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My cat is almost always nice and calm, but sometimes his pupils delate, he stares at me intently, then raises on his back legs to reach my arms while I'm sitting in a chair and strikes me with his paw. The strike isn't particularly hard, but his claws are out. He's not being playful — if I try to take him in my hands, he squirms, scratches, bites. These periods of aggresion are very short and don't happen too often, but are annoying and worrying.

I've tried to turn this fight into play by throwing balls, and it almost works, but I'm afraid this will teach him that hitting me will result in playing, and I'd obviously like to avoid this.

My cat is neutered, I play with him often, so I don't understand why this happens. How to stop my cat from being aggressive?

5

It does sound like your cat is upset about something, and trying to communicate it to you.

Try to take note of what's happening immediately preceding these bouts.

Is his food dish full? Is his litter clean? Has he been meowing at you, or trying to get your attention? Were you interacting with someone or something else prior?

I've seen cats attack their owners (the attacks ranging from swatting with claws out, as you described, to full ambushes from behind, with claws latched onto the persons temples, and teeth buried in the top of their head!) over everything from getting affectionate with the person's significant other (making the cat jealous) to leaving the litter box too full.

Until you can find the trigger, one possibility is trying to scruff the cat when he attacks. This helps establish you as the dominant member of the family, while clearly communicating that the behavior is undesired.

3

Something is bothering your cat and he does not like it. When this happens you should leave him alone and wait for him to relax. DO NOT try to calm him down with playing or food because, just like you said, he will think bad behavior will result in a reward.

Some possibilities that can make him angry is another cat outside, a bug, or he just wants to be left alone.

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