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Managing aggressive cats.

An article in the November 2006 journal Veterinary Medicine must have been written on Halloween, because it put a fright in us.

"Helping Owners Handle Aggressive Cats" is animal-behavior consultant Wayne Hunthausen's advice for veterinarians who counsel concerned cat people who, like us, never knew there were so many reasons for cats to attack. He lists 11 possible types of feline aggression: "Fear-induced, play, redirected, petting-induced, territorial, inter-male, maternal, pain-induced, learned, pathophysiological and idiopathic."

Idiopathic means there's no known cause, and pathophysiological aggression can sometimes be diagnosed with physical and neurological exams and laboratory tests.

Most other kinds of aggression can be treated by owners who follow the advice of an animal-behavior expert. Dr. Hunthausen recommends a blast of compressed air from a can "directed over a cat's head" and says that "owners should avoid punishments such as yelling, thumping or swatting cats since these can cause pets to either fear the owners or engage in rougher play."

Ultimately, prescribed drugs might be needed to treat severe conditions. But before it gets to that, the veterinarian suggests an alternative: "Play-aggression is one of the few behavior problems for which a second pet may be recommended," he says.

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Title Annotation:Short Takes: How to manage aggressive cats; some web help; meet the new muse
Publication:Cat Watch
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2007
Previous Article:Ask Dr. Richards.
Next Article:Cat stuff on the Web.

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