Cat Aggression: domestic feline violence and beyond

The biggest cat aggression (towards hoomans) trigger is a unempathetic hooman.

cat agression signals clearly explained in this post

We all know the story of this random old cat: Every time he was approached by someone, the Cato would bite the hand.

The family decided to call the local cat behaviourist: He basically advised them to stop approaching the cat with their hands, tauntingly.

Hence, the family started to play with the cat using fishpole toys. They also started giving him treats from the hand, no dish.

With time, the old Cato simply stopped seeing the hooman hands as teasing, irritating toys. With a bit more time, the hoomans were able to cuddle and stroke the cat.

Moral of the story:

The hoomans expected the cato to think like a hooman. And consequently, to understand those weird hands were not there to fuck him up. Just hooman paws.

The cato, on his side, expected hoomans to think like a cato. Therefore, only approaching those weird hooman hands, when they already close frens.

Capture of a horrible comercial we found on youtube. A science guy puts a retro-looking mind-reading machine to work, so the cat can finally teach the hooman that the best pet clinic ever is meow meow meow
The only cat mind reading invention (made by hoomans) I could find on the internet, doesn’t look very serious to me. But no need of aluminium foil, just read dis post.

Cat aggression made plain

Cats are no statistic masters, but I can confidently say that 90% cases of severe cat aggression, start with a game that goes too far.

All catos have a deeply ingrained prey complex, found even on the more domestic, purebred cats.

The line between playing and feeling threatened, is a forged personality trait that changes on every cat. And it’s your decision to learn to figure it out.

First, it is important to discern whether you are in front of playful aggression inherent to cat nature, or in front of a violent cato:

aggression related to cat nature

hunting aggression:

Play aggression is a normal behavior in kittens about 5 weeks old.

aggression toward preys is a congenital urge: even the youngest kittens can hunt mouses.

Becoming independent hunters, we work towards being able to exist on our own in the world.

Even when we live with hoomans, this stage of playful aggression occurs during our development.

Even though we will never likely have to hunt our own dinner.

social fighting:

At about the age of 14 weeks, in addition to the play aggression stage, kittens start to learn about social fighting.

training game: social fighting may look violent to some hoomans.
All cool with the bros

Social fighting is a learning skill that will determine which males will successfully mate with females, passing on their physical characteristics.

Spot it:

A kitten that is involved in either play social fighting or play hunting aggression will do the following:

  1. Hide (or couch down)
  2. Leap out at you (in a graceful jump)
  3. Bite (or swat) at your feet (or ankles)
  4. Then, immediately run off (like if the victim was on fire, all of a sudden)

Detecting this behaviour as something that must be corrected, and at an early stage, is crucial.

Promoting it, will likely cause a cat with a misadjusted perception of what is prey and what is not.

keep it under control:

If not stopped, this behavior will continue to escalate over time…

Until it becomes a serious problem: a full grown cat attacking your feet when you walk past.

So, when you play with your cato, make sure that you don’t use yourself as the prey.

Don’t tease with your hands a kitten if you expect her to stop biting your hand when she grows up.

don't tease cats with your hand. black and white gif from tenor at

Aggression, though, can also be triggered by specific situations that may occur in the home. Not only by you, hooman.


In our wild state, we respond to sudden noises, or when we feel trapped in one of two ways. You know – fight or flight.

In most cases, we will simply run away when we feel threatened.

However, if we can’t escape, we will resort to aggression.

Typically, this type of aggression can be avoided by simply stepping away, and giving the cato time and space to become comfortable again.

AGGRESSION related to Violent nature

Finally, there are some cats that are more aggressive by nature.

These may be:

  • Cats that have been mistreated by hoomans.
  • Feral cats that have only been partially tamed or domesticated, specially after they matured.
  • Cats that have an illness or injury.
  • Cats that need to feel they are the “top cat”.

The last, is known as status-related aggression, and can cause serious injury to people, other pets, and even other cats in the house. Neutering definitely helps in this cases.

