When felines fight it can be frightening to witness and dangerous for your animals. Most signs of aggression can be fleeting, especially in specific situations where cats are just starting to get socialized with one another. But if the situation continues to get worse and your cats continue to attack one another, then something must be done to prevent harm or injury.
Pet health matters that involve aggression on the part of one or more animals in the home are very serious and must be addressed quickly. If you are experiencing consistent fighting between one or more of the cats in your home, here are some tips from Wellesley Animal Hospital’s trusted veterinarians to help you broker peace between your pets.
Reasons for Aggression
Cats are territorial creatures by nature and while these animals can easily live in harmony with one another and form long-lasting, loving bonds for life, there could be any number of reasons why they display confrontational behavior. In fact, this is normal for two cats who are just being introduced to one another at first.
Hissing, low growling, even puffy tails are among some of the typical symptoms that you can expect at the time of first introduction and even some subsequent meetings between the two animals. But these actions should subside over time and if they do not, then there may be a variety of factors at play.
Cats who have lived alone for much of their lives without any contact with other cats are more prone to react in the extreme when facing another feline. This is due to the fact that the cat believes the other is an intruder on its well-established territory. The cat simply does not know how to act with others and it’s scared.
Another reason is that the cat just simply doesn’t like the other one. They’re much like us, we get along with certain individuals better than others for whatever reason. If we don’t get along with someone we may choose not to hang out with that person. Cats have the same preference behaviors.
Sometimes two cats who have been good friends for years may suddenly turn on one another due to circumstances in which one cat detects an unpleasant change in the other. It can be a strange scent or a jarring experience that becomes associated with the offending feline. This can be managed and eventually the two cats returned to normal.
If your cats continue to fight with one another do not stand idly by under the impression that the two of them just need to iron out some issues. Fighting in cats is not a method for resolution and the severity of the confrontation will only be exacerbated and continue to escalate.
That’s why it is absolutely imperative for you to intervene should the initial aggression remain unabated or worsen. Step in immediately by shouting and clapping your hands loudly, this will startle the cats and they will most likely run in opposite directions. But that does not mean the conflict is over, if anything it’s a brief cease fire that will certainly end before long.
Intervention is very important but you should also prepare the environment in which they cats live to promote harmony between them. That can mean doing any number of things to make sure their living space has a greater amount of separation.
Give the cats their own separate food, water, and even litter boxes if need be, so there are no reasons present for the cats to compete with one another. You may also want to add some more available elevated seating areas and hiding spots so the cats have a safe space in which to retire and remain separated.
When cats fight they need to feel safe and comfortable but they also need to readjust their moods on their own. Don’t try to comfort or ease a cat that has just been in a fight, although it feels like a compassionate move on your part, your cat may not see it that way and lash out at you if you invade their personal space.
Finally, having your cats spayed or neutered may also be very useful in reducing aggression, particularly among males. If they haven’t been “fixed” yet, they could be displaying their natural tendencies towards other males and this can lead to serious fighting.
As with anything concerning pets, patience and time are often the best prescription for getting through an ordeal, especially one in which acclimation is the goal. Be sure to take your time with your pets and reward them accordingly when they start to demonstrate good behavior. A treat here and there will certainly help your cats learn how to get along.