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Types of Cat Aggression

Most animals are instinctively aggressive at times. Aggression in animals is often motivated by fear that provokes the animal to use aggressive behavior to protect itself. Cats display this and other types of aggressive behavior. The aggressive behavior of cats can be categorized by the situations that instigate the aggression. Due to the significant risk of infection associated with cat bites, a cat that is showing signs of aggression should not be approached or handled.

Aggression experienced during play is common especially in kittens. Play aggression includes scratches and inhibited biting. Bites while playing rarely break the skin. During play, a cat can begin to demonstrate instinctual, predatory behavior. Play aggression is common in cats that are the only cats in the household. One way to stop play aggression is to provide cat toys that are acceptable targets for play aggression and stalking behavior.

Aggression experienced during play is common especially in kittens


When a cat is fearful, cat aggressive behavior is a defense against perceived harm. A fearful cat will often crouch on the floor. When the cat no longer expects danger, it will usually calm itself. However, it a cat is approached or touched while it is in a crouching posture due to fear, it is likely to bite. Cats are territorial. Occasionally, a cat may viciously defend its territory. This type of aggression is usually directed towards other cats.

 Some cats will become aggressive after being petted for some time.

While being petted, the cat may get agitated and bite the unsuspecting person doing the petting. However, there are usually some signs that the cat is becoming agitated. The cat may flick its ears or the end of its tail. The cat might start to turn its head to face the hand doing the petting. A bite sustained while petting a cat that has become aggressive can break the skin.


Like humans, a cat may attack an innocent bystander due to aggression triggered by a different person or another cat. People may do this in less dramatic ways, but many people have arguments or are irritable with someone after they have been frustrated or hurt by someone else. A cat bite from displaced aggression can break the skin and be potentially dangerous.

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