Just as humans can be bad tempered, so can cats. And unsurprisingly, much anger in cats derives from fear, so placing a cat in any situation where his fear emotions arise will often result in an angry cat. Knowing how to minimize and remove such situations is an important part of calming an angry cat, and keeping him that way.
Understand the behavioral drives behind the angry cat. Cats are not as domesticated as dogs and easily revert to their wild state. This means that cats are one step away from being a wild animal still and many wild animals live in a constant state of alertness for danger, including a fear of people. Top of the list for inducing fear is strangers, simply because a cat doesn't know what that person is all about until they've had time to observe and trust that the person is cat friendly. Moreover, a cat that witnesses violent behavior from a human being may go on to associate that behavior with all persons who look similar and may slink away or become enraged with any person exhibiting similar features. However, beyond fear comes anger and what starts out as fear can soon turn to anger, as a cat's small frontal lobes (the brain's emotional brakes) means they're fast to anger and slow to cool down.
- One reason for anger in cats is "redirected aggression". This term applies when one cat takes out its anger on another cat or person even though the source of the anger was someone or some other cat completely different. If this happens to two cats living together, it can be quite difficult to get them to get along with each other again, depending on how serious the attack was.
- Illness and pain can cause a cat to become angry, in an attempt to keep people and other animals away. Just as with a human in pain, the thought of being touched can be too much. Common causes include high fever, tooth pain, gingivitis, abscesses, wounds, arthritis, fractures, ear problems and sprains or strains. Fur balls can sometimes trigger an angry response in a cat where the fur ball is causing colic or gastric inflammation. See your vet immediately. Moreover, if you notice that your cat seems to have undergone a personality change and has turned into an angry cat most of the time, ask a vet for advice. Your cat may have neurological or liver problems.
- Petting-induced aggression is common in some cats. However, this should not be confused with anger. It's not entirely sure why cats do this (and male cats do it more) but it's thought that maybe it's the cat's way of saying "that's enough thanks" or the cat becomes so dozy with pleasure that he suddenly startles awake and bites in self-defense.
Know what an angry cat looks like. An angry cat is probably fairly obvious to many a cat owner but it is important to know how to distinguish between a cat that is afraid and one that has become angry. A cat that is angry will puff out his fur, arch his back and spit, while a cat that is afraid will not puff up his fur or attack. Be aware that a cat can turn from being calm to afraid or angry in a matter of seconds.
Take care of your own safety before all else. If your cat is angry with you or is experiencing redirected aggression, then you are a possible target for an attack, which can result in scratches, bites, cuts and the like. If you actually need to handle the cat, wear protective clothing. However, the best approach is to not handle the cat at all until he has calmed down; he doesn't need love and hugs while he's getting over a tense experience, he needs space.
Give the cat space. Leave your cat alone for 10 to 20 minutes to have some time to calm down. However, do whatever you can to remove the threat to your cat. This may include removing another cat to a different part of the house, asking a stranger to leave or having anyone or anything that appears to be upsetting the cat move elsewhere. Provided the cat cannot see the source of the threat, this will give him a chance to start calming down.
Approach your cat slowly and with caution. After you have given your cat time and space to calm down, approach him cautiously. You need to be sure that all visible signs of anger are gone, including the raised fur, hissing and arched back. However, even with these visible signs gone, your cat may still be harboring feelings of anger and be flighty and afraid, so taking it slowly is important.
Use food. Shake the biscuit box or open a can of favorite food and place it in his bowl. This might be enough to bring him around to feeling normal again. Be sure that there is plenty of fresh water available as he may be very thirsty after such high emotions. However, don't force food or drink on your cat; he'll come if he's interested and if not, he knows it's there for him when he's ready.
Remain calm, loving and move slowly. While the cat is calming down, anything sudden or loud might reactivate his emotions. Talk to him lovingly, be reassuring with your gestures and ask other members of the household to keep noise and movement down for a few hours.
Deal with any source of aggravation for your cat. After your cat has been angry, it can be a very harrowing experience for you as an owner or companion. Seeing your dear little moggy spitting and biting can be distressing, especially if you've never experienced an angry cat before. The best thing you can do now is to find ways to ensure that this doesn't repeat. If it's obvious to you what set your cat off, deal with as best you can. This might mean shutting your cat away before answering the door to strangers or when receiving strangers. It might mean blocking off an outdoor scene that seems to frighten your cat. Or perhaps you've introduced a new cat to the household recently and your cat is jealous; in this case, careful handling and time will be needed to gradually introduce the two, as well as reassuring your first cat that he is not forgotten. If you don't know what set off your cat, spend time observing him to try and pick up subtle signs of fear or irritability.
you have to be nice to the cat if you want its trust in you.
Calm area for cat, space
Food and water
Removal of the trigger (if known)