Melissa holds a bachelor's degree in biology and is a plant and animal enthusiast with multiple pets.
Cats are one of the most popular pets in the world and are savagely beloved by millions, although the dangers present from their razor sharp claws and teeth, such as serious infection, are largely not taken seriously. But how much of a threat do they really pose to human health? Have domesticated cats ever killed a person?
In this article, you'll learn. . .
- Can cats cause human fatalities or severe injury?
- Overlooked dangers of pet and feral cats
- Why might a cat become aggressive?
- A list of reported cat attacks and aggression (plus video)
Cats are too small to kill a human by force with the exception of human babies, although there are no reported cat-related deaths involving infants in recent U.S. history. Domesticated cats are also the subjects of various folklore, including the old wives tale that they can suck the breath from an infant, which might lead some people to believe that they are dangerous with small children.
However, cats typically have little incentive to attack a helpless child. They are predators of small animals like mice and birds, and have territorial tendencies directed towards competing animals and predators, therefore babies are relatively safe. The recipients of reported cat attacks have largely been adults, although aggression toward infants has occurred. You won't find statistics about cat bite incidences like you will dogs and exotic pets, because people don't really care.
Are All Cats Dangerous?
It is important for anyone who wants to understand animals and their behavior to place things in the proper perspective. Cats are domesticated, but this term is useless when discussing propensity of aggression, whether or not a pet is capable of attacking, and basically anything else meaningful.
The fact that cats are domesticated and widely kept as pets often mislead people into thinking they do not have the instincts associated with so-called wild animals. All cats are products of their environment, and if a cat is not socialized with humans, it will become just as 'wild' as what they've descended from (and, vice versa, many wild cats can be tamed when human-socialized, although to different extents).
Most domesticated cats (and dogs), when socialized, will never severely bite or attack humans as long as they aren’t "provoked." However, this comforting fact does not determine whether or not your pet might end up unexpectedly acting aggressively one day as animals, not being robots, are subject to the same shifts in mood that result from various factors that may be hormonal, stress-related, or a response to an environmental change.
It is all too common for pet owners to say "he's never done this before" when they experience a bite from their pet. At any point, in any situation, there can be a first time for anything.
It is often the case that people view animals like tigers and jaguars as dangerous because they are "wild." It is very important to consider that domestication has little to do with why a cat has never killed a person. Size is by far the most important factor that causes such incidences. If domesticated cats had the same size and musculature as lions and tigers, they would be extremely dangerous pets. This, and only this is what makes tigers dangerous—most tame big cats won't attack their owners for most of their life, but there are those one or two fatal 'exceptions' that can occur at any time.
So, repeat the following mantra if you really want to understand animals: domesticated is meaningless, domestication is meaningless.
How Common Are Cat Attacks?
While most people find it shocking and amusing when a surprisingly severe cat attack is caught on video, such incidences probably occur more often than people realize. This is how domesticated pets can end up being more of a threat to the public because people don't expect it of them. Dogs and cats do emit behavioral signs of impending aggression that are often missed or not taken seriously by their caretakers. Aggression is indeed common but not as common as aggression that results in severe injury.
Cause of Cat Aggression and Attacks
- Redirected Aggression: Lashes out at owner after sensing something it can't access. May seem like it occurs for no reason because the source of agitation isn't present.
- Petting-induced Aggression: When petting causes over stimulation or discomfort, cats may bite their owners (signs of agitation include tail swatting, skin twitching, meowing, or changing body position).
- Fear: The root of most cat aggression
- Territorial: Natural aggression all cats are prone to, and can occur with other cats, animals, and humans.
- Maternal Aggression: The insecurity of a female cat with kittens.
- Pain-induced: Retaliation if an owner touches the cat in a painful area.
- Unprovoked Aggression: When a cat is aggressive for seemingly no reason. Rare, and hard to diagnose. Often mistaken for redirected aggression.
Signs of Cat Aggression
Many pet owners fail to become attuned with their pets mannerisms that may hint that an animal is becoming irritated. Here is a list of the more subtle signs of aggression and agitation in domesticated cats.
Defensive (submissive) posture:
- Ears pointed back, flattened
- Dilated pupils
- Piloerection (fur stands up)
- Tail curved and tucked inward
- Turning sideways to an opponent, not looking straight on
- Open mouth, hissing, and spitting
Defensive (fearful) Aggressive Posture
Offensive Aggression (LOOK OUT)
A posture that indicates offensive aggression may result in an attack. Never attempt to console or calm a cat that is showing these signs:
- Faces the opponent (instead of slinks or leans in the opposite direction)
- Direct stare, steps forward
- Tail points straight down (as opposed to curved downward)
- Ears are pointed upright with the back rotated slightly forward
- Piloerection (fur stands up)
*Some of these signs are present in defensive aggression. The most obvious distinguishable signs include the ears, vocalizations, and movement of the cat (is it backing away or inching forward?)
