Managing Feline Aggression

Kelly Moffat, DVM, DACVB VCA Mesa Animal Hospital Mesa, Arizona

How can I best help clients handle an aggressive cat?

Aggression is a broad term that, in cats, covers mild threat (eg, hissing, growling, swatting) to more severe behaviors that can lead to physical harm. To provide helpful advice, proper diagnosis determined by thorough history taking is vital (see Important History Questions). Feline aggression has several distinct categories that may not be mutually exclusive (see Categories of Feline Aggression). 

Related Article: Feline Aggression Directed Toward People

Client Safety Education 
Regardless of the patient’s motivation for aggression, client safety must be addressed and encouraged. By understanding and watching for signals of aggression, clients can better avoid situations that lead to this arousal state, avoid injury, and more effectively help treat their cat. Cat scratches and bites can lead to more serious injury and illness. A cat in a high arousal state (see Warning Signs of Aggression) can quickly escalate into significant aggression and direct severe bites and scratches at an unsuspecting family member. Clients should not attempt to soothe or handle a cat that is showing signs of aggression; clients should instead slowly move away from the cat. Pursuing a cat that is cornered or trying to escape can be risky.

Sign in to continue reading this article.

Not registered? Create an account for free to read full articles from cliniciansbrief.com.

Material from Clinician’s Brief may not be reproduced, distributed, or used in whole or in part without prior permission of Educational Concepts, LLC. For questions or inquiries please contact us.

Clinician’s Brief, the official publication of the NAVC, provides relevant diagnostic and treatment information for small animal practitioners. It has been ranked the #1 most essential publication by small animal veterinarians for 7 years.*

*2007-2013 PERQ and Essential Media Studies