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Aggression is one of the most common behavioral problems in cats. A cat has five lethal potential weapons – four clawed paws and his teeth, compared to a dog's weapon of his mouth. Cat bites can inflict severe lacerations, which can get infected quite easily. It can also lead to cat scratch fever, an infectious disease which can cause flu-like symptoms. Let us look at some of the most common postures associated with feline aggression:Offensive postures
- An upright, straight-legged, stiff stance
- Stiff rear legs, with a sloped back and a raised rear end
- Stiff tail that is held straight or lowered
- Direct stare
- Upright ears with the back rotated forward
- Piloerection, including the fur on the tail
- Constricted pupils
- Howling, growling or yowling
Classifying the different types of aggressive behavior
- Head tucked in
- Wide open eyes with fully or partially dilated pupils
- Tail curved and tucked in around the cat's body
- Ears that are flattened backward or sideways on the head
- Anxious cats might retract their whiskers. Fearful cats pan out their whiskers and extend it forward to asses the distance between themselves and the danger
- Open mouthed spitting or hissing
- Between cats – Yo will often find unneutered male cats being aggressive towards each other. They do this to challenge each other for territory and access to potential mates. Aggression between two household cats in more complex and subtle than conflict between two outdoor tomcats. It might be related to physical size, lack of socializing with other cats or to a learned association of the opponent with something unpleasant.
- Defensive or fearful – Fear aggression is a common effect of threat perception, especially if the cat is in a position from which he cannot escape. The more threatening the animal, person or object his, the more heightened his aggression will be. The most common body postures associated with defensive or fearful aggression include defensive signals, like flattening the ear, crouching, leaning away, tucking the tail, pupil dilation or rolling to the side, and aggressive signals like spitting and hissing, growling, piloerection, biting, swatting and scratching.
The other kinds of aggressive behavior are seen because of territorial fights, rough play, redirected anger (when your cat cannot take out his anger on the opponent), excessive petting (constant petting can lead to the generation of static electricity in the cat's fur), pain, maternal and predatory instincts.If your cat is excessively aggressive, he might need a medical workup. A lot of cats exhibit aggressive behavior because of some medical complication. Apart from acutely painful conditions, cats with a thyroid abnormality, orthopedic problems, cognitive dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction, sensory deficits and neurological disorders can show increased aggression and irritability
. Geriatric cats tend to suffer from insecurity and confusion, which can lead to aggressive behavior. Certain medications can also alter the mood of your cat and affect his susceptibility to aggression.