Are Female Cats Mean? Answers About Cat Aggression


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Cats are typically accused of being fickle friends. Anyone who has had a pet feline will be the first to say that their kitty is moody and unpredictable. Is the level of their aggression connected to the gender of your female cat? Understanding why your cat does certain things will help you to manage her behaviors. So, are female cats mean?

Female cats are not mean for no reason. All cats, whether male or female, are very reactive to change and how they are treated. Un-spayed female cats are extremely sensitive to their surroundings when they are hormonal.

Cats are genetically conditioned to be aggressive, which may be perceived as them being mean. They will often act out if there are too many triggers that happen in their territory. There are different reasons your feline may be confrontational, and they manifest in many ways.

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Why are Cats Aggressive Towards Other Cats?

Most female cats will compete with one another, just like their male counterparts, but most of their bad attitudes are hormone related.

An intact female cat in heat can be loud and needy. Most spayed kitties will be calmer, but they can still be just as irritable when confronted with something they find threatening.

How are Cats Aggressive?

Cats are easily overstimulated. Anything new will upset the delicate balance of their behavior. Felines do not suffer being upset quietly. You will know rather quickly and decisively whether your cat is unhappy or not.

There are typically two classes of feline aggression: active and passive aggression. Female cats tend to act through passive aggression more than active aggression unless they are in heat or afraid.

Very Angry Cats

Active aggression is what we typically picture when we think of very angry cats. These behaviors are often calculated. You will see the cat stalking the object, person, or animal they are about to act aggressively towards.

These actively aggressive behaviors include:

  • Hissing
  • Spitting
  • Growling
  • Swatting
  • Biting

When a feline is being actively aggressive, do not attempt to pick her up or pet her, she is likely to lash out. Your female cat is most likely upset, afraid, or angry.

Passive aggression is more insidious and can be overlooked. It has more to do with body language than an actual attack.

These behaviors can include:

  • Blocking
  • Whining
  • Being on guard
  • Excreting outside the litter box
  • Leaving excrement uncovered
  • Furniture scratching

These behaviors can be dissuaded easier than active aggression. They are more likely a response to hormones or frustration.

Why Is My Cat Acting Crazy?

Cat

It is a common misconception that cats are capricious creatures and will suddenly act crazy without reason. However, cats have a fine-tuned awareness of their surroundings. So, much like someone with anxiety, your feline friend will know right away if something is different.

Cats are also highly ruled by their emotions. Anything that knocks their delicate balance of hormones out of balance will cause your pet to be agitated and difficult. Understanding what is upsetting your cat will help you figure out the best way to manage your pet.

Are Female Cats Bossy?

Mother cats have the reputation of being bossy. The compulsion to mother is a powerful driving force in cats.

Mother cats will be very protective of their young against other cats and anything else they perceive as a threat, especially when their kittens are newborns.

Aggressive Play in Male and Female Kittens

Male and female kittens will engage in mock fighting to learn how to handle themselves. While this may seem aggressive, they are taking care not to injure themselves.

Their body language is more forward than drawn back. It is all in good fun for them both.

Territorial Cat Behavior

Cats will respond combatively whenever they perceive their home is threatened. They mark their territory by scent, and anything that crosses that boundary is considered a threat.  You could see this behavior if a feral cat sneaks into your house through a cat door. 

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Cats will then threaten or outright attack the invader until it leaves the area.

Cat Dominance

Cats will fight to assert dominance over one another. For example, the cat may feel that another pet (or even their owner) threatens their superiority.

A cat will then act out to assert its social authority over the interloper. This typically happens with male cats, but the females will also do this.

Injured or Sick Cat

When a cat is feeling unwell, it will react poorly to being touched. Cats are overstimulated easily. Even a careful pat or caress can be too much when the animal is already in pain.

Scared Cats

An afraid feline is a hostile one. Therefore, they need to be introduced to new stimuli carefully and gradually to avoid this reaction. This includes someone or something that was formerly known to the feline.

Cats must familiarize or re-familiarize themselves to new (or renewed) stimuli.

Nervous Cats

When a cat is unable to assert control over their surroundings, they can come anxious. Their self-soothing behaviors can go overboard.

For example, cats that groom to calm themselves could over-groom, causing bald patches in their fur.

Cat Redirected Aggression

If your kitty is looking out the window and sees something nearby that she cannot attack, they may lash out at their owner or another cat in the household.

Frustrated, the cat might unleash their irritation through aggression on something they can reach.

