Aggressive Behavior

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Aggression in cats can occur in many forms:

  • Fear aggression usually occurs in response to a scary stimulus, when the animal is cornered and escape is no longer possible. The cat then typically has a defensive attitude.
  • Aggression can also be related to pain and occur in response to a painful stimulus.
  • Predatory aggression also occurs in response to a stimulus, whether it is a prey animal or other moving body, a toy or the legs of the owner. The animal then goes on the lookout and attacks as if to capture its prey. Aggression can also occur during the game if the cat has not learned when he was a kitten to moderate his bites and scratches.
  • Redirected aggression is an appropriate response to a situation, but it can not be directed against the stimulus that caused it. The sight of a threatening alien cat seen through a window can lead to the aggression of another cat in the house or a human member of the home.

Aggression by irritation is observed in some cats who, having sought the attention of their owner and been caressed for a certain time, very variable depending on the individuals, are aggressive, as if they wanted to signal to their owner that they have enough.

  • Intra-specific aggression can occur between cats in the same household or with outdoor cats. These may be territorial conflicts and poor sharing of space and resources. If cats have always been well tolerated, it may appear following a particular event, be it social maturity (between two and three years), a conflict caused by a redirected aggression, a modification of the odors brought by one of the cats (following a visit to the veterinarian for example).
  • Inter-specific aggression may be of interest to humans or any animal in the home, and one of the types of aggression described above can often be recognized.

During an agonistic encounter, a cat may choose to adopt a rather offensive or defensive attitude. An aggressive cat will be erect on its legs, the tail hooked or erect, while a cat on the defensive will tend to return the head, flattened ears and dilated pupils, to pick himself up, tail rigid and motionless and to present a piloerection of the body and the tail.

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