Tiger syndrome in cats
Tiger syndrome in cats

Tiger syndrome in cats: explanation, causes and treatment

If the name may make you smile, tiger syndrome is nevertheless a pathology that is not insignificant. In a few seconds, it can turn your adorable cat into a real aggressive and violent predator. What are the causes of this? How can this be remedied? We tell you all about tiger syndrome in cats

What is tiger syndrome in cats?

When a cat that is usually cuddly and sweet suddenly becomes aggressive and violent towards its owner, this behaviour is called tiger syndrome. The animal becomes almost unrecognizable to the point of becoming dangerous. While the causes are diverse, the link with hunger is predominant. Your pet, usually sweet and affectionate, regains its hunting instinct in a few seconds.

This behaviour is not to be taken lightly. The animal is violent and aggressive, it is a source of danger for itself and its master. Indeed, the cat is no longer able to control itself and tends to feign, bite and scratch everything it can achieve.

The consequences can be quite impressive. Some people have had their arms and legs lacerated with claws, or even attacked in the face! However, don’t worry, there are solutions to restore your cat’s good manners and natural tenderness. Tiger syndrome is very easy to treat, just adopt the right actions!

What are the causes of tiger syndrome?

The causes of tiger syndrome are multiple, although dietary factor is generally the most predominant.

Hunger and lack of activity

The first cause of the appearance of tiger syndrome is related to your cat’s diet. Indeed, if the food distribution method you have chosen does not meet his needs or habits, he is at high risk of becoming aggressive. If, on the other hand, this imbalance is associated with a lack of activity, your cat will need to express his frustration through aggressiveness.

The hunter’s instinct is still present in the cat. If it is dormant most of the time – and fortunately for you – it does not prevent the animal, like all cats, from hunting for food and that this activity is a game and a real need to naturally evacuate tensions and nervousness. This factor is accentuated when the cat has not been properly weaned, if it is poorly socialized, if it has not been accustomed to domestic life,…

In any case, the cat needs a healthy and balanced diet, distributed in small quantities throughout the day. While some small cats know how to ration, others swallow the contents of a bowl that is too full at one time. A wrong proportion can disturb your pet.

His normal excitement when filling his bowl can then take on violent proportions. A poorly fed or insufficiently fed cat will develop a feeling of stress and frustration that gradually turns into aggressiveness. Your cat then attacks you on your hands, feet or face

The cat is by nature tolerant towards those who constitute its environment. He expects the same reciprocity from you.

Respect his privacy and leave him alone if he doesn’t want you there. Some events are restrictive and irritating to him, such as bathing, a visit to the vet, taking medication, cutting claws….

Most cats need peace and quiet to recover from the anxiety they have experienced. If you don’t give him this freedom, he may feel irritated and become aggressive.

The fear

If your cat is afraid and unable to escape, he will be aggressive. It is then his only defence against danger. Unable to control himself, he can quickly become violent and attack you.

The game

Gambling is a special category because a cat that chews, scratches or gets nervous when it plays is not necessarily dangerous. He may be brutal, but he doesn’t want to hurt you, he needs to show his pleasure in playing. This pleasure and this manifestation are present from the kitten’s birth, when he plays with his brothers and sisters or with his mother. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be tiger syndrome.

However, it is possible that your cat may be affected, as the game can trigger tiger syndrome. The cat frustrated with being deprived of his toy or so excited by the game that he can no longer control himself can then manifest tiger syndrome. To avoid this development, it is best to get your pet used to enjoying quiet, non-violent games. Don’t let him become aggressive when he plays, because he won’t know where his limits are when he grows up. Biting and scratching you can then become a part of the game for him, without trying to hurt you. However, it can be dangerous to your health. When the game session gets out of hand, try to divert it from you by quickly redirecting it to an object.

read more: Hybrid cats, dangerous pets? the serval cat and savannah cat


What are the possible treatments for tiger syndrome?

Tiger syndrome in cats
Tiger syndrome in cats

Unfortunately, every year, many people abandon their cats because they think they are crazy or too aggressive. It is however quite possible to treat your animal, because tiger syndrome is not incurable! On the other hand, it is necessary to be patient, because the more the evil is installed, the more difficult it is to dislodge. It’s up to you to adopt good practices to heal your little velvet legged companion!

Consult the veterinarian

Your veterinarian can help you identify tiger syndrome. If your cat is aggressive when hungry or in contact with food, or in other factors, he expresses himself through violence. However, it is important to consult the practitioner, as he alone can identify this type of pathology and definitively rule out other causes.

Then, he or she may suggest that you take medication to calm and relieve your pet.

Rebalance your cat’s diet

If your cat is found to have tiger syndrome, change her diet. Try a new brand, of better quality if possible, with different flavours to avoid food boredom. His meal must be balanced.

Also, make sure he always has food available. Stop rationing and split distribution that create frustration. Let him have his food whenever he wants it. He will learn to regulate himself if he doesn’t already know how.

If his previous diet was unbalanced or of poor quality, the veterinarian can prescribe vitamins or food supplements to avoid deficiencies.

Drug treatment

If the change of diet is not enough, a sedative treatment can be prescribed by the veterinarian. This solution will be discussed with the specialist and must remain the last resort.

Play with him!

Take a few minutes every day to play with your cat. You have a lot of choice to occupy it, no need to spend a fortune on it! Devote time to him, this phase of play allows him to evacuate tensions and stress, but also to develop his relationship with you.

Respect his needs

Don’t force your cat, you’ll make him more frustrated. When they are under stress or have just experienced an anxiety-provoking event, leave them alone so that they can calm down alone and at their own pace. Step away and give him some space. When he’s ready to see you, he’ll come to you on his own.


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