Petting Induced Aggression

May 8, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

I recently received the following question:

Why do cats completely flip out when you scratch their backs right above the tail? Our cat acts like she loves/hates it and is about to have a seizure every time.
– E. Rich

This could be a very normal reaction for your cat.  Some cats will develop “pet induced aggression” when they are petted for too long.  It can be on any part of the body. It is usually the head, the belly, or the tail base.  The best way to avoid this is to pet them only when you initiate the petting NOT when they come to be petted.

This could also be a sign of pain from arthritis or a neurological condition.  You veterinarian could best determine this with a video of the action.  Sometimes a radiograph of the area can be very helpful to determine if arthritis is involved. If this is the issue, mediations or a special diet may be extremely helpful.

In summary, it may be behavioral and minor modifications may be the solution.  Videoing of the incident may be very helpful to your veterinarian.  If it is a physical problem, other diagnostics and medications may be the answer.  In either instant, visiting a veterinarian should help diagnosis and treatment.


Dr Marcus Brown

Dr. Brown, founder of the NOVA Cat Clinic and co-founder of the NOVA Cat Clinic, received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1986 from the University of Illinois. Currently the medical director for Alley Cat Allies and is an active supporter in local, state and national feline organizations such as: American Veterinary Dental Society, American Association of Feline Practitioners, American Veterinary Medical Association and American Animal Hospital Association. Dr. Brown also contributed the creation of the Association of Feline Practitioners’ 2009 Wellness Guidelines for Feline Practitioners.

Dr. Brown enjoys continuing education and regularly attends seminars and conferences across the country focusing on the advancement in feline veterinary care. Dr. Brown also utilizes on-line discussion groups and veterinary networks to assist the clinic in maintaining the highest level of care and providing the newest treatments available in feline medicine.

NOVA Cat Clinic
923 N. Kenmore St.
Arlington VA 22201

Phone: 703-525-1955
Fax: 703-525-1957

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