Does Your Cat’s Aggression Worry You? Here’s What You Can Do

“I have a rescue cat who has been with me just over 5 months. In that time, he has attacked me three times, causing considerable injury. It’s like a switch gets flipped in his head and he becomes really aggressive. I try and shut him in a room until he calms down, but although he looks repentant, the damage is done. I cannot understand what triggers this behaviour. Can you help, please?” wrote Jane in PetHelpful’s Ask-A-Vet section.

Mark dos Anjos, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, listed ten of the possible reasons why a cat may demonstrate aggressive behavior:

Photo: YouTube/The Purring Journal
  1. Blaring noise
  2. Rattling sound of plastic bags
  3. When you pet your cat
  4. When you don’t pet your cat
  5. Rough playing
  6. When you look at your cat
  7. When you don’t feed your cat on schedule
  8. When it has a fight with another cat at home
  9. When it gets frustrated by a window which it cannot engage in a fight
  10. Toothache or disease-related pain
Photo: YouTube/The Purring Journal

Dr. dos Anjos advised Jane to avoid what triggers her cat’s aggression, if she could find out what it is. However, based on the list, it may be quite difficult since even simple things such as petting or not petting could make a cat aggressive.

But Jane could still try the following strategies:

  • Avoid making any sudden noise or movements around your pet.
  • Don’t talk loudly to your cat.
  • When petting your cat, just do it under his chin.
  • Give him a hunting toy to preoccupy your cat when he’s agitated.
  • To reward his natural predatory behavior, provide your cat with a toy that dispenses treats.
  • Take your cat to a vet to determine if there is any underlying medical condition behind his aggressive behavior.
  • A behavior-altering medication like Clomicalm may also help.
Photo: YouTube/The Purring Journal

It is also among Dr. dos Anjos’s recommendations for Jane to rehome her cat if his aggressive bahavior proves too much to handle. She can find a new home for him or return him to the shelter. It is to prevent any serious injury that her rescue cat might cause her. Unfortunately, cat bites can lead to bacterial infection and other serious complications like limb amputation and death.

At the moment, Jane should see a physician to check on the injuries inflicted by her cat. Then, she can try to determine if something could still be done about its behavior by finding out the trigger. But if it’s too much for her to cope with, Jane should consider surrendering this cat to a shelter that may be able to do something more for it since they have more expertise with animals than ordinary people.

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