*Rabies, a lethal disease in cats, can result in irrational behavior. Such animals suspected of showing symptoms should be euthanized immediately.
Take Cat Bites Seriously
Cat attacks are no laughing matter, and aside from the frequently reported agony that they cause to the victims, cat bites are heavily prone to infection, even more so than dog bites. The reason this is so is due to the sharpness of cat teeth creating deep puncture wounds into areas that are sufficient for bacterial activity and hard to clean.
A study determined that 1/3 of patients who sought treatment for cat bites in a three year period had to be hospitalized, and 2/3 of these patients ended up needing surgery to flush out the bacteria via debridement. If a cat bite occurs over a joint or tendon along with swelling, redness, and pain, this increases the chances that a hospital visit might be needed.
Bites by unfamiliar cats with access to the outdoors is a substantial rabies risk. While cases of humans contracting rabies are rare, cats are the pet most frequently found with the virus in the United States.
- Cat bites to the hand can cause serious infections, Mayo study finds | MinnPost
Cat bites should be taken seriously, for they can lead to difficult-to-treat bacterial infections — in fact, much more so than dog bites — according to a new study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
Cats are derived from wild ancestors (the African wild cat) that are both predator and prey, so they possess a complex array of defensive behavior. However, despite our much greater size, cats often see humans as equals when they are raised around us, and therefore their territorial nature can be taken out on us just as fights occur between two cats.
Cats are equipped with bluffing abilities. In the wild, animals try to avoid physical encounters because wounds can often be fatal (there are no veterinarians in nature). Cats will often stare down their opponent and assess them for hesitancy in attacking. This could trigger a cat to attack if it becomes aware that the opponent isn't confident (watch how these powerful lions are scared away by intimidating tribesman). Because cats are domesticated (not selected by nature) and many live with or close to humans, many individuals may be less afraid to approach and show offensive aggression to humans and dogs. Healthy wild animals generally fear humans and do not attack unless humans stumble on their territory or their babies are nearby.
Some Cat Attack Incidences and Footage
Now that we understand what provokes cat attacks and what body postures indicate aggression, let's look at a few recorded incidences of felines fighting. The animals in the videos are a mix of pets, feral street cats, stray cats (once owned) and a combination of both (some feral and stray cats are cared for outdoors).
Attacks on Pets
Cat Attacks Rottweiler
Animals attacking non-human animals is a far more common occurrence, and of course, this is an easy way for a human to get mixed up in the scuffle when they try to defend their pet. At the right is one such example, possibly a territorial dispute with a pet dog results in a street cat attacking.
Cat Attacks Small Dog
Here is another example of a cat attacking a dog, and just like the previous video, the animal is ignoring the humans, even when they retaliate against it. The cat leaping into the air resembles the cat-human attack in the snow that will be shown below.
This widely televised cat "attack" that had a very positive result is a good example of cat territorial behavior. Many cats will rub against their owner to mark their territory (much of the cuddling behavior pet owners experience), and many may see small children they live with as property. In this case, a cat launched itself at a dog that trespassed on its property and "its boy." While many were surprised a cat could be brave enough to confront a large dog, the other videos in this article reveal that it is not an unheard of occurrence. A similar attack with a negative result will be seen below.
Black Cat Attack
These cats appear to be feral, possibly being fed by humans, which I'm guessing by the presence of numerous animals around a group of people.
In the video, people also appear to get caught in the scuffle. The humans fail to notice the somewhat obvious offensive aggressive posture.
Attacks on People
Attack in the Snow in Michigan
This recording of a woman from Melvin, Michigan being attacked by a cat is perhaps one of the most famous cat attack videos circulating the internet because it shows just how agile and deliberate cats can be, even with opponents 10x their size. The woman, identifying herself as Maxx, was attempting to shoo away the animal that she had been caring for in an attempt to defend her mother's dog when the animal leaped up and latched on her face. The incident was recorded on her security camera. This attack appears to be a good example of displaced aggression, as the animal was attempting to attack a dog (like in the previous videos) but the owner intervened.
*Despite the fact that Maxx saved the cat, and despite the fact that the cat was known to be aggressive and had attacked 2 other people before, the video brought out the profound irrationality of many cat lovers who found snow kicking to be cruel and that Maxx "deserved" to be brutally harmed by the animal (her face also became infected). This reveals the mentality of many cat owners, which I will be discussing in a future article.
Cat Attacks Woman in Greenville
This is a similar story to what happened to Maxx, and it also provoked similar nonsensical criticism. A woman, attempting to shoo a cat off her property that was showing aggression to her own cat was severely attacked by it (this was not caught on video). Pet owners are probably far more likely to be in a confrontation with free-roaming cats, as the animals might get into aggressive disputes with their pets when the owners get in their way.
