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Why Is My Cat Suddenly Aggressive

Cats Suddenly Become Aggressive For A Few Reasons Here Ill Overview The Top Ones For You:

8 Types of Cat Aggression Explained!

Your cat is in pain

Think about how you feel when you are hurting. You might not whine and complain, but remember, you are at least able to voice your complaints in a language others can fully comprehend. Cats that are in pain can react in a few ways. While stoic, your cat might suddenly meow often and at random, or they can recoil at your touch, and you guessed it, they can quickly transform into an aggressive feline.

Cats are non-confrontational, and they resort to aggression as a means of defense. Your cat is not out to get you, they might resort to aggression because they are hurting and cant voice their pain to you in a way thatll tell you whats going on. Pay close attention to the times in which your cat has turned aggressive. If its when youre going to pet her, then this can be a telltale sign that theyre in pain and reacting based on what is causing them pain.

Cats in pain can also avoid the litter box as well as their food bowl. Cats will often associate pain with the source that is causing them pain. For example, they may avoid the litter box because relieving causes them pain. Or avoid eating because dental pain is too much to bear.

Changes freak me out

Love bitesliterally!

The moral of the story? Your cat is still wild at heart, and cats do enjoy a good romp.

Did you learn anything new and interesting about our feline friends? Dont forget to share this article with another cat lover that you know so that they can learn something, too.

Is It Normal For Cats To Be Aggressive

Aggressive responses seen in pet cats are closely related to the natural behaviour of the species and are a normal part of predation, play and social conflict. However, if cats start to show aggression towards humans then this would constitute problem behaviour. It then becomes important to establish the cats motivation for this behaviour and whether, in the context, it is normal or abnormal. Normal aggression is relatively predictable and, if the cats needs are met, can be resolved with behavioural intervention. Abnormal aggression, however, is less predictable, not appropriate to the context and more complicated to address.

What Not To Do

  • If your cats are fighting, dont allow the fights to continue. Because cats are so territorial, and because they dont establish firm dominance hierarchies, they wont be able to work things out as dogs sometimes do. The more often cats fight, the worse the problem is likely to become. To stop a fight in progress, make a loud noise, such as blowing a whistle, squirting the cats with water, or throwing something soft at them. Dont try to pull them apart.
  • Prevent future fights. This may mean keeping the cats totally separated from each other while youre working on the problem, or at least preventing contact between them in situations likely to trigger a fight.
  • Dont punish the cats involved. Punishment is likely to elicit further aggression and fearful responses, which will only make the problem worse. If you attempt punishment, you may become a target for redirected and/or defensive aggression.

Because their social organization is somewhat flexible, some cats are relatively tolerant of sharing their house and territory with multiple cats. Its not uncommon for a cat to tolerate some cats, but not get along with others in the house. However, the more cats sharing the same territory, the more likely it is that some of your cats will begin fighting with each other.

Copyright Dumb Friends League and Humane Society of the United States. All rights reserved.

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Cats Become Aggressive Because Theyre In Pain

Cats who are in pain will respond with hisses and swats when sensitive areas are touched. My cat, Siouxsie, does this if I accidentally put pressure on her sore hips. A hard yank on the tail, for example, can be quite painful. Ignore the warning signs and a scratch and possibly even a bite may follow. This is especially true if the pain is a result of physical abuse such as being kicked or hit.

Causes Of Aggression In Cats And How To Help

Why Is My Cat So Scared All Of A Sudden

Aggression in cats is a major problem that can result in injury to humans and pets. Although feline aggression towards humans isnt frequently reported as dog attacks, its a significant challenge for cat owners, a public health concern, and an issue that, unfortunately, often leads to relinquishment.

Lets reshape our thoughts on aggression and decode what motivates cats as species to behave aggressively towards humans, each other, and other pets. In addition to learning about why cats may seem aggressive, well discuss methods to tackle that animosity for a more harmonious home.

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Understanding A Cats Body Language

Before cats launch into action, there are certain changes in the position of their body that will give you a sign that they are about to become aggressive.

It is important for owners to understand and read their body language so that they can better respond for next possible situations. Aside from body postures, facial expression will also help determine if a cat is ready to attack.

There are two kinds of aggressive cats: offensive and defensive. Offensive cats become aggressive because they want to pose dominance. Usually, these postures will make them look intimidating and larger than they actually are. Meanwhile, defensive cats display aggressive behaviour to protect themselves. When they are in defensive mode, they try to make themselves look smaller.

Some of the offensive positions include:

  • Hitting with paws

If you see these signs, it means that it would be better not to interact with the cat since they are on the brink of attacking you at any time. Cats attack with impressive speed, and the damage caused by their sharp claws can be seriously painful.

Now that youre familiar with cats different body languages, lets head on to the heart of this article: the possible reasons behind a cats aggressive behavior.

