Aggression in cats (or ANY animal for that matter) can have many causes but if you’re dealing with an angry cat, here are some tips:
1. A veterinarian visit is crucial if your cat is beginning to show even the slightest hint of aggression or change in behavior. There may be an underlying medical cause for the behavior. The sooner you detect the behavioral change and have it checked by the veterinarian, the greater the chance of avoiding an escalation of the aggression. It could be anything from a painful abscess due to a cat fight, arthritis or hyperthyroidism, to name just a few. Don’t skip the vet exam. If your cat gets a clean bill of health then it’s time to use your “think like a cat” detective skills.
2. If you know your cat isn’t feeling well or you can tell by his body language he’s getting agitated, prefers not to interact or is getting stressed, provide a safe place for him. Be proactive and offer him a place to safely chill rather than test his tolerance.
3. If you have a multicat household where there are routine spats, have some helpful objects on-hand to block the feuding felines from each other. Keep some towels and pieces of cardboard around so you can block viewing access. Sometimes, if you can block the cats from staring each other down, it can be enough to squash the escalation of aggression. If the aggression continues or worsens, a reintroduction of the cats may be necessary.
4. Babies and pets should never be left together unsupervised. Even if you know your pet is extremely tolerant and friendly, it only takes a moment for a tail to be pulled or a fistful of fur to be yanked. Animals in pain, especially when surprised, will understandably act defensive.
5. If you have young children there should always be elevated locations available for your cat in order to get out of harm’s way. As children get old enough, make sure they understand there are certain “cat only” areas in the house that are off-limits. The ability to jump or climb to safety will almost always be a cat’s first move to avoid confrontation. Children should also know when cats need their own space such as during eating, sleeping or when using the litter box.