Cat Attacks Babysitter
I cannot find any credible information verifying the events of this video, so watch with the understanding that the editing and text in it can be misleading (assuming the footage is real). A cat appears to attack a babysitter, presumably after hearing glass shatter (as the video editing seems to suggest). The cat is likely showing territoriality just as the "hero cat" shown previously, this time undesirable.
Pet Cat Sends 3 People to the Hospital
Although there's no footage of the actual incident, this is another case that shows that pet cat aggression should be taken seriously. A 1-year-old cat clawed its family of 3 (again, leaping toward the face, showing cats instinctively know where to aim to harm their opponents), causing deep gashes and a call to the fire department. The cat was described as never having been aggressive before, so it's difficult to determine why this occurred.
Cat Holds Family Hostage?
Something prompted a 22-pound Himalayan cat to attack its family's 7-month-old child, and after a kick from the child's father, the large feline proceeded to charge the family (including a dog), leaving them stranded in a bedroom. They even had to call 911, and police arrived to subdue the pet. The family is surprisingly attempting to keep the animal and are getting it therapy.
Here's another very similar situation and another one (Cuppy the cat) in Florida in the same year. Are these cats really 'going crazy'? Or is there a misunderstanding of symptoms prior to the incident?
Regardless, cats are very lucky to be considered domesticated, or there would be a Federal ban on them immediately enacted.
- Cat attack sends woman to hospital - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports
A Thomas county woman is in the hospital after she was attacked by a stray cat.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: Should an attacking family cat be euthanized?
Answer: Possibly, only in rare cases where behavioral therapy fails.
Question: Is there a reason why a dying cat would attack and bite their owner?
Answer: Cats are prey animals and would become aggressive when they have failing health, as predators would be attracted to to weakened prey.
Question: When the cat is very aggressive, I put him in a cat cage. Is this a good idea?
Answer: He may start to associate the cage with negative experiences. It's a good idea to let the cat have a space to calm down in and reinforce that with food reward.
Question: My cat has a deep gash under ankle from an unvaccinated stray cat. What should I do?
Answer: Take the cat to the vet.
© 2014 Melissa A Smith
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on August 06, 2020:
Vicky Cook: Not sure, you should contact a behaviorist.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 28, 2020:
David: That's pathetic, please don't own any more pets.
David on July 27, 2020:
I rescued a male feral kitten at 5 weeks, and took care of him until 9 months old. Then one night I was loving on him in my lap & he started attacking me with claws & teeth wildly! Had scratches on both arms and a deep cut on my knuckle! I took him that night & let him
Loose in the next county over! Never a cat again!!
mellen109 on May 12, 2020:
Don't you thik that sometimes the owners do not read the situation with their cats correctly? And sometimes there are psychological reasons for the behavior on the part of the felines and the humans. My little kitty does not attack me but a couple of times she has challenged me to be the Alpha female in our home. Just recently, l was in the hospital, rather unexpectedly, for six weeks. My adult son stopped by to feed her but admittedly missed every day and did not indulge her the way l do with her whole feeding ritual. When l got home, she did not seek me out for almost an hour but once she did, she was more loving than ever. She would not leave me alone, even riding on the arm of my wheelchair or even in my lap. The following day she was even more attentive. Right up until the time she challenged me for dominance. I needed to lie down and that meant l needed to stop paying with her. She climbed up on the bed and started to cuddle when she stood beside me and started flicking her tail and attempted to grab my wrist. She did put her teeth on my skin but never bore down. I raised my voice and she backed off for about 10 seconds and repeated her actions with the same result. She was definitely angry with me perhaps for being gone so long or for returning home and interfering with her abiliry to "rule the roost" having the full run of the apartment without any human supervision. She was challenging me. Boy was she challenging me. My husband and l used to breed and show dogs and were very familiar with a "pack mentality" where there was an Alpha bitch who was in charge and would quickly correct unacceptable behavior from the other dogs. This is what the mother dog does with her puppies and since our Alpha bitch had had two litters in four years she was used0
Kahi on March 29, 2020:
Filet that cat
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 24, 2019:
Pauline Newmam: Wow, that is horrific.
Pauline Newmam on November 22, 2019:
Iwas hospitalized for 4.5 months in 2019 when my 16 month old Ragdoll X attacked me, for no reason but pure jealousy, because I was on the phone. The wounds developed into ul ers which developed into septic rhuematoid arthritis in my collar bone which spread into my bloodstream, ears, collarbone, shoulder, right ear, mouth, gums, teeth, spine and.2 out of 4 ventricles in my heart. It took 5 surgeries to wash & debride the infection, & I had to have 9 teeth pulled. I had a 50%chance of pulling through. This illness has left me so very tired, in pain, deformities in my neck & some.deafness. Yes I still have my cat Wesley & he attacked me again tonight. I have been in tears, cos I don't know what to do. I am gonna try Felieay. Hope that helps.