Common Causes Of Feline Food Aggression

One trigger might be if you are only feeding your cat once a day. Its important to remember that feral cats or felines in the wild may eat anywhere from nine to twenty small meals daily. They will hunt and prey on birds and rodents. So, if you are providing only a single daily feeding, your cat may decide that the food must be protected at all costs for a meal later on. They may also interpret the removal of a food dish as threatening.

Hunting and consequently eating, are practiced by felines in solitude. Unlike canines or wolves that will hunt in packs, cats are lone predators. Eating with other family cats, or pets may be perceived as a provocation.

Some cats will not eat or will overeat if they do not have privacy during mealtime. They view company during dinner as intimidating and this can exact an aggressive response. Undereating can lead to malnutrition and overeating can lead to obesity or vomiting if they gorge on their food.

Often cats, or kittens that have suffered trauma by losing mom early on through abandonment, death, or early separation, and especially those felines not weaned properly, may be more prone to becoming aggressive when around food.

Aggressive behavior can often be connected to cats that live outdoors and must hunt or forage to get a decent meal or ]can be commonly observed in shelter cats that enter resource competition.

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What Causes This Behavior

Cats are normally not as social as dogs, nor do they have as much physical contact with others of their species. They may groom each other and sleep close to each other, but have few other contact behaviors. Petting is something outside of their normal instinctive behavior. There are multiple theories regarding the cause of petting induced or overstimulation aggression.

Sensitivity threshold: The cat enjoys the human contact at first, but then the repetitiveness of the petting becomes irritating. The cat turns and bites as a way to say, Ive had enough. An analogy to human behavior can be made. If someone pats you on the back, it feels good. If they continue to pat you, it becomes annoying and you will either move away from them or ask them to stop.

Pain: If a cat has a painful medical condition, your touch or even the cats perception that he may be touched in a painful area could cause the aggressive behavior.

Control: The cat is attempting to control the situation when the petting starts, and when it stops.

What Does It Mean When Your Cat Becomes Aggressive

Why is My Cat Aggressive Towards Me? (How to Solve It)

Aggression may be a behavioural sign not a diagnosis. Its usually motivated by fear from unknown stimuli, frustration from inappropriate or prolonged handling additionally to distress when a cat is unable to flee from a negative experience as an example at a vet clinic. Aggressive behaviour can even be triggered by pain or external provocation which the cat isnt able to respond straightaway and may redirect their hostility towards the owner or another pet nearby.

Here are some signs to look out for when a cat is signalling its about to get aggressive with you: dilated pupils and direct staring, tense crouched body posture, thrashing of tail from side to side, piloerection together with hissing.

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Cat Aggression Happens Due To Stress

If a cat lives in a highly stressful environment for example, a home in which people are fighting or a home with too many cats its quite possible for that cat to be quick to respond aggressively. Like children who live in homes with a lot of verbal and physical violence, or a lot of unspoken anger, cats often act out the dynamics of their human families.

When To Seek Help From A Veterinarian

No one enjoys dealing with a pet that is exhibiting aggression, whether its suddenly or not. If you have a cat that is all of a sudden aggressive, its important to understand why this may be happening and when you should seek help from a veterinarian.

There can be many reasons why a cat may become aggressive. It could be due to illness, pain, fear, or even something as simple as being in heat. If your cat is acting out of character and youre not sure why, the best thing to do is take them to the vet for a check-up.

The vet will ask about your cats medical history and current symptoms during the appointment. They will also perform a physical examination to look for any possible medical causes of aggression. If no underlying medical condition is found, the vet may suggest behaviour modification strategies to help your cat become less aggressive.

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Why Did My Cat Get Randomly Aggressive

Though cat aggression is common, it may be rare for your pet. An attack can feel random, but your fur baby may have been sending you signals of their displeasure for a while. Could you possibly have missed one of these warning signs?

  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Retracted whiskers

Keep an eye on your pets body language moving forward. If it continues to happen with seemingly no warning, youll want to visit your vet to see if the pet has an underlying condition causing sudden aggression.

How To Stop Aggression

Why Do Cats Attack Dogs For No Reason

Before trying behavior modification techniques, it’s worth a trip to the veterinarian to make sure there isn’t an underlying medical condition causing a kitten’s aggression. Diseases such as hyperthyroidism, osteoarthritis, dental disease, and central nervous system problems can make your otherwise docile and friendly cat become aggressive with little warning. A checkup to ensure your kitty’s overall health should be your first step.

If your kitten gets a clean bill of health, the next step is to curb its behavior. This can take some time because cats are not social animals like dogs and don’t respond the same way to aversion therapy. Prepare to be patient.

There are a number of ways you can encourage healthy, vigorous play in your kitten but avoid aggressive behavior that may result in injury.

