Kat miller: Hi! I am Dr. Kat miller of the ASPCA. Today we're talking about understanding cat behavior. And now we're going to talk about cats who aggress toward people and how to deal with that issue.
Cats who aggress toward people could be displaying this type of behavior because its play that's directed inappropriately or because it's truly aggressive. How do you tell the difference? Play usually looks like pouncing, bounding around, ambushing, hopping, there is a lot of unnecessary movements and playful hopping type behavior.
The cat often dashes away after it attacks. This type of behavior is more common in young cats and kittens, although it could be displayed at any time during the cat's life if the cat's playful or in a good mood. The best way to deal with this problem is first of all never play with your cat using your hands or feet as toys. This is very confusing to the cat because sometimes it's okay to bite and scratch them and other times it's not.
Better to use toys at all times when you play with your cats. So that it knows where it direct it's playful behavior. If your cat ambushes you as you walk through the house, carry little toys with you when you pass the areas that you usually get ambushed and throw them ahead of you to direct your cat toward those toys instead it toward you.
You can be sure to minimize the damage that occurs to your skin from an overly playful kitten by keeping your cats claws nice and trim. You can also use soft claws which are little rubbery nail caps that are glued on top of your cat's nails.
That way your cat can't do any damage if it does playfully go after your hands or your feet. If your cat is truly aggressive, you'll see a different type of behavior. It'll be more directed and serious, the cat's muscles will be very tense, their eye sight is often very focused on you, ears might be pulled back, whiskers pulled back, the cat might even show you its teeth.
Aggression is often accompanied by vocalization such as hissing or growling, but not always. If you see a cat displaying that type of behavior it's best to get help from a professional, because it is difficult sometimes to tell what the cause and the best solution to that behavior is. We recommend that you visit the ASPCA website for our virtual pet behaviorist or contact your local Certified Applied Annual Behaviorist or Veterinary Behaviorist for professional help.
Next we'll be talking about cats who destroy furniture by scratching and how to resolve that issue.