Aggression in cats

Aggression in cats

Mostly when people think of pets being aggressive they think of dogs. The reality of the matter is that any pet in the right context can be aggressive. You get individuals who use aggression on a regular basis in all species.

Max is a beautiful ginger tom cat. Despite not being desexed he had never had sprayed inside the house and had always been very friendly. But lately he had become obnoxious. At first his owners thought it was funny when he chased the neighbours’ dogs and the doorknockers out of his yard. But then he had started to bite his owners too. They punished him when he did but this just made the attacks worse.

To understand why Max became aggressive we really need to see things from his point of view. To Max it was quite reasonable to attack people and dogs. Clearly his owners did not agree.

Deep down the basis for most aggression is fear. Despite his cool dominant exterior inside Max was terrified. Max had learnt that the best way to defend himself from imaginary threats was to attack first. Max felt he was the king of his home but like a despot he had become increasingly paranoid about all around him.

Fortunately there is a simple surgical solution to much of Max’s problem: desexing.

For Max, desexing would reduce his drive to be the king and make him happier in his role as pet.

In addition, some anti-anxiety medication and behavioural reinforcement was needed. It took some time but now Max is back to being a loving companion.

Not all aggression can be easily cured but any unexplained aggression should be reviewed. It is worth talking to your Vet about behaviour problems and ways to overcome them. It is also worth taking any new pet to the Vet so you can prevent problem behaviours before they happen.
Maybe we could take the same approach with all dictators?