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What Should I Do If My Cat Experiences Sudden Aggression

The first stop any time a cat shows these aggressive signs without obvious provocation is your veterinarian. She can examine your cat and make sure he does not have a medical condition causing the unwanted behavior. If your cat has a clean bill of health, your veterinarian can refer you to a behaviorist who can help determine the triggers of aggression and the steps you can take at home to resolve the problem.

In many cases, simply being aware of the early signals of a cat about to freak out gives you the chance to remove yourself from the situation before it escalates to violence. While you cant always control the causes of the anxiety, owners can often give the cat the space he or she needs to wind down without injuring anyone. With patience and some good detective work, many cats are quickly back in everyones good graces.

Want to learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of aggression in cats? Read an overview of the condition.

Bonus: Dog Attacked Cat In My Yard

Your pooch is so agitated when seeing cats in your yard.

It might be that your Fido is very territorial. So anyone near or inside their property is considered a threat.

Also, your dog can have a strong prey drive. Which will result in chasing a cat.

If their drive is too strong, they may even capture them. In worse scenarios, some dogs could even kill one.

How do I stop my dog from attacking my cat?

Ill discuss them right after this

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Sudden Causes Of Aggression In Cats

Have you ever been peacefully petting a purring cat, only to have them turn around and swat or try to bite you? Ever felt hurt, maybe even a little betrayed by your furry friend? Cats are interesting creatures with complicated social cues. Feline aggression can occur unexpectedly for a multitude of reasons and can be difficult to predict. By learning to recognize causes and signals of feline aggression, you will be better able to help your feline friend feel more comfortable and minimize the risk of triggering less than desirable behavior.

Dealing With A Cat Bite

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If youve been bitten by a cat, you should wash the bite marks through with clean, warm water and keep an eye on them. The wounds from cat bites tend to be punctures from the long canine teeth at the front. The holes close over quickly and can potentially trap bacteria deep in the tissue under the skin. If you have been bitten by a cat, and it isnt obviously a minor injury that hasnt broken the skin, we would recommend you see a doctor who will be able to clean the wound properly and recommend any further treatment if necessary. If the bite marks swell or become red and hot, this can be the sign of an infection, but ideally you shouldnt wait for signs of infection to appear. If this does happen, you should seek urgent medical attention.

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What Behaviors Are Aggressive

Not all aggressive behaviors are the same. In fact, some cat behaviors often assumed to be aggressive are not.


A cats way of saying leave me alone. A cat who hisses is not feeling safe and secure in that moment. This is a defensive vocalization and a hissing cat will likely only go on the offensive if they continue to feel threatened and feel they have no other choice. When introducing cats, consistent hissing is the signal to the cat owner to slow the introduction process.


Another defensive vocalization and indicates the cat is feeling very unsafe and insecure.


A defensive behavior in which the cat is trying to create distance between themselves and the other animal or person.

Stalking and chasing

This behavior is very much based on the context. While chasing may be a result of territorial issues, sometimes its playful behavior .


This behavior is a last resort for cats and is a result of either significant territorial issues and/or one or more cats feeling very unsafe and experiencing a great deal of stress. Contact a professional cat behaviorist if your cats are physically harming each other.

Pet Insurance And Cat Aggression

If your cat is acting aggressive due to an underlying illness or injury, pet insurance can help you manage the costs of care. Behavioral coverage can also reimburse you for the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral issues like aggression. Learn about whats covered.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


*Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For all terms and conditions visit Preventive and Wellness Care reimbursements are based on a schedule. Complete Coverage reimbursements are based on the invoice. Levels 1-4 reimbursements are based on usual and customary eligible costs. Products, schedules, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Discounts may vary and are subject to change. More information available at checkout.

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Sudden Biting When Petting

Most commonly described as unprovoked biting, this behaviour can be very upsetting. You are sat on your favourite chair, cat curled up purring on your lap as you gently stroke them and them, wham! A vicious bite to the hand, seemingly out of nowhere. Understandably, this causes anxiety and concern amongst pet owners.

The first thing to emphasise is: dont take it personally! This is just a form of communication from your cat, it is not intended as aggression in the true sense. It has been shown that repetitive petting of sensitive areas, such as the base of the tail in cats, can lead to overstimulation and excitement effect in cats. Which can lead to adverse sudden behaviours such as biting. In essence, your cat is just telling you that they have had enough of the stroking, now.

Although commonly described as being unprovoked, most cats will actually give some warning that they are reaching their petting threshold. These signs are often just quite subtle. It can be very peaceful and soothing to stroke your cats beautifully soft fur over and over, but it is worth keeping an eye on their reactions. Small signs such as a gentle swish of the tail or a flattening of the ears may give you the heads up that they are becoming overstimulated and may react negatively soon. Learning to read your cats body language is really useful here. Behaviour can be quite variable between cats so a bit of time observing your particular feline will be needed.


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