HomeCat Behaviorcat aggressionA question about a feral cat’s aggressive behavior


A question about a feral cat’s aggressive behavior — 8 Comments

  1. Thanks to all for your replies on this kitty’s and my situation. I am trying to go slow but when a stray cat that you know nothing about is trying to scratch and swipe at you, it brings on fear.

    I know that an un-neutered male cat is often aggressive and I’m sure that contributes to his aggression. I’m sure he thinks of me as a constant food supply and when I don’t put food down for him he gets ill.

    I do plan on having him neutered. There is an animal agency not too far from me that has helped a relative trap and neuter cats in the past. The man that does it is a dedicated cat person and gives his all to helping cats. I don’t know if he would have to actually trap him. It might be that the cat would go into my cat carrier without trapping, but I don’t want to be the one to try to get him in there at this time. Cats can sense fear. I’ll leave it to the pros.

  2. Good morning. Reading these posts have been helpful to me, as I have been feeding a stray since late summer 2014. I thought he was feral at first, but in the past 2-3 months he slowly let me pet him.

    Now, his aggression towards me has me overwhelmed and I am on the verge of calling Animal Control to pick him up. I can’t go out in my yard to do anything because he’s there waiting on me, but most likely waiting on food, even though he’s just eaten. I cannot walk in my yard for him winding back and forth in front of me and slapping at my legs and hissing. Then he rolls over at my feet and swats at me again when I try to get by him. I slap my hands at him but it doesn’t phase him.

    I don’t know what to do at this point and it’s stressing me out to the point of feeling sick. I know calling Animal Control is almost a guaranteed death sentence and I hate the thoughts of that.

    This kitty appears to be an un-neutered male. Approx. one year old. Picture attached.

    • Karen, don’t call Animal Control. He is like any person. Unsure of everything.

      You are at the beginning of a relationship. He is unsure but he likes you. Give him time.

      I slap my hands at him but it doesn’t phase him.

      Please don’t do this. Everything you do should be to calm and reassuring. Your objective is to get him the point where he trusts you. More patience. Patience will win. Time will win. Override your desire to throw in the towel (give up). When you get there you’ll be the happiest person. He wants to trust you and you want him to trust you. This is the best foundation. You have asked me – good. Give it time and think about how people learn to trust people. They reassure. They are patient. They accept. They go on. Don’t stop.

      You’ll get the best relationship you ever had. DW cares for a beautiful ginger tabby. You will not get a better relationship. You care. That is obvious. Just control that stress and frustration. Please.

      Thanks for visiting.

      it’s stressing me out to the point of feeling sick.

      You want to get to get to know him. Give it more time. The time frame of people has speeded-up. We need to slow down.

  3. Hi Ginny.

    My name is Dee and I have been caretaking feral colonies for many years. I hope I can help.
    Your comment warmed my heart, because it is clear to me that you are doing an excellent job in gaining trust. Being swatted by a feral isn’t foreign to me. I’ll try to explain what I believe is going on.

    Your cat is growing fond of you. He is beginning to trust. The fact that he comes that close to you and, actually, touches you is very positive. He doesn’t feel safe enough to do it up front yet though. He, also, doesn’t know that he is hurting you or drawing blood. His intention isn’t to attack. I have never been attacked by a feral. Sure, there has been plenty of hissing, spitting, and growlling., but that is often calmed by maintaining a quiet, slow, non-threatening manner. They are fearful of us until we prove ourselves to be harmless.

    I understand that this has frightened you, but I hope you can accept that you are nott under attack.
    You are making a huge breakthrough. Shooing him away will cause a step back for him. If you remain afraid, put his feeder down further away from where you were putting it and walk away instead, always facing him. I hope your fears subside, because he has been more afraid of you than you could ever be of him, until now. You are doing a great job.

    I’ll add that, when I am out with ferals, I always wear long pants even though I live in a tropical climate.. It’s good practice.

    The best to you. Keep us posted on how things are going.

  4. I have been feeding several feral cats for about 2 years, one has just come up recently, about 6 mos ago. He always hisses and spits. At first I just talked sweetly to him and tolerated the hissing and spitting. He began to get a little closer to me gradually while I setting out the food and I thought this was a good thing. The other night, as I was bringing out the food, he swatted me in the leg as I went by. I thought maybe I was too close to him. A couple of nights later, while I was setting the food down, he came up behind me (I did not see him) and swatted me in the calf and brought blood. Now when I go out, I shoo him away until I put the food down. Don’t trust him now. I am 70 years old and have befriended many cats, never had one attack me like that. Anyone have any ideas? I am a little afraid of him now.

    • Bless you Ginny for being so good in helping feral cats. I am no expert on handling feral cats but I would think that if you shoo him away it may make him more aggressive towards you. If you can simply put the food down when he is not in the vicinity to protect yourself and then gradually with gentle sounds etc. become friendly he may become less aggressive over time. Some ferals never domesticate but I sense that 90% do eventually if fed and treated nicely because they learn to trust. I’ll ask Dee to write a comment too. She is American and cares for feral cats.

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