Identifying And Handling Persian Cat Aggression

Many owners don’t know which way to turn when their previously gentle and docile natured Persian cat starts to become aggressive towards them.

Whilst Persian cat aggression might not be a standard trait of the breed, it definitely does occur, and must never be ignored. There are a few simple, yet effective actions that owners can undertake, to counteract this unwanted behavioral trait.

Stress is a major cause of Persian cat aggression. Owners should pay particular attention to their cat’s emotional welfare if they are experiencing major changes at home i.e. house move or new baby. Territory battles with other cats, health issues, and lack of socialization whilst a kitten, are also common triggers of Persian cat aggression.

Determining the exact reason why your Persian cat has started showing signs of aggression can be challenging. Therefore, in this article, I share with you how we have handled our Persian cats occasional bouts of Persian cat aggression. Implementing these strategies has enabled our entire family and Persian cat to grow and mature since we have learned to recognize each other’s individual quirks better.

What Causes Persian Cat Aggression?

What Causes Persian Cat Aggression?

Persian cat aggression should never be ignored. Owners should identify the root cause, then implement the appropriate strategy to limit future aggressive Persian cat behavior:

  • Check their physical needs are met e.g. food, water
  • Veterinary health check
  • Increase cats space i.e. extra rooms or cat towers to climb
  • Give Persian cat more attention
  • Gradually socialize cat
  • Introduce family pets gradually
  • Set aside separate space for maternal Persian cat
  • Use pheromone plugins
  • Limit playtime
  • Use chewable cat toys
  • Neuter or spay cat
  • Reduce Petting
  • Never reward bad behavior
  • Be aware of cats body language
  • Time out e.g. ignore the cat
  • Be consistent
  • Display your dominance e.g. hiss back!
  • Avoid touching sensitive areas of cat, unless necessary

Persian cats are renowned across the world for their gentle, docile, and affectionate temperament. In fact, Persian cats are often considered to be a great starter cat breed for individuals who have never owned a cat before, since their dog-like personality and laid-back temperament make them ideal first pets.

Whilst most other cat breeds are phased by loud noise, are antisocial, and give attention to owners on their own terms, the Persian cat is the complete polar opposite. In fact, many owners report that owning a Persian cat is more like owning a dog since they are extremely loyal, trainable, loving, sociable, gentle, and tolerant of young children.

So what happens when everything changes and your previously gentle cat starts displaying signs of Persian cat aggression? This can often take loving owners by surprise, since to them the behavior appears unwarranted, and mean. But is it?

In the case of a Persian cat, there is almost always a reason why a display of Persian cat aggression has occurred. At this point, therefore, it is simply a matter of owners determining the root cause, then implementing certain coping strategies to manage their aggressive Persian cat.

To limit acts of Persian cat aggression in the future, owners will also need to learn their own Persian cats individual, yet subtle cues that they are not happy, or are getting annoyed. Failure to spot these subtle signs will inevitably lead to more Persian cat aggression.

Check out the table below to see the root causes that lead a Persian cat to start acting in an aggressive way, towards their owners:

Root CauseDescription
PainA cat suffering from pain are more prone to Persian cat aggression
Sensitive Body AreasMost cats dislike certain areas of their body being touched e.g. their bottom
Physical NeedsPhysical needs not met, e.g. hunger, and thirst
Health IssuesUnderlying health issues can change Persian cats temperament
DominanceMore prone to male Persian cats, wishing to show their dominance
StressCats experience stress easily e.g. house move
Defense MechanismPersian cat acts aggressively when feeling threatened
OverpettingOverstimulation can result in a Persian cat biting its owner
Limited SpaceYour large cat needs more space. More common when sharing with other household pets
Lack Of SocialisationPersian cat was not socialized adequately whilst they were a kitten
Other Family PetsFeline aggression as a result of multiple household pets, and failed integration
Maternal InstinctPregnant Persian cats, or those that have given birth recently tend will be defensive of offspring
Family TensionsFelines pick up on animosity within a household e.g. arguments
TerritoryNew cat or dog might be challenging your Persian cats defined territory
LonelyPersian cats are extremely sociable, therefore lonely feline might become aggressive towards the owner
BoredomBored Persian cats tend to be destructive, or aggressive to get attention
Mental Health IssuesUnderlying feline mental health issues
Causes Of Persian Cat Aggression

In order to start handling Persian cat aggression, owners need to take time out to assess what the root cause of the issue is. For some owners this will not be too difficult, since they will quickly spot a logical link that identifies why they are now witnessing aggressive Persian cat behaviour.

