Cat Bad Behavior: How To Stop The Cat From Attacking Other Animals


Cat Bad Behavior: How To Stop The Cat From Attacking Other Animals



We’ve always had cats.

As a boy, I’d happily add to our immediate family by occasionally bringing home a new kitten — always the last one in the litter, the one nobody else wanted.  And I loved ’em all.  And they gave back a quiet love.

These many years later, we have Tillie and Rusty.  And they’re part of the family, for sure.

Rusty is always up for playtime, at times a golden blur, at times lazy and trusting and full of lion-loud purrs.  He’s my best bud.

Tillie is the watcher.  When we brought them home, Rusty curled up in the cat carrier at my feet to sleep.  But his sister Tillie kept looking up at me through the screening, while batting Rusty in the ear, saying, in her own way, “Hey, wake up! Something’s going on here. Who is this human?  They’re taking us somewhere.”

Tillie eventually deigned to give us purrs.  But she still watches everything.  Never saw a cat who figures things out like she does.  She’s not a black cat, but she can find the shadows and blend in.

Raising cats has always been easy for us.  But not for everyone, eh?

We’ve heard the problems others have had: spraying, peeing where they shouldn’t, digging walls and furniture (well, we’ve had this one — catnip on a home-built scratcher takes care of most of it), aggressive behavior, really bad aggressive behavior…

This last one has been the biggest cause for alarm among people we’ve known.

Here, from Katherine Towers, is an astute Guest Blog on that very topic:

“Aggressive Cat Behavior: How To Stop Your Cat From Attacking Other Animals”

Your cat can show several different forms of aggressive behavior.

Although these behaviors may be alright and even useful in the wild, in a housecat these behaviors are dysfunctional. Animal behaviorists classify different kinds of aggressive cat behavior differently.

When your cat attacks a bird or mouse in the garden, or even your son’s pet hamster in its cage, this is called predatory aggression. Kitty is playing great white hunter, following its instinct to hunt for prey. Unfortunately, you cannot just shut down this instinct, so other measures need to be taken. The simplest one it to put a collar with a bell on your cat to keep it from sneaking up on its prey.

Kitty can also behave aggressively when it is afraid. At first, this seems like a paradox. But you may better understand this behavior if you recall the human fight-or-flight instinct. When your cat is afraid of some other animal, like your pet dog, but cannot run away, it may go nuts and attack the source of its fear in a berserk fury of claws, fang and fur.

So, what to do? The natural reaction of most cat lovers is to try to pet and console kitty. Unfortunately, in the long run, you are conditioning your cat to behave this way. You are reinforcing the idea that it is okay to behave aggressively whenever it is afraid. Generally, the best way to handle fear aggression is to remove the source of the fear, then ignore kitty. Yes, pay no more attention to your cat until it calms down on its own.

The third form of aggressive cat behavior has to do with territory. This is especially common in unneutered tomcats. In this case, kitty will attack your new cat because it feels that the newcomer is invading its territory.

This is yet another natural behavior which can give you a big headache. If this happens, you need to introduce the two cats to each other slowly. Mealtime is usually an important part of this process. In simplistic terms, both cats only see each other when it is time to eat. Otherwise, they are kept apart, out of sight of each other. This lets them associate the other cat with the pleasure of eating.

Another form of aggressive cat behavior is called maternal aggression or protective aggression. This is just a fancy name for when mama cat attacks anyone who approaches her new kittens. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do here. Just be patient, and eventually mama cat may let you play with her kittens.

Generally speaking, aggressive cat behavior is driven by a cat’s natural instinct for food, territory, fear or protectiveness. The first step of treatment is to identify the trigger for this aggression. After that the specific approach varies. Regardless, love and patience is a must.

– Thanks, Katherine


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Cat Bad Behavior: How To Stop The Cat From Attacking Other Animals

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About Brian Alan Burhoe

A Graduate of the Holland College Culinary Course, Brian Alan Burhoe has cooked in Atlantic Coast restaurants and institutional kitchens for over 30 years. He is a member of the Canadian Culinary Federation. Brian's articles reflect his interests in food service, Canadian history, imaginative literature, wildlife writing, animal rights, wilderness preservation and our best friends -- our dogs. See his CIVILIZED BEARS!
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