Why is Kitty So Mad? It Could Be Redirected Aggression


We recently received a call for help from a really confused cat parent. It seems her cat had suddenly decided to attack everyone at random — the cat parent, the opposite cats, the dog … Having at all times been a sweet and loving kitty, this recent behavior perplexed the family. After ruling out medical issues with their veterinarian, the kitty’s mom decided to book a behavior session with us at Cat Behavior Alliance.

As we asked her questions on the cat’s behavior during our Zoom meeting, the rationale for the “bad” conduct became crystal clear: This was a classic case of redirected aggression. What was actually the true source of kitty’s aggression? Recent neighbors had moved in, and the sight of their cats outdoors within the yard drove the cat bonkers. Cats are at all times on guard for predators, and there was a possible predator right round the corner — one the cat could see but not reach. Unable to attack the true source of frustration and anguish, kitty had turned the aggression toward any being that was close enough to the touch.

What’s redirected aggression in cats?

Redirected aggression, also called displaced aggression, is some of the common behavior issues in cats. Simply put, something happened that caused the cat to react in fear, and their natural survival instincts took over. It’s the old “fight or flight” reflex kicking in, the one which keeps cats protected from becoming one other predator’s meal in nature.

Unable to succeed in the actual object of aggression, the cat may resolve that fighting with one other indoor cat, a dog pal and even humans, is crucial to survive. Take, for instance, how we humans sometimes misdirect our anger. The person who had a nasty day on the office might come home from work and yell at the youngsters. It’s not the youngsters he is de facto upset with, it’s his boss, but he’s unable to properly direct his temper. It isn’t a conscience decision. The anxiety bubbles up and must come out! Displaced aggression in cats works the exact same way.

So, what’s my cat mad about?

What might cause misdirected aggressive behavior in your normally friendly feline? Anything that your cat may perceive as a threat to his territory or his resources may set off the aggression, and his inability to attack the true source may cause misdirection of his survival response to the threat.

Just a few catalysts to displaced aggression are:

  • Loud noises or yelling in the home
  • Outdoor cats roaming around your cat’s territory
  • Other animals outside, reminiscent of squirrels, dogs, rabbits or birds
  • Disagreements between indoor cats
  • Mating season (even in case your cat is spayed or neutered)
  • Anything the cat feels is a threat to his world

Must calm down your cat?

Try one among these natural remedies.

Feliway Classic Starter Kit; $24.99. 

Cat Calm; $23.95

Bach’s Rescue Treatment; $12.99. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here