If you win a cat’s trust, you will be able to help him avoid this aggressive behaviour against hoomans, even at elderly ages.

cat agression thowards a baby. black and white gif at
This was likely staged: cat would be in attacking position when the cameraman attracted the kid.

Sometimes, though, this cases require special behavioural therapy from an expert. Especially when they are becoming a real danger for hoomans around.

When you feel scared and overwhelmed because of a violent cat, better go get a professional to check the cat’s background and history, and sort everything out for you.

Neutering males before they reach maturity is
definitely a must in lowering aggression.

SIGNALS OF AGGRESSION: know when it’s coming

Cats may seem to be truly bipolar in their behavior, under a hooman perspective:

  1. One second, we are sitting contentedly on your lap and purring.
  2. Next second, we have your thumb between our teeth and our claws firmly lodged in your leg.

This type of instantaneous change from calm to aggressive, is likely caused by the hooman going way over the line (from a cat’s perspective).

Except for the status-related aggression: in such case, the cat is letting you know he or she is the boss.

Either way, the result can be avoided by reading the appropriate signals in time.

cat aggression prevention: read the signals

Our signals of aggression include our body movements, vocalizations and general behavior.

As mentioned a while above, most catos will try to get away from trouble.

We don’t actively pick a fight with another animal or a person.

To know when cat feels trapped or cornered, thus likely getting triggered, watch for this signs:

  • The ears pulled back along the head.
  • Hissing and spitting.
  • Widely dilated pupils.
  • Arched back.
  • Tail standing straight up, and bushed out like a bottle brush.

The focus of our discomfort won’t always be under your control. When a cato is getting upset at another animal, he will enter the full attack mode. More on this a bit later.


ripndip cat winking gif at -

Gently swaying tail:

Happy, relaxed and contented cat. You’re doing alright.

Wildly twitching (or just the tip of the tail jerking back and forth):

The cat has had enough of whatever is going on.

Understand the sounds

manga cat yawning gif at

Purring cat that suddenly stops purring, or switches from purring to a more high-pitched vocalization (like a growling or yowling sound):

Cat is about the end of his tolerance range.

Content purr:

Very deep, rumbling sound that appears to be coming from our chest or the center of our body.

Growl or hiss of displeasure:

Clearly comes from the back of our throat.

cat aggression: the attack mode

Catos violence towards other cats or animals, is very similar to aggression from being startled:

The cat will try to arch his or her back, puff out their hair, and look as ferocious as possible.

Hopefully, that will get the other cat or animal to back down and go away.


Once a cato moved into the attack mode, cat aggression can get very serious.

tabby cat in full attack mode gif in black and white at
If you find such cato, leave him alone.

It is NEVER a wise idea to stick your hands in between two fighting cats, or a cat and a dog.

If you want to help: distract the animals with a loud noise (or a spray of water).

Then, move between them, carefully.

Sticking your hands between animals that are fighting each other is a potential risk.

It can result in very serious injuries, even though the animals would never hurt you under normal conditions.

you can end cat agression

Kittens learn the line between play and aggression, from playing with their mothers and littermates.

If they are too rough, they will be corrected.

They use an easy rule: If a cat uses too much violence, it will be left without anyone to play with.

Educate the kittens

Correcting aggressive behavior with kittens, even as a hooman, needs to follow those same rules:

  1. When a kitten first starts to show any aggressive type of play, simply stop playing.
  2. As a hooman, you may also want to indicate a sharp “Ouch” or “No” when the kitten bites or uses his pawsome claws.
  3. Immediately, give the kitten a toy, and allow her to understand that rough play is for the toys, not for the people.

By being constant with that response, you will teach the cat where your limits are.

You can use this system for everything: When the cat scratches your furniture, just gently take him, like ignoring his awesomeness, and drop him by his scratch post. And so on.

cat aggression: Fighting Back won’t help you

NEVER, under any circumstance, hit or spank a kitten.

