefensible. A cat attacks a dog unprovoked, and the attack usually takes place when the cat is agitated, and a dog or the owner approaches it. The attack isn’t termed as hostile or intentional but is more like a reflex. It is always advisable to never approach an agitated feline or to just go and break a catfight.

Petting-Induced Aggression

Cats come with different personalities. Some enjoy being petted and carried on the regular. Some don’t enjoy it much and tolerates it when their owner does this. Some felines enjoy being petted but not carried while some don’t enjoy any of this. Petting-induced aggression takes place when the cat gets irritated with longer periods of petting. It can cause issues such as cat aggression with guests and cat aggression with visitors. The cat shows aggression by nipping or bites the owner lightly, then proceeds to jump and running off. When humans repeatedly pet them, it becomes unpleasant for the cat, and it will trigger and excite them. It also sends electricity in the fur of the cat. Petting-induced aggression is common in males than female cats.

Pain-Induced and Irritable Aggression

This form of aggression is often a result of deprivation, annoyance, and pain. They tend to take out this anger on other cats, objects, or their owners. The pain is often caused by medical issues such as arthritis, problems with teeth, and the abscesses resulting from fights. Punishments aren’t required to discipline your cat in this situation as it will worsen the situation and cause other types of aggression. The body postures of the cat are usually defensive in cases like this.

Maternal Aggression

It only occurs with female cats when they give birth to her babies. The female cat will protect her kitten from other cats and human beings if she feels like they are a threat to her babies. It is advisable to leave the cat and her kittens alone in the first few days to avoid this situation. Maternal instincts form a part of aggression in cats.

Idiopathic Aggression

It has to be a fatal type of aggression out of all the other forms of aggression. There is no explanation from a medical or a behavioral standpoint about this issue. Felines diagnosed with this type of aggression tend to attack their owners violently and remain in a triggered state for hours. This issue is like an escalated version of the redirected aggression. Feline owners need to take measures and carefully assess things before they get worse. Idiopathic aggression in cats is a serious issue.

Predatory Aggression

Cats naturally have predatory aggression instilled in them. Scientists do not want to associate this characteristic with aggression because this ability is naturally ingrained in them to hunt for food. When the cat has prey in its target, it resorts to a silent form of stalking to observing and waiting for the perfect time to make the attack. The cat usually kills its prey by delivering one powerful bite from the back. It is also another form of aggression in cats.

Seeking the Help of Your Veterinarian

Aggression in cats is often a cause of a variety of medical conditions, and these sicknesses are painful. Felines can have orthopedic complications, abnormality of the thyroid, dysfunctional adrenal, dysfunctional cognitive issue, disorders related to neurology, and sensory organs. All these issues cause irritation and aggression in cats. Geriatric cats tend to develop cases of confusion as well as insecurities, which leads to aggression. The vet will provide you with the required medication to reduce this behavior in your feline. The vet can also offer a specific dietary plan to reduce this behavior. You should work hand in hand with your veterinarian to improve the behavior of your cat.

The Importance of Seeking Professional Help

Aggression in cats can be a difficult behavioral problem to tackle and treat it. The problem is very complicated to diagnose and hard to treat. Some techniques can change the behavior of the cats but can prove to be fatal and lead to other problems if it is misapplied in any way. Even medical staff with professional assistance gets bitten at times. A professional can make a thorough study of the behavioral history of the feline, come up with a specific plan for the treatment, and also instruct you throughout the entire process. A professional will always monitor the progress made by your cat and make changes to the plan made by the professional. A professional will also tell you about the risks involved in living with your cat and the changes you have to make with the environment.

How Pet Products Come in Handy

There is some added expense associated when your felines or pets, in general, have behavioral aggression. It is essential to go the extra mile and buy these products to ease the situation.

The VetriScience Pet Relaxants available in Amazon is one of the best products out there for issues such as aggression in cats. It addresses issues surrounding behavioral disorders relating to cognitive and proper brain support.

The Vetoquinol Behaviour Support Cat Supplement available at Chewy is an excellent supplement for aggressive behavior. It is often mixed with meals and helps aid aggression in cats.

The CEVA Animal Health Feliway Wipes available at amazon is an excellent product. It helps in calming and aggression in cats.

There are also toys like the Petty Love House Cat Activity Centre available in Amazon. It entertains the cat and keeps their mind from behavioral issues. It also does a great job of curing aggression in cats.

The Catit Senses 2.0 Wellness Centre available in Amazon has a catnip spot, herb container, and a dual self-groomer, which will pamper your feline and keep it entertained. It does an excellent job of preventing aggression in cats.

The MOJOWIN Corrugated Cat Scratcher with Cat Toys available in Amazon is a cat grabbing board with a cat nest. It also comes with a ton of cat toys and works as an excellent cat scratcher. It helps reduce the aggression that has been piling up.


Cats are adored by billions around the world and are kept as a pet because of the love and joy it brings to feline owners. However, just like any other pet, cats are also exposed to a ton of issues surrounding their behavior and other medical issues as well. Aggression is one of the most common types of problems found in cats. There are various types of aggressive behaviors found in cats. Some of them are natural and something that we notice on the regular as cat owners. Still, there is some type of aggressive behaviors that are unnatural and alarming. In situations like this, it is always advisable to make a thorough study of your feline and resort to remedies you can implement to fix this or make a trip to the veterinary. Behavioral issues are also something you have to be extra cautious about, especially when you have a baby at home. There are various dangers associated with these behavioral issues if it is left untreated and unattended.

It is also smart to give space to your felines and abstain from any sort of contact or punishment to your cats. It can worsen the situation and escalate smaller problems to bigger ones. It is advisable to take proper measures and safe proof your house and also take care of your self as aggressive behaviors in felines will end up hurting you as well. It is essential to observe and analyze the situation and decide on what is best for your cat as an owner because you are the person who is 24×7 in your cat’s presence.