Most pet owners attempt to train their animals to an extent, and always with the best intentions. Sometimes, however, animals seem to refuse training. Usually animals react to their environments in a number of ways, and often their behavior can be territorial. This is especially true with cats. Cats can become aggressive, particularly when they feel their personal space is being intruded upon. To many pet owners an aggressive cat might not seem so bad; unfortunately an angered cat can do a lot of damage.
It might seem stressful to attempt to address your cat’s behavior—you might think it’s not even possible. Although, setting boundaries and consequences for cats in ways that make sense to their species is often highly successful and productive when it comes to curbing aggressive behaviors in particular. If you have a pet cat and you’re concerned about their aggressive behavior, here’s a little more information about how to address the behavior and why it’s important to do so.
Cats are like most other living creatures—they can be incredibly affectionate and sweet one moment, and the next they look like they’re ready to pounce claws first. Cats can be especially territorial with other cats as well as people. Often aggressive behaviors arise out of anxiety and stress because cats don’t like to share their space, toys, or food—maybe even the water dish! Sometimes this is due to previous abuse, sometimes it’s a personality-related issue, and sometimes it’s a matter of introducing other animals to the cat following a step-by-step plan.
Owning a cat can be a blessing—they can add a lot to you and your family’s life at home. However, if you have other animals in the house, especially other cats, it’s essential to ensure that they have a good relationship, otherwise your home could become a feline battleground. Aggressive cats can do serious harm to other cats, animals, and people living in their surroundings. By curbing aggressive behaviors at the first sign of them, you can keep your home a harmonious place and enjoy your cat for the sweet animal he is.
Just as you would go about training a dog, the same basic methodology can be applied to cats. Of course, cats have specific interests that can be used in their training. The training is geared toward consistency, promoting social skills, and teaching your cat how to cope with their stress in healthier ways. Sounds like a form of therapy, doesn’t it? Rest assured, with a successful protocol, your cat will be a happier animal.
When you notice your cat’s aggression popping up over territorial issues, such as sharing a scratch post with another cat, you can instead re-direct their attention to another toy. This not only helps them expel their angsty energy, but it gives them a way to shift their aggression to a safer place.
If your training is working, then your cat will start to become more at ease sharing their space with people and other animals. Using cat treats and affection, you should be sure to praise your cat every time you notice them being lenient or agreeable.
Consistency is the most important part of cat training. Make sure you intervene as often as possible—the more consistent you are with your interventions and reinforcements, the more likely it’ll work!
Lastly, since cats can be so territorial, if you have more than one cat it might be best to let the more submissive cat have more control and power over where he gets to roam and play. Create separate areas for them initially for a smoother transition.
Here at Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency, we have helped a wide range of clients from Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and other Ventura County areas with cat behavior modification. Although we don’t train pets ourselves, we can offer helpful resources and suggestions for pet training. If you have questions about your cat’s behavior or aggression, please contact our office directly. It’s important to have your pet examined for medical issues, as this could play a role in aggressive behaviors. It’s our mission to help keep our pets healthy and happy.