Animal Behavior Network
Error Free Kitten Raising Tips
by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Getting Started - Cat Aggression

Cat aggression can be a serious and dangerous behavior problem. Because there are many types of aggression. Making a diagnosis, determining the prognosis (the chances of safe and effective correction) and developing an appropriate treatment plan is best done by a veterinary behaviorist or veterinary behavior consultant.

It's important to rule out any possible medical causes for the aggression. Before addressing the behavior, it's best to take the cat to your regular veterinarian for a thorough physical examination and diagnostic tests to rule out underlying physical discomfort or hidden illness.

Then to treat or modify the cat's aggression, the type of aggression must be identified: fear, territorial, parental, play, redirected, predatory, petting-induced, pain-induced, social status, medical or learned.

Sometimes, aggression is situational. In other words, certain circumstances may trigger the cat's aggression. Is the aggression specific to one family member, strangers, other pets in the household, or strange pets? Keeping a behavioral diary helps identify these circumstantial triggers.

Cats may display more than one type of aggression. Treatment usually includes behavior modification techniques and changes to the cat's environment. Drug therapy may also be helpful for some forms of aggression.

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For your Education...

Library topics

Pet Aggression Primer

Pet Aggression Territorial Q&A


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