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10 Different Types of Aggression in Cats

Uvaisur has gotten few kittens at home. He saw his sister getting war medal from kittens, so he hopes you don't do the same mistake.


10 Different Types of Cat aggression Every Owner should know

By Uvaisur Rahman H

Published on 04 March 2022

Did you get attacked by your cat?, have you seen your cat attacking their other companions at home?, or you want to get friendly with your spouse's cat?, then you are at right spot. Have you ever heard there are many types of aggressive behaviors in cats?, no?, don't worry, you are not alone. Recently, my sisters out of nowhere bought two kittens with them one after another, and got scratch mark as war medal, and I can't believe how worse it will be with grown up cats. I guess there are so many people like them who don't know about it, so I hope you guys read this article before you are turned into a zebra by your cats.

Aggression is a type of hostile or violent behaviors which cats show towards their companion, owner, and people around them with the intention to dominate or intimidate them, and it is also a common behavior problem in cats. Let's dig deep into the 10 different types of aggression in cats on the following list.

1. Playful Aggression

Cats who are very young without companion or littermates often exhibit this behavior, which includes leaping, pouncing, swatting, fighting, and biting. The main reason behind it is cats have a lot of excess energy accumulated within them especially, if you don't let them out regularly, few toys or no companion for them like littermates. When things gets beyond them, that is where the issues starts, you will typically see them destroy a part of household items, damaging the walls even attacking people around. Cats which are about to engage in playful aggression typically thrash their tails, have their ears pinned to top, and dilated pupil.

If immediate action is not taken to prevent this kind of behavior, even after they are grown up they will exhibit this, which will be become even more complicated to take care of without help of veterinarian.

The best way to deal with this type of aggression is to have a companion for them. You can also buy toys which your cats prefer. Some cats prefer big one like stuffed toys, some prefer small one which moves like toy balls, fishing pole toys, string-toys. You should always play mildly, don't do rough play using your hand. Use different toys to prevent boredom. If cats leaped at your hands instead of toys, discontinue the play session, which will make the cat understand that playtime is over once it attacks people and discourage its behaviors.

2. Fear-Induced/Defensive aggression

Cats which are exposed to new stimuli such as noise, people, animals, and others which are previously associated with unpleasant experience like veterinarian often shows fear aggression. It includes them having ear flattened against head, tails tucked in between legs, hissing, growling, and fur standing on end of body. Normally, cats show these kinds of symptoms, but when they are cornered. Like, the stimuli happens inside their territory, where there is no place for them to retreat, it becomes very defensive and offensive by forming a U-shaped posture with its fur standing erect.

Such behavior can be reduced by using following methods such as removing the external stimuli; if possible, make the cats briefly exposed to the stimuli, and Don't comfort the cat and encourage these behaviors. Finally, reduce your attention whenever it expresses this kind of behavior.

3. Predatory Aggression

Most people commonly associate playful aggression with predatory aggression because they have a similar cause. But there are some difference between, i.e., when the cats demonstrate predatory behavior they stalk, show their side to prepare to leap, and pounce from hidden places which people and animal can't see normally. The prey which is under hunt by cat often ends with mess; it is not going to end well for them, after all cats are“ apex predators”.

This can be prevented by adopting the same method for playful aggression. Many experts prescribe to put a bell around cats to warn its prey from being hunted by your cat, especially when cats kill mice, birds, and chipmunks in predatory aggression. They might bring their half-eaten body to the house. You can also use moving toys to make them play, and exhaust their energy, since it is the major cause for this behavior.

4. Redirected Aggression

When a cat is exposed to external stimulus but can't express it directly like watching a stray cat moving around house wall, aggressive fight between indoor cats. The cats then pick their handiest target to expression their aggression, which is most likely their owners, dogs, and others at home.

This type of aggression needs careful measure to be prevented such as closing the window, separating the indoor cats completely and reintroducing them slowly. You may also try play therapy which can be used as an outlet for frustration.

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5. Petting-Induced Aggression

Some cats are very sensitive to petting. While some are intolerant to any kind of handling including grooming, lifting. They become very aggressive and attack their owners. The reason for it is mostly over stimulation, i.e., they have a certain limit on how much they want to be petted. If you cross the border, then you are doomed. You can look out for the signs of retaliation such as flicking tails, ears pointing backwards, and pupil dilating. When you see any of this sign, it is better to leave it alone.

This type of aggression can be easily countered by knowing your cat's limits. Children underage should not be allowed to play with cats since they are possessive than adults and may get hurt while petting them for long time.

6. Pain induced aggression

One of the aggression every cat's owner has to watch out, as it is related to cat's physical and mental health. The cause of pain induced aggression might be injury or underlying disease. One of the common disease is cat arthritis, which causes inflammation in joints. When you happen to pet one of the parts affected by disease, and it causes pain, cats retaliate and show aggression by hissing and biting. (Note; cats are very sensitive to even petting at normal condition).

The most efficient way to deal with this situation is to visit a veterinarian, and treat the underlying disease. Create a recovery plan to further help your cat. When the treatment is over your cat might still be aggressive which is normal since they might think the pain is still there. You can gradually make the cats used to it by reducing their petting cooldown period.

7. Status-Induced Aggression

Cats may occasionally want to exert social dominance by expressing aggressive behavior toward their littermates or humans. They do this by blocking a door and swat whoever attempting to pass it.

When cats show this kind of aggression it is better to ignore them and reward them whenever they returned to their calm posture(like normal pupil, tail standing without any flicks and ears being upright).

8. Maternal Aggression.

Maternal aggression can occur when a cat which has given birth to kittens(queen) tries to protect the kittens from threats, which may include any animals approaching and even towards its guardian.

This type of aggression does not need counter measure. It is better to leave the kittens alone with their mother by preventing any disturbance. Once the kitten are capable of self fed. You can approach them.

9. Territorial Aggression

Cat tends to establish and defend their territories. They exhibit aggression towards any cats that approach their territory. Sometimes cats which were previous residents and returned from veterinarian also gets targeted by them since the smell that comes from those cats are foreign.

You can prevent this by slowly introducing new cats or old ones which returned, by placing them in a cage in the same room, so they can get used to smell. When things calm down a bit, you can let them be together for few minutes a day. Repeat this step till they get used to each other and return to their past routine.

10. Learned Aggression

This kind of aggression is mostly caused by owners who did not handle their cats properly, Such as rewarding cats while they are showing aggression,comforting them, and even engage in rough play. When cats learn, they are being rewarded, they will repeat that particular scenario. This is one of the main reason some cats are very aggressive towards new people. Since they are quick learners and intelligent.

Such behaviors can only be stopped by the cat's guardian, as they are the one who is responsible for its behavior. They should stop supporting aggression and reward their cats after they become calm.


When it comes to aggression, you can see that most of them can be prevented by having proper awareness and knowledge. But when it is showing high aggression, it is always better to find veterinarian and consult cat behaviorist. Since cats are hard to predict unlike dogs and misunderstanding the cause of aggression might worsen the situation much further.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Uvaisur Rahman H

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