How to Stop Aggressive Cat Behavior Towards Humans

Aggressive cat behavior towards visitors, guest, children, and babies can be stopped.

By Claude West (Cat Man)

Aggressive cat behavior is a common problem cited by owners. 

aggressive cat behavior

Cat bites are the most common result of aggressive cat behavior

Cats are naturally programmed to hunt and defend themselves with their teeth and claws. In nature, cats need to pounce, scratch, claw, and bite in order to survive.   Domesticated cats will retain some of these wild habits even though this is unnecessary to their survival in a human household.

In fact, cat owners cite biting as a predominant expression of aggressive tendencies and as the second most common behavioral problem among cats.  There are several forms of behavioral aggression among cats.  Aggression between your cat and other cats, and that between cats and humans.

Aggressive cat behavior towards humans, particularly babies and children, can be both frustrating and dangerous.  Knowing the causes of such behavior will make possible solutions more apparent and effective.

Aggressive cat behavior is a result of several things:

  • personality and/or temperament
  • territorial issues
  • fear
  • medical problems
  • new people, children, and babies living in the house
  • change of access to rooms or going outside

Indeed, this behavior is a real problem, but with a little time and patience from owners, it can be stopped.

Addressing aggressive cat behavior:

aggressive cat behaviorSteps for addressing this behavior are most effective if taken when cats are kittens. An owner can deter feline hostility against humans and other cats at a young age. Do not encourage rough play that includes biting and/or scratching.

Rough play can be deterred by using loud noises.  Try clapping of hands or rattling of pennies in a can.  This helps to redirect the cat’s attention.   Another useful method involves withdrawing affection.  Do this when an incident occurs instead of inflicting punishment.  A cat used to affectionate treatment will quickly notice an owner’s lack of favorable attention.  Thus begin to realize that bad behavior is boring.

Additional steps to stop aggressive cat behavior:

Here is an additional step when cats are kittens to avoid aggressive cat behavior.  Try to accustom the kitty to human touch at an early age.  This step can also be taken with older cats with a bit more care.   Start by petting the cat’s head and when it is relaxed. Avoiding sudden movements, continue to pet it along its back and tail.  Talk to the cat while petting it and follow the session with a treat.  Human contact with your kitten will reduce aggressive cat behavior through life.

Tips for older cats with aggressive cat behavior:

For older cats with behavior problems toward humans. Try letting the cat get hungry and have the person kitty is aggressive toward offer a favorite treat.  Allow the cat to approach the person on its own terms to develop a sense of trust and confidence.  If the cat refuses to approach the person then start with an already-trusted family member.  Do this while the offending person is in the same room, or at least the house.

aggressive cat behavior

Aggressive cat behavior towards humans is dangerous!

Other more general methods for dealing with aggressive cat behavior towards people, children, and babies, include:

  • keeping cats’ nails clipped
  • providing cats with lots of scratching posts and stuffed toys to play with
  • using a diffuser with calming pheromones
  • introducing new cats to the household in stages.

The key to successfully stopping aggressive cat behavior involves more than cat training. While training certainly helps. The problem can best be stopped with time, patience, and the understanding by you the owner.  In order to overcome behavioral issues, a cat needs to overcome its fears.

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