How to Handle Territorial Aggression in Cats?

very agressive grey cat

Cats can become very aggressive when their territorial instincts kick in. 

It is important that you know how to deal with this behavior in your cat. There are all sorts of different ways that your cat can act out when they are feeling territorial, so you’ll want to know how to respond.

Your Cat’s Territorial Instincts

The fact is that cats are naturally territorial animals, even more so than dogs. There are some breeds that tend to be more territorial than others, but it is something that all of these animals have in common.

It doesn’t take long for a cat’s territorial instincts to start kicking in from the time they are born. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to properly socialize your kittens. You should make sure they are familiar with lots of different people and environments from the time they are just a few weeks old.

How to Recognize Territorial Aggression in Your Cat

There are a number of different things that cats do when they are acting aggressively out of territorial instincts. This includes doing things like tearing up furniture with their claws, or even lashing out at other pets in the house.

  Why Do Cats Drool When They Are Happy?

Some cats will also urinate on various objects and even people in the house. This is basically your cat’s way of saying “this belongs to me”. This is certainly not a desirable behavior in your pet, and it’s one that you shouldn’t stand for.

When your cat is feeling aggressive, their tail will most likely stiffen be close to the ground. Their legs also tend to stiffen and become very straight. Your cat might have a fixed gaze on you or something else in the home. They may begin to vocalize, emitting a yowling or hissing sound.

Ways of Dealing with Territorial Aggression

You will find that there are numerous methods you can use to deal with your cat’s territorial aggression. It is important that you make a point of exploring your options so you can get the best possible results.

cat is attaking e1583756715305

1. Get a Scratching Post for Your Cat

A scratching post can do wonders when it comes to keeping your cat from destroying your furniture and other things at home due to territorial aggression. You should have at least one scratching post for every couple of cats in the house.

Make sure that you also provide your cats with plenty of toys to play with. It is always better for your cats to take out their aggression on toys rather than other things in your home. You’ll want to give them a variety of toys to play with so they don’t get bored too easily.

2. Do Not Try to Pick Your Cat Up

If you notice that your cat is acting in an aggressive manner, the last thing you want to do is pick them up. While your first instinct might be to scoop your kitty up and try to comfort them, this is a bad idea. You will most likely just get scratched up, so keep this in mind.

  Why Do Cats Purr? 9 Reason & Information

3. Take Your Cat to the Vet

Sometimes territorial aggression in cats can be a sign of a serious health issue. It is important that you get your cat looked at so as to rule this out. There are many different conditions that could be causing this behavior in your pet. Your veterinarian might want to run a variety of tests to determine if there is an underlying medical condition at play.

4. Separate Your Cats

Cats often exhibit territorial aggression when a new kitty is introduced into the home. If you are planning on bringing a new cat home anytime soon, you’ll want to keep them away from the other cats.

It is important that your cats have time to adjust to the new addition so that territorial aggression doesn’t become an issue in the first place. There is no telling how your cat will react to this change, so it is a good idea to do this. It might not be necessary if you have a very friendly cat, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

5. Get Multiple Litter Boxes

If you have more than two cats in the same house, you’ll want to have at least a couple of litter boxes. This can help with preventing territorial aggression. Some cats tend to get territorial and fight over their litter boxes, so this is definitely something to keep in mind.

two cats are fighting

6. Don’t Allow Fighting Between Your Cats

If you notice that your cat is going to fight with another kitty in your home, you’ll want to stop it right away. You can spray the cat that instigated with some water while you pick up the other one and put it in another part of the house for a while.

  Why Do Cats Spray?

7. Look Into Hiring a Professional Trainer

It might be a good idea to hire a professional trainer to get your cat to start behaving. If you want to avoid re-homing your kitty, this is the last resort option to think about. There are a lot of trainers out there, so you’ll want to take a look at your options.


  • Cats naturally have territorial instincts that can sometimes cause them to behave aggressively.
  • If your cat is becoming aggressive due to territorial instincts, they might do things like scratch up the furniture or fight with other cats in the house.
  • Make sure that your cats all have a scratching post and plenty of toys to play with. This is a good way of keeping the nice things in your home from getting shredded.
  • Avoid picking up or trying to physically comfort your cat when it is acting aggressively. This will just end up with you getting scratched.
  • You should also think about taking your cat to the vet to be looked at, as their aggression could be a symptom of a serious illness.
  • If you notice your cat starts to cause trouble for another feline in the house, you should separate them immediately.
Was this article helpful?