By Nan Talleno
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Because of a cat’s diminutive stature, they are much more vulnerable to various types of hazards and danger. This can naturally account for a certain degree of defensiveness on their part whenever any type of threat is perceived. And like dogs, and many other animals, when cats perceive fear, a form of aggressive behavior can ultimately follow.
Even though fear can play a major role for aggressive behavior in cats and many animals alike, it’s not the only reason. Aggressive behavior can also be the result of several things including a change of environment or situation due to instability, stress, territorial protection and illness or a change in the medical condition of the animal.
If you notice aggressive behavior in your cat, observe your cat closely to look for any signs of change. Always see that your cat’s basic needs are being met. Watch for signs of stress if there is a change in your lifestyle, for example through moving, death, divorce, addition of another cat or dog, etc. If you have more than one cat, observe how they interact together; watch for signs of any territorial or social status (hierarchy) conflicts.
Although they are not pack animals like dogs, and don’t require a structured order, they still do need to defend their individual territory.
Make sure to see your vet to rule out any health problems such as urinary tract infections, tumors, hyperthyroidism, etc. that may be responsible for a change in your cat’s behavior. Remember to never ever use physical force to change any behavior. Along with being extremely inhumane, it actually serves to increase and escalate the negative behavior and ultimately cause more fear.