The owner also assured me that her cat would either hide under the shed or dash up the tree to watch us from a safe distance. Before my very eyes, Motor transformed into an enraged, furious, wild animal. I knew then that we were in big trouble. I instructed the dog to sit-stay and she obediently froze like a statue. Within seconds, Motor hurled himself at us — biting, clawing and yowling. He backed off, circled us and flew in for a second attack, then a third.
This happened about five times before the owner came out and rescued us. The entire time I kept moving around to keep myself between Motor and the dog who obediently remained motionless and quiet the entire time while I was screaming hysterically. We must have been a hilarious sight to see. I could envision the headlines: «Mild mannered kitty transforms into devil — attacks pitbull and animal behaviorist! It’s easy to forget that under the warm, furry, adorable exterior of cat is an animal. When cats are upset, they don’t call their lawyer. When they are in a playful mood, they don’t pull out the monopoly board.
A domestic cat is not domesticated until it has been adequately gentled and socialized. Let’s take a look at them. It is in their instinct to hunt down and kill. Even though you provide a gourmet diet for kitty, he still needs to practice his hunting skills whether you like it or not. Predatory behavior is often characterized by long periods of lying in wait and stalking followed by an explosion of activity — the attack. It’s common for a cat to creep up to a sleeping owner and playfully attack them in bed. Some cats sit quietly, staring at a wiggling toe, then with lightening speed, they pounce and attack.
Other cats lie in wait under furniture until a foot passes by, then their claw reaches out and grabs. Cat play is an extension of their predatory nature. It provides the cat with the opportunity to develop and sharpen its hunting skills, even if it never needs to go out and catch its own dinner. Although your cat may be playing, playful bites can still hurt and cause injury. Cats that have not been adequately gentled and socialized during kittenhood are generally suspicious and fearful of people. If they don’t like being approached, touched, handled or picked up, they often tell you so by biting and scratching.
Even cats that are socialized can become angry or frightened in certain situations. Some cats are fine until its bath time. Every cat has its limits. The more gentling and socialization kitty receives during kittenhood, the less likely a situation will come up that will frighten or anger the cat. Read more on your cats social behavior. Once a cat learns that its aggressive display is successful at warding off the perceived threat, the more likely the cat will act aggressive again.
In other words, the cat is rewarded for acting aggressive because the threat or annoyance goes away. In this case, we have unintentionally trained the cat to be aggressive. If I reached out to pet a cat and it aggressively struck out at me, I most certainly would obediently withdraw. I don’t want to get scratched or bitten. Now the behavior becomes even more difficult to cure and the cat more dangerous to handle. This almost sounds like a no-win situation, but never fear, remedies for this type of behavior is covered in related reading.
This type of aggression is usually very specific and the result of lack of socialization. This was the type of aggression Motor displayed when I entered his territory with a dog. Motor had been socialized with people coming and going into his space — but never in his 9 years had another animal trespassed onto his territory in his presence. Cats will fight ferociously and furiously for their territory, as did Motor. A mother cat may also fight or attack to protect her kittens. See the article on a cat’s territorial behavior. The owner is shocked by the sudden attack. It’s actually normal behavior for cats to have quick reversals of mood and behavior. There’s a fine line between enjoyable petting and irritating handling.