No need to step into the ring—make sure you know how to break them up properly.
The hissing, the loud cries, and the flying fur—these are just a few of the signs of a knock-down cat brawl. While most of us get a good chuckle from the occasional YouTube video, cat fights in our own homes can be stressful and alarming. Kitty siblings should be able to get along, right? In a perfect feline world, that would be delightful, but in the real world, cats get into scrapes with each other for various reasons.
Good news! We’ve put together a few steps that will help you control over the situation and teach your kitties to get along (or at least tolerate each other in the same space).
Why Don’t My Cats Get Along?
We all know someone we can’t stand. Sometimes there’s a reason, other times, we can’t put our finger on what annoys us about that person. Cats are similar—they can have enemies and frenemies. The reasons may not be the same as humans (Frisky stole my boyfriend!), but there are common causes as to why this might happen.
This occurs when a kitten doesn’t get enough fun, safe interaction with other cats. Kittens that grow up as an “only child” in a household are commonly affected by this. The result is negative behaviors that result from being uncomfortable with the change in routine or a lack of social skills necessary to get along with other felines.
This is my house…all mine! If your cat claims your house as his own, introducing a new kitty to already established territory could make your resident feline angry and upset.
All cats have their own personalities and they may clash. A common example would be an older cat not enjoying the company of a playful, young kitten.
Bad Experiences and Aging:
Things change. As in most friendships, cats that previously got along fine may end up at odds with one another. This can occur if one cat associates an unpleasant or frightening experience with the other cat. As well, it could be the result of attitudes changing as cats mature.
Forms of Aggression
Aggression between cats should actually be expected. For example, a mother cat may be aggressive towards another feline if she’s protecting her kittens. Once the kittens are weaned, this aggression should subside and the friendship will continue as it had in the past.
Playful aggression can also be expected, especially with kittens. As they grow, kittens will play in a manner that mimics a hunt. Other kittens are fair game with it comes to sneak attacks, stalking, and chasing each other. They’ll kick, swat, pounce, bite, and scratch. If they’re playing, you’ll probably notice that they switch roles when it comes to pretending to be the predator and the prey.
How To Stop Your Cats from Fighting
To help your cats get along, try to pinpoint the cause of the conflicts by paying attention to when your cats fight. It’ll help you come up with the best solutions to remedy the problem.
Here are a few tips to employ:
Physical confrontation won't stop the fighting, so try non-direct approaches like clapping your hands, spraying them with water, or scolding them verbally.
Reduce competition by giving each cat his own food and water bowls, beds, toys, perches, litter boxes, etc. These can even be located in different areas of your home to give them space.
Put cats in separate rooms until they get used to each other’s scent again if they used to get along but don’t anymore. Follow the same steps you would practice when introducing a new cat to your feline family.
Allow aggressive cats time to calm down. Reward desirable behavior with treats and praise when your cats are getting along.
To reduce tension, feline pheromone products may help.
Give each cat equal amounts of attention so you don’t neglect one for the other. If one cat has a lot of energy that he takes out on the other cat, give him some extra playtime to redirect that energy in a positive way.
Have all of your cats spayed/neutered.
If you can’t stop cats from fighting, you can ask your vet for advice. Be sure to mention any behavioral or physical changes because they might be symptoms of an underlying condition that needs to be treated.
Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.