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Why do cats growl?

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Quick Answer

Growling in a cat is a serious sign of vocal aggression. Cats growl because they are angry, annoyed, scared or exhibiting dominance over another cat, according to the Humane Society of the United States. The growling may be accompanied by hissing or spitting. Attempting to interact with a cat in this bad mood is not a good idea.

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Conflicts that erupt between felines sharing a home may lead to one cat growling menacingly at another cat. A cat wishing to display dominance over a rival feline uses this manner of vocalization as a form of intimidation. Cats can growl at other pets and people too.

Assertive cats are more prone to start conflicts with other cats, according to the Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Medicine. In addition to the growling, they use body language to keep other cats in check. Dominant cats prove their superiority by biting, swatting, marking territory or wrestling with rivals.

Cat conflicts arise out of territorial disputes where one cat sees another as an intruder into its space. The pet owner can monitor these interactions and take steps to ease tensions. About.com Cats suggests that giving the cats additional cat homes, toys and litter boxes is one way to resolve conflicts. Cats displaying bullying behavior should not be rewarded. Instead, an aggressive cat may calm down when lured into another area by the owner using an interactive toy as a distraction. After the cat is relaxed, it can be allowed to interact with other cats in a controlled manner.

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