Understanding Cat Aggression: Causes, Symptoms, Solutions, and the Mental Effects of CBD on Felines.
Cat aggression, according to animal behaviorists, is the second most prevalent behavioral issue reported by cat owners. What the majority of pet owners do not realize is that, given their small size, aggression can be a self-defense mechanism that can be triggered by stress, fear, a change of environment, or an underlying ailment.
Consequently, reacting to aggression with aggression may do more harm than good. In general, what you need to know about feline aggression is,
- Unlike dogs, cats are easily stressed or depressed, and that can lead to aggression.
- Cats have poor resilience, and it may take longer or more effort to help them recover from stress.
The following should not be interpreted as veterinary advice.
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The best option is to identify the trigger, keep yourself from using force or aggression as it can create a dangerous situation for both parties, and give the cat time to cool off.
CBD oil, a non-psychoactive extract of hemp, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, has anti-aggressive effects and can decrease the occurrence of attacks. The cited study recommends 15 to 30 milligrams per kg of CBD oil, to relieve aggression in mice.
Cats are significantly larger than mice, you may thus have to adjust dosage. We recommend starting with lower doses and concentration and working your way up to a comfortable dose.
Like all animals, cats develop the need to dominate or intimidate others. While there is no linear structure in the cat hierarchy, conflicts can occur over food, space, and the presence of members in the home who are not part of the cat’s social group.
Cat aggression may thus be directed toward other cats, humans, or other animals.
The easiest way to prevent conflicts is to help the cats bond with the targeted individual, which could be you or other animals in the home.
Cat behaviorists recommend:
- Give your cats time and privacy, and allow them to bond on their own. You may start of by allowing the cats to play separately and gradually encourage dual play to help tighten bonds.
- Avoid overstimulating or giving either animal too much attention, as it can create overdependence.
- Create a reward system for good behavior.
- Do not create competition, meaning food, litter boxes, and other resources should be enough to go around.
You know that your cats are bonded if they play together, groom each other, and choose to spend time with each other.
Tip: keep an eye on the submissive cat because they are at risk of developing mental health issues such as stress and anxiety, and that may lead to other problems, including psychogenic alopecia, gastrointestinal issues, and so on.
You may diffuse CBD oil in well-ventilated rooms to alter mood and help your cats relax.
Cat aggression does not just happen. It can be a product of past trauma, introduction of a new pet or animal to the home, disease, a product of fear, territorial, or it could be redirected aggression.
Aggression between cats is more prevalent in unneutered cats. Conflicts occur between cats because of territory, competition, fear, lack of socialization, overcrowding, and not introducing new cats correctly.
The cited animal study found that CBD oil can:
- Prevent host animal aggressive behavior. When a stranger was introduced to mice dosed with CBD, what happened was, quote, “All tested CBD doses induced anti-aggressive effects, indicated by a decrease in the number of attacks. CBD, at intermediary doses (15 and 30 mg/kg), also increased latency to attack the intruder and decreased the duration of aggressive encounters. No CBD dose interfered with locomotor behavior.”
- CBD can reduce social aggression induced by isolation.
The study concludes, quote “Our findings suggest that CBD may be therapeutically useful to treat aggressive behaviors that are usually associated with psychiatric disorders.”
Fearful and Defensive Cat Aggression.
When threatened, a cat will fight, freeze, or take flight. The aggression may escalate into violence if the cat does not have a route of escape. Because of that, you should not corner a cat, especially one you have just adopted or are unfamiliar with.
You know that aggression is fear or defense-related if the cat hisses, growls, swats, or the hair erects.
In that state, it is in your best interest to allow the cat to calm down on its own. You may administer CBD oil through food or diffusion to alter stress reactions, that is, heart rate, blood pressure, and stiffness. But do not get too close because claws can do a lot of damage to your person.
Cats may feel that their territory, say your home, is threatened by a human, cat, dog, or other animal. Consequently, introducing a new person to the home should be done delicately. During the early stages, you may notice not only increased aggression but also territorial behavior such as urine spraying, turf patrolling, and chin rubbing.
The perceived intruder may be subjected to ambushes, hisses, swats, growls, or other aggressions.
To lessen conflict occurrence, you may administer CBD oil to both animals. What you need to remember about territorial cat aggression is:
- Indoor cats may choose specific sections of the home or the home in its entirety as their territory and may thus become aggressive to anyone who enters.
- A kitten reaching sexual maturity can develop territorial aggression and direct it towards other animals or humans in the home.
Apart from administering CBD oil, territorial aggression can be prevented by ensuring equal distribution of space and resources.
Is There an Underlying Health Issue?
Aggression, irritability, or withdrawal, may be indicators of pain, inflammation, or other issue. If the cat is in pain, it may become aggressive when you pet it or touch it.
Causes of feline pain can be easy or hard to spot. What you need to look out for include limping, hair loss, lesions, scars, or wounds.
Other possible causes of pain are arthritis and other health issues.
If the cat is in pain, you may spot treat lesions, inflammation, or other skin issues with CBD oil. Just avoid putting too much pressure or creating situations that may cause the cat to react violently.
Recommend using a dropper.
Maternal Cat Aggression.
Female and some male cats can direct aggression to strangers or anyone who approaches their offspring. If your cat has given birth, you want to keep the home quiet and remove or minimize stressors.
Maternal aggression can be directed to animals and humans the cat does not consider part of its social group. Because of that, you may minimize contact with visitors or strangers.
Given enough time, maternal aggression should subside.
We recommend coupling CBD oil with patience and stress management.
While there is limited research on the effects of CBD oil on cat behavior, there are some benefits. We recommend multifaced approach centered on finding the triggers, addressing them, and seeking veterinary advice when needed.
Remember, just like us, cats have personalities, and they react differently to situations. We thus recommend coupling oral and topical CBD administration to manage cat aggression.
The Best CBD products for cat aggression.
- Hartmann A, Lisboa SF, Sonego AB, Coutinho D, Gomes FV, Guimarães FS. Cannabidiol attenuates aggressive behavior induced by social isolation in mice: Involvement of 5-HT1A and CB1 receptors. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 30;94:109637. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.109637. Epub 2019 May 2. PMID: 31054943.