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Feline Aggression with Dr. Pike

Amy L. Pike, DVM, DACVB, Animal Behavior Wellness Center, Fairfax, Virginia



In this episode, host Alyssa Watson, DVM, welcomes back Amy L. Pike, DVM, DACVB, to talk about her recent Clinician’s Brief article, “Feline Aggression.” We’ve covered dogs, now it is time to take on cats. Dr. Pike sorts feline aggression cases into two categories: human-directed and feline-related. And while the triggers for each category may be different, Dr. Pike teaches us how to help all of these frustrated felines by applying the same three-step approach.

Key Takeaways

  • There are two categories of feline aggression: human-directed and feline-directed. They have similar causes but often manifest in different ways. Feline-directed aggression very commonly involves inappropriate elimination and is most often seen in general practice.
  • Painful conditions in cats that can cause these aggression issues include osteoarthritis, UTIs or FLUTD, dental disease, and even kidney disease.
  • There are three steps to treatment: management, medication, and behavior modification.
    • Management involves identifying and avoiding the trigger.
    • Medications are used to lower any kind of fear, anxiety, and stress.
    • Behavior modification is essentially teaching the cat either an alternate behavior or desensitizing them/counter-conditioning them to whatever the trigger may be.
  • Cats are just as trainable as dogs. Food is a primary motivator, but cats have smaller stomachs, which means fewer treats and shorter sessions. However, some cats are more motivated by play or access to outdoors. You just have to determine the right motivation for each cat.

About Our Guest

Amy L. Pike, DVM, DACVB, is owner of the Animal Behavior Wellness Center in Fairfax, Virginia. She earned her DVM from Colorado State University. Dr. Pike was a captain in the US Army Veterinary Corps and was responsible for US customs and border patrol horses as well as military working dogs. She has since worked exclusively in small animal practices, with intense focus on canine and feline behavior, and has been board certified since 2015.

Contact us:

Where to find us:

  • Twitter: @cliniciansbrief
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The Team:

  • Alyssa Watson, DVM - Host
  • Alexis Ussery - Producer & Digital Content Coordinator
  • Randall Stupka - Podcast Production & Sound Editing
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