Cheryl on September 27, 2019:
My cat is really aggresive towards my grown up son, for no reason at all, im so scared i will have to get rid of her but she also spits at everyone that comes to my flat, the only person she seems to like is me, im scared she will do real bad damage to my so she has only been like this for the past year, i ha e had her since she was a kitten she is now 5 years old, please help
Flyingcircus on August 26, 2019:
I don't know what the purpose of that last paragraph is supposed to be. Any predatory animal that we keep as pet is "lucky"** to be considered domesticated before the law. Same goes for dogs, or are we forgetting here that some dogs have been known to attack (and kill) people viciously and unprovoked? How many people have domesticated cats killed in an attack? Again, I don't see the point of that last paragraph.. obviously we need to be aware that they are still animals, not robots, and that they have predatory instincts.
**are they though? We wouldn't breed or keep them as pets if they weren't, stray cats and dogs roaming the streets in despicable conditions would not be a thing.
William Burke Jr on May 02, 2019:
I have had a grey striped American short hair, a fixed male about two years old, who I often pet with no problem and feed him a treat twice a day. I let him go outside for part of the day. Today, for some reason, he took a strong swipe at me with his right paw, and 2 minutes later, when I tried to pet him he bit me in the hand. I roared at him in displeasure and he quickly disappeared under my son's bed. If he ever does that to me again I'll drown him in the toilet.
CJ on March 02, 2019:
I have a very nice affectionate bangle, he seems to not like when I go lay down at night
He attacks me most times
Seems to be routine now morning
He gets his food fresh water and treat then on my lap for cuddle time
He out of the blue attacks me for no reason but almost seems clear he trying to show me who’s boss
It’s cute but getting little concerned
What do I need to do to stop this behaviour
QuietSoloist on December 17, 2018:
Despite this article being true, I also find it unfair and irrational as well. Don't dogs have behavioral issues too? It seems a bit unfair to cats, doesn't it? It's like we're targeting them. This is just my opinion though, so don't kill me. This is a lovely written article by the way! :)
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 16, 2018:
Karen, how old is the cat?
Karen on December 14, 2018:
Why has my cat suddenly started pulling my hair and biting my head?
Jimmy on October 27, 2018:
Why are cat owners often irrational? Is it because of a virus called Toxoplasma gondii? Look it up.
Vicky Cook on October 03, 2018:
I recently got a new kitten to play with my tom cat at first my tom cat didn't approve a few days pass now there best mates but he's a completely different cat he runs away from everyone and hides under the bed all day. He also attacks and hisses at me when i pick him up and i'm his favourite human. is it normal?
Yenny on December 04, 2017:
this article was amazing. I have a cat she’s 1 year she recently had her babies like 2 months ago. I gave one of her kitty’s away she was acting normal till my friend came over and she attacked her. ( mind you she’s friendly to people outside) I was really scared I didn’t know what to do. So what I did was throw her water and took her out she didn’t attack me which is weird. My cat was outside for 2 days she was crying so I decided to bring her inside again but she’s been acting normal I really don’t know what to do I’m scared she’ll attack again if I give all her kitty’s away.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 02, 2017:
Pauk Vashnu Duh, cats are too small to cause fatalities. They are also prey animals. Their bites will likely be unreported more often. Unfortunately, their bites are more likely to become infected and require hospitalization.
Pauk Vashnu on November 30, 2017:
quote: Regardless, cats are very lucky to be considered 'domesticated', or there would be a Federal ban on them immediately enacted.
Ban dogs first. 4.5 million bites dogs vs 400k bites cats
“Dog bite injuries are the No. 1 childhood public health problem reported each year”
human death per year usa:
dogs: 10-20, cats: 0
Stephieme on October 24, 2017:
I am a cat person. I've had mean cats. It's a matter of training. Yes, cats can be trained. Once I learned how to treat a cat, I have no more instances of mean cats. All my cats are friendly to everyone.
I've had kittens I had to bottlefeed. I taken in full grown cats. Cats, like dogs live what they learn. If they are raised with love that's what they give.
A few tips are to never make your hand a toy. If you are playing, use a toy. That way they don't see your hand, arm, fingers as something to attack. Never hit or spank a cat. That will only make them not trust you.
If your cat is doing something you don't want them to do, remove them from the situation and redirect their attention onto something they can do. If you take something away, give them something in return.
I've found its always better to get 2 cats. That way they have a playmate. It's natural for cats to hunt and attack, so if they have a playmate to do this to, it won't be you.
Remember, cats are not dogs. You can't train a cat the same way you train a dog. They are two completely different animals.
It is my belief if your cat is doing something bad, then YOU are doing something wrong. Cats are going to be cats. That is all they know how to be. How you treat them and train them will determine how they act.
