Most cat owners have loving affectionate pets that will happily curl up on their lap and play games of chase the string with the kids.

However, occasionally we may find that we're faced with a moggy that scratches, bites and seems unhappy and distrustful in human company.

Although aggression in cats is not as prevalent or as commonly discussed as in dogs, for the owners who have to deal with it, this behaviour can be worrying especially if you have young children in the house.

Therefore, if you do notice that your pet is acting aggressively, it is important to nip this behaviour in the bud before it becomes a serious problem.

Aggression in cats generally comes in two forms - offensive and defensive. Very rarely are cats offensively aggressive but when they are it tends to be a reflection of their hunting instinct, them acting possessive over cat food, or it may even be them just playing too boisterously.

In this situation, it is important to remain calm and controlled and to ignore the 'attack' if possible. Once your moggy learns they will not get a reaction from biting and scratching, they will learn not to treat you as 'prey' and should lose interest in pouncing on humans.

Far more common in cats is the aggressive behaviour they display when they are behaving defensively, which usually occurs when they feel frightened or threatened.

If your cat is a rescue animal or if they have had a bad experience in the past, they may lash out when being handled and resist petting or any human contact

In this case owners will need plenty of patience and understanding to tackle the problem and to remember never to push their pet beyond its limits or force them to be handled if they're nervous.

Find a time when your feline friend seems relaxed and then gently stroke your pet along the top of the head, down the shoulders and along the back, avoiding sensitive areas such as the belly or tail.

If your cat stiffens or hisses, this could be a sign they may react by scratching or biting and it's a good idea to stop any petting for the time being. After a few sessions such as this your cat should begin to relax and trust you, and before long you'll find that any aggressive behaviour ceases.

Written by: Hannah