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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Pet Aggression Primer - Q&A

Pet Aggression Territorial - Q&A

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to treat you as a trusted friend; Some little token of esteem is needed; like a dish of cream.    T. S. Eliot
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Prevent a Cat Attack - Understanding Feline Aggression


What is it?

 

Cat aggression can be a serious and dangerous behavior problem. There are many reasons why cats become aggressive. The most common cause of aggression is fear.

 

Why do cats become aggressive?


Aggression can also be triggered by physical illness or discomfort. Rule out this cause of aggression by taking your cat to your regular veterinarian for a thorough physical examination and diagnostic tests.

 

Types of feline aggression: fear, territorial, parental, play, redirected, predatory, petting-induced, pain-induced, social status, medical, learned.

What is situational aggression?

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

A change in your cat's behavior may be the first sign of physical discomfort or illness. When in doubt, have your veterinarian check it out.

 

What to do

 

Once medical causes are ruled out, the next step is to complete a pet behavioral history analysis by a veterinary behavior consultant to determine the probable causes of the aggression and the prognosis for improvement if going forward with effective treatment and behavior modification.


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


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