When our Yoda was still a kitten, I was often surprised by his behavior with us. One moment he was peaceful and the next he was turning into a vicious monster attacking our feet and hands like a maniac. I would often ask this common question among cat owners: why is my cat so vicious ?
Of course he was a kitten so it did not hurt much. However, it can become problematic when your companion keeps his bad manners when growing up. We were lucky enough to have a cat that calmed down pretty quickly but if you are the proud owner of a fierce beast at home, here are some explanations about his/her behavior and what you can do to smooth the edges.
Understand your cat’s vicious behavior
Your cat hides behind the door and dives on you at the speed of light before fleeing like a coward in the other room. Before you have any time to realize, your cat left a nice little scratch on your leg : not only it hurts but it also damaged your favorite jeans.
“Why in the world would he attack me like that ??? Why is my cat so vicious ? “
You just gave him food 5 minutes ago, he was purring as usual… there is absolutely no reason why he would do such a thing. This is just an example among many but you get the point!
The explanation of your cat’s viciousness lies somewhere between his natural hunting behavior and more severe problems that it is necessary to identify.
- The predator attack
Cats are originally wild animals. It’s in their nature and you need to understand it. Sometimes, their instinct takes over and your cats turn into a real hunter. In this case he will mainly attack your calves. But why now ? Several reasons :
– Your cat is bored and needs entertainment, a good fight is a good way to release his frustration.
– Your cat struggles to access his food, he is in competition with other cats/animals. This disturbance can create a wild response.
– His food isn’t good enough : a lack of protein for this carnivore can trigger agressivity mechanisms.
- The territorial agression
Your cat tries to protect a territory that he identifies as his own. This type of behavior is mainly directed at other animals but it can sometimes be directed toward us, humans.
It will all depend on your cat’s personality, of his level of socialization: some will flee, some will observe you without moving but some of them will threaten and attack. It is essential that your cat is educated early to a human presence around him. The younger the better, it will otherwise require much more time and effort to educate your cat later on.
- The self defense
In this case, your cat simply defends himself against a physical agression, constraint (they do not like to be held against their will) or pain. The tolerance to our human hands is something that needs to be learned early in a cat’s life. Cats are independent beings and they need to be treated as such.
An overload of affection might cause some trouble… Take Brittany for example. She loves to cuddle with our “baby Yoda” as she calls him. Sometimes too much and Yoda will let her know with a little bite on her nose (something that never happened to me by the way 🙂 ).
Another famous example is when you are peacefully petting your cat and rubbing your hand in his smooth fur when all a sudden, out of nowhere, the once peaceful creature turns on you and bites right into your hand. Your furry friend cannot help it, if he feels not in control, if he feels trapped, he will try to escape.
- The redirected aggression
Sometimes your cat can target you instead of the thing that triggered his excitement/madness. A stimulus like a bad odor, a cat hissing outside or even ultrasounds can make your cat angry and for some reason this little one will redirect his anger against the thing that’s closer to him : you.
Make sure this does not happen repeatedly as your cat would start associating you with the stimulus and create a latent tension between you and your cat.
- Health problems
The symptoms of health problems are not always obvious. In other words, your cat might be sick but you might not see it at first glance (encephalitis, cerebrovascular disease, some endocrine disorders…). Those health issues will translate into a higher level of irritability for your cat. He might be suffering and it could be the only way for him to tell you about this. If you notice a sudden change in his behavior without any logical reason (no change in living environment, no new animals, no obvious stressors), you will want to bring him to the doc to see what’s wrong.
What can you do ?
In any case, the first thing to do if this viciousness translates into a high level of violence is to have your cat checked by a veterinarian. Some cats sometimes turn into real wild monsters and in those extreme cases there is no other choice than bringing him to the vet for a thorough inspection. Your vet will be able to identify why your cat turned green like the Hulk and help you prevent this situation from happening again.
Otherwise, there are a few easy steps that will help you get rid of this very bad attitude your cat is slowly but surely developing.
- Give your cat a new toy to channelize his frustration: a scratching post, a little plastic mouse, a laser that he can chase…
- Give your cat more attention: play with him, make him run. I often play hide and seek with our little Yoda. It’s a lot of fun for the both of us, it strengthens our bond without physical contact that you want to avoid when your cat tends to be vicious.
- Understand his independent nature: don’t force him to cuddle if you see that he is not willing to stay in your arms. Shorten the cuddling time and reward him with a treat right after to associate the cuddling with a strengthened positive feeling for him.
- Give him the right food: that contains meat and no by-products. Choosing the right food is essential for his overall balance as it will satisfy one of his primary instincts.
- Detect an imminent attack: after a few rounds, you will know when your cat prepares a vicious attack on you : round wide eyes and wagging tail is a sign! It is essential to intercept him before he succeeds in his Machiavellian plan.
- Hold him “mama style”: Your cat is getting a bit too rough when you are playing. This simple trick will do. Just pick him up by his neck a moment. This will automatically calm him down as it is the exact same thing his mother did to bring him back on track when he was a little kitten. It’s completely natural and painless (and super efficient). Teach him who’s the boss (be gentle anyway!)
For more infos on how to calm down a cat, check out our detailed article.
Why is my cat so vicious ? Now you know
At least we hope we gave you a good understanding of what the causes could be. Like I said, no one will tell you better than your vet but our advice could give you some easy solution to prevent the problem from worsening. Thanks again for following us on Fluffy Kitty where your are more each day to contribute to this great cat community! More than 1000 followers on Twitter! Yeahh! Thanks a bunch to everyone and stay tuned for new articles.