Cella on September 25, 2017:
I've had my cat since she was 8 weeks old she is now 7. tonight she looked out the window trying to around started making hisses noises and attacked me . she scratched me and bit me and there was blood coming out of my hand. I finally threw a blanket over her head and ran out of the room. When I came back to come in the room she began her attack all over again. I opened the back door and let her out side but she isn't outside cat and closed the door behind her. I don't want any harm to come to her but I'm also afraid she may attack me again.
carol cornelius on July 14, 2017:
My cat became upset when the parrot bit me and caused me fo scream. The cat stalked me for several minutes before taking a running leap and punched me in the chest knocking me backward. After this a large bruise formed on the center of my chest and this is when the chest pain began. It turned out he caused the collapse of the left anterior decending coronary artery, thus causing a heart attack. It required three stints to reopen the artery.
Trevor Lahey on June 07, 2017:
wonderful article melissa , i like share my experiance n sorry for spelling
my cat has never been friendly type but he always my buddy type of thing i was only one to calm him down when he scared of anything i was one he ran too , now recently i started brining over a girl over and he instanly was scared of her then hissed at her n would not be friends with her just hide all time , then recently i got enganged to this woman who nows spends 4 nights a week over at place im staying at which is my mothers house , it got to point where cat try to attack her in her sleep but then try be her friend n swatted as soon she turn her back on him to walk back in my room , n aggression kept building slower and slower , now he will hiss at ANYONE even my mother he attacked my mother he semi attacked me n i was like eh whatever then last night this cat went complete bonkers over me showing my mother paperwork n he hissed at my mom then i raised my voice and the cat snapped at me and it was most vicious attack i ever seen in my life! swatting fast and quickly at both my legs with both paws claws as far they can reach bitting me hard he can and he even corner me to point if i move a muscle he would attack me vicioulsy again , growling meowing loud as possible to point as soon we able get cat away from me i had barricade my room off (NO DOORS) i am clawed up from ankles to my knees on both legs deep deep cuts some of em are even BLACK , we try cage the cat but couldnt get him caged he too smart for that try blanket cover him up n too quick for that , we even let him out side n he ran back in the house before door closes n went corner me again but with me bein barricade he waiting for me come out so i can get attacked , eventually we got him out house again n was able shut the door on him , we now have animal control with a BAIT cage to Bait him in , it sad that i have to do this to my pet i once loved but i cant tolerate a vicious animal , thank god my fiancee kid was never ever harm as he did try attack him too (1 Year old baby) i know that it jealously that what set him off , i never neglected him , fed him water always full clean litter n even played all time , he just couldnt accept me being with a woman at all n try do whatever we could to let him warm up to her n be her friend even had in my mind ill find cat new home if it cant work out now im being forced to put it down due to vicious the cat has brought to me and my family n to anyone comes near him , im actually really scared to walk out my house thinking my cat going jump out of bushes n attack me , it was very vicious and think it set trama to my brain over fact , thanks for reading !
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 01, 2017:
Very enlightening and sad story Maria. I've seen people chuckle at the idea of a house cat attacking or being dangerous. Thanks for sharing. I don't really understand why you had to have the cat mated though? Was this supposed to reduce the undesirable behavior? The rescue I adopted my dog from seems to think that cats shouldn't live singly from kitten-hood or it can cause aggression. I have no idea if there is any truth to this.
Maria on June 01, 2017:
I would've agreed to the point of view that owners might have done something to provoke the cat for it to attack had I not been attacked by my own. I adopted T.L when she was a baby, almost dying. I had to hand raise her by literally syringe feeding her. She was always anti-social and would nip my kids if they stroked her, but I made sure everyone treated her on her own terms. When she came on heat I tried getting her spayed but she had a reaction to the anaesthesia so I had to get her mated. T.L gave birth and turned out to be a very happy mother. I had never seen her happier in her life. A month and half after the kittens, she returned to her former self. Started pushing even the kittens away. And then she attacked my kids. Viciously. Younger one who is 8 got deep bites on the knee and the heel. Was bleeding. I thought the kids had done something to provoke her and I calmed the cat by talking to her. She even hurled one of her kits away in her manic attack. My kid got rabies injections.
I forbade the children to go to her room or touch the kittens in her presence. Within 10 days the next attack came. This time one of her kittens squealed while my husband and kids sat in the lounge, and though the kit was near my husband's feet the cat pounced on my youngest one. My husband tried saving her and then she lashed out on the older one who is 11. When i came running from the kitchen upon hearing the screams I tried rescuing my 11 year old only to have the cat latch on my legs snarling and slashing through my clothes. I had to shake her off to loosen her grip before she sank in her teeth only to have her pounce upon my other leg. My husband hurled something at her which bought me sometime and we all saved ourselves in one room with the cat upon our heels - my husband held her off whom she only threatened and didn't attack perhaps intimidated by size. We stayed locked for half an hour and had to call animal control.
