Ask Dr Fiona

What do I do if my cat is redirecting her aggression toward me after I was in contact with another cat earlier in the day?

Redirected aggression occurs when a cat becomes aroused by another animal, person or event but is unable to direct aggression toward the stimulus. In this case, your cat can smell the cat you were in contact with but can’t direct her aggression towards that cat so unfortunately you are the next best thing!

The most important thing is to avoid your cat until she calms down. Safety is the number one priority so never attempt to pick up your aggressive cat or pat her.

You may need to move your cat in to a dark and quiet area to let her calm down. If you can, move her in to a dark room with water and a litter tray but take care when moving your cat as you don’t want to get bitten or scratched. You can use a large, thick blanket or towel or a large piece of cardboard to protect yourself while herding your cat in to the room. It can take any where from a few minutes to a few hours for your cat to chill out. Some cats can take days but you need to make sure there is a supply of food and water and a clean litter tray if this is the case.

It might help to attempt to remove as much of the other cat’s scent as possible. Think about a change of clothes before you get home and make sure wash your hands really well.

You should also investigate and consider plugging in a Feliway pheromone diffuser. This releases a synthetic pheromone to help reduce any stress your cat might be feeling.  You can find out more info about it here.

If things aren’t improving, you should talk to your veterinarian about the behaviour concerns, they may need to investigate further and can provide you and your cat with support.

If you’d like to chat in person, you can get a vet within minutes on a live video call or start a text chat to discuss in more detail.

We’re here to help!

Chat soon,
Dr Fi

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