How to Stop Aggression in Cats

Cats are well known for a largely laid-back, chilled out attitude. However, there are some instances where cats can become aggressive, either towards other animals in the home, or the humans in the family. Many veterinarians state that feline aggression is one of the most common behavior problems that they see in their surgeries. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to help reduce and stop aggression in your kitty.

Don’t underestimate the force of your cat

Many people don’t seem to view aggressive cats as as much of a threat as aggressive dogs, probably due to their much smaller size and less threatening demeanour. Nevertheless, an aggressive cat is never a good thing. With razor sharp claws and teeth, agility and speed, you do not want pets or people to come into contact with your feline friend if she is in a mood that means that she may lash out.

One of the main dangers of feline attacks is the risk of infection that wounds pose. Scratch-fever is the name given to one illness that can develop after a particularly nasty scratch from a cat, and can cause flu-like symptoms including fever. In severe cases of scratch-fever, a life-threatening whole-body infection can set in.

Why is your cat being aggressive?

In order to stop your cat being aggressive, it is essential to understand where that aggression stems from. Aggression may appear like a physical response, but it is actually caused by a psychological one. There are also different types of aggression.

Most animals use aggression primarily as a form of self-defence, to protect either themselves, their offspring or their territory. When they feel that any of these things are threatened, the animal will react by acting aggressively. This may be anything from making specific noises to lashing out with their teeth or paws.

Most pet owners agree that in almost all situations, cats behave aggressively because that they or something they value is threatened.

Types of aggressive behavior

There are several types of aggressive behavior that your kitty may exhibit. These include:

- Making noises: this could include hissing, growling or squealing, which are designed to warn potential threats to back off.

- Raising herself up on her paws with her back arched. This is an attempt for her to make herself look bigger and more frightening to the threat.

- Stalking back and forth, readying herself for action and letting the threat know that she is prepared and not leaving herself of what she is guarding open to attack.

- Scratching and biting. These are the two most physical responses you will see your cat exhibit if she feels threatened.

How to stop aggressive behavior in your cat

Stopping aggressive behavior is essential if you want your other pets and the humans in your home to feel safe and relaxed when your feline friend is around.

No sharing!

If you have other pets, one of the most important things to do is to ensure that your kitty has sufficient space to herself. Cats don’t like to share and so by adding more bedding areas, cat trees, litter boxes and feeding stations, your furbaby will be able to do the things she likes and needs to in the solitude that she likes, without being threatened by other household animals.

Don’t distract with treats

Avoid rewarding bad behavior. It can be very easy to try and distract an aggressive animal with a treat, but in actual fact she will perceive it as a reward for her behavior. Instead, try and redirect her energy using an interactive toy such as a laser beam, which you can aim far away from the target of her aggression. Then you can safely remove both your kitty and her intended target away from one another, before calming her down by placing her in an isolation room or carrier.

Increase play time

Sometimes cats are more prone to aggression because they haven’t exhausted all of their energy and don’t know any other way to get rid of it. Play time mentally stimulates your kitty, as well as helping her to expel all her excess energy. However, it is important to remember that cats have a limited attention span, so you are best trying to incorporate several short play sessions in to your day, rather than one extended one.


Some owners choose to try and recondition their feline’s behavior using squirts of water or compressed air. While this has been shown to yield results, it does take time and a great deal of patience to achieve.

If your cat is starting to exhibit aggression on a regular basis, it is almost certainly time for some intervention. By following these guidelines and seeking the advice of our veterinarian, you, your cat and any other people or pets in your family can enjoy a much more calm and relaxed household. Contact us today for further advice.