How to Handle a Dominant Cat

How to handle a dominant cat? Some cats can be very dominant and aggressive. If you have an alpha cat in the household, you should know how to handle it so that trouble does not ensue.

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4 min read

To prevent problems emanating from aggressive cat behavior, you should try to discover the root of the problem to fix it.

First, you should define aggressiveness. Cats can show aggression and belligerence in different ways. The most obvious way that cats manifest belligerence is by picking fights with others. They may be very hostile towards other cats in the same household. They may even head outside to stage duels with stray cats.

There can be other more subtle forms of aggression. For example, your cat may not be docile. It does not obey you and is hard to control. It may also keep doing something undesirable even after it has been punished for it. Or your cat may be pushy and will demand play, food and attention at a time of their own choosing, not yours.

 Thus, there are different ways that cats can be pushy and bellicose besides fighting.

 Here is an important question: is there such a thing as an alpha cat? You might think that your overly belligerent feline counts as an alpha cat.

 Cat aggression is a major problem. According to the findings of one survey, around a quarter of cats given up to shelter homes are aggressive cats that are difficult to manage.

 To resolve aggression, you should know when your cat is agitated. There could be several subtle cues that may not be apparent to the uninitiated. A cat may manifest aggression signs in different ways  like arched back, raised hair, tail held high, ears flattened towards the back and dilated pupils. A cat may show many of these signs when it is frightened.

There is much that you can do to remediate aggression as soon as you recognize subtle signs mentioned above.

You should follow the steps given below to control cat aggression.

· Intervening as early as possible is always better. Thus, you should ignore signs of cat aggression and just hope for it to subside on its own.
· Try to avoid punishments as far as possible since they could aggravate belligerent cats and make them harder to control. Physical punishment could stress cats and subject them to fear which will only exacerbate the scenario.
· You may have to talk with your vet about cat aggression. The vet could prescribe medication for controlling your pet.
· Do not make physical contact with an aggressive cat or try coming close to it. The cat could lash out and hurt you.
· As far as possible, take note of situations that provoke cat aggression and try to mitigate them.
· When cats start behaving aggressively, do not let them carry on thinking that this will vent tensions and calm down these cats. The more that you allow them to fight, the worse the situation will become. Thus, it is best to separate cats at the earliest opportunity as soon as they begin showing hostility towards one another.
· When cats are friendly towards one another commend them gently for good behavior and reward them with treats.
· Your cat may grow aggressive due to an underlying medical condition. Medical conditions such as central nervous system disorders, dental problems, osteoarthritis and hyperthyroidism may lead to cat aggression. Hence, it is best to consult with a vet as soon as there is any cat aggression to rule out the possibility of medical problems.

 Here are the various kinds of aggressive cat behaviors and what you can do about them.

Playful Aggression

Kittens are known to engage in rough play when they are growing up. This could give them the skills they need to defend themselves. If kittens are engaged in rough play then there is nothing to worry about.

Fear Aggression

There are certain things that could make your cat fearful. Your cat may become frightened from unexpected noise or even the arrival of a new cat.

The best of dealing with this scenario is to avoid such things from happening in the first place so that your cat is not scared. If you cannot prevent this situation from happening, then you may have to talk to a behaviorist. You may have to expose the cat gently to this scenario and reward it enthusiastically when kitty shows a positive response.

Petting

Your cat may not like the way you or someone else is touching it. If you overstimulate the cat, it may use aggression to end the discomfort. The best thing to do in such cases is to take note of petting methods that your cat does not like and to avoid them. 

Your cat may become aggressive during nail trimming, grooming and bathing. Cats can become agitated during such situations. Certain cats may also become agitated if you try to put them in cat clothes. Cat clothes may look cute and adorable and may give you the pictures that you need for showing off on social media, but the truth is that cats normally don’t like any kinds of clothes. You should avoid cat clothes.

If your cat becomes aggressive when you come close to it, then it is better to back off and give your cat space to calm down. You should also be careful of small children interacting with cats since little kids can behave in annoying ways that might frighten cats and induce aggressiveness.

Redirected Aggression

If the cat was agitated by something else, it could take out its anger on you. So if your cat was scared by a loud noise or had a confrontation with another feline then it could be unexpectedly belligerent towards you.

Finding out the root cause of cat aggression can be quite tricky. Thus, it is best to consult with vet to rule out disease and then get in touch with a cat behaviorist to find out what’s wrong and what you can do about it.

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