The cat is an unpredictable animal. As much as he can be an adorable little ball of affection, with whom you can spend peaceful moments, sitting on the couch with him snuggled on your knees purring, he can sometimes scratch or bite you violently, without you you could not understand the reason. But why can a cat be so aggressive? And above all, how to react to this behavior? All the answers can be found in this article.
Identify the origins of the aggression, and how to react?
A cat will never be aggressive for no reason. Although the causes can be various, it is important in the case of a cat that is aggressive to identify the cause of the aggression, because it can come from a malaise more or less important to treat, or much of a simple educational problem.
The cat, a nervous animal
Let’s talk about a typical situation first. You are sitting on your couch, your cat is on your lap and you are petting him. From your point of view, you are spending what you believe to be a moment of complicity and relaxation, until the moment when he starts to violently scratch your hand, to bite you, or even to spit.
Even if you might think so, this aggression did not come from nowhere. Indeed, the cat is a very nervous animal, and this in the physiological sense. You may have been stroking it for a while since you touched it in an area that it particularly displeased. These areas are usually located along its spine, as well as on the tail, areas that are very nervous. But every cat may not like being touched in a specific area. Some cats, for example, love to have their stomachs scratched, while others will hate it.
To learn to spot and therefore anticipate these attacks, you just need to be attentive. Before scratching you, your cat most likely sent signals to you that you didn’t notice, so they won’t have felt they had no choice but to scratch you to get you to stop. So, stop touching it if it sends you these signals:
- when he pushes your hand away with his paw, it is a more than obvious sign that your caresses are bothering him and that he must therefore be stopped.
- when he wags his tail. Indeed, some people mix it up with dogs, which wag their tails when they are happy. For the cat, it’s the opposite, if it wags its tail it means that it is disturbed or that something displeases it.
- if you can feel your cat stiffening, and especially at the level of his hind legs, something is wrong with him. He is getting ready at best to leave, and at worst to scratch you.
- if your cat’s ears are sticking out forward or to the side, something is bothering him because a relaxed cat will tend to “drop” his ears.
A bad weaning
A kitten does not have to stay with its mother for three months for nothing. Even if the food weaning (the moment when he stops breastfeeding his mother and begins to eat kibble) ends at two months, the behavioral weaning is not over. Thus, a cat withdrawn too early from its mother can sometimes be aggressive because it will not have learned to regulate its aggressiveness. In short, he will simply lack education.
For these cats, you will need to be patient, and educate them yourself. When he attacks you, say “no” in a loud voice, to impress him. He should gradually come to understand that this assault is a bad thing.
If you have too much trouble regulating his aggressiveness, you can also call in a behaviorist.
Some cats become aggressive without realizing it, because for them, it is only a game. Indeed, if playing with a kitten by making him attack his hand or his foot does not hurt and can be rather cute. , it will be much less pleasant to do the same once he is an adult, when his fangs and claws have grown bigger and stronger.
It will therefore be necessary to avoid accustoming a kitten to play with your body, because once an adult, it will also take this for a game, and what you will take for an aggression will in fact only be an attempt at play, as when he was a kitten.
To avoid this, get your kitten used to playing with toys. Fishing rods with a feather on the end, a ball or a simple piece of string, it doesn’t matter as long as he assimilates the game with a toy rather than with a part of your body.
Boredom, whims and frustration
If a cat is not stimulated enough, it can be aggressive quite simply to spend its energy, like a human who will go to play sports to let off steam. If you are often absent, and your accommodation does not have any toys or occupations, your cat may attack your calf as if he were shouting “I’m bored!”
Other cats can be very “immature” in some ways. Just like a child who freaks you out for a candy, a cat can freak you out for food. It will start by meowing at you for long minutes, and some can even go as far as biting and scratching. Often times, this problem is related to a withdrawal problem.
Finally, a cat can behave the same if you don’t take care of it enough. He will try to get in touch with you by all means, and if nothing works, he will bite or scratch you. In this case, consider spending more time with him, playing him or just cuddling him.
Some cats with traumatic experiences may be aggressive if a situation similar to that of their trauma unfolds.
For example, if he has experienced a situation of strong violence in a couple, which can go so far as to affect him, a simple argument may make him panic by reminding him of this trauma, and make him become violent out of fear. to relive that moment.
In this kind of case, you will have to reassure him, speaking to him in a soft voice and stroking him if he accepts it (and only if he wants to, you should never force a frightened cat), and possibly consult a behaviorist if this reaction is repeated too often.
Cats are animals that do not communicate their suffering. If your cat starts spitting, scratching or even biting you when you touch it in a specific spot, it may be in pain. This can be, among other things, osteoarthritis or a skin problem.
In any case, do not hesitate in this case to consult a veterinarian.
A very advanced age
Old age sometimes brings a lot of misery. If in humans, some people who have reached a very advanced age can have mental disabilities, sometimes even going as far as violence, unfortunately the same can happen to our feline companions.
It is rather rare that this happens, but a cat can become very aggressive almost overnight, as some neural connections are no longer made due to old age. He may simply no longer recognize you and therefore be afraid of you, or simply have lost his mind. There are unfortunately no real solutions in these cases. You just have to be patient with him, be gentle and kind, and get him to see a vet, because he will certainly need treatment.
You now know how to recognize the roots of aggression coming from a cat, and how to act accordingly. Remember above all that a cat is never aggressive by chance, it will always seek the origin, and especially never respond with violence, that would only make matters worse.