7 Tips on How to Look After an Aggressive Cat
In your cat sitting career, there’s a chance you’ll come across a kitty with some serious CATtitude. Dealing with an aggressive cat is never easy. Below, Cat in a Flat offers seven tips for looking after an aggressive cat so you and your furry client can get off to a paw-sitive start.
Feeding an aggressive cat
What’s the best way to approach feeding an aggressive cat? It’s always a good idea to do a ‘practice run’ while Mr Whiskers’ owner is around. Arrange to do the first feeding during your initial visit to meet your kitty client for the first time. This way the owner can keep their kitty calm and show you the best feeding approach before leaving their feline in your care. A ‘feeding intro’ like this works particularly well for house sitting jobs, where you will be living in Mr Whiskers’ home.
During your drop-in Cat Sitting Service
If you’re just doing a ‘pop-in’ service, arrive a bit earlier than feeding time so that he’s not too hungry (and feisty) but still sleepy (and more mellow). Check with Mr Whiskers’ paw parents to find out what times of days their kitty is usually feeling more relaxed.
As you enter the home, ignore that kitty! Yup, totally avoid eye contact. NEVER console an aggressive cat as they will interpret this as approval of their behavior. You should also avoid showing fear as this reinforces the aggressive behavior and gives the feline the upper hand. Instead, stay calm, super cool and move slowly with no sudden movements.
Wait for an aggressive cat to approach you
Take it slow with your kitty client and wait for them to approach you. Make yourself smaller by crouching down or sitting on the floor. Hold out your hand so Mr Whiskers can get a good sniff, but don’t bring out the cuddles straight away. Let your fur friend take the lead. Your cat client will give you a little head bump when they’re ready for more affection.
Don’t force the friendship
If the feline never comes to say hello, no worries, some kitties just don’t want new friends anyway. Your job as a cat watcher is to read the cat’s behavior and to make sure they’re eating and going to the toilet properly. As long as Mr Whiskers is happy and healthy, you’re doing great as a cat carer!
Bring cat treats
If the owner allows, bring treats. This will distract the kitty as you enter the home as well as to reassure them that you’re a friend. It also creates a positive association for your feline client and in turn reinforces positive, calm behavior.
Leave clothing behind
If you’re not doing overnight stays, some of our Cat in a Flat community have suggested leaving an item of your clothing in the owner’s home for the duration of your booking. That way the cat can get used to your smell and when you cat sit they’ll feel more familiar around you.
Using a Feliway diffuser is a good way to keep kitty calm.
If a cat is aggressive or timid and takes time to get fur-miliar with new people, suggest the owner consider a house sitter instead of pop-in cat day care This way, kitty will have more time to get to know you and enjoy sharing their home with you.
For more tips on feline aggression check out our blog post on how to approach and calm an aggressive cat.