Home Cat Behavior What Is Fear Aggression In Cats?

What Is Fear Aggression In Cats?

by Modi Ramos
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When we welcome a cat into our life, we do not always know their past. And for cats, their memories are sharp and not as forgiving as compared to a dog’s. Your feline friend is not praise driven, they instead feel most at ease and comfortable with humans who oblige their desire to be respected. For a cat that’s dealing with fear aggression, this can come as a result of a traumatic experience which has left them emotionally scared.

Cats are incredibly sensitive beings, and not as quick to forget situations which have left a lasting impression on them. As a result, fear-induced aggression can take hold. Cats are truly individuals by nature, with some being more reserved than others. But regardless of a cat’s general disposition, fear aggression has the potential to arise in any cat which has had one or more negative experiences which has caused them to be this way.

Keep reading to learn more on fear aggression in cats, the signs to watch for, and ways to help a cat dealing with it…

fear aggression in cats

Know that aggression in cats is not uncommon

In case you didn’t know, one of the main reasons that cats end up in shelters comes as a result of aggression. But it’s important to note that cats are non-confrontational by nature. If a cat turns aggressive, this is something which they are choosing to do as a defense mechanism to help them cope with an underlying problem. (Cats are not spiteful either, although some argue otherwise.)

Cornell University’s Feline Health Center explains that feline aggression is a complex topic, but that there are specific triggers and targets which can signal aggression in cats. 

For cats which are experiencing fear aggression, it is very well possible that they could have come from an abusive home. A kitty which is driven by their fear response is quick to react and will often be more of a “scaredy cat” type of feline in terms of disposition.

If you’d like to know some other telltale signs that a cat has come from an abusive home, you can learn about them here in my article on the subject. 

what is fear aggression in cats

What exactly is fear aggression in cats?

Fear-induced aggression is centered around an experience which has left a cat emotionally scared. It is mainly driven by a cat’s anxiety. A cat can respond in fear when encountering an unfamiliar person, pet, or place. A strange smell or a sudden loud noise can also trigger fear in them.

Signs of fear aggression in cats include:

Hissing/Growling

Swatting

Biting—especially while being pet

Exposing of teeth

For a cat which has had their fear induced response triggered, you can clearly observe a change in not only their attitude, but also in their body language. It might seem as if a flip has switched in the mind of your cat. Body language is the most common sign to watch for when it comes to aggression in cats. And it can help you to better protect yourself when you sense danger ahead.

what is fear-induced aggression in cats?

Tips to help your cat to cope with their fear-induced aggression

Obviously, patience is key here. Try to create an environment for your cat which does not trigger their anxious aggression to rear its head. By respecting your cat and making life as peaceful as possible for them, this will help. It’s true that certain cats are better as only cats (or only pets for that matter), and this is often the case with cats who are living with fear aggression.

Above all, never punish your cat for reacting the way that they do when their fear aggression is triggered because this will only make matters worse.

If your cat’s fear aggression is so severe that it’s causing great distress to both you and your cat, consider consulting your veterinarian for advice. This is important because underlying health issues which are causing your cat pain can also trigger aggression. So, it’s best to have them examined by a licensed pet health professional to rule out any health concerns.

Feline aggression is risky for both cats and humans. In order to solve the problem, you must first pinpoint the triggers for your cat’s aggression. Read here on Cattitude Daily to learn more on this topic.

fear aggression in cats

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