But impulsive or reflexive responses aren't the only explanations for feline aggression; given the reported history of violence on the part of the outraged Himalayan in Oregon, it might not have been what caused him to become so violent on Sunday night. "Where a cat came from and how well socialized it was as a kitten are factors that often influence a cat's behavior," said Stephen Zawistowski, science advisor at the ASPCA. "[But] cats may show aggression for a variety of reasons. Sometimes cats will show redirected aggression."
Zawistowski says this is especially true if there are other cats outside in the neighborhood; indoor cats are prone to anxiety, and when they're aroused they could attack anything -- or anyone -- in the vicinity. "This might also happen if other activities have aroused the cat, such as rough play or some type of commotion in the house," he explained. "For some cats, this might be a baby screaming and crying, and the parents' reaction to the baby."
But inevitably, Zawistowski says, reacting poorly to the cat's backlash -- even if it doesn't seem warranted -- will likely make the situation worse. "Kicking the cat or yelling and screaming could escalate the situation, as it may feed into the cat's level of arousal," he said. "If a cat becomes aggressive or hostile, one option is to throw a blanket or towel over the cat. You can bundle up the cat and hold it until it calms, while staying safe from claws and teeth."