When a cat behaves aggressively toward the closest animal or human in the home that’s not the source of its agitation, owners can seldom do anything to get it under control quickly. Many times, with a lot of work and patience, re-directed cat aggression can be corrected after the cat is rehabilitated, but many times, it can’t. It’s best to do everything in your power to prevent it because it’s much safer and easier than correcting it.
Stay Calm & Avoid Startling Noises
Cats don’t like to be startled, period. Keeping a calm and cool environment is a consistent necessity for cats, as they can be easily stressed out and agitated with sudden startling stimuli. Avoiding a rise in stress levels is the first key to preventing redirected cat aggression.
Keep Foreign Cats Out
More often than not, redirected cat aggression is caused by another cat threatening a domesticated cat’s territory. This can happen simply by the house cat seeing a stray or an outdoor cat walking by in “his yard” but not being able to pounce on the threat due to the separation, he re-directs that aggression toward the nearest walking object. If your cat has issues with stress when he sees other cats outside, close the blinds to keep them out of sight. Also, never, ever allow a foreign cat in your house.
Reward Good Behavior
Cats are very smart, and have a great understanding of what kind of behavior should be avoided when you consistently reward their good behavior. At the very least, they’re more prone to rein in their aggressive tendencies on a regular basis if you reward them for doing that, so this will make outbursts rare.
Maintain a Healthy Environment To Reduce Stress
Dogs may be able to just lay around and stay calm, but cats really need a stimulating environment to keep their brains sharp and occupied, and that’s another key to controlling their stress levels. Having perches, scratching posts, and toys are all great ideas to help keep cats engaged and playing happily, and to keep them from sitting and stewing in anxiety.
Socialize Them Regularly
One of the most important things you can do (from day one of having your cat at home) is socialize them regularly. If there’s only a few members of your household, you must realize that these few members are your cats world. All other humans and animals are intruders and tend to severely stress cats out. The only way around this mindset for cats is to gradually introduce people early on when they’re still kittens. Having people over regularly will get your cat used to the face that other people aren’t to be seen as threats, and will help curb anxiety levels down the road.
Remember that preventing re-directed cat aggression is a better option to choose than correcting it, but it can’t always be prevented. Talk to your vet if your cat acts out at all about what could be the problem so that you can work together to get it under control.