All cats have the potential to partake in aggressive behaviors, and tomcats are in no way an exception to this rule. Male cats can show aggression both in subtle and glaringly obvious ways -- from stealthily trailing the object of their annoyance to unleashing their sharp claws or teeth -- yikes.
One classic feline display of aggression is biting. An aggressive male cat may bite another for many reasons. Whether he's neutered or not, he may bite another tomcat in your neighborhood over a territorial dispute, or perhaps even to gain the attention of a queen cat in estrus. In a totally different scenario, if he's tired of being petted and wants to be alone, he may even bite a human being. Biting is a clear sign of aggression in male cats, period. If you or anyone you know ever experiences a cat bite, urgent medical attention is essential. In some cases, cat bites can be dangerous and infectious, so be sensible, cautious and safe.
A male cat surreptitiously trailing or running after another is also often a key sign of aggression -- or at least impending aggression. If a cat chases after another pet tirelessly, there's a high chance that it's because he's preparing to perform a surprise "ambush" physical attack on the unsuspecting opponent -- usually by swooping or pouncing from the back.
Cats often produce a lot of vocalizations when they're feeling aggressive or defensive. An aggressive male feline may hiss, howl and growl when in a belligerent mood. These vocalizations are usually a sign to back off -- immediately. Noisy meowing also sometimes signifies an aggressive mood.
Cats of both genders scratch in times of aggression. A male cat may scratch a "competitor" cat on his block if he's worried that his rival is encroaching on his turf. He may scratch his household "sibling" if the other guy goes a little too close to him while he's eating his can of whitefish and tuna. Like feline bites, feline scratches can also be potentially hazardous to humans and other pets. Cat scratches also call for immediate medical or veterinary attention.
Another feline tactic for expressing aggression involves swatting using the paws. If an aggressive cat wants to show a "subordinate" feline that he's in charge, he may quickly swat at the meeker individual.
When in aggressive moods, cats often give off a lot of telling body language hints. Some of these clues of aggression are the narrowing of the pupils, ears pushed up, rigidness of the posture, the fur standing straight up into the air, thrashing tail and fixed, intense staring.
If a hormonally charged male cat hasn't been neutered, the surgery may be helpful in minimizing -- or better yet, eliminating -- his aggressive behaviors. Without as much testosterone flowing through his body, he may become calmer and more serene in general.
Directly handling an aggressive cat can be an extremely hazardous situation. If a cat has a habit of getting violent, getting close to him can be perilous, especially for children. Never allow a child to get close to a cat with aggressive patterns. Instead of attempting to solve an aggressive cat's behavioral issues by yourself, recruiting professional assistance is the safer option. Your veterinarian may be able to point you in the right direction for finding an expert in eliminating troubling feline behaviors. Your safety is crucial, along with the safety of your family, friends and pets.
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Behavioral Problems of Cats
- Animal Humane Society: Aggression in Household Cats
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Feline Behavior Problems - Aggression
- CatChannel.com: My Male Cat Has Become Aggressive With Other Cats
- ASPCA: Aggression in Cats
- The Humane Society of the United States: Aggression Between Cats
- The Humane Society of the United States: Cat Aggression Toward People
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Neutering Your Cat
- Caring Hands Humane Society: Body Language of Cats
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