Did you know that aggression is the second most common cat behavior challenge with which animal behaviorists have to work? The problem is that its causes in felines are complex. Determination of its targets and triggers is complicated, making strategies to eliminate this unbecoming cat behavior difficult to find.
Moreover, its consequences can be far-reaching. They can range from injuries to other cats and people surrendering the aggressive felines to animal shelters. In fact, close to a third of all cats submitted to shelters for unbearable behavioral reasons are relinquished because of aggression.
So, what causes cat aggression, and how can CBD oil help? This post examines these issues at length. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Feline Aggression?
Cat aggression is harmful or intimidating behavior a cat directs towards a person, other cats, or other animals. Most wild animals are usually aggressive to guard their territories, protect themselves from attack, or safeguard their offspring. Feline aggression refers to various complex behaviors occurring for different reasons under varying circumstances.
Among cats, aggression ranges from hissing and avoiding their targets to attacking. An aggressive cat can take different postures, as explained further below.
In an offensive position, a cat does or manifests the following:
- A stiff, straight-legged upright position;
- Stiffens its rear legs, raises the rear end, and slopes the back toward its head;
- Stiffens its tail and lowers or holds straight down to the ground;
- Stares directly at targets;
- Lifts its ears and slightly rotates its back forward;
- Has constricted pupils;
- Directly faces opponents and might start moving toward them;
- Growls, howls, or yowls.
When in a defensive posture, a cat manifests these signs:
- Tucks in the head;
- Curves the tail around its body and tucks it in;
- Opens its eyes wide with pupils partially or fully dilated;
- Flattens its ears sideways or backward on the head;
- If anxious, it might retract its whiskers
- Turns sideways to a perceived opponent instead of straight on;
- Hisses or spits with an open mouth;
- It might claw out.
Common Causes of Cat Aggression
Feline aggression falls into different classes. If your cat has demonstrated aggression in the past, you might be better positioned to determine the cause. This section examines some of these causes.
This aggression arises when a cat perceives a threat it can’t escape. This aggression can be a learned behavior depending on past experiences. This aggression is challenging because you may not know what the cat fears.
Cats can be aggressive due to medical reasons. Numerous environmental and behavioral stresses trigger anxiety and aggressive behavior. Besides, cognitive decline, loss of normal sensory input, and neurological challenges cause aggression.
Pain is another top physical condition making cats aggressive, especially in old cats or those with a calm temperament. Trauma, infections, arthritis, and dental disease are the leading conditions causing cat pain. When a cat is in pain, it becomes aggressive when someone touches it or thinks someone might touch the aching area.
Cats can become aggressive when they feel a stranger intrudes on their territory. Mostly, felines direct this aggression at fellow cats, but they can also direct it at humans and other animals. Introducing a new pet or person in the house, recent house relocation, and new cats in the neighborhood trigger territorial aggression.
A cat might also manifest status aggression when it tries to run a house. Symptoms include growling when you try to move them, blocking doors, or biting you when you pay attention to other pets.
Petting might cause cat aggression. This behavior happens when a cat that once enjoyed petting no longer enjoys it. Animal behaviorists believe repetitive motion turns irritating over time, making cats reject it.
This aggression is the most dangerous. Here, a feline becomes hyper-aroused by external stimuli, such as a scaring noise or another outside animal. In turn, it vents this outburst on an innocent person or pet.
Strategies for Managing Feline Aggression
Fortunately, there are various ways of managing different aggression types. Below are practical tactics for taming this behavior.
- All felines need some attention, but you should limit it. If your cat suddenly turns aggressive, give it a safe, relaxing place;
- Don’t yell at aggressive cats because it only aggravates the problem. Instead, spend more time with an aggressive feline and improve the bond to solve the problem better;
- Early intervention is always the best;
- Don’t inflict physical punishment because it could compound the feline’s fear or anxiety, worsening the aggression;
- You may use medications but combine them with behavioral and/or environmental adjustments;
- Recognize aggression and startle an aggressive pet without physical contact;
- Avoid any situation that might make your cat aggressive;
- Separate felines acting aggressively toward others and reintroduce them gradually with positive reinforcement to avoid turf wars;
- Consult a veterinary behaviorist if you can’t manage the aggression using these tactics. Moreover, using this information with their close collaboration is vital.
Ways CBD Oil Helps With Cat Aggression
CBD oil has a wide spectrum of applications in animals and humans. For instance, it can reduce pain, stabilize mood, and reduce anxiety and stress. Understanding that many medicines that treat people also benefit animals is vital. That’s why researchers test drugs on animals before trying them on people.
Therefore, CBD oil can benefit cats by alleviating some conditions that make them aggressive and violent. These conditions include stress, inflammation, and pain. This claim enjoys progressive scientific evidence from studies revealing that cats have an endocannabinoid system that humans and other mammals have. This system is CBD’s primary activity center in the body.
The endocannabinoid system regulates vital mammal activities like mood, which calms and reduces aggressive behavior. Fortunately, preliminary studies focusing on CBD’s effect on animals confirm that CBD may reduce aggressive behavior in dogs and cats. You may find more valuable information about the best CBD oil for cat aggression.
Administering CBD Oil to Aggressive Cats
So, how should you administer CBD oil to aggressive cats, given it’s safe to do so? Based on recent interest in CBD for veterinary health, most vets recommend a good dose of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of a cat’s body weight. Starting with a minimum dosage and increasing it weekly is a prudent and safe idea.
Moreover, the starting dosage may also depend on your cat’s aggression cause and severity. For example, if your feline suffers from an inflammatory and painful ailment, you should begin with about 2 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight.
If the recommended dosage doesn’t work, increase it to 10 mg per 10 pounds of your feline’s body weight. Remember that CBD oil doesn’t start working immediately but takes about 30-45 minutes. Afterward, the impact usually lasts for 4-6 hours. Therefore, serve your cat CBD twice or thrice daily.
There you go with everything you need to know about cat aggression, its causes, and how CBD oil helps. We hope you will use this valuable information to diagnose the reasons for your pet’s strange behavior and will be able to help your small furry friend with a properly chosen and dosed CBD treatment. Good luck!
Lana Braslavska, a huge pet fan and a full-time cannabis blogger at AskGrowers, has composed this article to bridge the knowledge gap of many pet owners in the cannabis industry. Lana actively promotes the benefits of CBD products for various populations, both humans and animals, and talks extensively about safe use and product selection for various health circumstances.