Is Your Ragdoll Cat Aggressive?

by Rob on April 20, 2013

Aggression is usually a dog owner problem; however, some cats have problems with this type of behavior. While aggression isn’t one of the main reasons an owner will dump a cat off at the shelter, it does play a part in their decision to do so. This is according to a recent survey of animal shelters conducted in the United States. The survey states nearly 14% of owners turning cats in at the shelters said aggressive behavior was the reason for parting ways with their cat.

Agression is a problem becuase cat bites can be more dangerous than a dog bite. Cat’s saliva can transmit dangerous bacteria that can lead to severe infection. Your cat’s nails can also transmit bacteria when scratching you.

The main type of aggression in cats is play aggression; however there are other types including defensive aggression and territorial aggression.

Play Aggression

If your Ragdoll starts biting and scratching you out of the blue, it could acting up due to pain. Pain aggression is the result of a medical condition and is your Ragdoll cat’s way of getting your attention. A trip to your veterinarian could resolve the medical issue and your cat’s behavior.

Most of the time aggression in cats is play aggression. This behavior is a result of the owner’s conditioning. People find it hard to resist a fuzzy Ragdoll kitten and often wrestle and twirl the kitten around. Rolling your kitten around while it scratches and bites you may be great fun, but it encourages aggressive behavior. When your cat grows up and the scratches and biting draws blood, it’s not so fun anymore.

Because of the danger from cat scratches and bites it’s best not to encourage your cat in this manner. If your cat is already exhibiting this behavior stop using your feet and hands as play toys. Try and get your cat to take its aggression out on other toys. Using a feather on a pole and string is an excellent way to separate you from the aggression. Your hands and feet need to be off limits as play toys. You may need to deter the unwanted behavior by using a squirt gun. It also helps to use a firm “No!” when trying to get your point across to your Ragdoll cat.

It will take some patience on your part; however, by reinforcing positive play behaviors you can curb unwanted play aggression in your Ragdoll cat.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gemma Crowther April 16, 2008 at 3:34 am

I have a 6 month old male ragdoll and ever since he was a kitten he has bitten quite hard when plays. I’ve always been firm in telling him no and doing the ‘face push’ but he still wont give it up. However in the past fortnight his mouth has bled a little while doing it and then a few days ago one of his teeth chipped in half. Do you think the biting is due to pain or that he is just being naughty?

Brianna November 3, 2009 at 10:09 am

Kittens in general tend to lose their baby teeth around 4 to 6 months (earlier for females), so his RECENT biting behavior is a teething issue and will go away in a couple of weeks as his permanent teeth come in.
However, if his biting has been a prolonged concern over the past several months, chances are he’s probably just naughty.
I own a 7 month old half-Manx named Osgood, and I went through a similar bout with him. He would nibble(not bite) and swipe during play, and we would train him how to appropriately play with his claws and teeth. We would put a VERY thick and wooly sock(sometimes 2 to make it feel more like a real cat) and wrestle with him. Then we would take the sock off and play, but scold him if he bit or scratched, and would alternate between sock and no sock, until he realized (and quite quickly, I may add) that it’s okay to play rough, but not with our hands.
Since he is teething, that can be forgiven, as it can be very painful and uncomfortable. If in 2 weeks he is still having behavioral problems, I would take him to a vet to see if maybe there’s a complication with his teeth, or something else. If he’s physically fine, start training him, and be quick. Think like your cat. If he starts doing something and you can “just see him doing THIS” then prepare yourself to discipline. It doesn’t have to be hard, but a firm bop on the head or a thwack on their hind quarters will get their attention; follow up with a very stern and loud “NO” and guide him away from what he is doing wrong(without touching him, since with Ragdolls, touch = limp blackout). When he is out of that “danger zone,” reward him with praise and a toy. This has worked very well for my Osgood, he is the most balanced cat anyone could ever meet.

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