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play aggression in cats

Cats that are about to engage in play aggression will often thrash their tails back and forth, have their ears pinned to the tip of their head, and have dilated pupils. They may be described as "vicious," but their motivation is play-predatory behavior toward a moving object, most often the hands, feet, legs, or ankles of a family member. One of the most common types of aggression is play aggression. Some cats take a slow and steady approach in their stalking, while others immediately and aggressively give chase. In other words, divert the cat’s interest to something that appears to be alive (to the cat, anyway) but won’t be hurt by that fast flurry of teeth and nails. There are different levels of feline aggression, depending on the situation and the disposition of the cat. Generally classified as intermale, territorial, fear/defensive, play, predation, and redirected aggression (though other forms may exist), aggression may be avoidable. Other factors that can contribute to play aggression are long hours spent alone without opportunities to play, and if pet parents encourage their cats to chase and attack people’s hands and feet in play. These provide both physical and mental stimulation, thus keeping your cat busy, entertained and calm – the result being less bites and scratches for you. Cats that never learn to temper these responses because they were abandoned or taken from their litters too soon may play aggressively with humans, and people can be injured. Painful punishment is not only ineffective for changing cat behavior, it can also trigger pain-induced aggression and worsen other types of aggression, like fear and territorial aggression. Although cat aggression is sometimes taken less seriously than dog aggression—perhaps because cats are smaller and don’t pursue people to bite them—aggressive cats can be formidable. Separate their resources. She can monitor your cat’s progress and make alterations to the plan as required. This behavior can involve stalking, jumping at, biting or grabbing with the front or even back claws. Separate their resources. Maternal Aggression Its common for kittens and young cats to engage in rough, active play because all feline play consists of mock aggression. Typical body postures associated with fearful or defensive aggression are a combination of defensive signals (such as crouching, flattening the ears, tucking the tail, leaning away or rolling onto the side, and pupil dilation) and aggressive signals (such as hissing and spitting, piloerection, growling, swatting, biting and scratching). Redirected aggression occurs when a cat is aggressively aroused and agitated by an animal or person he can’t get at (because there’s a window between them, for example). Cats will come to associate your hand as just another toy, and they won’t... Distract your cat with an appropriate toy. Living It Up It is up to a cat’s human family to engage the cat in interactive play … They change roles frequently. Attack cats can cause harm to people, and this behavior must be controlled. Every time a cat becomes aggressive, it learns that this reaction may help it cope with the situation, thus reinforcing the problem. Cats can bit… This may happen if the cat did not have positive interactions with a variety of people during the key socialization period from 3-16 weeks of age. And when it’s not, it’s often treatable. The answer lies in redirecting the predatory-play behavior. Aggression toward other cats in the household may be due to play, predatory behavior, redirected behavior, fear, and perhaps as a status-related behavior in which cats use aggression to retain control of sleeping areas, common areas, or food. Rough-housing with bare hands is almost irresistible when kittens are small. If theyre playing, its reciprocal. This type of aggression is more common in males than females. These cats are dangerous, and pet parents of such cats should carefully assess their quality of life, as well as the safety of those around them. Ask-a-Vet is not manned by the staff or owners of CatHealth.com, and the advice given should not delay or replace a visit to your veterinarian. This could be directed at people or other animals in the house, and, while the cat is not trying to hurt or threaten, he may in fact cause unintentional harm. However, if cats start to show aggression towards humans then this would constitute ‘problem behaviour’. Aggression can be a dangerous behavior problem. As males reach adulthood, they often begin to challenge each other for access to mates and territory. How Play Aggression is Different From Other Aggression . Knowing the basic postures and what they mean can help cat parents deal with problems more effectively and enjoy their cat’s company more fully because they can understand a common language.

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