Is your kitty overly aggressive? Does he grab onto your feet and claw at your ankles when he shouldn’t? Does he seem normal one minute and then hisses and claws at you or an innocent guest the next?
Cats can become overly stimulated with too much pent-up energy and no good way to release it. Causes can range from boredom to feeling insecure to even stray cats getting too close to the property. Whatever the cause, these five solutions to aggression can make a huge difference in calming your kitty.
1. Play Time
If your cat isn’t getting enough attention and play, then he will have a lot of pent up energy that has to be released. This can come out in the form of aggression: such as randomly hissing and clawing at you, attacking other pets, or meowing non-stop at night. Cats do this because they simply don’t know how to release all their extra energy unless you show them how.
You have a lot of options for cat play times. A cat wand toy with a feather or squeaky ball on the end can be entrancing for your pet. Cats also like those “red dot” laser pointer toys (just don’t’ shine it in kitty’s eyes!) Whatever toy you use, act like the toy is prey, hide it around corners and “flee” from the cat, so he’ll think he’s hunting.
Play with your cat every day to keep energy levels down. This play time will also create a loving bond between you and your cat.
2. The “FFFF” Sound
Cats communicate through movement, eye contact, tail and head bumps, and sounds like hissing. If you imitate your cat’s language, he’ll catch on faster when he’s doing something wrong. If you start when he’s a kitten, he’ll pick up on the language much faster.
Making a long “fffff” sound imitates a hiss and can quickly show your cat that his or her current actions are not allowed. Make the sound quickly and at the immediate moment the wrong behavior is occurring, so your cat won’t be confused about the message you’re sending. Repetition and follow through are the key. If you feel bad after making an “fffff” sound and immediately pet your cat, he’ll be confused about the message you’re sending so make the sound and then avoid affection for a few minutes.
3. Calming Herbal Products and Plugins
Many cat experts recommend calming herbal products and plugins that release a calming scent in the room. Some herbal plugins imitate a cat’s natural calming pheromones. Set these up in the rooms where your cat’s having the most problems. For example, if he gets anxious and aggressive in the living room, set up a plugin there. The calming scent signals to kitty that everything’s OK.
4. Distract Strays
Your cat may get anxious and aggressive if another stray cat is wandering outside. This cat’s scent, which he can notice even inside your house, makes your cat feel like his home is in danger. Imagine if a strange person was circling your property and looking inside. You would feel anxious and aggressive too!
For kitty’s sake, find ways to dissuade the visitor. You can get timed sprinkler systems that are motion activated, for example. The gentle water spray will encourage the stray cat to leave without hurting him. You can also step outside with a squirt bottle and make the hissing sound yourself to drive them away.
5. Cat Trees
Finally, tall cat trees are a great way to help an overly aggressive kitty feel more in control. Sometimes, aggression comes out because a cat feels defenseless or vulnerable. He may be intimidated by other cats or dogs – even by other people or kids in the house. Because a cat tree is high off the ground, he feels safer and has a better view of what’s going on around him. Climbing up and down the tree can also help him get out some pent-up energy! A cat tree can even help a skittish cat come out of his or her shell and hang out when people are visiting.
A number of factors can contribute to a cat’s aggressiveness. Just remember – bad behavior doesn’t mean your cat is bad. In fact, it usually means that your cat is stressed or has too much pent-up energy. Take him to the vet if you suspect a health issue. When your cat gets an all clear, one of these remedies might help your cat become friendlier and more sociable.
Best of luck!