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Stop the Cat from Biting, Scratching, and Attacking

Aggressive cats are no fun. Learn how to prevent a cat from treating one as a scratching post to ease one’s relationship with them.

Cats are highly territorial creatures. They enjoy pouncing on objects that move, often biting or scratching them to show their dominance and mimic hunting behaviors. However, to develop a positive relationship with the cat in one’s house, one doesn’t want to be treated like prey or another cat or dog. Cats can act aggressively for several reasons, from pain to a quest for attention, but this behavior must be stopped immediately to avoid pain, infection, and resentment.

Cats are often given to shelters because the owner can’t deal with the aggressive behavior. React to it right away, and the negative acting out should soon cease, thus improving one’s relationship with one’s loved feline.

Why Does a Cat Act Aggressively?

A cat can have fun when it stalks and pounces on its owner, often inflicting scratches and bites. It is part of the socialization to learn these behaviors, traits needed in the wild to hunt. Cats can also attack when they are scared, anxious, and aggravated. They lash out then in a desire to escape or defend themselves. Additionally, some cats can be more aggressive than other cats. Cats that aren’t spayed or neutered are more likely to attack their owners or other family pets, especially in the case of male felines. Worse, if the cat is sick or in pain, it can react with violent behavior.

What’s Wrong with Allowing One’s Cat to Play Fight?

If the cat plays fights with other cats in the house or the dog, this is not an issue unless the aggressive cat draws blood or seriously hurts the other animals. Cats and dogs are taught by their parents to wrestle, paw at, and nip each other as a form of structure. In such a manner, the animals remind each other of hierarchies and the pecking order. Yet, when the cat lashes out at its owner, such behavior becomes problematic.

First, the cat should naturally not want to attack its food source. However, if it feels it can, this undermines the hierarchy and is a sign of emotional disturbance in the feline. Secondly, cat scratches and bites are painful and take a long time to heal. Also, they can get infected and are more potentially problematic than dog bites due to the toxins in the saliva. Further, encouraging a cat to act violently towards one will eventually create resentment between the owner and its pet.

How Can One Stop a Cat that is Acting Aggressively?

Start early. Socialize the cat to accept different people, animals, sounds, and environments. So it won’t be jittery and irritated. Cats love to pounce, but if the owner lets them attack their fingers or toes, he is teaching them to play fight with humans. Instead, use toys, from jingly mice to feathers on fishing rods, to have fun with them without drawing blood.

Get them spayed or neutered. Understand what the cat likes and doesn’t. Some cats like to be petted a lot, some a little. Some like their bellies or tails rubbed and stroked; some loathe it. Give the cat treats when they play appropriately. If they scratch or bite, scream, say NO firmly, and walk away from them. A water bottle can also be used to give them a squirt. In extreme cases, one can declaw the cat, but teaching it gently, interactive behaviors when young is the cat owner’s best bet.