My Cat is Aggressive

My Cat is Aggressive

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Inside every soft and cuddly cat is a wild animal just waiting to pounce! To understand and change your cat’s unwanted aggression, you need to know what’s behind it.

Predatory behavior
Cats are natural hunters that like to track and kill. Predatory behavior, such as lying in wait and suddenly pouncing on a real or imaginary creature, is all part of the internal wiring of your cat. This is fine until the imaginary creature becomes your ankle.

Redirect this play aggression with toys designed to allow your cat to pounce and bite safely, far away from your toes and ankles. Sufficient exercise and play should reduce your cat’s need to attack inappropriate prey (such as you)!

Sometimes even laid-back, mellow cats turn aggressive to protect what they consider their territory. Examples of this are sweet mama cats that lunge out to protect their kittens, or the laid-back cat that suddenly attacks when she spies the neighbor’s dog in the backyard.

Both cases can be helped by introducing the “intruder” to the cat’s situation carefully, over time, showing your cat that nothing bad is going to happen when the “bad guy” enters her territory.

Cats can become aggressive out of fear. This could stem from rough handling or improper socialization during kittenhood. Cats that have not experienced being restrained until they are several years old may be more aggressive than a kitten that is handled often while still young.

Overstimulation or excitement can also cause aggression. Sometimes, too much is not a good thing. Cats have a threshold of stimulation—go beyond it, and your cat will let you know! Learn what your cat’s limits are and try not to press beyond them. For example, if she likes to be stroked or groomed for just a few minutes, don’t extend it to five.

Managing your cat’s aggression
Experts agree that these are some of the best ways to manage an aggressive cat:

  • Consult your veterinarian regarding how to more peacefully interact with your cat.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about a proper diet for your cat.
  • Play games (such as a fake mouse on a fishing line) that encourage the cat to hunt and pounce safely.
  • If your cat wants to play rough, stop playing with her and walk away.
  • Remove the stress from your cat’s changing environment as much as you can.
  • Make sure your cat is spayed or neutered.
  • Alert visitors about what to expect from your cat!

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

10 Common Tabby Cat Health Problems (With Prevention Tips)

If there’s one thing any tabby cat owner wants it’s for their cat to be healthy and safe. The reality though is that almost any cat breed or coat type can still sometimes face some health concerns. With a proper understanding of what issues a cat can face, you can take some preventative measures so they can always feel their best. Below is a list of the 10 most common tabby cat health problems along with helpful prevention tips!

1. Vomiting

One of the most troubling things to ever witness is a cat committing. Vomiting can encompass a lot of things, but in most cases, it’s just an upset stomach. Here are a couple of things that can cause a cat to vomit.

  • Poor diet
  • Eating spoiled or contaminated foods
  • Eating food too quickly
  • Drinking water too quickly
  • Changing of the cat’s diet too fast
  • Hairballs
  • Food allergies
  • Certain medications
  • Bacterial infections

Of that list of issues that cause a cat vomit, eating and drinking too quickly or switching diets are the main ones you’ll deal with. It’s important that whenever changing a cat’s diet that you do it gradually. Especially when transitioning between protein heavy diets or wet to dry food, it must be done in small increments. Putting you are a cat on a proper feeding schedule will also help reduce excessive eating. Hairballs are also quite preventable with certain cat foods geared towards that. Purina makes an excellent hairball control food which you can check out here.

In some instances, the cat’s vomiting is a sign of serious health issues. Daily vomiting can be a sign that the cat has eaten something toxic by mistake. This can be related to anything such as pesticides, eating bugs, or ingesting fertilizer if they are an outdoor cat especially. Internal parasites like tapeworm and roundworm can cause vomiting in cats too.

If you see chunks of food or blood in the cat’s vomit, it’s also a sign that something is desperately wrong. While a cat vomiting foam may seem terrible, it’s not necessarily a sign that the cat has an infection. Foam in vomit is usually associated with hairballs or sudden diet changes. If the cat is dealing with stomach inflammation that can also cause white foam.

While vomiting can be disturbing for the cat and the owner, there are actually few home remedies you can try to help them feel better.