Unfortunately, the root cause might not always be so clear. In cases such as this, owners should read through the descriptions of each cause below, then implement each handling strategy one by one, to rule out each possible cause.


Not all feline health issues are immediately visible by the naked eye, and it’s not like your beloved Persian cat will be able to sit down next to you and explain what their issue is! Therefore, if an owner notices that their usually loving and affectionate Persian cat has become aggressive overnight, this might be the result of your Persian experiencing pain.

Cats can easily become injured without their owners knowledge, therefore owners should always be alert to changes in their cats behaviour and mannerisms. If you suspect an issue, follow our 4 step process:

  • Check the cat for signs of injury: e.g. scratches, blood, bites, visible limp
  • Gently stroke cats body: Watch cat for unexpected movements, pain
  • Behavioral changes: e.g. cat dropping food might indicate gum pain
  • Veterinary Professional: Ask a vet to assess cats health

2.Sensitive Body Areas

Persian cat aggression can often occur when an owner touches areas on a cat’s body, where they don’t like to be stroked. It is therefore important that owners are aware of their Persian cats body language, and quickly learn where they can stroke their feline companion, and where they cannot.

If you stumble upon an ‘untouchable’ part of your Persian’s body, make sure that you remember this and never touch them there again, unless absolutely necessary.

For example, many cats do not like to be stroked or brushed around their bottoms, even if they do have some knotted or matted fur that needs to be removed. Brushing in sensitive areas requires a cat to be completely trusting of its owner. Trust is unlikely if your Persian has previously been smacked, or in a catfight.

3.Physical Needs

One of the most basic things to check for if your notice your Persian cat starting to act aggressively towards you, is that their basic needs are met i.e. they have enough food and water. It might seem somewhat counterintuitive that a cat will bite their owner’s hand or leg because they are hungry, however, realistically speaking a Persian cats gentle biting, chirps and trills are the only method this breed have to indicate they want something.

4.Health Issues

Despite being a very hardy cat breed, Persian cats are still prone to developing a number of different health issues that may alter this breed’s usually laid-back temperament.

Biting and general Persian cat aggression might therefore be in response to an underlying health issue that has not yet been identified. Owners should therefore seek professional veterinary assistance, to rule out any possible health issues that could be affecting their Persian cat.


Whilst cat dominance is usually a behavioral trait reserved for other cats or dog breeds, Persian cat aggression will sometimes be directed towards the owner.

It is more common in male Persian cats than the female of the species though. In cases such as this, owners need to immediately address the issue so that the problem does not develop, become habitual, and your Persian cats way of communicating with their owner.

Below are some examples of where a Persian cat might try to exert their dominance over their owner:

  • The owner intervenes during the catfight.
  • The owner tries to discipline cats e.g. hitting, or smacking them.
  • Persian cat wants to exert their dominance

Owners wishing to take control of the situation immediately should assert their dominance so that their cat knows the owner is the top of the pack (like a dog pack order). Failure to do this will teach the Persian cat that aggressive behavior is acceptable, and gets them what they want. They will then be repeatedly aggressive, whenever they want something.

Examples of how an owner can display their dominance:

  • If your Persian cat hisses at you aggressively (rather than just through general irritation over being moved from their comfy spot), make sure that you hiss back. Never hit your Persian.
  • Immediately stop playing with your Persian, and say ‘no’ firmly.
  • Never reward bad behavior, instead, stand firm and refuse cat treats if your Persian acts aggressively towards you.


Whilst our feline friends might appear to have the easiest, leisurely and attractive lifestyles possible, their happy equilibrium can easily be impacted. Whereas some cats take a change in their stride, others become stress by changes in their lives.

Stressed Persian cats will act more irrationally and unpredictably, than contented cats. Owners should therefore take a look at their own lives to determine if there have been any minor or major changes that may have emotionally impacted their Persian cat.

Here are a few examples of minor/major changes:

  • Death of another household pet
  • The owner has spent less time with the cat
  • Dietary change
  • Moving home
  • New family member
  • New household pet
  • More visitors to the home

7.Defence Mechanism

There are a large number of reasons why a Persian cats defense mechanism might be triggered, however, in general, Persian cat aggression is reserved for when a cat feels threatened. Owners should therefore never hit their Persian cat in an attempt to discipline them, nor aggressively shout at them.

