Known for their independence and stress-free care regime, cats are popular pets.
They are very loving animals, but they can also have bad habits.
Some cats love to play around and wrestle with their owners, but sometimes this can lead to unwanted scratches and bites.
This behavior is normal, but it can become dangerous if you let them get away with it.
Cats can be aggressive towards humans for a number of reasons.
Some of these are simple, such as playing and getting too carried away, but occasionally, the aggressiveness can be a result of something more serious.
This article will be going over the reasons why cats may be displaying aggressive behavior, and how you can stop the problem.
Why Do Cats Suddenly Bite And Attack Their Owners?
Before looking into strategies you can use to get your cat to stop attacking and biting you, it is important to be aware of the reasons why they may be doing this in the first place.
Finding the root of the issue is the first step towards finding a solution.
Below are some common reasons as to why your cat could be biting and attacking you.
Territorial aggression occurs when a cat feels that their territory has been invaded by another animal or person.
They will often attack whoever they perceive as an intruder.
If you find yourself at the receiving end of a territorial attack, then it is best to leave the room immediately.
You should never provoke a cat who is displaying territorial aggression. If you do so, there is a chance that your cat will bite you.
Cats are naturally wary creatures. When they feel threatened, they may lash out in fear.
It is not uncommon for a fearful cat to suddenly jump on their owner and start clawing them.
Some cats may have experienced past trauma, and certain objects or scenarios may trigger this.
If your cat experiences pain, it may become aggressive. They may bite and scratch you in order to alleviate the discomfort.
They may be feeling pain as a result of a medical condition, these include arthritis, gingivitis, or any physical injuries.
Cats are very good at hiding their pain, so they may lash out and attack when they experience discomfort.
Over stimulation is also known as petting aggression.
This is when a cat will bite an owner while or after, they have been petting them.
This means that the petting has become too much for them, and they may lash out if the owner does not stop.
The cat will often give off some warning signs, such as lightly biting.
Once this happens, you should stop, as the biting may get worse if you continue.
When kittens play, they usually bite, scratch, and are quite rough with each other and their owners.
However, since they are little, their bites and scratches don’t tend to hurt.
Their version of playing tends to be pouncing, hunting, and stalking, so sometimes this kind of aggression is just them trying to play with you.
Cats can be aggressive when they hear certain frequencies, such as a baby crying, another cat crying, high frequency whistling or squeaking.
You should avoid these triggers. In some cases, you can try desensitization and counterconditioning.
Desensitization means playing the trigger sound at a very low level and if the cat remains calmer, she can then be rewarded.
Counter conditioning means gradually increasing the volume of the sound while rewarding the cat.
Male cats may display sexual aggression, while females do not.
A male cat may grab a part of their owner’s skin and begin to thrust its pelvis.
This may cause pain as the cat’s claws could be digging into the skin.
Yes, cats can perform love bites too.
They will often occur while you are petting your cat, and they are gentle bites that don’t cause any pain.
This may mean they want additional attention.
How To Stop My Cat From Behaving This Way
If your cat has been showing aggressive behavior, there are ways you can tackle the issue.
As we’ve gone over the reasons for this behavior above, we can now work towards solutions.
The first thing you should note is that punishing your cat by shouting, spraying water, or tapping its nose, will only make them feel more fearful and may lead to them continuing to attack you.
Therefore, this should be avoided. Below are the steps you should take if this is an issue you are experiencing with your cat.
Make A Trip To The Vet
As mentioned above, the aggression your cat is displaying could be because they are in pain or uncomfortable.
If you are sure that the aggressive behavior from your cat is not misdirected play, then your next step should be to take your pet to the vet.
The vet will examine your cat, and look for any medical issues that could have arisen.
Some of these will include dental disease, arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and feline cognitive dysfunction.
If the vet then diagnoses your cat with an illness, then treating it should make the aggressive behavior go away.
Schedule Play Sessions
Misdirected play is one of the most common reasons for aggression in cats that is unprovoked.
By ensuring you are engaging in play sessions with your cat, it will reduce their outbursts and use up their energy.
Try to spend at least 15 minutes playing with your cat each day.
In order to get the most out of this time, you should make it as entertaining as possible for your cat.
You can do this by using different kinds of toys such as feather wands and stuffed toys, so they can use those items as prey.
This will also enable you to teach your cat what items are toys, and what isn’t.
You should always use a toy when playing with them, so they associate those items with playtime, and not your hands or fingers.
If your cat does try to bite or scratch you, redirect their attention to one of their favorite toys!
This will further enhance their association with those items as toys.
Ensure They Have A Comfortable Environment
Your cat needs to feel comfortable and safe at home, as stress, fear, and defensiveness can cause them to attack.
Ensure their litter tray is clean, in a good location, and is a good size for your cat.
If you have more than one furry friend at home, they each need their own litter tray.
A clean and tidy litter tray makes for a happy, calm cat!
Cats enjoy having a routine, so ensuring they have a feeding time will keep them happy and less agitated.
Again, if you have multiple cats, make sure they each get a fair share of their food, as this can cause issues between them.
Cats enjoy finding little nooks around homes to use as their hiding place when they are feeling a little stressed.
Make sure there is enough space around your home for them to find these areas, and do not disturb them when they are there.
Following the above points, cats do not like change.
It is best to avoid any sudden changes in their environment, as this can cause them to become stressed.
If there are changes that are unavoidable, you should introduce these to your cat slowly.
Cats enjoy slightly rough play, such as scratching, biting, and pouncing.
Much of the time, when they hurt their owners, it is due to them playing and getting carried away!
To avoid this from causing harm, you should always reach for a toy and begin playing with it, as it will help them associate play time with this toy and not your hands.
If you are petting your cat, and they attack you, it is probably from over stimulation.
You should always wait for your cat to initiate any petting, as they can become aggressive if they would rather have no physical contact at that given time.
Listen for the warning signs, such as thrashing of their tail, and light bites.
If none of the above applies to your cat, and they are still becoming aggressive when unprovoked, then you should contact your vet, so they can help you determine the cause of the issue.
There could be an underlying medical condition or some behavioral problems.
It is important to remember that cats have different personalities to dogs.
They are independent and enjoy alone time.
As much as you may want to have a cuddle with your little pet, you should always wait for them to initiate it first.