  • Withhold food or water for 12 to 24 hours
  • Giving the cat digestive oils like this one by Clever Paws.

As always, if your cat has a chronic vomiting issue, it’s time to take them to a vet. Veterinarians can run body scans, perform special procedures and provide medications to help your cat feel great again.

2. Lethargic Behavior In Cats

Lethargic behavior in cats may not seem like a health concern, but it actually is. It can be an indicator that something else might be wrong with your cat. Cats tend to be lethargic when they are not getting enough attention or if they are in some kind of pain. It’s actually not uncommon to see this behavior post-surgery or when a cat is on certain medications.

Cats who are lethargic will typically stop eating or drinking water at a normal rate. Some may even enter a stage of depression and lose their social nature. Many cats appear to be constantly sleepy, lack interest in playful activities, and lack general awareness.

Lethargy can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and even weight gain. Cats who are lethargic are not physically active enough, and that can lead to even more health issues. For many older cats, it can be a sign of serious health issues on the horizon. Older cats are more likely to suffer from arthritis, cancer, and other issues which will cause lethargy.

Other general causes of lethargy in cats include:

  • Bladder infections
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Parasites
  • Surgical procedures
  • Weight loss
  • High fever
  • Poor coat quality
  • Increased urination
  • Stress
  • Anemia
  • Medication side effects

To help treat a cat with lethargic behavior, you can try some of the following suggestions.

  • Get regular vaccinations
  • Provide a healthy and consistent diet
  • Spend time with your cat
  • Allow the cat to explore
  • Stimulate the cat with brain activities
  • Regularly check for injuries and other issues
  • Keep your cat indoors
  • Putting your cat into a low-stress environment

3. Cat Lower Urinary Tract Problems

Urinary tract problems are extremely common in cats. Feline UTI is an interesting condition because it’s hard to always determine the physical cause of it. In fact, around 64% of all cats that get it seems to get it without any specific cause. A big percentage of cats that do get it, however, get it as a result of stone and crystals that form.

It’s a disease that can occur in both male and female cats. It can also occur at just about any age from kitten to adult. Chances are you’ll see this happen in cats who are at least a year old and up. Older cats beyond 10 years usually won’t display this condition.

Below are a few of the common causes of feline UTI:

  • Stones and crystals
  • Debris in the urine
  • Stress or Depression
  • Back issues
  • Birth defects
  • Inflammation of the bladder

In addition to recognizing the causes of lower urinary tract problems, it’s important for cat owners to know the symptoms. Being able to catch the issue early on is important to preserving the life of your cat.

Here are a few things to look for in a cat that may have lower urinary problems:

  • Trouble or pain with urination
  • Constant meowing or hollowing
  • Cats attempting to urinate in random locations outside of the litter box
  • Blood in the urine
  • Blockage of urine flow (droplets and no consistent stream)
  • Swollen stomach area

Treating feline lower urinary tract problems is quite easy with the right diagnoses. Most of the time it requires significant changes in the cat’s diet to limit the formation of stones and crystals.

  • Here are a few ways to treat this disease:
  • Get a urinalysis test from your vet
  • Changing to a prescription diet such as Hills C/D
  • Install a pet diffuser in the home

4. Fleas

One of the most common issues any cat will face is those dreaded fleas. Fleas are incredibly annoying pests for cats They are equally as annoying for owners too, especially when they jump from one host to another.

Fleas can cause your cat to itch obsessively as they continue to bite your furry little pal. Those bites can cause the cat to have sores and even meow in pain when it gets out of control. Cats who itch too much end up clawing out huge chunks of their fur coat.

Below are a few cat flea symptoms you may notice:

  • Excessive itching (lead to clumps of hair on the floor)
  • Meowing in pain
  • The visibility of fleas crawling through the fur
  • Scabs, sores, or redness of the skin
  • Flea dirt in the carpet or fur (turns red when wet with water)

Luckily there are a plethora of ways to treat flea infestations, but sometimes multiple treatments are needed. Here are a few ways to treat fleas.