It hurts me but my husband told me that the cat couldn't stay any longer as our kids weren't safe with her and I agreed. The vet said it was an incurable hormonal imbalance and we decided to euthanise her. The vet said the cat couldn't be rehomed being dangerous as it was attacking its own owners.
It was the most difficult decision: and it still haunts me to this day. I wish I could've helped her. But I couldn't keep her as she could feel provoked by anything and harm those around her. Even if there were cats fighting in the street below she would look at us accusingly as if responsible. This was before the attacks. Now I knew there was no telling what she might do if provoked.
I believe your article makes a lot of sense only to those who have experienced irrational attacks from their pets.
Kim on April 12, 2017:
This happened to me and I nearly called 911 we had to evacuate he saw another cat in the window and viscoulsy attacked me. I had to go to the hospital due to the injuries. This cat is now an outdoor cat but I wish he'd do away now. I'll never own another cat again
GalaxyRat on April 01, 2017:
Nice things to know, but as "He Shall Remain Nameless" said, cats aggression usually comes from idiot owners. More often then not, the cat may have been abused as a kitten or even still is.
Be responsible. Don't encourage cat behavior like this.
I agree with Nameless. Not everyone gets attacked by cats.
And L, that was a very insensitive comment. You should NEVER kick any animal, you should try to calm him or her down. I'm not trying to be offensive.
L on April 16, 2016:
Awesome videos! Super brave cats! I love the part where the human tries to kick the cat away.
Jenna on April 06, 2016:
Great article. Very educational.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 06, 2016:
J.G. on March 05, 2016:
The comments in some of the videos are really disappointing. Do cat lovers really expect dog owners to just stand there and watch their dog get attacked and possibly injured? Many of the comments condemned the people that kicked the cats away too. Who in their right mind would bend down and risk injury to their face and arms in an attempt to grab the aggressive cat? If the situation is reversed and a dog attacks a cat the crazy cat lovers wish harm upon the dog and its owner. There is no reasoning with them.
MarsWarbringer on January 06, 2016:
Thank you for the article. I'm having problems at the moment with my very reactive adopted cat who doesn't like my fiance at all. She's bitten him once very seriously and scratches him frequently. Unfortunately, he does tend to irritate her. He had his previous cat for 18 years and expects this one to be exactly the same, whereas I'd never had a cat before and just tried to learn what she liked and would tolerate. Consequently, she hisses, growls and lashes out at him and snuggles right up to me.
I'm a dog person by nature and frankly though I love my cat to bits I find them pretty scary, much scarier than dogs. Not that I think they're bad pets. As I said, I love my cat. But they inflict a LOT of damage for their size and in my experience, probably because cats aren't such social animals as dogs, they don't have nearly as much calming body language to suggest that they are uncomfortable before they lash out. Dogs often exhibit long series of 'calming signals' to indicate their discomfort before they escalate to violence which cats rarely seem to (though admittedly, I've formally studied canine behaviour but not feline). A cat can go from purring and rubbing against you to sinking teeth in in a split second.
Not bad pets at all, but should be treated with respect like any animal and not underestimated just because they're small and soft. And I hate the notion that we should put animals down because they show aggression, whether provoked or not, but I do think it's highly unfair that a dog can be put down for a single bite if it looks too much like a pit bull (at least here in the UK that's the case) but that this almost never happens to cats no matter how aggressive. I wouldn't want it to happen to cats. I just don't want it to happen to dogs either.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on October 26, 2015:
Thank you Ron.
Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on October 21, 2015:
I've never owned a cat, and don't plan to, but this seems like some good information to be aware of. Most people never consider cat attacks as a possibility, and it's good to know the signs to look out for that indicate a cat is feeling provoked toward some aggressive response.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 29, 2015:
Cats vary with their dispositions and environments.
Zach Reed on July 29, 2015:
Interesting. I've never had a cat attack me before, and the few times that one of my cats bites me, it has always been either playful out of irritation and they've never punctured the skin on my finger.
I guess it all depends on how you approach the cat, and simple knowledge of wild cats and their behavior. Not all cats are the same.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 20, 2015:
I don't know Kathi, it sounds like you have some research to do. You might want to contact a behavioral specialist.
kathi patrick on April 19, 2015:
Is there anything that can be done for the cats that attack for no reason? I raised a baby that the mother kept throwing out of the place where she hadher kittens, she was just born she's always been a little silly named her sybil (personality issues ) and is spayed shots all that,11/2 yrs old shes attacked me twice and got my husband last nite? It seems that she doesn't know what she's doing or why herself, if there isn't a reason iam convinced its seizure or something in her brain!?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 15, 2014:
Oh Ok, thanks.
