Feline Aggression

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Feline Aggression
This section is part of Feline Problem Behaviour

The nature of aggressive responses in cats is strongly related to their natural behavioural responses and to their social and communication systems in the wild. In stressful and threatening situations the primary coping strategies of domestic cats are escape or avoidance. Offensive aggression directed towards people is highly unusual; in most cases aggression directed at people is the result of inappropriate handling or misunderstanding of the cat's communication and social needs. It can also be due to a lack of opportunities to avoid conflict or escape. Cats normally form colonies in situations where there is an excess of resources, such as food, in order to engage in mutual rearing of kittens. These colonies consist of related females, their offspring and juveniles. Cats use scent marking to delineate the boundary of a territory that is controlled by a single cat or a group. Aggression within functioning groups of cats is low, as all individuals have the freedom to avoid each other or leave the group. Aggression to non-group members may be very intense, resulting in serious injuries that could impair the fitness of the conflicting individuals. As a result, cats use distance maintaining vocal, scent and visual signals to avoid direct physical contact with potential competitors. Recognition of other group members is strongly influenced by a group odour that is produced by sharing of body odour during mutual grooming and rubbing. In domestic homes, groups of cats are often composed of individuals of widely varying age, breed and a mixture of sexes that would not occur in a wild or feral group. This, combined with a lack of freedom and available resources can lead to conflict.


Section Content:

Overview of Feline Aggressive Behaviour
Risk Assessment and Prognosis
Aggression Towards People
Aggression Towards Cats


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