  • Flea collars (Definitely speak to your vet before purchasing any collars)
  • Flea droplets (Advantage II works well and is safe for most cats)
  • Medicines prescribed by your local vet
  • Using flea shampoos such as this one
  • Regularly vacuuming the home
  • Treating carpets and flooring with flea sprays such as Adams Flea Spray
  • Keeping all windows and screens closed to prevent fleas from entering the home

It’s important to remember that flea treatment in cats should not be taken lightly. It is not wise to cheap out on flea products as they can have toxins that can actually harm your cat rather than help them. It’s advisable to stay away from the Hartz brands when it comes to flea treatment as they are known to cause huge issues. A simple Google search will pull up thousands of negative reviews on Hartz flea products.

5. Upper Respiratory Infection

If you have a multi-cat household, then expect to eventually deal with upper respiratory infections!

Upper respiratory infection in cats is a bacterial infection. One of the first things you’ll notice a cat doing symptom wise is sneezing or irritation with their nose or mouth area. Sometimes you’ll hear some nasal congestion or even see runny noses from them almost like a cold. The cat’s eyes may also appear irritated with a red color around the lids. Cat behavior is also another indicator of upper respiratory infection although it’s much harder to come to that conclusion. Things such as lethargic behavior, lack of eating, and fever.

Here is a full list of upper respiratory infection symptoms in cats:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Red eyes
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Mouth ulcers

Contracting this infection usually happens from one cat delivering it to another. It’s highly contagious, so simply being around another cat can cause it. Also any items such as old food, water bowls and such can pass on the infection. The reality is that the bacteria only lasts for a short period of time outside of the body, so most of the contraction is by direct contact with an object or another cat.

Although the infection can last up to 3 – 4 weeks, in some rare cases it will be a lifelong issue. Treatment and prevention of upper respiratory infection in cats is pretty straightforward though.

Vets will check out your cat, diagnose them officially, and then likely administer special antibiotics. There are some preventatives that you can take such as:

  • Keeping your cat indoors
  • Avoid multiple cats sharing the same food bowls
  • Keeping counters wiped down
  • Reducing stress in the home
  • Isolating infected cats to certain areas of the home
  • Keeping your hands and clothes clean before handling other cats.

6. Worms

One of the worst parasites a cat can get is worms. Outdoor cats are more susceptible to contracting worms. There are all kinds of worms that a cat can get stuck with but below are the most common:

  • Tapeworms
  • Roundworms
  • Hookworms
  • Heartworm
  • Eyeworm
  • Lungworm

That’s certainly a lot of worms! However, some of these worms are less common depending on what region of the world your cat lives in. Also, age plays a factor in the likelihood that some cats will contract certain worms or not. For example, kittens are more likely to get roundworms than tapeworms.

Looking at roundworms, they are an intestinal worm. They can affect cats of all ages, and pass on to other cats through eggs. Cats can ingest those eggs through eating whether that’s food or attacking prey. Female cats that are pregnant can end up passing roundworms on to their kittens through the ingestion of milk.

Tapeworms are a little different. These are long worms that are flat and contain eggs. Cats who ingest infected fleas typically get tapeworms, and this usually happens during routine grooming.

Of all the worm types, hookworms might be the most dangerous. They have the ability to actually damage the lining of a cats intestines. This can result in some really bad health issues like rapid weight loss and even some bleeding.

Treatment for worms of any sort usually takes several applications. For kittens, the treatment is every few weeks and then as they age the treatments can be spread out. Treatments can be purchased anywhere, but it’s always a wise idea to first consult a vet.

7. Diarrhea

When your cat’s tummy is giving them problems, it’s probably diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by the following:

  • Sudden changes in diet
  • Lack of nutrients
  • Reduced water intake
  • Intolerances to certain ingredients
  • Worms (tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm etc)
  • Cancer
  • Bowel disease

In general, cat diarrhea symptoms last between 1 – 2 days, although occasionally it can go on for much longer. Treatment is not so straightforward here because it can be caused by really anything. If you notice it happen after a diet change, then it’s safe to assume that’s probably the cause. However, if it comes out of nowhere, definitely seek out a vet. It’s also a wise idea to regularly check your cat’s stool to make sure the coloration and texture are consistent. Also, avoid giving your cat dairy products as that can upset their stomach and cause diarrhea.

