We all talk about how cats are crazy. How many meme’s have you seen about crazy cat behavior? But what happens when typical crazy behavior changes to actually aggressive behavior? Why does a perfectly sweet cat become not so sweet?
There are few different reasons why a nice cat can become a mean cat:
- Illness is one of the biggest problems. Cats can’t tell you when they are feeling poorly. They can’t come up to you and say hey mama I don’t feel good, or something hurts. You know how we get cranky when we don’t feel good or when we are in pain, they are the same way. In fact, being aggressive is often their way of telling you, hey! I don’t feel good.
- Unaltered males can be more aggressive. Unaltered males are males that have not been neutered, meaning they still have their testicles and can still breed. This is also known as being “intact”. Intact males have more hormones running through them and these hormones can cause them to be more aggressive towards other cats. Even having one intact male can affect the behavior of all your other cats. This means that one intact male can cause your neutered males, or females, to become more aggressive. Neutering your cat will fix this pretty much immediately, at least for your other cats. However, if you wait until a cat is older before neutering them their personality can get set in place and neutering may not get rid of all the aggressive behavior and you may have to look at doing some behavioral work with them.
- Amenities. Cats have high standards. They will not graciously put up with substandard amenities. Your cat may be acting aggressively because there aren’t enough litter boxes, or water dishes, or places for them to sit. If you give them more space and access to their needs they will often calm down.
- Socialization. A big reason for aggressive cats is lack of socialization. Have you ever met a feral cat and noticed that they do not seem to want your attention. This is because they have not been around people enough, or they have not received enough positive attention from people. If your cat is primarily aggressive when someone tries to touch them, it could be that they need to be more socialized.
How to Deal with Aggression in your Cat
A lack of socialization or bad experiences with people is the primary reason for aggression in cats, especially if you are seeing it in a cat you just adopted. Your cat needs to learn to trust you. Part of doing this is not forcing the cat to be with you. Show them that you are a safe place to be. NEVER HIT THEM! Even if they are being aggressive, do not hit them. This will not teach them to be less aggressive and can make them more aggressive. At best hitting them will teach them to fear you and then they will still be aggressive when they are cornered.
If you have put up a second litter box and another water dish, you have tried being gentle and building trust, they are neutered, but they are still being aggressive, it is time to take your cat to the vet. Aggression is always a sign that something is wrong the hard part is figuring out what is wrong. Often times a health issue can be the root of the issue. At any time if your cat goes from being nice to regularly aggressive it is a good idea to take him to the vet. Your vet will also have tips to help deal with behavioral aggression if the aggression is not health related.
Vetco in Albuquerque offers low cost spay and neuter as well as low cost well animal veterinary care. Take a look at our pet care promotions page for extra savings on our veterinary services.