Why do feral cats attack humans? Do house cats attack humans? Why is my cat suddenly attacking me? Many cats owners ask these questions. Cats are unpredictable sometimes, but they have their reasons, so let’s try to understand them.
Aggression in cats can happen for several reasons, but it’s usually directed at other animals, especially other cats. Being smaller than humans and easily frightened, cats usually don’t attack humans randomly. Except for the times they do. Why does a cat decide to attack a human, who is a much bigger predator? When do cats attack humans?
Protecting their young
There’s nothing more fierce than a mother cat protecting her kittens. Mother cats are very brave, and they’ll heroically attack whomever they consider a threat to their kittens. Walking close to a litter of feral kittens when the mother is around is never a good idea.
Cats don’t attack humans for no reason. They prefer to run when feeling threatened, but if they can’t run, they go for the rule of fight of flight. When you force a pill down your cat’s throat, or grab it by the back of the neck to put in a cage so you can take it to the vet, the cat feels cornered and is likely to attack. And, of course, if you try to bath your cat, which cats hate.
When angry at someone else
It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Cats can take their aggravation and frustration out on their beloved owners. One of my cats, Princessa, has bitten the back of my calf several times when my other cat Hazelnut had hissed at her. I happened to be standing right between the two, and so I got the worst of it.
Cats can attack humans in such circumstances because they feel rather than think, and they’re impulsive and childish.
When getting in between two fighting cats, you’re taking a chance of being bitten and scratched either because the aggressive cat feels an urge to take her anger out on you, or because it attacks the other cat, and, blind with rage, hurts you accidentally.
Defending their property
My Hazelnut had bitten me angrily when I took a branch she’d brought into the house, among other trash she’d brought into the house as a kitten. She was angry at having her toy taken away from her.
A wounded animal is a dangerous animal. If your cat is in pain, and you move to touch it, the cat may attack even her beloved human. The hurting cat is afraid that the touch will cause it more pain.
A territory dispute
When my Princessa brought her kittens to my house and had settled in the laundry machine room, she’d hissed every time I’d come in to do laundry, and sometimes she’d lunged at me. This is my territory, and my kittens. She also didn’t like it when I got too close to one of her kittens.
Sometimes, cats can attack their humans when they’re under the warm blanket on a cold winter night, and the human puts a hand in their makeshift tents in an effort to pet the cat. Spoken from painful experience.
What cats are more likely to attack humans?
Fearful cats are more likely to attack humans than trusting cats. Feral cats are usually more suspicious by nature, and every cat has a different personality as an individual.
If your cat trusts you, she may allow you to touch her kittens. Some cats even allow strangers near their kittens, but these are very trusting cats by nature. They simply assume no one will hurt their kittens.
Some cats are more territorial than others, and some are short-tempered, while others are gentler. I had a cat who used to attack me whenever I looked at a spot on his fur for more than three seconds straight, because he thought I might touch it or snap off tangled fur with a child’s scissors. And he hated the sound of the snap and was very sensitive to touch.
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