How To Calm An Aggressive Cat

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how to calm an aggressive cat

It can be a little scary the first time you notice your cat get aggressive. Especially if he’s usually your favorite little sweetheart.

Luckily, aggression is a common cat behavior problem, and it’s totally fixable!

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Bernadine Cruz, a veterinarian with Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in California, who shared some of the best ways to calm down your aggressive cat.

Signs of aggression in cats

Aggression can manifest itself with hissing,” Dr. Cruz told The Dodo. (However, aggression isn’t the only reason your cat might be hissing.)

If your cat’s feeling aggressive, he might be showing other signs, like:

  • Growling
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slapping tail
  • Tense body positions
  • Swatting
  • Ears down or pinned back on his head

How to calm an aggressive cat

Cats can get aggressive for a bunch of reasons, like being afraid or territorial.

Or, even though your BFF loves you, he might not play so nicely with guests or other animals.

In order to calm down your cat, the first thing you need to do is figure out what’s got him feeling aggressive.

“It is best to try and determine what may set off your cat and avoid the situation,” Dr. Cruz said.

Some triggers include things like:

  • Loud or high-pitched noises
  • Feeling threatened by a person, another animal or an object
  • Feeling afraid of a person, another animal or an object
  • Living with another cat
  • Smells of other cats
  • Certain medical conditions (like arthritis, epilepsy and hypothyroidism)
  • Being pet

If you can’t avoid your cat’s trigger, and he starts showing signs of aggression, sometimes the best thing you can do is absolutely nothing.

“Calming a cat typically means leaving it alone until it has a chance to relax,” Dr. Cruz explained.

You can also try things like:

  • Speaking in hushed tones
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Avoiding physical contact

Plus, pheromone calming products might help your cat chill out and be less aggressive in general.

“The use of calming pheromones, such as Feliway, can be helpful,” Dr. Cruz said.

Try Feliway from Chewy for $29.99

Or this multi-cat version from Chewy for $24.99

And don’t be afraid to call in professional help.

“If the cat is fearful and manifests that fear as aggression, a veterinarian can prescribe medication that can assist in calming it,” Dr. Cruz said. “It may be necessary to work with a board-certified veterinary behaviorist for the more advanced cases. [It] would be even better to work with a professional at the first signs of fear [or] aggression before it becomes a learned behavior.”

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