Kitty Conflict Communication – How NOT to get Shredded!

Picture it, you’re sitting on the floor and your cat comes over to you. She flops down on the floor in front of you, rolls onto her back and starts to purr; she clearly wants you to pet her. So you do, you’re happy and she’s happy. Then suddenly, without warning, you feel a stunningly sharp pain – kitty has had enough, so she bit you and took off. WTF?

This blog is about aggressive cat behaviour so you can avoid getting shredded in the future.

When do cats bite/scratch?

There are a number of reasons a cat might bite or scratch. Dr. Ron Hines lists several reasons a cat might act aggressively:

  • Aggressive play
  • Territory-based aggression
  • Fear
  • Illness, injury, or other medical problems
  • Petting-induced aggression
  • Dominance
  • Maternal aggression
  • Instinctive hunting behaviour

If you think your cat is acting aggressively due to injury or illness seek veterinary attention. For more information on any of these topics check out Dr. Hines’ article.

Know When to Leave Kitty Alone!

The most effective way to avoid getting shredded by kitty is to learn a little about cat body language. If you know what to look for you can avoid painful bites and scratches. Cat body language consists mainly of tail movements, body position, ear position, tone of voice, and eye contact.

Earlier this year we posted a blog about general cat communication. To read that blog click here.

Some of this stuff might be hard to visualize. The below table gives a comprehensive description of cat body language and includes pictures.




When kitty starts to display behaviours in rows 3-6 it’s time to leave him alone. When you’re petting your cat and you notice that his eyes are following your hand movements it’s time to move on; kitty is thinking of biting you. If you’re playing with/petting kitty and you think he’s about to lash out at you calmly and slowly leave before kitty’s behaviour changes from anxious to aggressive.

Learning to correctly decipher cat body language will help you avoid becoming a scratching post.

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Want More?

There’s so much information out there. Here’s where we got our information:

  • Hines’ article about cat aggression:

  • Table detailing cat body language:

  • Article discussing Petting Induced Aggression:

  • Article about cat behaviour:

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