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C2009-21

Dear Christopher Cat

The other day, a squirrel jumped onto my bird feeder. I knocked on the window and yelled, “Get! Get! Get!” Immediately, my cat, Bart, attacked me and bit my hand. What was that all about?

Christopher Responds

It sounds like Bart was ready to battle the squirrel for you – or even attack the birds -– but you were closer, so he bit you instead.

His behavior is called redirected aggression, and I confess I’ve been guilty of it, too.

To prevent the problem in the future, stay away from Bart when prey is nearby, even when it’s outside the window. Birds and rodents arouse our killer instincts, even when they’re on the other side of the window pane.

 

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