Much like human behaviors, there are a number of traits and forms of body language a cat will exert that tells you the type of temperament they have. It is always best to understand your cats’ temperament in order to effectively coexist with you as well as other cats. One thing you can be certain of your cat will have a variety of behaviors depending on the specific situations; it’s your job to understand what this body language means so that you can provide the proper attention, discipline if necessary, and treatment and/or care.
Cats are loving creatures and provide a lifetime of affection and companionship to their owners. The old adage that says “You don’t own your cat your cat it owns you” may seem true in many instances when it comes to living with your pet cat and the number of behaviors and personalities your cat has. More importantly, you want to better understand your cats’ natural traits and here are some possible traits that may tell you if you have a confident aggressive cat or one that is timid and fearful.
Typical traits of confident aggressive cats’
- Eye Contact– If your cat shows confidence by making solid eye contact with you or other cats then he/she may be quite confident.
- Reaction To Loud Noise – See how your cat reacts to loud sounds if he/she is steady but cautious when they are exposed to loud sounds such as a raised voice of music rather than running and hiding your cat is confident.
- Aggressive Playing – Cats love to play especially with toys and other small creatures, if your cat plays in a rather aggressive manner with you and rarely retreats or even initiates playtime he/she is very confident and aggressive.
- Meows – Your cat can talk to you with a special vocal tone. Listen to their pitch and tone if they are strong tones with a low pitch then your cat is quite confident. Also, pay close attention to how demanding your cat may be and their desire to be heard.
Typical Traits Of A Timid Or Fearful Cat
- Eye Contact– Most timid cats will show less eye contact or avoid eye contact with you or other cats.
- Reaction To Noise – Any type of loud or unfamiliar sounds will make your cat run and hide if he/she is timid and fearful, and rarely do they initiate aggressive play and most often don’t play as much especially if other cats or people are present.
- Reactions To Other Cat – How your cat interacts with other cats in the household? if they appear to be subservient and avoid contact or do not engage in playful activities then your cat is more than likely quite fearful.
The best way to identify specific traits which tells you what type of temperament your cat has basically come from normal everyday observation and interaction. Regardless of what type of traits your cat has you can easily tell within the first few days after bringing him/her home.
How To Stop Aggressive Cats
First and foremost aggression in felines is completely natural and their level of aggression is imprinted when still in the litter. Some cats can be overly aggressive while others can be timid and un-engaging when you introduce cats with polar traits you will find that the aggressive cat will dominate the other cats as they did within the litter.
First, you have to find out what is making your cat or other cats more aggressive in order to correct the behavior; below are some possible reasons why a cat may be aggressive.
Socialization Issue – Often cats that have been raised in a single pet environment will have anxieties when introduced into an environment with other cats. If this is the reason your cat is very aggressive around other cats then usually the anxiety will subside after a while and the aggression of one cat will eventually stop, however, the more aggressive cat will obviously be the more dominant feline in the home.
Territorial – When you introduce cats from different environments into one living situation you will find that cats are very territorial and when their space is infringed upon by another cat they become treated, thus causing one cat to be more aggressive than the other. Territorial aggression is also very common in male cats that have not been spayed, which can cause over-aggression.
Too Much Aggressive Play – Sometimes as owners we don’t understand that cats play very aggressively, part of their aggressive playing consists of chasing, biting, and clawing. If you feed into this type of playful folly, this can create playful aggression that appears to be over aggression and dominates in your cat. Where this may seem that your cat is very aggressive it could be that he/she is simply trying to play.
While there are a number of reasons why your cat may be aggressive and typically over time some of the more common reasons such as territorial or aggressive playing will subside and both cats will be able to coexist. But in more extreme cases your cat may need medications to calm them down or to help adjust certain behaviors. You may want to consult with a veterinarian of more information on specific medications that will help with aggression.
In some cases the following conditions may be alleviated:
- Reduces stress and anxiety of fear.
- If your cat has a spraying problem that most often attributes to aggression.
- Acclimating both kittens and adult cats to new and potentially threatening environments.
- Works to help reduce or alleviate unnecessary vocalization.
While there are a number of possible treatments that you could use to help your cat adjust to new environments and/or new cats; you should always consult with a veterinarian on other possible methods of available to you and your cat. Also, you want to try and help calm the situation as much as possible especially when there’s a certain level of anxiety between your cats and use prescribe medication as your last resort.
Should You Use Sedatives?
Many people often resort to all types of soothing tactics to help calm their fearful or aggressive cat and in some cases, they even resort to administering sedatives to induce calm feelings and behaviors. Giving your cat a sedative may be your only resort if all other methods are ineffective.
But before you start putting your cat on kitty valiums and other sedatives you should always consult your veterinarian first. Here are some natural resources you can use to help calm your fearful or aggressive cat.
CatNip – Catnip is a natural herb given to cats typically in toys and sometimes in their food. The effects of catnip are a stimulant that works with your cats’ nervous system and helps them to feel calm yet very playful. Since this is a natural form you may want to try and introduce catnip in their kitty carrier if going out or if introducing your cat to a new environment, people, or other cats.
Physical And Verbal Contact – Cats are much like a young child and sometimes the sound of your voice or a gentle touch may do the trick. Try using a calm soft voice while softly stroking and petting your cat. This will help to reassure your presence which can be very effective if it’s your cat’s first time going to the vet or being around other cats and people.
Feliway Spray – Sometimes you can use over the counter methods to help calm your cat and reduce the level of aggression or fear. While Feliway spray is traditionally for non-litter pan compliant cats, it has also shown effects on calming your cat and reducing aggressions.
Prescribe Sedative- If you feel that your cat has a compulsion or a tendency to be overly aggressive or extremely fearful and other methods of calming your cat’s nerves have been ineffective then you may want to consider consulting your veterinarian about some possible prescription aids.
One way that is quite useful, as well as a proactive method to help your cat during travel and/or around other cats is to introduce these activities early on when your cat is a kitten. Kittens adapt to new things much better than older felines so try on occasion taking your cat out for a casual drive or maintain a level of contact with other cats while they’re still young.
Remember your cat will communicate with you about what makes them anxious or aggressive you simply have to listen and you’ll be able to determine if sedatives are necessary for calming your aggressive or fearful feline.
This is a guest post by Ferretbiting.com