It’s normal for cats to tumble, wrestle, and play fight. But some cats take it too far and verge on aggressive, dominant, and pushy. This often stems from a lack of proper feline to feline socialization. When you have a cat that bullies the other cats in your feline family, it can be stressful. So, are you forced to put up with a pushy cat? Not necessarily. Understanding your cat’s behavior can help.
Getting to the Bottom of an Aggressive Cat’s Behavior
Signs Your Cat is a Classic Dominant Feline
Dominant cat behaviors begin in kittenhood, but they become more prominent as that kitten grows into an adult cat. For some dominant cats, their aggressive behavior doesn’t appear until they’re stressed out or there’s a major family in the household. Some of the most apparent signs of feline dominance include
- Toy hoarding and hiding
- Spraying and marking
- Excessively rubbing of the head on possessions
Towards Other Cats
- Running off kitty siblings from certain areas
- Hitting and swatting
- Running off other cats from the food bowl
- Sitting on another cat
- Roughly and excessively licking the other cat
What Makes a Cat Become Dominant?
Many of these forms of aggression result from a cat that hasn’t had great interactions with other cats from the time he was young. When kittens play with their littermates, they learn the rules of socializing while learning the limits of self-control and playing too rough. When a cat grows up as a community cat or as an orphan, that cat never learns how far is too far and that other cats can be kind.
In the wild, cats maintain territories. This instinct remains when a cat lives in a home. This form of dominance is most apparent when a cat chases another out of a room, off a piece of furniture, or away from a certain spot in the house. The dominant cat often discourages intruders by swatting, hissing, running at, and growling at the other cat.
Male on Male Aggression
Some tomcats have a tendency to challenge and fight with other males. This occurs more frequently in male cats that don’t get fixed before adulthood or remain unfixed.
This behavior stems from competition for mating.
If your male cats stalk, side-walk, yowl, and stare at each other, they’re liking exhibiting this form of aggression. If both male cats refuse to bow to the other, they will fight by leaping on one another while rolling around, biting, scratching, and screeching. This can result in serious injury. If this occurs, thoroughly check both cats for wounds and bring them to the vet if needed.
Fear-Based Defense Aggression
When a cat gets cornered, threatened by an aggressive cat or dog, or punished by a person, it can result in defense aggression. The cat will crouch and hunker, tuck his tail, lay his ears flat, and lean to one side.
Is Your Cat’s Behavior Harmless?
For the most part, a dominant cat isn’t an issue until it becomes one. Which is to say, if your kitty is an only cat-child—no problem! But if you adopted another cat or your existing cat must live in fear, avoiding the aggressive sibling, and gets physically hurt from time to time—it’s a problem that needs to be resolved.
What Can You Do to Help Heal an Aggressive Cat?
A cat’s personality forms during the first few weeks of its life. This means that us, cat parents, often don’t have much control over what our kitties learn during that time. Luckily, most dominant behavior can be redirected and eventually diminished over time.
- Sometimes aggression can be a defense mechanism to pain or illness. The first step when a cat first shows aggression is to take him to the vet for a quick check.
- Getting your cat fixed early is vital for controlling his hormones and bad behavior.
- First impressions are everything. When you decide to expand your kitty family, uses the two-room method and slowly introduce your cats to one another.
- If you feel frustrated or like your cat is an extreme case, call a veterinary behaviorist.
- Give your cats equal affection and attention.
- Feed your cats from separate bowls.
- Encourage and treat good behavior when an aggressive cat breaks from his bad-cat attitude.
- Make playtime all about family. Playing together helps cats build community and gain trust.
What Should You Do If You Witness Cat Aggression?
If your cats begin to fight, separate the cats as quickly as possible. To do this, you can try throwing a blanket or towel on them. You can also try making a loud noise to break their concentration. Water works well to startle and scare fighting cats.
Be vigilant and prevent future fights by keeping your cats in separate rooms and slowly reintroducing them.
Remember, that punishing your cat will make aggression worse and terrify your cat.
From Dominant to Dear
Having an aggressive cat isn’t easy. Be patient, forgiving, and work towards transforming that pushy cat into a tolerant and sweet kitty. It does take time, but with perseverance, you’ll find your cat becoming better behaved and a better kitty companion.
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