Feline Aggressiveness: Analyze, typify and act!

Is your cat thrown to the feet of visitors in your home? Do you start playing with him and have to leave it because it bites you? Do your cats constantly fight at certain times? Feline aggression represents the second clinical problem of feline ethology with an incidence of 35%. It supposes a problem for the welfare of the animal, because the aggressiveness is accompanied by excessive stress of the animal and can also be abandoned because of the problemas that represents for the owner.
93% of cases of aggressiveness to people are usually in members of the same family and although their degree of danger is lower than canine aggression, feline attacks have a 30-50% probability of infection, being the most frequent microorganism the Pasteurella multocida. It is therefore highly recommended you visit the doctor in case of manifest injury.

The anamnesis in feline aggression revolves around the study of the cat, the victim and the environment. When we wonder about the cat, it is essential to know if the aggressiveness is offensive or defensive, as well as when, where and  what is intensity the aggression. In the study of the aggrieved person, we must keep in mind who is and waht is he doing before / during / after the aggression. Of course, the environment must also be observed (space, food, water …).

The typification of the feline aggression is fundamental for his correct diagnosis and treatment. The authors usually establish a classification based on the etiology (cause) of the problem, so we ca find the following types of aggressiveness:

  • Organic: It should be ruled out in the first place in our clinical assessment, keeping in mind the nervous system, endocrine system and the presence of pain. Eliminating these causes will be our main objective if they are present.
  • Fear: Here we detect a real or potential agent that causes aggression. The position of the animal is usually defensive and its treatment consists of a systematic desensitization of the agent that causes the fear. The use of pheromones (F4) can also help.
  • Due to games: It can be considered a type of predatory aggression. It is mainly directed to hands and ankles in movement. It is more frequent in young cats and for its treatment it is useful to redirect the game to other objects (toys), physical exercise or the introduction of another cat. As always, physical punishment is contraindicated.
  • Territorial: The animal perceives that its territory is in danger and becomes aggressive to the threatening agent. Systematic desensitization and use of pheromones can be useful (F3).
  • Predator: The innate persecution and hunting of the animal emerge in this type of aggressiveness. It usually manifests itself in moving objects, with a lot of aggressiveness and with postural manifestation typical of hunting. Your prognosis and treatment are not very favorable.
  • Intrasexual: It is usually given between whole males. Castration solves 90% of the cases.
  • Redirected: The animal instead of directing the aggressiveness towards the primary stimulus does it towards another animal or person. The avoidance of the primary stimulus is fundamental for its treatment, and systematic desensitization and castration are not ruled out if the aggressiveness is against other cat.

With regard to the pharmacological treatment of aggressiveness, fluoxetine is usually used in case of offensive aggressiveness and buspirone in case of defensive aggressiveness.

Whatever you think,  we remind you to always visit your veterinarian.

 

 

Manel Morcillo

Veterinary

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