Aggressive cats

Explore the causes and treatments of feline aggression

Is your cat aggressive?

Cats are rarely aggressive towards humans, but they do have their limits and there are several reasons why a cat may become aggressive. Keep reading to learn how to deal with cat aggression.

Types of aggression

If your cat is aggressive, ask your vet for advice. There may be a medical reason for their aggression. If not, ask your vet to recommend a qualified behaviourist.

Your cat could become aggressive for a number of reasons. By understanding the causes of aggression you may be able to help your cat to feel calm, secure and less aggressive.

Types of aggression include:

Defensive/fear aggression: your cat will usually run from anything they think is a threat, but they may defend themselves if they can't escape, or has previously learned that fleeing doesn't work.

Play and petting aggression: cats generally prefer short but frequent interactions, which is normal in feline etiquette. In contrast, people often interact less often but more intensely. This can be a bit much for some cats and many have a limit to how much petting they can handle.

Territorial aggression: usually occurs when two cats meet on disputed ground or when one cat is passing through another cat's territory.

Pain-induced aggression: cats suffering from pain have lower tolerance levels and so are more likely to become aggressive.

Causes of aggression

Cats may be more aggressive if they are:

  • kept indoors without stimulation, access to essential resources or an outlet for their hunting instinct
  • young
  • misunderstood by their owner
  • not neutered

Dealing with aggression

If your cat becomes aggressive, your first step should always be to visit your vet. Your vet can check your cat's health and rule out any health-related causes. If a health issue is not the cause, your vet may recommend a behaviourist.

You should also consider the common causes of aggression in case there is something about the home environment that is causing your cat's aggression.

Related topics

Understanding your cat's behaviour - Topic

Shyness - Topic

Spraying - Topic

Scratching - Topic

Toileting - Topic

Photo credit

Banner photo - Anton Darius | Sollers -