If you notice that your once loving feline companion has turned into an aggressive Persian cat, check to make sure that you are not causing this behavioral change. To do this, consider the following questions:

  • Have you acted aggressively towards the cat?
  • Are you short-tempered lately?
  • Have you changed your perfume? Maybe your Persian cat dislikes the new scent!
  • Did the Persian cat aggression occur after a certain event? i.e you tried to discipline your Persian by smacking them?
  • Do you keep moving your Persian when they are comfortably sleeping?
  • Have you started shouting at your Persian cat?

Those of you that can identify a change in your own behavior will be able to reverse your recent behaviors, therefore reversing the Persian cat aggression issue quickly.


Persian cats are extremely sociable and love nothing more than their human owners stroking them. As you stroke their forehead, they lean their head backward in complete enjoyment, making the cutest facial expressions ever! They also like to purr loudly, vocally displaying their pleasure and satisfaction from being petted.

There is a fine line to tread between petting and over petting though. This is because petting stimulates the cat’s senses, and too much petting can result in an overstimulated Persian cat. Overstimulation can be painful and discomforting for a cat, which leads them to show signs of unexpected Persian cat aggression, such as biting and scratching.

Each individual Persian cat displays their own unique signs and signals that owners can look out for, to ascertain when petting has moved into over petting. Practice identifying these signs in your Persian cat, paying close attention to their body language, as this will help to reduce aggressive Persian cat behavioral traits moving forwards.

9.Limited Space

Cats need a certain amount of space to live, exercise, feed, and consider their own. Once they have established their territory, most will then passionately defend this space from other cats, and dogs, etc.

Whilst this particular cat breed might be very laid back and good with other pets they still require their own space to remain happy and contented. Therefore, if a Persian cat is forced to live in a small confined environment a Persian cat attack is potentially inevitable, particularly if they are sharing this small space with other pets.

Signs of Persian cat aggression due to limited space might appear in the following scenarios:

  • Persian cat has to share space with other household pets.
  • Cats share litter tray, scratching post, cat tower, food, and water.
  • The owner closes off parts of the house, limiting cats roaming space.
  • Limited space within the home
  • No access to the outside world i.e. a garden to play in

If space is your issue, then it is important for an owner to find new ways for your Persian cat to explore the home in which they live. For example, you could purchase an extra tall cat tower that has multiple levels. Large cat towers offer your Persian cat additional freedom and space, for them to retreat to if they feel stressed or spatially threatened.

Be aware though, that most standard cat towers just aren’t suitable for your Persian cat, since they will quickly grow too big to use it. Therefore, buy with care, and make sure all hammock seats and resting platforms are extra-large.

For those of you that are a little lost regarding which cat tree would be best, here are some great cat trees that your Persian cat would love:

Multi-level Cat Tree With Sisal-Covered Scratching Post

  • Large levels where Persian cat can rest
  • Big hammock for a large cat to sit-in
  • Study and safe cat tower
  • 63 inches tall

XXL Large Cat Tree

  • Seriously study cat tree
  • XXL seat for Persian cats to settle on
  • Look how small that lady looks versus the cat tree!
  • Scratching post built-in
  • The sturdy rope that cat can play with

10.Lack Of Socialisation

It is vital that all Persian cat kittens are sufficiently socialized whilst they are still small, to prevent owners from experiencing Persian cat aggression in the later years. Whilst this process might begin with the breeder, it is then the owner’s responsibility to continue socializing their individual Persian cat kitten.

Never put this task off until another day, since the days, weeks and months will quickly pass and the potential issues will grow because older Persian cats (particularly the males) are harder to train out of negative behavior traits.

The socialisation process involves:

  • Regular playtime with humans.
  • Opportunities to interact with other household pets.
  • The owner teaches the kitten which behaviors are allowed e.g. kittens should be discouraged from biting owners. As part of this conditioning phase, owners must firmly say ‘no’ when a kitten misbehaves, as this will gradually teach them the household rules.
  • Show kitten an alternative. e.g. if your kitten scratches the sofa, owners should firmly say ‘no’, before picking them up and putting them next to the scratching post which they are permitted to scratch on.

If your older Persian cat displays aggressive behavior towards you, it is potentially due to their lack of socialization whilst little. Whilst there is no immediate fix for this problem, owners can still try to implement the socialization process, by encouraging their Persian cat to chew or bite on one of these chewable cat toys, rather than biting.

one of these chewable cat toys

Additionally, owners can spend more time with their pets in an attempt to improve the bond they share with their feline friends.

