Matamata Veterinary Services | Latest News

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The Angry Kitty

November 30, 2016

All too often our quiet, purring kitty sleeping next to us on the couch turns into an attacking beast after a few seconds of what you think is a peaceful pat.  This change of behavior leads to biting and scratching that is definitely not playful.  You are not alone. This change of behavior and aggression occurs in many households.

The situation occurs as cats are very bossy creatures and like to be in control.  Anger comes from fear and the perception that your cat needs to defend itself.

We are having what we think is a nice cuddle, but your cat decides it has had enough sooner than us. As they try to leave we force them to stay and then they feel threatened.  This leads to angry attacking behavior and potential injuries to us.

To have a good relationship with your cat remember they like to be in control. Learn to read their body language. This way you can ensure they think they are the boss and don’t feel threatened.

Signs of anger include swishing of the tail, flattened ears, growling, stopping purring and big black pupils.  If any of these signs occur, stop patting your cat and let them sit quietly, or move away if they want.  Next time you can try the technique below.

You can teach, or rather convince your cat that longer periods of patting are ok with a little bribery.  Start with short periods of patting without aggression occurring. For some cats this may only be a few minutes.  At the end of the period, reward with a tasty treat.  Next time (at least a day later) you can extend the period slightly and reward again and so on.

‘Dogs have owners, cats have staff’