How to Get an Aggressive Cat to Settle Down

When something upsets a cat, such as the arrival of a new person in its home, a scary sound or a move to a new home, it can react with aggression. Some cats can even become aggressive during play or petting, when they become overstimulated by the activity, lashing out at the person interacting with them. An anxious or aggressive cat growls, hisses, spits, bares its teeth and unsheathes its claws, ready for an attack. Avoid injury by getting the cat to settle down before interacting with it.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat pheromone diffuser
  • Whistle
  • Cat toy
  • Calming cat treats
  • Calming cat liquid
  • Canned cat food


    • 1

      Confine the cat to a quiet room away from people and other pets in your home. This prevents the cat from attacking you or other pets, causing physical injuries such as scratches or bites. Let the cat sit in the room undisturbed for 20 minutes before checking on it to see if it has calmed down.

    • 2

      Eliminate the source of the cat's anxiety. Some cats become anxious or aggressive when hearing loud music, children screaming or other sounds. Turn off the music and quiet other members of your family. If this is not possible, set up a room for the cat to stay, away from the noises with its food and water dishes and litter box.

    • 3

      Plug in a calming cat pheromone diffuser to release the scent of synthetic feline facial pheromones. These chemicals have a soothing and calming effect on the cat and will reduce its anxiety and aggressive behavior.

    • 4

      Distract the cat if you see it has become fixated on a cat, person or other animal outdoors. The cat will display signs of aggression including hissing, raising its fur or growling while constantly staring at the offending thing outside. Clap your hands loudly or blow a whistle to get its attention; tempt it into another room of the house with a toy or treat.

    • 5

      Give the cat a calming treat. Pet supply stores sell meat-flavored treats for cats that contain natural ingredients that promote relaxation in cats such as ginger, chamomile and L-tryptophan. Feed treats according to the manufacturer's directions. For liquid calming solutions, mix the recommended dosage into a spoonful or two of canned cat food and feed it to the cat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prevent aggressive behavior by using calming aids when introducing a new cat to your existing cat.
  • Close drapes or blinds to block out outdoor triggers to your cat's aggression, such as outside animals.
  • Play soft music during the day or in your cat's quiet room to calm it.
  • Spay or neuter the cat to reduce its aggression.
  • Do not pick a cat in an aggressive state, it may lash out at you; instead, usher it into a quiet room using a blanket as a barrier between you and the cat.
  • Squirt two cats fighting with a spray bottle of water to separate them and avoid getting injured trying to separate them.
  • Take an aggressive cat to a veterinarian for an exam. Some illnesses or injuries can cause aggressive behavior in cats.
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  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

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