Dealing With Aggressive Cats

Even seasoned cat owners can be alarmed by aggressive cat behavior.

The hissing, the clawing and everything in between can snowball into an incredibly stressful issue. Knowing how to deal with this behavior and working with your pet will allow you and your cat to share the home.

You're aware that every cat is different. Just because your previous pets were gentle and cuddly doesn't necessarily mean that the next one will be. As such, you may wind up adopting a cat who's a far cry from the loving pets of your past. Alternatively, this may be your first cat and it may be a daunting situation.

Recognize the signs

Know that if cats weren't socialized with humans early on, they're not as familiar with human interaction as your previous pets may have been. There are different types of cat aggression. As such, you should refrain from overwhelming him from the beginning. Take the time to get to know your new cat and study his behavior. What you perceive as all-out aggression may actually be his way of playing. Or he may be exerting his territorial instincts in this new area.

One of the first things you should study up on is cat body language, which can help you figure out whether he's really looking for a fight or if he's just feeling playful. Once you determine what sort of aggression he's displaying, you'll be able to respond accordingly. As with any person or pet, if your cat is truly angry, give him some space to cool down, but don't leave him alone. Show him that you pose no threat, and try to win his favor by encouraging him to play with you.

Additionally, if you're very familiar with your cat and he's started showing signs of aggression for seemingly no reason, don't assume that he's misbehaving or has suddenly changed his personality. His aggression could stem from a health issue, so you'll want to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure that he's healthy. Once you know he's OK, you can analyze why he's grown aggressive.

For sudden changes in behavior, think back on when the aggression began and consider any changes that may have taken place inside your home. If it happened while the cat was outdoors, speak to neighbors to see if a fight may have occurred. Being aware of your cat's daily activities will help you better understand his feelings, which can improve your overall relationship.