Whether it’s an adorable baby kitten or a goofy little dog, everyone loves kittens and puppies. But the cute factor can often be too much of a good thing, leading to some not-so-cute moments with our furry friends. Find out why this is so and what we should do about it!

“Cute aggression symptoms” are common in kittens. They can include playing too roughly, biting, or running away from you. These behaviors are natural and should not be seen as a threat to your kitten’s safety. Read more in detail here: cute aggression symptoms.

Adorable aggression. With the growth of social media—namely, the never-ending availability to photographs and videos of kittens, infants, and other lovely things—this apparently contradictory word has gained popularity in recent years. It turns out that cute hostility isn’t anything to be afraid of. See why in the video below!

three kittens on blue jeans - what is cute aggressionUnsplash photo by The Lucky Neko

So, what exactly does cute aggressiveness entail?

Have you ever discovered your cat lounging comfortably on the sofa and felt compelled to smother her in love, almost crushing her? Or have you ever walked by a kid in a stroller and been compelled to touch his big cheeks? Or even yelled out loud when seeing a video of cuddling pups, “So cute I could devour them!” 

That is charming aggression, my friends.

black lab puppy - what is cute aggressionUnsplash photo by Nathanial Bowman

Observations on behavior

Cute aggressiveness was initially discovered in a Yale University behavioral research in 2015, however it was referred to as dimorphous manifestations of positive emotion at the time. The journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience reported research on “cute aggression,” which was characterized as “the impulse to squeeze, crush, or bite adorable objects, yet without any wish to inflict damage.”

Cute aggressiveness seems to be an uncontrollable reaction to being overcome by a pleasant sensation.

The electrical activity in the brains of 54 young people was monitored in a 2018 study while they gazed at photographs of animals (babies and adults) and human infants with varied degrees of attractiveness. Participants completed a survey on their thoughts of caring for others after each series of photos. The findings revealed that “cute aggression” erupted when the brain’s reward system was overloaded after seeing photos of newborns and pups with wide eyes and plump cheeks, which people equate with cuteness.

Cute aggression’s (abnormal) signs

If you’ve ever seen anything so adorable that it made you want to burst, you may have observed the following symptoms:

  • Jaw clenched
  • Teeth that are gritted
  • fists clenched
  • Pinching
  • Squeezing 

These signs and symptoms might be perplexing and even scary. The crucial thing to remember is that you don’t truly want to hurt the adorable creature. So, why am I feeling this way? Continue reading to learn more!

baby with black hair on soft blanket - what is cute aggressionUnsplash photo by Minnie Zhou

Why is it OK to be a cute aggressor?

Scientists believe that the intense emotions connected with charming aggressiveness have a function. In essence, these “aggressive” negative thoughts demand something from us: they remind us that no matter how charming newborns, puppies, and kittens are, we can’t afford to be entranced by their attractiveness for very long. This is due to the fact that newborns (and orphaned baby animals) rely on humans for care. 

“A newborn can’t live alone,” says lead researcher and University of California professor Katherine Stavropoulos, “but if you’re so overwhelmed by how lovely it is and how much you love it, then you can’t take care of it, and that kid won’t survive.” 

The findings of the research back up this theory, since participant questionnaires revealed that an aggressive response was “heavily associated to experiencing a caretaking need for a cute creature.”

Taking care of kittens is a good example.

If kittens are the source of your charming aggressiveness, it’s only natural that you want to take care of them. Let’s go over some kitten care suggestions now, whether you encounter a stray kitten outdoors or are thinking about becoming a foster parent.

  • If you have a sick or wounded kitten that need quick attention, take them to the closest emergency veterinarian immediately away.
  • Provide a kitten-proof place that is separated from other animals at home. A heating pad set on low should be placed in this region, with a soft blanket covering it entirely. Also, make sure they have a comfortable blanket to rest on that isn’t directly on the heating pad. (They’ll be able to get away from the heat source this way.)
  • Put the kittens on a regular feeding schedule if they seem to be in good health. Kittens without a mother that are 0-4 weeks old will need to be bottle fed with a kitten formula (never feed a kitten cow’s milk—it is very harmful!). They can consume a mix of formula and wet kitten food around the age of 4-5 weeks. Wet kitten food is typically safe for kittens aged 5 to 6 weeks.
  • Kittens under the age of three weeks need assistance with peeing and defecating. Use a moist, somewhat rough terrycloth washcloth to massage the anus and urine openings after each meal.
  • Kittens older than 3 weeks should be put in the litter box straight soon so they learn where to go to the toilet. (When dealing with young kittens, use a non-clumping litter.) It is safer for them in the event of an accident.)
  • When kittens reach the age of six weeks, they should begin receiving immunizations as well as other required tests and treatments, including as deworming. 
  • Kittens should be spayed or neutered at the age of two months and two pounds.  

It takes a community to raise a child

Still believe it’s strange that you have a soft spot for a random baby, cat, or other fragile creature? You must not do so. The sensation is an evolutionary reaction to caretaking, according to the researchers. For many centuries, baby care was not just the responsibility of the mother and father; it often occurred in huge groups, frequently in intergenerational and communal contexts. 

So the next time someone accuses you of being strange for displaying charming hostility, you can explain that you’re just an evolved, outstanding caregiver!

Sources:

Unsplash user Helena Lopes provided the cover picture.

orange kitten with tail held high walking through grass - what is cute aggression?

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This is a question about whether or not you feel aggression towards kittens. If you do, it’s okay! We all have feelings and the emotions we experience are valid. Reference: cute aggression biting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal to want to bite cats?

A: I am not a psychologist, so there is no way for me to answer this question.

Why do I feel aggressive towards cute things?

A: This may be caused by a type of parasomnia called bruxism. Bruxism is when your teeth grind or clench involuntarily and it can also cause damage to the teeth, jawbone, and ligaments in your face. It tends to occur during sleep because people are more relaxed; however, many don’t realize they have this condition until their partner complains about its effects on their relationship

Why do I want to squeeze kittens?

A: Squeezing kittens is not a recommended activity, unless you want to make your fingers feel like they are going through hell.

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