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I have an indoor male cat and he has always been a nice cat, never intentionally causing proper harm and always gentle when playing. A few scratches here and there but that's all. More recently though there's been a few times where he's been quite aggressive. I will list a few examples of how this has happened and how he reacts.

About a month ago he kept trying to jump onto the counters when food was being made and being lifted off them constantly as he wasn't allowed up. He was going to jump again and my sister stopped him, he then must've scratched her so she dropped him, then he ran to my mum's foot and clawed it up badly. All his fur was standing up and his tail was huge and he was meowing loudly and weirdly, my mum didn't scream at him to try not to make it worse, offered him treats and closed him in the bathroom until he calmed down.

Another time was recently when I came home from a friend's house (who has a cat), just outside my door was another cat, I petted it before going in, and then petted my cat who was sniffing my hand, then his fur stood up and he did his meowing again. Everyone ran away in fear because that's his "attack mode" but I stayed and just spoke nicely and got him some ham until he calmed down then he was fine.

And a few days ago he attacked badly again, he managed to get outside as the door was open and as soon as he was out he puffed up, but he was fine when my dad called him over and petted him, but apparently my brother grabbed him with a towel and put him back in the house and then he started meowing loudly again, and attacked my dad's arm.

It's happened other times where he puffed up and meowed but not attacked. I just don't know understand whats causing this and how to solve it. My parents are talking about getting rid of him because of it but I'm trying to prevent that because he's a great cat every other time.

He isn't neutered but I am planning on just getting all necessary things done for him asap even though it will be costly. Would neutering (if that's the word) help calm him down a bit? And is there anything else that could be causing this random aggression?

1 Answer 1

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The "aggression" could actually be panic.

At least two of the incidents you described may have been caused by mishandling that led to the cat panicking. In particular, your sister dropping him. It sounds like it was an accident, but it could still be potentially scary to be suddenly dropped, which may have caused the cat to panic. I had a similar thing happen once where my cat got under my mom's feet, causing her to nearly fall on the cat. The cat got so panicked that she ended up scratching me pretty bad when I tried to pet her and had no idea what just happened. The other incident is your brother wrapping him in a towel and "throwing him" back in the house. If you meant that literally, that could very well have panicked the cat also.

The cat may also be getting spooked by something unrelated

It is also possible that something unrelated is causing the cat to panic. Though cats are predators, they are also small enough that they are prey for larger predators. They can sometimes get spooked from seemingly benign things like prey animals tend to do. The obvious thing that can spook them is them seeing/hearing/smelling cats or other animals outside. But sometimes it's weird things that make them panic, like intense visual stimuli (flashing lights for example) or noises (thunder or fireworks). Try to observe your cat to see if there might be something like that causing it to panic, and if so, do what you can to remove the problem.

Respect your cat's signals

You've said that you've noticed the incidents happen when the cat's fur stands up and it meows a certain way. There may be other tells as well, such as the cat tensing up, the tail thrashing, and the eyes dilating or open wide. Look for these signs, and when you see them, leave the cat alone. It might be your instinct to try to comfort the cat, but cats in that type of mood want to be left alone. Trying to force interaction anyways will likely result in being bitten or scratched.

Talk to your vet

You are correct that it is possible that the cat is more aggressive because he is unneutered. It is my impression that usually their aggression is directed towards other cats, however, I have met an unneutered male that was also aggressive towards humans. Neutering the cat now does not guarantee that the cat will be less aggressive, but the majority of cats seem to become less aggressive from neutering. It is also possible if the cat is truly behaving erratically that the cat has something medically wrong that is causing it to behave this way. Either way, I would recommend talking to your vet about the behavior change.

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  • Thanks for the answer, I've corrected a few words like "dropping" and "throwing" him because I didn't mean that too literally, I should've worded it better- I just meant putting the cat down quickly. I will definitely keep an eye out on his behaviors and find out what causes him to act that way. I'll also make sure everyone avoids him in that situation, I'm trying to keep him a little separated as my dad is scared of him now. Also planning a vet visit next week :)
    – Bee
    Jan 30, 2023 at 1:37

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