How to Deal with an Aggressive Cat

Once you understand why your furry friend is lashing out, there are many options for soothing and correction at your disposal. However, misunderstanding the reasoning can exacerbate the bad behavior if it is mishandled.

There are a few options to defuse the situation depending on what sort of reaction your pet is having. Understanding what is aggravating your cat will tell you what you need to do to calm it.

  • Desensitize to stimuli: Limited but continuous exposure will help your pet gradually get used to something new. For example, cats getting to know a new fur sibling should be kept in separate rooms and then brought together a bit at a time, each introduction being prolonged a bit longer.
  • Divide their resources: If your pets are fighting over food or the litter box, consider putting their dishes close but separate from one another. Separate litter boxes will stop behaviors such as peeing or leaving excrement outside the box.
  • Provide a safe space: Cats enjoy having their own spot. If they have enough vantage points, they will feel that they can protect their territory better. A cat will also like having enough hiding spots to ferret away when they need a break.
  • Stop active aggression: A loud noise or getting sprayed with water will startle your pet out of active, aggressive behaviors. Your cat will often retreat from this and disengage from whatever it is doing.
  • Use scent to defuse aggression: Cats often rely on scent to tell them whether an area is safe or not. Most of their aggressive behaviors come from catching an unfamiliar smell. Using a pheromone or calming spray can help your cat relax.

Unspayed female cats are often more irritable and restless due to their fluctuating hormones. They are also more aggressive while in heat, especially when there is a male cat nearby. If spayed early enough, these behaviors will mostly go away.

Female cats go into heat only if an unaltered male is close by. A male cat will become much less likely to roam into another cat’s territory once he has been neutered, and that will keep him from antagonizing your kitty.

Are Male or Female Cats Friendlier?

From the research I’ve done, it sounds like male cats are friendlier if we are talking about un-neutered or un-spayed cats (i.e., not fixed). However, if we are talking about desexed (neutered or spayed) cats, male and female cats should be plenty friendly. For example, I have a female Domestic Shorthair, and she is a nice cat.

Are Female Cats More Territorial Than Male Cats?

From what I’ve read, it sounds like male cats that have not been neutered are much more territorial than un-spayed female cats.  This is probably due to how hormones play a part in being territorial. 

When it comes to fixed (neutered or spayed) cats, I think you can expect the same amount of territorial behavior.  For an expert answer to this question, you should ask your veterinarian.

What is the Friendliest Cat?

Many cats are amiable. However, in my opinion, the Siamese is the friendliest cat.  This cat is known to form a special bond with its owner, enjoy being around its owner, and be vocal.

What Cat Breed Follows You Around?

Many cat breeds will follow you around, but if you want to focus on one cat breed that will follow you around, I would look at the Siamese. This is because the Siamese will form a close bond with a human and likely follow you around.

Conclusion

Having a pet cat is a lot like having an anxious, hormonal roommate. Cats are genetically predisposed to hyper-awareness. They may seem mean, but cats are incredibly loving and protective of their families.

Being aware of why your pet reacts to certain things negatively will help you manage any destructive behaviors.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out a few more:

Here are some of my favorite cat products

In addition to checking out some other More Meows articles, I hope you’ll check out some of my favorite cat products as well.  These are affiliate links, so if you end up using them, I’ll get a commission at no extra cost to you.  These are the products I really do find most helpful.

Litter Box:  I started out with normal, traditional litter boxes for my cat.  Then, I tried this automatic litter box on Amazon (affiliate link), which helped reduce the litter upkeep.  Finally, I am now a believer in the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on Amazon (affiliate link).  This robotic litter box is not for everyone based on the price tag, but for me the benefits (very little upkeep, works efficiently, clean, mobile app) far outweighed the cost. 

My Cat’s Litter-Robot 3 Connect (with night light on) – See the link above the photo!

Cat Tree:  I have purchased a couple of this Amazon Basics Cat Tree on Amazon (affiliate link).  My cat spends a lot of time on and around this cat tree, which I position near my sofa.  She uses the scratching posts on this cat tree multiple times a day, which means she is not scratching the sofa instead.

Cat Water Fountain:  I love this cat water fountain on Amazon (affiliate link).  There are three main benefits to having a water fountain like this for your cat.  The first benefit is that it keeps water running so that my cat doesn’t need to drink still water.  The second benefit is that it filters the water.  The third benefit is that my cat uses it – keeping my cat hydrated is important.

Christopher Carlson

I have an Domestic Shorthair Tabby named Charlotte. She is full of energy when she isn't sleeping most of the day. I share what I learn about cats on this site.

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