If only our animals could talk, we would know more about why they do some of the things they do, or the reasons behind their behaviors. It’s our job as pet owners to determine what our pets’ needs are by asking professionals questions about their health and habits. However, caring for pets can be a little tricky sometimes, as they aren’t able to directly communicate their needs or intentions. One of the common complaints that cat owners especially communicate to their veterinarians is that their cat’s demeanor seems grumpy or agitated frequently.
“Grumpy” cats usually have a reason for their behavior, whether we like it or not. Just like humans, animals have emotions that dictate their behavior, although cat’s behavior is generally more primal. “Grumpiness” in cats can be attributed to a number of conditions or circumstances; therefore, when you suspect that your cat has an attitude problem, the first and best place to start is to consider what could potentially be angering them. In this article, we’ll talk about the common reasons for cat aggression, other factors to consider when addressing their behavior, and what you can do next for your cat.
There are a variety of reasons for cat aggression; however, it’s important to remember that aggression in cats serves an important purpose. Cats use aggression as an adaptive response to their surroundings—so chances are something environmental is causing them to feel anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed, leading them to lash out. Cat aggression is usually controllable to an extent; however, sometimes cat aggression simply becomes part of their conditioned personality—especially with a history of abuse. Here are the most common reasons for cat aggression or “grumpiness.”
Cats are animals first, pets second. They feel fear and anger just like humans do,although their aggressive responses to fear and anger are adaptive in that they’re designed to shield them from whatever could harm them. Aggression as a defense mechanism serves cats well, and it usually sends the message that they don’t want to be messed with. This is a normal, healthy response for cats, but can become problematic if not tamed adequately enough.
Another reason for cat aggression is intimidation. Cats use intimidating tactics like aggression when they’re trying to be dominant over other animals or inhabitants of their space. Cats generally like to be the center of attention, and they like to dominate their territory. In order to establish their dominance, they might become aggressive if they feel their position is threatened.
Similar to humans, cats and other animals can become frustrated. The most common instance of cat frustration is when being pet in areas of their body they don’t particularly enjoy. For instance, many cats don’t like to be pet on their bellies and have been known to become aggressive when their stomachs are pet. Another time when cats might become aggressive over frustration is when they’re unable to get to the main source of the aggression. For example, if your cat is observing birds on your back patio but cannot get to them, it might lash out if someone approaches.
The behavioral reasons for your pet’s aggression are important to understand so that you can avoid the common situations that cause them to lash out. However, there are other salient factors to consider as well that could likely contribute to cat aggression.
While cat aggression is common toward their owners, it is also very common to see cats lash out at other cats. Determining the object of their aggression can let you know if the problem is isolated to just people, other cats, or includes both.
Most pet owners aren’t aware that underlying issues could be causing your cat’s aggression. Illnesses, anxiety, diseases, or undetected injuries could be causing them pain or frustration, which can certainly cause them to become aggressive.
If your cat is showing signs of aggression, it’s first important to determine what could be the cause of it. Here at Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency, serving clients in the areas of Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and other areas nearby Ventura County, we have helped many pet owners tame their animals’ aggressive behavior. If you think your pet is especially aggressive, it might be a good idea to have their health checked out first to make sure there aren’t underlying, hidden causes for the aggression. Please contact us directly to schedule an appointment and get you and your cat the help you need.