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    Does Your Pet Need Therapy?

    Aggression continued...

    An aggressive cat can bite and scratch. He may hiss, growl, howl, stare, flatten his ears, swish his tail or expose his teeth or claws.

    Some cats don't like to be petted -- or petted for long periods of time. They may let you know by batting your hand away with a claw. Cats are territorial and may not want certain people or animals in their areas. Mother cats may act aggressively if they think their kittens are threatened. Other cats practice "redirected aggression" -- they may see another cat through a window, and scratch the people or animals that they can reach. Cats that are in pain, for any reason, can be aggressive.

    If your cat is showing aggression and you can’t figure out why, you should have her checked out by your vet to see if something physical may be causing the behavior. If pain is ruled out, a behaviorist who works with cats may be able to help.


    Loud noises, being left alone, or even a change in routine can upset your pet.

    Animals can show anxiety in several ways. A dog may pace and pant and whine. A cat may hide or meow. Both can also be destructive: relieving themselves where they shouldn’t, and destroying things around the house. Some pets lick themselves so compulsively that their fur comes off and their skin is raw.

    Is your dog bored?

    “Dogs are social animals,” Zawistowski says. If you live alone and work long hours, your absence could upset your dog.

    “Animals who don't have their mental and physical enrichment needs met can display undesirable behaviors,” Shikashio says.

    If your dog is just bored, increasing walks and spending more time with him may help. But if he is truly afraid when you aren’t home, you may need to consult with a behaviorist.

    Is your cat bothered?

    “Typical cat behavior issues can include litter box problems and clawing at personal belongings,” Shikashio says.

    A cat may become upset if you've moved the litter box, changed the litter, or started dating someone new.

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