One of the most frequently asked questions I get from cat parents is “why does my cat bite me when I pet her?” A cat seems to be perfectly happy being petted, when all of a sudden, she whips her head around and bites the hand that was petting her. Of course, from the cat’s perspective, nothing ever happens for no reason. As humans, it’s up to us to understand why petting aggression happens, and what we can do to prevent and correct it.Continue Reading
Most of us learn as we go about our cats’ petting preferences. Some cats like to be rubbed all over, others only like certain parts of their bodies touched, and some cats can be pretty forceful about letting us know that they would prefer not to be petted there, thank you very much, something that is also known as petting aggression.
A recent study aimed at finding out where cats enjoyed being stroked (or not) and whether the person doing the stroking had any influence on the cats’ response. Continue Reading
Your two cats are best friends. They play together, groom each other, and sleep curled up with each other. Then one day, you take one to the vet’s for a check up. When you return from the clinic, instead of receiving a warm welcome, the cat who stayed home hisses and attacks the other cat. Your two former best friends have turned into sworn enemies, and your formerly peaceful home has turned into a battle zone.
Aggression between cats is always a distressing problem for the cats and the humans involved. Whether it’s play aggression, petting aggression, or redirected aggression, dealing with feline aggression is stressful and requires commitment, staying power, and the help of experts such as your veterinarian and/or a feline behaviorist.
The cause of on-recognition aggression is not entirely clear, and the bad news is that it’s not easily fixed.Continue Reading
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We recently covered petting aggression and play aggression in cats. Today, I’d like to address one other form of feline aggression, and it’s one that can be very frightening, as well as damaging, for cat guardians. This form of aggression is called redirected aggression, and it happens when a cat is agitated by an animal, event, or person it can’t get at. Unable to lash out at the perceived threat, the cat turns to the nearest victim. This may be another cat or pet in the household, or it may be the cat’s humans. These attacks happen seemingly out of the blue, and they can be fairly damaging to the victim.
Redirected aggression is not unique to cats. The human equivalent is the man who gets so angry he wants to punch someone, and ends up punching a wall instead.Continue Reading
Guest post by Harry Shubin
Next to failure to use the litter box, the second most common reason cats are given up to shelters is aggression. Last week we talked about petting aggression, when a cat is so sensitive that our failure to read her request to “stop!” petting sends her into overload and she gives us an urgent message to stop in the form of a bite.
What is play aggression?
There’s another type of aggression that is all too common, and that’s play aggression. If a petting aggression bite is our fault for not understanding our cats’ language, play aggression is our fault for not understanding our cats’ brains.Continue Reading
Guest post by Harry Shubin
This stuff always seems to come in clusters. I spent some time counseling the first foster about why his cat was biting him. I spent even more time counseling the second foster. Then I worked with the adopter who had the same issue. It finally took Jackson Galaxy’s My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet doing an episode where every cat bit his or her person, for me to see the, ah, cat scratches on the wall. Or bites on my arm.
Why does my cat attack me?
I can’t tell you how often I hear “why does my cat attack me?” Let’s start with full disclosure – I have a cat with “petting aggression.” “Aggression” isn’t really the right word, though that’s what it’s generally called. It’s not really aggressive – nor is it mean, nor is the intent to actually hurt someone.Continue Reading
When I first adopted Allegra in April of 2010, she came to me with some behavioral challenges, namely, play and petting aggression. Most of her play aggression was directed at me and demonstrated mostly by Allegra attacking my ankles every chance she got. The petting aggression manifested in a typical pattern of low tolerance for extended petting sessions.
These issues intensified after Amber passed away. I found myself with a single, high-energy only kitten (Allegra was seven months old at the time) while grieving the loss of my 12-year-old soul cat. I knew that one fairly simple fix would have been getting Allegra a playmate closer to her in age and temperament, but I wasn’t ready to even think about a new cat at that time. So I had to step up and work with Allegra and be her substitute playmate.
I consulted with Marilyn Krieger, the cat behaviorist who has a regular column in CatFancy magazine. Marilyn advised me on how to enrich Allegra’s environment and increase vertical space. She also introduced me to the concept of play therapy. I learned a lot from that consult, and began working with Allegra. Continue Reading
Hi everyone, it’s Allegra! It’s been too long since I last wrote on here! Things have been fairly quiet. Most of the time, when something exciting happens, it’s because Ruby gets herself in trouble. I’m beyond that kind of thing. After all, I’m a young lady now.
I’ve been spending my days following the sunny spots around the house, playing with Ruby, and of course, working. We help Mom test stuff so she can tell you about new products or treats. It’s a very important job, and we take it very seriously.
The favorite part of my day is when I snuggle with Mom. Now mind you, I’m not a lap cat.Continue Reading