DelancyManor on November 14, 2014:
I am sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I was commenting to you about ridiculousness of he shall remain nameless' comments regarding Lux the demon cat from hell.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 14, 2014:
DelancyManor-- What are you asking me? I've never suggested that the cat was abused by anyone. Cats with unprovoked aggression should be euthanized unless someone wants to keep them the same way one keeps a dangerous wild animal.
DelancyManor on November 14, 2014:
Melissa, the funny thing is this cat, first was NOT a Himalayan. I always get a laugh over that, because himies are colorpoint cats, not piebalds. They look exactly like what they are, siamese crossed with persians.
Second, this cat was featured on Jackson Galaxy's My cat From Hell, and guess what? Lux attacked the people who were fostering him.. FOR NO REASON AT ALL.
Oh wait, he has a medical condition.
You know, dogs have the same thing, only we call it exactly what it is, rage seizures (once quite common in cocker spaniels).
"Galaxy consults veterinarian Amelie Hatfield, of the Cat Hospital of Portland. And he visits the Oregon Humane Society, where marketing and communications director Barbara Baugnon pairs Lux up with Mollie and Jim, who take him in on a test basis as foster cat guardians, to see if Lux will stay calm in a stress-free home.
When Lux unexpectedly attacks Mollie's leg, Hatfield suggests he has a form of feline hyperesthesia syndrome, which can cause aggressive behavior. There's no cure, but medication may help control the symptoms."
The cat attacked once more, with zero provocation. So they medicate the cat. Even after medication, the cat attacked YET AGAIN, with ZERO provocation, and those people gave him up.
"In the reality show that aired last weekend, Galaxy persuades another Portland couple to take Lux while the cat is treated with antidepressants and anti-seizure medication. A veterinarian diagnosed Lux with feline hyperesthesia syndrome, which can trigger violent behavior.
But after the episode’s taping, Lux attacked his new guardians and they gave him up for their own safety."
What was that again? They gave him up FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY...
So are you suggesting that Jackson Galaxy put this cat in a family where he was abused and kicked? Or could it possibly be this cat has major problems?
You know what we do to dogs that repeatedly attack people? We kill them.
Now, I like cats. I have 4 of them. All are fixed, all are indoor only cats. And none of them have ever attacked anyone in my family, and as soon as one did, she would be dead (they are all females).
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 02, 2014:
Thank you Kelly for being one of those rare cat owners that is intelligent enough to realize this article isn't a condemnation of cat ownership, and that domesticated pets can harm humans. It does piss me off that people make light of cat attacks and even go as far as to laugh at injured humans who are victims, or even suggest they deserve it because they gave the animal a funny look.
Kelly on November 02, 2014:
Amazing article. I was recently bitten by my own (6 year old) pet cat, but it was an entirely embarrassing situation; she has a habit of nibbling on the side of my laptop (which I never gave much thought) and in this instance my hand was on the side, slid right up into her path, and she bit down onto my finger. Didn't involve any incisors but her premolars, and yet oh god did it hurt. It was inflamed and swollen almost immediately, and while I was lucky enough to avoid serious infection, it hurt for days thereafter. I've never believed cats were harmless or safe -- I've enough playful-mishap scars on my hands and wrists to prove it -- but it was eye opening to see just how bad a bite can hurt (and one that didn't intend any kind of harm, at that). Very disturbing to see people laughing in some of these videos, particularly when dogs are involved. The video with the Rottweiler was anything but funny.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on September 11, 2014:
Another silly response. Thanks nameless, I don't need to see anymore. Your words are here to verify my accusations against you.
he shall remain nameless on September 11, 2014:
Perhaps it should be pointed out to you that not only do you contradict your own statements and then when challenged, you keep changing your story, but you also fail to read another person's post and continually inject your own, again, contradictory statements.
So, I am "100% stating that"...that's your problem, you assume too much.
You have a twisted version of reality. Just because the majority of mankind have also never been attacked by a cat, does not make cats as "dangerous" as you wrongly perceive. You have no argument, no value, no specific facts to base your twisted opinions about cats to back up your accusations.
You're "not aware of too many other pets, exotic or otherwise that would commit such a (perceived by only you) action"?
Are you freaking kidding? Ever watch the thousands of videos on tv in the last half century and now the advent of youtube? You really need to get out more.
The most dangerous animals on the planet are, wait for it...Humans, and particularly those of your ilk. Monkeys are far kinder than you.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on September 11, 2014:
Ok, so for educational purposes I won't block your comments at this time. Readers should take note that this poster is 100% stating that:
-A 7 month old child provoked a cat, and this was justifiable cause for a cat to attack it.
- Kicking a cat that is attacking a small child will justifiably result in that cat attacking anyone in the house to the point that you need to call emergency services.
