Cats are the epitome of indifference; playing or cuddling one moment, abruptly walking away the next. However, when your cat bites, hisses and scratches it can be a big problem. Before you give up or get scratched to threads, take a few simple steps to calm your aggressive cat.
Stop playing with your cat the moment he displays aggressive behavior such as biting or hissing and firmly say “no.” Remember, even during play, your cat is honing his hunting skills and sees his playmate, in this case you, as his prey. Offer him a toy tied to the end of a stick to keep at a safe distance. Eventually, this will teach him that you are not a proper outlet for his play aggression.
Give your cat a food treat before trying to pet him if he seems to get aggressive while being petted. Think of the treat as the proverbial olive branch. Keep in mind that some cats are more sensitive to touch and can become irritated quickly. Keep your petting sessions to brief intervals while looking for telltale signs that he is ready for you to stop. Some of his subtle clues are tail twitching or ear movement. When you see this, stop and resume later, offering him a treat each time.
Use a water bottle to give him a little squirt if he displays territorial aggression. This type of aggression cannot be tolerated or you will soon find yourself peeking around doorways to make certain he is not lying in wait to pounce the moment you walk by. Most of the time a cat will only behave this way with other cats. If he gets into a fight with another cat, do not try to reach between them to break it up. Instead, make a loud noise, or spray water to stop the altercation.
- Spay or neuter your cat.
- If you have multiple cats, keep the aggressive one away from the others until he has learned to have calm interactions with you. Later, introduce them slowly.
- Watch for clues that something in your household environment causes aggression. For example, loud music, a dog or small children may irritate him. If this is the case, provide your cat with his own happy place such as a fluffy pillow in a quiet room.
- If all else fails, seek the assistance of an animal behaviorist for intervention.
- Keep small children away from an aggressive cat.
- Do not hit your aggressive cat.
- Take your cat to his veterinarian for a checkup. His aggression may be due to pain associated with an injury or physical illness.
Yvonne Ward began her professional writing career in 2004. She wrote a true-crime book published in 2010 and has two more underway. She also has a strong background in business, education and farm living. Ward is pursuing a Master of Arts in history and culture from Union Institute and University.