8. Constipation

Like diarrhea, constipation is quite common in cats. This is easy to pick out if you notice your cat struggling to use the bathroom and meowing in protest. Cats also attempting to use the bathroom in other locations of the home are likely constipated. Any cat that is straining is having an issue.

Here are a few causes for cat constipation:

  • Diet change
  • Dehydration
  • Colon issues (such as feline megacolon)
  • Kidney issues
  • Hair getting into the digestive tract (from excessive grooming)

Usually, a fiber-rich diet can help eliminate constipation. And simply giving your cat more water to get rid of the dryness. Changes to the diet should be done gradually to help aid in better digestion. Cats who are overgrooming will probably do well to take some hairball medications or move to a hairball reducing diet. More exercise also helps.

9. Obesity

Have you ever heard of the term fat cats? It’s very true that cats can easily become obese. Cats are a lot like turtles. They constantly want to be fed, even when they are not hungry. Part of it has to do with their desire to spend time with their owners, and others are just hyperactive when it comes to hunger.

Cats who don’t exercise regularly or are older are more likely to pick up too much weight over time. It’s a good idea to portion your cat’s food intake with respect to how much they weigh and the recommendations on the food labels. Ideally, you want to feed your cat a low-calorie meal that is full of nutrients, good proteins and well balanced. Using a measuring cup can help.

The timing of when the food is fed is also important. This is where automatic feeders come in handy. Feeders such as this one by PetSafe not only portion out the meals, but they dispense food at specific intervals so your cat has a consistent feeding schedule. Also, spend time monitoring your cats sleep patterns so that you can anticipate when they are most active versus when they are not. IF you have a nocturnal cat, then it may be better to feed them during the day when they are active instead of at night, or visa Versa.

10. Dental Issues

Dental issues are often overlooked in cats, but they can be problematic if not treated early and often. Cats tend to bite anything they can sink their teeth into, so it’s only natural that eventually, they will need a dental checkup.

Cats can get cavities, broken teeth, gum disease, bacteria and everything in between. This is especially problematic with cats because they groom themselves on a regular basis. It’s important that cats have fresh breath and clean teeth. Here are a few indicators your cats teeth are in bad shape.

  • Dark red gum lines
  • Bad breath or odor
  • Cracked teeth
  • Plaque buildup
  • Ulcers
  • Lack of appetite/difficulty eating

Here are a few ways to treat your cat’s teeth:

  • Give them dental treats such as Feline Greenies
  • Professional cleanings as the vet
  • Using cat dental gel
  • Brushing with finger brushes or toothbrushes

Welcome to FAQCats! We are a team of cat owners and writers who love to write about everything related to cats. We strive to provide the most accurate and helpful information about cats through extensive research and caring for our own fur-pals!

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For the first seven years of his life, Bumper was like Velcro—permanently attached to Kate Gamble. So when this cuddly cat started hissing every time she picked him up, something was clearly wrong. An X-ray at the vet's office revealed that Bumper had developed arthritis from the middle of his back all the way down his tail. "He was in a lot of pain, and he didn't have any other way to tell me to leave him alone, so he hissed," says Gamble, a feline behaviorist in Auburn, CA.

To prevent the hissing from escalating into biting or scratching, Gamble treated Bumper's medical condition with a heating pad and glucosamine, a supplement that helps build cartilage, the cushioning between bones. Then, she modified her own behavior. Instead of picking him up and putting him on her lap—their usual routine—she began sitting next to him and treating him to gentle massages. Bumper's cuddly, purring ways returned. Feline aggression—from hissing and growling to swatting, scratching, and biting—can be scary for pet owners, but it's usually normal cat behavior. "In the cat world, aggression is simply a part of survival," says Pam Johnson-Bennett, a feline behaviorist in Nashville and the author of Think Like a Cat. "Probably every cat will display aggressive behavior at one time or another for some very normal reason."

