Aggressive Pet Cat Relief
Cats can be a territorial lot and often do not take kindly to strangers, animal or human, intruding on their turf. Territoriality aside, aggressive or destructive behavior in cats can be more than just a nuisance.
In multi-cat environments, there is often a dominate feline that simply will not tolerate other cats. Competition for things like attention and physical space can exacerbate the problem.
While in college, I worked as a maintenance person for a large luxury apartment complex. It was not uncommon to enter a tenants apartment while no one was home. One morning, with a repair order in hand, I went to fix a dishwasher. No sooner did I get in the door than a cat confronted me. With teeth bared and hissing up a storm, this cat was not about to let me get to the kitchen. Every time I would attempt to walk around the cat, he would lunge at me. The dishwasher would have to wait.
The tenant had a hard time believing that her precious tabby would act that way. She became a believer when I returned and was confronted again by her attack cat.
Like their humans, pets react to stress in different ways. The sources of stress can vary from loneliness and neglect to a physical ailment. Cats are not immune to physiological and physiological problems some of which may be beyond the control of the owner. Abused animals are under enormous stress and can act out in very inappropriate ways. Clawing the furniture, spraying, and aggressiveness can be symptoms of a bigger problem beyond just a case of bad kitty syndrome.
As for pet cats, the problem of aggressive behavior can be compounded by how the owner responds. As a long-time cat owner, I have received conflicting advice on how to handle a wayward kitty. Subjecting a pet cat to the same type of aversion discipline used with dogs is said by some experts to be ineffective. Others think that a cat simply cannot be trained. My own experience is that cats are creatures of habit and behavior modification usually involves breaking the cycle of habit.
Like pet dogs, pet cats can get bored. Maintaining an ample supply of toys and other amusements gives the cat something else to do besides clawing the couch. Scratching comes naturally to a cat as they attempt to keep their claws sharp. This is a throwback to their feral instincts and also helps the cat to mark its territory.
One obvious way to keep clawing damage to a minimum is to keep the claws trimmed. Some cats did not seem to mind the process while others may put up a struggle. If your cat struggles or otherwise resists do not risk injury to yourself or your cat. Consult a professional pet groomer or a veterinary professional.
Behaviors such as spraying and defecating in areas other than the litter box can be symptomatic of physical illness. Assuming that the litter box is clean and well maintained, spraying and other inappropriate urination can be a sign of a urinary tract infection. Spraying is also a way for male and female cats to mark territory. Likewise, defecating outside the litter box can be symptomatic of an intestinal worm infestation. Only your veterinary professional can determine if a physical ailment is to blame and it is important for you cat to have a thorough examination.
Pet cats can be a finicky lot, very independent and with their own personality quirks. The important thing to remember is that under that facade of independence lies an animal that is dependent on us for love, care attention. Behaviors can be our cat’s way of talking to us. As responsible pets owners, we have a responsibility to listen.
BY MITCH ENDICK