11.Other Family Pets

When you are a massive animal lover, you cannot help but fill your house with as many different pets as possible. Whilst this might be your dream, it’s not necessarily a viewpoint that your Persian shares!

Owners should therefore assess the relationship between their Persian cat, and the other pets within a household, to determine if there are any notable issues between the different pets. If you notice visible friction, then your Persian cat might be more aggressive than normal, which could lead to Persian cat aggression towards an owner.

Many owners report that these cat pheromone plug-in diffusers have helped calm their pets, so why not try a few in your home and see if this improves the tension between your pets.

Thankfully though, the Persian cat breed is known for being very friendly and sociable with other cats, or other family pets. Therefore, the chances of experiencing Persian cat aggression due to this factor, are reduced. However, it would definitely be foolhardy to rule this issue out completely.

12.Maternal Instinct

If you have noticed that your female Persian cat has become aggressive overnight, ask your vet to check if your Persian is pregnant! Whilst this assessment is only necessary for owners that have not spayed their female Persian cat, it definitely is worth checking.

Pregnant Persian cats, or those cats that have recently given birth are often found to be considerably more defensive of their offspring. Therefore, any Persian cat aggression you witness might simply be linked to your Persian’s maternal instinct. In scenarios such as this, make sure that your Persian cat has plenty of space that she can regard as her own territory.

13.Family Tensions

You might be surprised to learn that your feline friends are very in tune with the family dynamic. They are affected by changes occurring in the family, whether you realize it or not. Therefore, if family tensions are rising, keep in mind that any new Persian cat aggression you are witnessing is likely to be directly linked to the high emotions flooding your house.

Family tensions are likely to impact the male and female of the species differently. This is because the male Persian cat likes to bond closely with one key owner, whereas the female tends to share their love around the whole family. Therefore, any animosity or family tensions directed at the key owner might result in male Persian cat aggression, towards the individual threatening the owner.

Finally, if you feel that your Persian cats recent aggressive behavior towards you might be down to family tensions, make sure you spend more time with them to stabilize the owner/pet bond. This is important since your Persian needs to feel love and affection from their family, to keep them calm, happy, and content.


All felines need an adequate amount of space, that they consider their own. This is known as their ‘territory’.

Whilst Persian cats are well known for being a naturally laid back and friendly cat breed, able to get on well with other pets, there is always the possibility that introducing a new pet into the household might lead to displays of Persian cat aggression.

Therefore, if you are planning on getting a new pet for your home you must consider carefully how the needs of the other pets are met first.


Persian cats are a very sociable cat breed, who like to spend the majority of their time in their owner’s company. They do not like to be alone and will happily follow their owner around the house, even if they are simply going to the toilet!! (click here to read my article on this).

This loving cat breed is suited to families that spend considerable amounts of time at home. Individuals who work from home are ideally suited to owning Persian cat since these Persian cats never get lonely.

In reality, though, most people have to work. Therefore, if you think your regular absence from home is causing Persian cat aggression in your feline friend, consider purchasing another Persian cat to keep them company. Yes, this is a seriously expensive option, however a lonely Persian cat can quickly suffer from mental health issues if left on their own for too long.


Persian cats are highly intelligent and need daily mental stimulation, and exercise to keep them fit and healthy (approximately 20-30 minutes per day). Failure to get these basic requirements will result in a bored Persian cat, which may become both destructive and aggressive towards its owner.

17.Mental Health Issues

Whilst Persian cats are well known for being one of the more hardy cat breeds, they are prone to developing mental health issues if they feel:

  • Lonely
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Sickness

Owners should be alert to changes in their Persian cat, since undetected health issues are known to impact a cat’s personality and mental health. For instance, if your Persian cat has hurt themselves, they may display signs of Persian cat aggression towards an owner that unknowingly touches an area on their body that is painful.


Whilst the Persian cat is usually known for its overly affectionate personality, and gentle laid back temperament, there are a number of factors that cause Persian cat aggression to be triggered.

Owners should never ignore aggressive behavior in their cats since this is a clear signal that there is an issue. A cat in ‘fighting mode’ can also cause considerable amounts of harm to you, from its claws and sharp teeth. Therefore, the sooner the owner identifies the problem, the better!

Finally, always remain consistent and firm in your actions so that your Persian cat is able to quickly learn the household rules.

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