People generally tend to think of cats and kittens as very cute and cuddly bundles of fur. But, they can get to a point where they are considered aggressive, and can get there for many of the same reasons that just about any animal would. This is even more common when you are dealing with cats fighting between one another to establish dominance or with cats and other animals. It is important to know when your cat is being overly aggressive and what you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Defensive Vs. Offensive

I like to classify the different types of aggression in two categories, defensive and offensive. It is important to understand the difference and which signs to look for to classify the actions of a cat under one of these categories.

Offensive aggression is one that you will most likely find in male cats, even more so in those that have not been neutered yet. The definition of offensive cat aggression is when a cat does something that is considered harmful to another animal or person, and there was really no cause as to why they did it. It is a random attack of aggression so to speak. Most of the time you can see a cat get riled up before they commit to the offensive aggression. The way they walk and their general demeanor are good indicators of if the cat is going to take action even though they have not been provoked yet.

Cats being aggressive with cats is fairly normal, as cats tend to be the most sensitive towards anything when they are around other cats. Looking another cat in the eye is even seen as a sign of disrespect and can trigger an altercation. Can you imagine if every time a human looked directly into the eyes of another human they commenced with a fight? It is crazy to think about. If there is a male that has not yet been fixed, and they are put outside, chances are they are going to find a fight one way or another with a neighboring cat or stray.

Defensive aggression on the other hand is usually seen as a self-defense act by a cat to ward of something bad from happening to them. When a cat is being threatened, often times their only reaction is to come back more aggressive than the threat and appear as intimidating as possible. This is their only way to defend themselves, otherwise they are sitting ducks. They may begin to arch their back or make a loud hissing noise when they are in a defensive stance. Those are the most common signs that show a cat is in a defensive aggression mindset. If you are approaching a cat and they commit to something like that, you should slowly head in the other direction.

Why Is My Cat Being Aggressive?

There could be any number of reasons why your cat is being aggressive towards another cat, animal, or person. I am going to briefly go over a few of the common ones so you can get a sense of why your cat would become aggressive. It is important to figure out why they are being aggressive, then you can start to fix whatever is making them that way in the first place.

One of the big ones is contact with other cats. This can be caused by eye contact, one cat trying to establish dominance. Pretty much any male cat that has not been neutered is going to get in fights, it is just a proven fact.

Another reason why your cat could be showing aggression is because they are bored or they have suffered some kind of a mental incident. These two reasons are really beyond your control and there is not much you can do out it. If they are stuck inside the house all day and they are used to going out, that could cause anxiety and that could be the mental trauma they have suffered. You can try and keep your cat occupied by playing with them more, but sometimes your work schedule or busy lifestyle just doesn’t allow for as much time as you would like.

Remember, the aggression doesn’t necessarily mean it is your fault even if it was targeted at you. Cats can hold on to aggression that was caused earlier in the day by something completely unrelated and then take it on on their owners. It sounds silly but it is not completely unheard of. Your cat could also just be getting carried away while they are playing with you or the toys.

Quite honestly, your cat could just have a short temper. It is common for cats to have a short fuse when it comes to their owners and other animals. You should be able to tell right away if your cat falls under that category, as it will show a pattern of behavior. Hopefully this is not the case, but if it is you might have to work extra hard to try and break your cat of that habit. But, your cat could never be broken of this habit, just depends on the cat.

Calming Your Cat Down

Many people ask me the best way to get their cat to be less aggressive around other animals and humans. Quite frankly, there really is no one cure all method and it can be different from cat to cat. You might neuter your cat if they haven’t been neutered yet. This could solve a lot of your problems. If you have a dominant cat that is always taking on other cats in the neighborhood, you should add a bell to their collar. This will give those other cats plenty of fair warning to get away from your cat. This way your cat is not getting in nearly as much fights as it was before.

One rule that I want to really preach is that you should never return your cat’s aggression with more aggression. This is only going to escalate things and is really a poor choice from the owner. Cat abuse is not the way to go, and can get you in a load of trouble. Cats are also generally proud animals, so they might have pain that they are hiding from you. This can cause them to lash out at random times or when you go to pick them up. Their pain just built up too much at that point and time and they had no other way to release their frustration. This is a sure sign that you should see a vet as soon as you can. They are the only ones that can help at that point, as it becomes a medical problem.