I read a novel years back about a human serving a predatory alien race. The aliens have an almost uncontrollable temper, and prestige is gained or lost by success in pushing adversaries almost to the brink of lashing out. The human character (ETA: who is a high-ranking slave to one of these aliens) takes risks by playing this game, which his instincts are not well suited to. At one point, his master warns him of the risks he’s taking: he’s not wired to recognize when he’s pushing too hard.
It feels like something by C. J. Cherryh, and it might be, except I can’t find the book again.
(This is not one of the Chanur books about the hani; and it’s not Hestia.)
ETA: I’m pretty sure that both genders are represented among the aliens; if my recollection is correct, this would rule out the kzin.
Second edit: I’d originally written “feline”, but the species is not cat-like, merely predatory.