Tips for Coping With Redirected Aggression in Cats
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Tips on Coping With Cat Aggression


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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How to Curb Cat Aggression

Cats display a variety of aggressive behaviors. One of the more problematic types is redirected aggression. These attacks usually occur after your cat has observed a threatening object (often another cat or dog), becomes stimulated, and then attacks the closest object - often a family member or another family pet. An aggressive cat can be dangerous and can inflict painful bites and scratches.

A cat exhibiting redirected aggression may growl and pace, swish his tail, and exhibit dilated pupils and hair standing on end. It is difficult to diffuse this behavior because the stimulus for the aggressive behavior is often unavailable. However, with careful observation, you can tell when your cat is apt to become aggressive and avoid contact with him.

If the aggression problem escalates, consult your veterinarian, who may have suggestions or may refer you to a veterinary behaviorist. It is important to recognize aggression and diffuse this disturbing behavior as soon as possible.

Tips on coping with CAT AGGRESSION

  • If your cat is showing redirected aggression, have him checked by your veterinarian. Painful conditions or neurological problems could be causing the problem.
  • Prevent your cat's aggressive behavior from becoming a habit by intervening early.
  • Use calming agents like Comfort Zone® with Feliway to reassure your cat.
  • Keep aggressive cats separate from each other. Reintroduce them slowly when signs of aggression have disappeared.
  • Interrupt and startle cats that are being aggressive toward each other with a squirt of water or by shaking a bottle partially full of nickels.
  • Use food treats occasionally to reward nonaggressive behavior.

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