In the 2/2011 issue of Veterinary Practice News, Dr. Dodman, the founder of the Tufts’ Animal Behavior Clinic, speaks on cat aggression.
Dr. D states that even in dogs, “conflict aggression” is now considered more accurate than “dominance aggression” as wolves and wild dogs do not seem to organize this way. Since cats do not run in packs, “dominance aggression” would not apply to them, either.
Dr. D does say there seems to be status levels. There can be bossy cats – a “despotic hierarchy”, or merely certain cats take certain privileges over the other cats, or even the people. When I speak about healthy behavior in cats, I emphasize that there are a wide variety of “normal” or “healthy” behaviors.
A healthy cat can be timid, assertive, affectionate, pushy, retiring or rather standoffish. Clearly ill are very aggressive cats (people lock themselves in the bathroom to escape this cat, or other animals in the house give very wide berth to them), terror filled animals (horses that only an expert can ride because they shy at everything, or a cat who hides for days after a repair person is in the house) or so clingy that the person cannot get any work done and has to carry and pet the cat constantly.
Dr. D also addresses this, “some…are pushy without displaying much overt aggression, whereas others will do whatever they have to, including using aggression, to get what they want.”
Step one is to know if your cat is merely irritable and pushy, or has an energy imbalance that could be treated to resolve the aggression. Sometimes homeopathy and other modalities can cure the problem, yet often the guardian needs to change their behaviors as well.
Dr. D says the only clinical syndrome classified specifically is “petting-induced aggression”. The treatment is to not pet the cat. Dr. D noticed that many cats with this classification also displayed other aggressions – around food, being disturbed when resting, being picked up, being admonished and more. While I would include not petting the cat as a temporary measure, I would assert there are many ways to completely cure these cats with holistic modalities.
Dr. D adds that these cats are often controlling – “biting their owners on the nose or toe to get them up in the morning, biting them in the ankle if they are not getting fed fast enough…sit squarely in the middle of newspapers being read…”
For treatment, Dr. D suggests: 1. Avoidance of the triggering situations, or stopping before the trigger level is reached; 2. Teach cats to obey a command [I was amazed at the World of Pets Expo to see cats trained in agility. Most of us just do not take the same time training our cats as we do our dogs. They can certainly be trained. I like the Tao of Meow, and Tao of Bow Wow by Deb Wood.]
Dr. D taught her cat to sit using clicker training in 15 minutes over 3 days. The cat was 100% obedient to “sit” forever after; 3. Drug therapy may be needed.
I would certainly agree to the first first 2 suggestions and at the same time be using Reiki, flower essences, HTA, EFT, chinese medicine, homeopathy or other modalities. Even chiropractic can cure a cat if the problem is caused by pain.
Soon I will put the article about the “cat from hell” on my site. This is a great cat aggression case successfully cured with homeopathy.