How to Stop Petting Aggression in Cats

by catfood

A one-size-fits-all strategy is useless since there are many distinct types of aggression and many cat owners ask for help in preventing aggressive behavior in their cats.

The kind of cat aggression that most owners are perplexed, upset, and terrified of out of all the others is petting aggression, also known as status-related violence.

Although the cat purrs and enjoys being petted, it will bite you after just a few strokes.


These cats utilize the “leave me alone” bite as a defense tactic to prevent interactions such as being petted, being lifted or approached, or being relocated from a favorite perch. Although this is a behavior that cats regularly exhibit, you may work with your pet to stop it.

Why Does Your Cat Get Rude When Petted?

In contrast to dogs, cats usually have a low tolerance for being petted and are susceptible to overstimulating. Every cat is different in how it reacts to being petted and how long it takes for it to make it uncomfortable. But when it gets to that stage, the cat reacts almost as if it were being hurt or in pain. This is referred to in the field of animal behavior as petting-induced antagonism.

Young, active cats that are separated from their litters early and left alone for long stretches of time during the day appear to be more likely to exhibit pet aggression.

Smacking the cat may exacerbate the antagonism and cause the cat to behave out even more during subsequent stroking sessions because most cats view physical correction as a challenge.

Pet animosity can be explosive and dangerous, especially for small, defenseless youngsters. Develop the ability to recognize and steer clear of situations that might lead to this conduct.


Abstain from medical causes

You should rule out any underlying medical issues that may be the cause before attempting to alter your cat’s behavior. Have your veterinarian check for indications of arthritis, an injury, or dental problems to make sure there isn’t any actual pain prompting your cat to adamantly reject your pet caresses.

Ordinary Signs

Similar to how different dialects or colloquialisms can be found in human speaking, there are also regional differences in cat communication. However, your cat’s nonverbal cues may give away his or her true feelings:

  • The active tail and drooping ears warn of a coming attack.
  • Arousal is indicated by a sudden enlargement of the cat’s pupils.
  • Your heart rate may quicken if the cat is sitting on your lap, which indicates that it is paying attention.
  • If a purr develops into a deep growl, you should back off.
  • Rippling skin on the back could be a symptom of annoyance or anger.
  • Regardless of the indication or collection of indications, there will likely be some scratching or biting.


As long as biting and scratching are effective methods of interaction management, your cat will keep doing them. You can stop the cat from biting or utilizing its claws by avoiding the situations that cause them and/or altering the environment to do so.

Use harsh love, nevertheless, and be consistent. If you give up before establishing the ground rules for petting and aggression, you might have to re-start the conditioning process from scratch.

As your cat exerts greater effort to make the previously successful behavior work once more, remember that a pet’s undesired behaviors typically get worse just before they stop. When you’re headed in the correct direction, you experience what behaviorists refer to as an extinction burst.

Limit for Petting

The heads and necks of cats are freely groomed by other cats. A cat may, however, find it unpleasant, unsettling, or uncomfortable when a person strokes their entire body. What causes individuals bite is this unpleasant sensation.

You should only ever pet a cat on the back of its neck or on the top of its head. then ascertain its tolerance for petting. If your cat starts to become violent after a certain amount of strokes, stop petting it since it can start meowing to get your attention. You just need to teach your cat to associate the come command with the action because it already knows these cues and when to go for its food. When you become aware of the cat’s potential escape routes, stop the cat before it happens so that you can keep command of the situation. Let the cat know you’re in control of the situation if you want to change its behavior.

You shouldn’t move the cat if it’s on your lap when you get close enough to pet it since it can try to slice your hands with its claws. Just stand up, put the cat away, and stop petting it. So that you can stop petting the cat before it bites, pay close attention to how it is behaving. Other cats might simply run and pout in this situation.


Positive Punishment is used.

The idea is to teach the cat that you are in command and that everything good in life, including play, food, and attention, has to be earned. The cat can then be encouraged to respond appropriately using resources and rewards after that.

For example, use dinnertime to your advantage to teach the cat to “come.”

Before the cat approaches the food dish, call “come” in a cheerful, firm voice; after that, open the can, shake the kibble bag, or remove the reward container.

Three, five, or more strokes are possible. When the cat performs well, treat it or put food in the bowl.

You may also use a clicker to train your cat by rewarding it with treats in exchange for the sound of the clicker. Treats may eventually become superfluous as your cat begins to associate the clicker with positive reinforcement.

To get your cat off of furniture or out of the way, use a reward or toy rather than pushing or lifting it, which puts your hands in the strike zone. Say “move,” then toss the treat on the ground or nudge the cat to lie down with a feather.

If the cat is in your chair, tip or shake it to get it to go on its own. After a while, all you’ll need to instruct the cat to move is to sweep your arm across the ground; otherwise, it might bite.


Finally, if you’d like, you can desensitize the cat and increase its tolerance for being petted. If the cat tolerates three strokes before its ears and tail begin to twitch in pain, add one more stroke and a reward, such as the clicker. Stop the cat before it can bite if it still tolerates three strokes. By increasing one stroke every week, you can gradually raise its threshold while staying clear of its teeth.



If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your dog.

READ NEXT: How to Train Your Cat to Eliminate Fear Aggression


You may also like

Leave a Comment