We’ve all witnessed it. A cat stares down a bug as his eyes dilate and grow wider by the second.
He remains calm, yet hyper-focused, with a posture that is ready to pounce. He is in “attack mode”.
He’s ready to catch his prey. But what happens if a cat is in “attack mode” and he is looking at you?
Well, I’ve been there. And I am here to help you prepare.
Knowing what to look for whenever a cat is in attack mode is imperative to protect yourself and to prevent a situation from escalating.
By knowing how to read and diffuse a cat’s behavior, avoid situations that can quickly turn aggressive and/or dangerous.
What to do when a cat is in “attack mode”?
When a Cat is in “Attack Mode” stay as calm as you can. Allow the cat to calm or seek another target before moving. Using your hands to hold and press a cat away from you is also advisable. Using a stern voice, shrill noises, unexpected sounds are all reactions that can help when dealing with a cat in attack mode.
How to Tell if a Cat is in “Attack Mode”
In order to prevent or stop a cat from attacking, it is important to understand how cats behave and act in a traditional sense.
A cat that is in attack mode or is gearing up to attack another is most likely to exhibit the following behaviors:
- Eye dilation and widening are extremely common any time a cat is targeting prey or is getting ready to pounce and/or attack.
- A change in posture and positioning is also common when a cat is zoning in on a target.
- Wiggling of the butt while preparing to pounce is more common with a cat who is attempting to play aggressively, rather than one who is planning to attack.
- Growing and/or deep gurgling sounds are sometimes indicative of a cat that is about to attack its prey.
What to do When a Cat Attacks Me While Playing
Sometimes, a cat may become over-stimulated and excited while playing, prompting him to bite or play more aggressively.
When this occurs, your cat may attempt to bite and latch onto your hands, arms, or another area of your body.
Simply going limp, or “play dead” is the most effective method you have at the moment.
By remaining as calm as possible, your cat is much more likely to release the grip he has on you or to loosen it, providing you a means to escape from his clutch.
How to Stop My Cat from Going into Attack Mode While Playing
Like humans, not all cats are the same or have the same type of personality.
When attempting to get your cat to calm down and to stop attacking you or other people, it is important to consider their own personality as well as behaviors that are specific to them personally.
Some cats may respond to being placed in “time outs” in other areas of the home, while others may not understand they are being disciplined at all.
Using a stern voice is one way to begin training your cat to stop their aggressive behaviors in their tracks.
Never use physical discipline when training a cat. Cats will likely respond negatively and aggressively whenever physical violence and/or discipline is present.
How to Physically Stop My Cat in Attack Mode Without Harming Him or Myself
Sometimes, physical intervention is necessary, especially if you are at risk of serious injury or if you are attempting to prevent injury or harm to another animal or person.
When your cat is actively in attack mode, you may need to intervene and use your hands to press against your cat’s back and head.
Using your hands, push the cat’s body and head away from his target to stop the biting and attacking.
It may be possible to grip the upper and lower ends of your cat to maintain more control, especially if he is attempting to bite to attack you in response.
If possible, wear protective gloves and gear before managing a cat that is actively in attack mode.
How to Use Sounds to Scare Away a Cat That is in Attack Mode
One of the best ways to handle a cat that is currently in attack mode or that is gearing up to attack another animal or human is to make shrill, unexpected, sharp sounds.
Cats are extremely hypersensitive to sounds, which is why they often work best to help deter confrontations and/or attacks, regardless of the target as well as the cat’s intentions.
When you are faced with a cat that is already in attack mode or one that is gearing up to attack, try a few of the following sounds:
- A loud and unexpected clap can help to throw off a cat or get them to scurry out of your line of sight.
- A shrill scream and/or screech can startle the cat, causing them to dart away or become distracted from their plan of attack.
- Throwing an object across the room.
- A loud yell can also scare a cat away, although this may not be as surprising or unexpected to them if they are already in attack mode and are waiting for the right moment to pounce.
Frequently Asked Questions about What To Do When a Cat is in “Attack Mode”
What is the best way to get my cat to stop attacking me, even if he is just playing?
Some cats prefer to play more aggressively than others, which may require additional toys and/or solutions. Invest in bigger play toys and toys that incentivize roughhousing with it. Avoid using physical violence or reprimands as this will likely result in even more aggressive behavior.
How can I tell if my cat is playing aggressively or attacking me out of anger?
A cat that is angry will let you know quite definitively. A cat that is playing will wiggle his bottom more, wag his tail, and take breaks in between pounce sessions that are not aggressive. When a cat is attacking due to anger or aggression, it will not stop attacking, even after drawing blood.
Are there warning signs for when a cat goes into “attack mode”?
You may notice your cat’s posture and behavior change when he is getting ready to attack. Odd growls, deep sounds, and pupil dilation are also common indicators that a cat is about to go into attack mode.