Feline Frenemies: Understanding and Resolving Cat Aggression Toward Other Pets

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Aggression is a form of violent behavior observed in cats that arises from several underlying factors. You might have observed your cat showing aggressive actions towards other house pets like dogs, hamsters, birds, etc. If this is the case, it is high time that you understand and resolve such behavioral patterns displayed by your cat. From fear to pain, the wild acts of your cat can stem from various reasons. It may include territorial, defensive, and more, each leading to wild behavior like hissing, chasing, scratching, etc. You must observe the body language, ensure isolation, and employ other tips to resolve cat aggression toward other pets. Read the article below to know how to deal with such feline frenemies. 

Understanding the Types of Aggression in Cats

To effectively resolve pet conflicts, you must understand the type of feline aggression. Below are briefly described various forms of aggression in household cats.

  • Fear-Induced Aggression

When your feline feels threatened by your dog, hamster, or other pet animals, they display wild patterns. It arises as a defense mechanism response from your pet. Another case of this is seen in maternal aggression, where the felines become violent when someone approaches the offspring.

  • Playtime Aggression

House cats can have rough playtime activities with fellow cats and sometimes even other pets. It does not need intervention. However, when left for too long, these activities may escalate into aggression when the felines get agitated. Typically, a lack of socialization among pets triggers this violent conduct.

  • Territorial Aggression

Felines are territorial animals who feel agitated when they think other pets are seizing their territory. Both male and female cats display territory-induced hostility. It usually happens when you suddenly introduce a new pet. 

  • Petting-Induced Aggression

Patting or stroking your house cat continuously may make it uncomfortable. Excess petting, touching, or stroking may overstimulate felines, leading to violent outbursts. Medical conditions may also contribute to your cat feeling irritated or overly sensitive.

  • Redirected Aggression

This form of bellicose conduct is either offensive or defensive. When your feline experiences some stimuli, either external or internal, they feel triggered. Your cat will then unprovoked direct these hostile emotions towards other pets.

  • Pain-Induced Aggression

If your house cat suddenly displays aggression, it may be due to unseen injury, stress, or other medical conditions. In this case, their violent outbursts protect the site from injury or pain. In this case, the best step is to immediately consult a veterinarian to rule out and treat these medical conditions.

Common Aggressive Behaviors to Look Out for

Household cats display a wide range of conduct depending upon the type of aggression they are harboring. The table below lists the everyday actions observed in every kind of aggressiveness.

Aggression TypeCommon Feline Actions and Postures
Fear-induced, defensive, and maternal aggressionFlattened whiskers, hissing, chasing, stiff tail, biting, crouching low on the ground with tucked tail, dilated pupils, etc.
Playtime aggressionSwishing of tail, dilated pupils, pinned or flattened ears against the head, pouncing, ambushing, scratching playmates, and more.
Territorial, predatory, and redirected aggressionArched back, swishing tail, growling, howling, chasing, swatting, staring, stalking, chin rubbing, chattering, biting, ambushing, attacking, etc.
Petting-induced aggressionTail lashing, twitching skin, staring, scratching, biting, growling, etc. 
Pain induced aggressionCurled body, lowered head, curved back, hissing, biting, scratching, squinted eyes, flattened ears, tucked legs in a crouched position, and more. 

7 Tips to Handle Aggressive Cat Behaviors Toward Other Pets

You need to take notes of and resolve violent outbursts of your feline to avoid injuries to other pets. A few tips are highlighted below to help you deal with the aggressive actions of your furbaby.

1. Check Out Your Cat’s Body Language

Before trying to resolve the conflicts among your pets, try to observe the body language exhibited by your feline. Try to understand the underlying aggression that results in body language and behavior. Accordingly, dealing with violent acts depends on the type of aggression recognized. For instance, see if your feline is crouched on the ground with legs tucked under and squinting eyes. This action indicates that your cat is nervous or fearful of something.

2. Reintroduce Your Pets Slowly

Household male and female cats are susceptible to changes in their environment. Your feline feels threatened when you suddenly bring home a new pet or change your environment. It arouses the natural dominant instincts that lead to hostile acts. Slowly introduce new pets or environments to your house cats to sort this out. You can seek the help of a cat behavior specialist to do this.

3. Separate Your Pets

Another way to work out conflicts among pets is to isolate them. Confine the overly aggressive cat from other pets using doors, leashes, isolation cages, carriers, and more. Make sure physical contact is minimal to avoid triggers. Additionally, try covering up your windows and doors to address redirected aggression. The less the outer stimulation or trigger, the better. You can also distract the felines by diverting their attention from the stimuli.

4. Have Plenty of Cat Supplies 

Cats are sensitive about their possessions. When other pets try to use their supplies, they may become defensive. It might escalate into violent outbursts if not dealt with properly. One way to avoid this is to have multiple supplies like litter boxes, cat trees, perches, water and food bowls, etc. Make sure to spend time with each pet regularly to avoid conflicts. Use interactive toys to divert the attention and engage them to prevent pent-up frustrations that might later escalate into playtime aggression.

5. Consider Neutering Your Cats

Male cats can become dominant in the hierarchy, leading to status-induced aggression. Likewise, female cats who have just given birth will likely display maternal aggression. The best way to work this out is to avoid the situation entirely. To do this, neutering or spaying should be considered to eliminate aggressive behavior resulting from their hormones. In addition to this, you can reward your feline whenever they display good behavior.

6. Take the Help of Feline Pheromones

Pheromones are natural compounds rubbed off from felines to furniture, sheets, and more. This compound is used to establish a communication that then leads to various actions. You can utilize synthetic pheromone diffusers to help the cats get along well with other pets. The scent diffused will mimic the natural compound, making felines less defensive. FELIWAY MultiCat Pheromone Diffuser is a drug-free, vet-recommended product that can help you effectively calm your felines’ mood.

7. Seek Expert Advice

The most probable case of your cat acting violent might be due to unseen injury. Conditions like dental diseases, hyperthyroidism, etc., can give rise to violent actions in cats. Consider performing physical examinations of your fur baby from an accredited veterinarian. In case the hostile acts persist, seek the help of an acclaimed behaviorist for the betterment of your pets.

Conclusion

While it is necessary to understand the root cause of wild behaviors in pet cats, it is equally essential to seek medical advice. An experienced veterinarian or cat behaviorist can help you understand your pets better. Consult a professional to know about the body language displayed by your cat. It will help you offer your support accordingly for a pet-safe home.

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