How To Deal With An Aggressive Cat

We love cats at DhohOo and want to ensure that cats and owners can live harmoniously with each other. To achieve this goal, we publish essential tips and tricks for pet owners to help them keep their pets happy and healthy. Here is our guide on how to calm down an aggressive cat.



4 min read

Does your feline friend show some very feisty behavior sometimes? Cats are generally more prickly than dogs and other pets, but that does not mean that their hostility is warranted or normal. Dealing with aggressive cats can be difficult because you may not know what to do.

We’ve created this guide to help you understand and correct your cat’s aggressive behavior. Keep reading to find out more!

Understanding the Signs of an Aggressive Cat

The first step in dealing with aggressive cats is to identify the signs and causes of hostile behavior.

Aggressive behavior in cats can be caused by a variety of factors like a compulsion to protect their kittens or guard their territories along with other potential triggers. There are two aggressive stances that a cat can take when it feels threatened: offensive or defensive. Here are the differences between the two:

1.Defensive Cat:

o They will generally try to make themselves look bigger with a raised and arched back

o Their tail will be straight and stiff while pointing towards the ground

o They will gaze toward the source of their aggression

o They will make growling sounds

2.Offensive Cat:

o They  will often be crouched with their head tucked in and tail wrapped around their body

o They will experience piloerection

o Rather than growling, they’ll open their mouth and hiss.

o They might claw out momentarily as a warning

Now that we’re able to recognize the signs of an aggressive cat, let’s check out some of the causes behind why cats may show hostility. Following are the different types of feline aggression:

o Petting-provoked aggression: causes aren’t well known, but many people think it may be due to overstimulation.

o Redirected aggression: frustration on the part of the cat after being roused by something they can’t reach. For example, a cat that passed by outside the house. They’ll redirect their energy and lash out at whatever is close by.  

o Play aggression: this is the most common type of cat-to-owner aggression, where a cat involuntarily injures their owner or breaks household items while playing. Cats who haven’t had much socialization may be unable to inhibit their bites and claws.

o Fear aggression: the name is self-explanatory. This behavior is triggered when a cat notices a threat that it feels it can’t avoid.

o Territorial aggression: this is usually aimed at other cats, but some cats may target humans or other pets. This aggression is triggered by a need to protect their territory from intruders.

Dealing With Aggressive Cats

You need to try our best to curb any aggressive behaviors and discourage them early on. Many pet owners involuntarily encourage these behaviors and end up causing long term harm to their cats.

Petting-provoked Aggression

The best medicine for this type of aggression is prevention. Different cats will have different tolerance for petting, so you need to keep an eye on signs that your cat has had enough. If you notice any of the following signs, just stop petting and let the cat walk away by itself.

o It sharply flicks its head out to your hand

o It seems restless

o It's rotating its ears forward and back

o It has a twitching tail

A few tips to handle cats with this behavior include:

o Do not ever use physical punishment

o Do not pick up your cat while it is eating

o Use treats to reward your cat for letting you pet it without hostility

o Keep supervision when cats that are prone to this behavior are around children.

Redirected Aggression

It can be hard to prevent this type of aggression since it can occur up to 30 minutes after a cat interacts with a stimulus.

The best way to inhibit this type of aggression is to help the cat avoid the stimuli altogether.You can do this by keeping your windows shaded and using other methods to keep your cats away from the windows.

Play Aggression

Our goal here is to distract the cat when it’s about to exhibit these sorts of behaviors. Firstly, figure out the patterns of when a cat conducts these actions. To prevent this behavior, distract the cat immediately when you notice this pattern or keep them from accessing areas where these behaviors begin.

Do not physically punish the cat ever as it can make the situation worse. You can walk away and ignore the cat if it’s showing play aggression behavior to tell them that they won’t get any play at all for their actions.

Fear Aggression

You can manage fear aggression by identifying and avoiding circumstances that induce a frightful reaction. If that circumstance cannot be avoided, you can get your cat used to it by exposing them to the ‘trigger’ from a safe distance. Use treats to reward non-aggressive behavior.

Do not try to soothe the cat because it'll make them think you approve of their behavior. The best solution is just to ignore them until they calm down.

Territorial Aggression

Territorial aggression can be a common complaint when dealing with aggressive cats. The first thing you should do is neuter your male cats as they are usually the main culprits of this kind of aggression. Neutering is a safe way to reduce their natural feistiness.

Other than that, you should speak with your vet about how to associate two cats together in your house. The process can take a long time, but stick to it and you will see the results.


An aggressive cat is a danger to itself and its owners. Early detection and prevention of aggressive behavior can help you solve the problem. The worst thing you can do for your cat is to think that the problem will solve itself. Hence, use this guide and talk to your vets about the steps you can take to correct any signs of aggression from your cat.