Aggression with Humans
All cats, including those we love as companions, are natural predators. As such, it is quite natural for our feline friends to exhibit predator-like behavior, which we often see as they hunt, stalk, and pounce on their favorite toys. Through socialization, kittens learn how to use this instinct appropriately.
Sometimes, however, kitties may exhibit such behavior as biting hands during play or stalking feet when walking through the house. This often occurs in younger cats and kittens, especially those raised as only cats without other felines to properly socialize them. This aggression may also appear if your cat is simply bored. Fortunately, there are several simple techniques effective in deterring inappropriate aggression toward humans!
Biting – Kittens
If your young kitten bites you, blow hard in his or her face. Do this quickly and several times to simulate a hiss, which is signaled by the movement of the air (not noise). This teaches kitty not to bite. Also ensure that your kitten enjoys plenty of stimulating play during the day.
Biting – Adult Cats
There are also several ways to address biting in adult cats. Do not mimic hissing as this could agitate your cat further and increase aggressive behavior. Instead, place your cat in time-out if necessary. Remember, a time-out room should not contain food, toys, or treats. Try 15-minute intervals to curb the behavior. Do not yell at or hit your cat!
Stalking and Attacking
Does your cat like to "hide" under the table or behind the door and then pounce on your foot as you walk past? If so, use a toy to redirect his or her attention. Keep a ball or toy mouse in your pocket. When you see your little hunter waiting for you and getting ready to pounce, toss the toy in front of you. Your cat can then chase and attack the toy instead of you! If this fails to work, you may use a time-out to discourage attacks.
While petting, you may notice your cat flattening her ears or flicking his tail. If the petting does not stop, your kitty may bite or swat at you. This is a sign that your feline friend is being overstimulated and no longer wants to be handled or touched. This is especially common in alpha females or cats that grew up with small children. They may have been handled too much or inappropriately. This may also be seen in cats that grew up without a feline companion to help socialize them properly.
If you suspect your cat is feeling overstimulated, it is of utmost importance to pay attention to body language! As mentioned, your cat will communicate to you by lowering his or her ears to the side, flicking or whipping the tail, or purring loudly or not at all. Once you see these signs, cease petting your cat so he or she can retreat and relax. After a month, try increasing the petting while still paying attention to body language and stopping when your cat exhibits signs of overstimulation