-A 'mild mannered' cat can commit these actions
-When a cat is not familiar with a dog, your dog WILL be attacked.
I submit that cats are one of the most dangerous pets you can own. I've never been attacked by an animal like that in my life. Any animal capable of going on a rampage as a 'defense' is dangerous. I'm not aware of too many other pets, exotic or otherwise, that would commit such an action. Maybe monkeys.
he shall remain nameless on September 11, 2014:
Melissa, you have a really bad habit of contradicting yourself in your own statements.
In one sentence you say the cat was provoked, and "behaving aggresively and dangerously". I submit to you, so was the male owner.
How stupid are you really, to believe that small children know how to treat animals correctly? Any animal in the company of a small child is at some form of risk. To say otherwise merly shows YOUR lack of understanding.
As for the videos, so what, it is NATURAL BEHAVIOR for cats to dislike dogs, particularly when they are approached in the manner most dogs approach them - if the cat is not familiar with the dog, of course the cat is going to be defensive, DUH. That does NOT mean the cat is inherently dangerous, aggressive, mean and deserves criticism by dolts like you.
This: "You might want to believe that in order for a cat to do something so scary, that the man must have kicked his cat for no good reason, despite plentiful evidence of the contrary. That is why you'll always be blind to animal behavior and reality."
WHAT evidence, the word of the man who kicked the cat and called 911 and told only his story? Neither you nor the man ever understood the nature of cats, being they don't appreciate being provoked, harmed or KICKED. Another DUH.
I'm sure YOUR dog would never harm a fly. So, that justifies your contempt for anyone and any animal other than yourself and your do? It's quite clear who here doesn't have a clue about animal behavior or reality. Humans abuse animals every day, every single DAY on this planet, but in your narrow minded blathering, it's always the animal's fault because domestic pets shoudn't be trusted.
Right. Can you blame them for not trusting humans?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on September 10, 2014:
My goodness, you are a fool if you think that self-defense consists of relentlessly attacking until your 'aggressor' is locked in the bathroom, calling 911 because they fear for their safety. You are shockingly right about something, we can't know 'for sure' what happened because there is no video documentation.
What we do know is that the man called 911, and unless they were having a laugh and felt the need to humiliate themselves and/or waste the emergency respondent's time, the cat was behaving aggressively and dangerously. A "mild mannered cat" does not do this, period. I don't care if the animal was 100% provoked. None of my pets, including my oh so scary exotic pet (spotted genet), would come CLOSE to forcing me to lock myself in a bathroom. My dog would NEVER do that either. Hence why I wrote this article. This is what makes domesticated animals dangerous when they are attacking. Wild animals RETREAT; some dogs and cats treat humans like they are one of their own species. You said "half of the "terror" incidents" I linked are due to provocation. Maybe you missed the plentiful videos I posted that show no provocation other than a human or dog looking at or walking closely to the animal. So I believe the man when he said the cat attacked his child and he kicked it as a result of that. Your statement "Even after being provoked" sound like you are suggesting that the infant provoked the cat! You are bananas.
You might want to believe that in order for a cat to do something so scary, that the man must have kicked his cat for no good reason, despite plentiful evidence of the contrary. That is why you'll always be blind to animal behavior and reality.
he shall remain nameless on September 10, 2014:
You posted it, you should know what the heck you're rambling about. I am referring to this: "Something prompted a 22 pound Himalayan cat to attack its family's 7 month old child, and after a kick from the child's father, the large feline proceeded to charge the family (including a dog), leaving them stranded in a bedroom."
ONLY THE FAMILY knows what provoked the incident. As often occurs, the truth is never revealed in common news headlines (media doesn't care, we no longer have the investigative journalism we once cherished for the facts).
Btw, Himalyans are among the most mild-mannered, laid-back, docile of all domestic cats. But, that's not going to matter to you because as you know, ANY animal, when provoked, is going to defend him/herself at whatever the cost. Even after being provoked, a human male KICKING a cat did nothing but provoke the cat into a state of fear and protective behavior for it's own life! I guess being around all those docile reptiles, you would not know cat behavior if it bit you in the rear.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on September 10, 2014:
Which videos are you watching nameless? These attacks are not provoked, except for the snow incident, but that aggression occurred because a cat was attacking a dog unprovoked, just as the other videos show. In one of the videos, a cat gets kicked AFTER it has started attacking. Are people supposed to sit there and let animals maul their legs or should they try to stop it? It sounds like you might be one of those people that believes cats have more rights than any other species, including humans. You will not fare well on my articles.
he shall remain nameless on September 10, 2014:
I surmise that half of the "terror" incidents you linked are due to idiot owners who have already provoked their own cats (a child, then the man in the family KICKING the cat, really? And YOU wouldn't fight back to protect yourself?!), and because there are far more idiot owners than are aggressive cats.