Also, don’t pick a kitten up by the scruff, and give it a shake. No matter what you might read. DON’T DO IT.

this is a parabola joke by
last hooman that picked a kitten by the scuff and shaked her.

Those actions will only increase the kitten’s strugglin, giving you the position of larger, stronger abuser.

Those actions, will reinforce the kitten’s impression that aggression, is actually the proper way to handle human interactions.

Handle the matures with care

Mature cats have past the learning phase and their behaviour can’t hardly be corrected.

They’re likely aggressive either because they are frightened, or because they feel that they are the boss of the house.

I don’t recommend hitting a mature cat. Even if he’s too old to learn new behaviors, he certainly already knows how to hold grudges.

Status-aggressive cats should only be petted or attended when they are behaving correctly. It’s the proper way to make them understand where you put the line.

Now: you already know what I think about the “Top Cat” complex. Cut those balls.

you can earn cat respect

If your cat is often frightened or in attack mode with you, start making changes on your relationship.

Scared cat in vintage film gif at
Step 1: NEVER scare your cat just for fun.

Step 2: Gradually increase socialization until the cat feels comfortable with you.

Things such as regular petting, grooming, and straight attention, may help to solve the problem.


Cato’s behavior may change due to territorial circumstances (you move, you bring a new family member—hooman or not, etc.)

The faster and universal solution to that is the following:

  1. Provide a private, quiet place. The cat needs rest after all that stress.
  2. Give the cat time to adjust. Cat’s prey complex makes them more or less resistant to changes.
  3. Always make sure your cat relates new things and changes with cool stuff, like food and cuddles.

Control Yourself

At the first signs of aggression, immediately move away from the cat. Take exactly the same strategy a cat would: go away.

In extreme circumstances, a water bottle can be effective in getting the cat off your lap, or out of your space. But don’t overdo it: it’s freaking disgusting, and you already know how cats know to hold grudges.

Don’t push or hit at the cat, as it will attack at this point. Just give him space until he calms down. Once the cat is calm again, give lots of treatz.

Avoid petting until the cat comes to you. Always keep your petting time short and be in control of the contact.

As a result, you will earn the cat’s respect, and he will come for your hard to get cuddles.

bottom linez

The key to prevent cat aggression is to understand cat behaviour, and put the feline side you all have to act out.

We cats, would love to be the ones who learn to behave under your Daedalian frame of thought.

But for some reason, you hoomans are superior. Hence, it’s easier the other way around.

Hoomans must learn the cat frame of mind. It helps handle all possible situations with catos. The cat frame of mind is commonly known among cats as Etiquette.

Keep tuned for more cat advice. & don’t forget to share this info with fellow hoomans that may find it handy.

Meows Truly,

3 thoughts on “Cat Aggression: domestic feline violence and beyond”

  1. I need help! For over a year, my cat behaves aggressively with the nanny. I have done everything to bring them closer, so that socialize but she ends up with a lot of fear, because the cat just sees her, wants to jump on top of her. I do not know how to fix this situation because I don´t want to lose the nanny, who helps me with my baby and much less, get away from my beautiful cat. What can I do?

    • Hi Maite, thank you so much for your comment!

      Is the nanny obviously scared of the cat even before the cat makes a movement towards her?

      Because us cats smell fear… maybe your beautiful cat smells the nanny’s fear and that makes him think she’s no good business!

      We are also very protective of our territory, and if we are fond of the family, we also protect the children. So maybe your cat still doesn’t recognize the nanny as a safe person.

      And likely, she being so scared of the cat doesn’t help.

      So our recommendation would be, first, convince the nanny that cats are cuddly little fur balls that mean no danger. Second, choose special treats the cat likes that will only be handed to the cat by the nanny.

      That way you’ll achieve two things:
      – the cat will relate the nanny to something good
      – the nanny won’t appear scared in front of the cat, thus not triggering his defensive instincts.

      We hope this helps! Let us know how it works 🙂

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