Behaviour tips for cats

Aggression in Cats

Some cats may become aggressive or defensive if feeling threatened. Cats may also feel the need to get defensive as a result of an underlying medical issue. 

  • If the aggression seems random without any unknown trigger, a vet visit is the first step. 

  • Trying to pinpoint when your cat becomes defensive is important. Is it when they are picked up? Pet for an extended period of time? When you simply walk by them? Identifying when this happens is important in order of preventing it from recurring. 

  • Understand body language! Cats communicate through changes in their body and vocalizations. A cat may be telling you they are uncomfortable and about to escalate, but if you don’t know what these cues look like, it could result in a defensive display towards you. Please view this video to understand cat language a bit better.

  • Prevention and environmental management is important to try to reduce this behaviour from recurring. If your cat doesn’t like being pet for an extended period of time, then get in the habit of petting them briefly, before they start to get uncomfortable. If your cat guards their cat tree or other areas in the home then move these areas away from high traffic zones and work towards tossing your cat treats when simply walking by at a distance to create more positive associations. 

  • Ensuring your cat has lots of vertical space and areas to hide and retreat to. Depending on the household, some homes can be very noisy and high traffic, and a cat may want to easily get away and have its own space. Cats should have lots of high perch zones and hideaway areas. See our enrichment ideas section for more tips. 

  • Making sure your cat is spending enough quality time with you and getting enough proper play and mental enrichment. Sometimes when cats don’t have proper outlets for their energy, it can result in behaviour challenges like aggression.