Clinic Hours:
Mon-Fri 8 to 5:30
Sat. by appointment only

Location:
31310 Woodhaven Trail
Cannon Falls, MN 55009

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Phone Numbers:
651-258-4050 office
651-258-4051 fax
651-222-0885 Twin Cities

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Feline Aggression

Aggression in cats can be an upsetting problem for owners. They are dangerous to have in a household because they pose a threat to owners, visitors and other animals. When cats attack, they use their sharp teeth and nails which harbors bacteria that often leads to a dangerous, painful and/or fatal infection in their victim. Feline aggression is expressed through various behaviors, such as body language, facial expressions, vocalization or physical attacks. There are many reasons why cats become aggressive. The most common are: territorial aggression, predatory aggression, pain-induced aggression, play aggression, fear aggression, sexual aggression, and maternal aggression.

Territorial Aggression:
Cats are very territorial. They become aggressive when they feel that their territory has been invaded by an intruder. Territorial cats often express their frustrations through hissing, swatting, chasing and attacking their “enemy”.


Predatory Aggression:
An instinctual trait that cats have is to hunt, chase and kill prey. When hunting prey, cats are known as “silent stalkers”. They crouch down low, slowly move towards their target, then quickly lunge forward and attack their prey. In a household, this behavior can pose a danger for smaller pets such as mice, hamsters, rabbits, fish, etc.


Pain-induced Aggression:
This is a common behavior that cats exhibit when experiencing pain. If a cat is touched in their painful area, they may become aggressive towards the person or animal.


Play Aggression:
This behavior is often displayed in young cats. Kittens have a built-in drive to play rough which is part of their development. Although this is a natural behavior, the kitten must learn that it is unacceptable to grab, stalk, nip, pounce on or bite a person or other animals. Play aggression occurs when cats are not provided an adequate amount of exercise or if there is a lack of stimulation within their environment. If this behavior is not corrected as a kitten, the cat may become more dangerous as an adult.


Fear Aggression:
Most cats hide or run away when frightened. However, if they are in their own special territory or cornered, they may feel threatened and become aggressive. Common behaviors expressed by fearful cats are hissing, swatting, growling, scratching and biting. The safest thing for a person to do when confronted with a fearful cat is to walk away. Give the cat time to calm down before approaching it again.



Sexual Aggression:
This behavior occurs in cats during the mating process. The male bites the female’s scruff in an aggressive manner in order to prevent her from escaping. After mating, the female often rolls on her side, swats, hisses, and attempts to bite the male cat.

Maternal Aggression:
This form of aggression results from the mother’s hormonal state during lactation. Queens are very protective of their kittens and may become aggressive if they feel their young are being threatened by a person or animal. When this occurs, the safest thing you can do is to stay away and give the mother her space. Frequently hand feeding your female throughout her pregnancy and after she gives birth, may help her feel more comfortable with people approaching her kittens.

Cats are wonderful companions for people. However, there are occasions when even the friendliest cat may become aggressive. As a cat owner, it is important to learn what your cat’s warning signs are in order to prevent yourself or others from getting hurt.
 


 

 
 

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