Deciphering Hostility

To correct and prevent aggressive episodes, first figure out the trigger. Below are the most common reasons cats turn on their owners—and tips on what to do about them.

1. Redirected Aggression

What Happens Something riles your cat, such as a fight or a strange cat glimpsed from the windowsill. Then, she lashes out at you.

What You Can Do Never try to break up a catfight, and steer clear of a cat who seems upset, is flicking her tail, or has her ears laid back. That's a signal she is likely to pounce, scratch, or bite. A cat can stay agitated for several hours, so give her chill time: Close the blinds to darken the room, and leave her alone. When she's ready to interact, she will go back to being her normal charming self, including eating and using the litter box. No matter what happens, don't punish her that can make her even more aggressive.

2. Fear Aggression

What Happens A cat may lash out if he feels cornered (you reach under the couch to pull him out) or threatened (you yell or swat at him when he jumps on the counter).

What You Can Do Recognize what makes your cat fearful, and prevent those scenarios. When you can't, leave him where he feels safe. If you must get your cat out of his favorite hiding place, for example, give him time, and rather than reaching for him, coax him with treats, toys, and words.

3. Alpha Aggression

What Happens Bossy cats bite their owners to get attention or to announce they've had enough petting or playing.

What You Can Do Teach your cat that you're in charge. Never reward her domineering or attention-getting behavior instead, discourage it by ignoring her (cats, like people, hate to be snubbed). Keep petting sessions brief and on your terms. Invite her onto your lap, don't restrain her, and end the session before her mood changes (for example, if she starts flicking her tail). Give her a treat or a toy as a reward, and slowly lengthen the petting sessions as she builds tolerance.

Hey, I Was Just Playing!

While some cats love to roughhouse, vocal warnings like hissing, growling, and spitting are never playful behaviors. You can also determine when a cat is being aggressive—not just overly playful—by reading his body language. A potentially violent cat will flatten his ears, puff up his body, twitch his tail, look at you with a sideways glance, or bare his teeth. Faced with a cat in such circumstances, "my preference is to exit stage right," says Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and author of If Only They Could Speak.

When There's More To The Problem

The root of your cat's hostility may be physical. "There's a whole slew of medical causes that could trigger aggression," says Dodman. The success of the treatment often depends on the trigger. "If your cat is irritable because of an overactive thyroid or an infection, he may well be restored to normal with medication," says Dodman. "Even some behavioral problems can be managed with mood-stabilizing medicines like BuSpar and Prozac." In other words, check with your vet.

New-Kitten Do's & Don'ts

Prevent a curious kitty from growing up into an aggressive cat by sending consistent messages about what's acceptable behavior from the moment you bring him home.

  • Provide appropriate toys that let your kitten stalk, hide, and pounce on his "prey."
  • Offer a scratching outlet with a cat tree or scratching pads.
  • Spray your kitten with water whenever he bites or does something that's unacceptable.
  • Consider getting another kitten as a playmate.

  • Hold your kitten on his back so he feels defenseless.
  • Use any body parts, such as your fingers or toes, as toys.
  • Let him wrap his claws around your finger or scratch you.
  • Tolerate his teeth touching your skin, no matter how soft the bite.
  • Send mixed messages by letting your kitten break your rules.

Watch For The Signs Of Aggression

(Picture Credit: Natalia Ganelin/Getty Images)

With time, you will learn from observation and experience when cats are best left alone. Given below are offensive and defensive postures from cat body language.

Offensive body postures include:

  • A stiff upright stance with the legs straight
  • Stiff rear legs
  • Raised back sloping towards the front
  • Staring
  • Fur raised
  • Growling

Defensive postures include:

  • A crouched posture
  • Leaning away from a person
  • Tail tucked in
  • Ears flattened sideways
  • Retraction of the whiskers

Knowing these signs can help you find out when an instance of aggression may happen and, hopefully, prevent injuries and destruction.

Has your cat ever acted aggressively? What caused your kitty to act that way? Let us know in the comments below!

Watch the video: Cat Attack Girl: Top 10 Cat Attack People


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