Part 1 Of 2:introducing A Dog And Cat For The First Time
Part 2 Of 3:adjusting The Living Environment
What Not To Do When Cats Are Fighting
When youre trying to help your cats get along, its important to pay attention to whether theyre playing or really fighting. If the fight is real, you want to break it up and respond appropriately afterward.
- Dont let them fight it out. If its a real fight, never let your cats fight it out. Cats dont solve disagreements with aggressiveness. You dont want to get in the middle of two fighting cats, so try to distract them instead, with a loud noise or sudden movement to break their concentration on their fight.
- Dont punish your cat. Never punish your cat for aggressive behavior toward another cat. Punishment can make fearful or aggressive behaviors worse.
- Dont reassure them. In that same vein, dont try to calm or soothe your aggressive cat. Instead, give them space.
Did Your Cats Choose To Live Together
No, you made that choice for them. And since cats are so individual, it can be hard to know how its going to turn out when you bring home a new cat. Thats why slow, gradual introductions are so important to have the best chance for success. Even if your cat and/or the new cat has done well with cats in the past, that doesnt mean they will do well together, unfortunately.
Watch For Body Posture
Watch carefully for body posture or body language in dogs that indicate defensive or aggressive behaviour, including teeth baring, staring, stiff tail, ears forward, hair raised on the dogs back and etc. If you see these signs on the dogs during the interaction, intervene the interaction and separate them immediately or you will get yourself in trouble. You can only allow them to interact again after they are calm and relaxed. Watch for the body posture changes to decide whether they are calm or not.
Image credit: Lili Chin
Separating Your Cats Can Reduce Their Agitation
First, we had to separate the cats into two different rooms, because we didnt want to risk injury to either cat. As Dr. Koski suggests keep your cats separated with a gate meant for babies or pets.
We found worked well for our cats and kids for years. Of course, if you need a gate thats higher because you have a leaper, a can be a great choice.
Trust me, they won’t get through and it’s tough to jump over . However, we had to ditch the gate plan, because our kids are younger and not very reliable to keep them shut.
We are fortunate to have an upstairs and downstairs, so each cat has their own level with all the amenities they would need. Whats good about this separation is that you can monitor if your cat is not eating, how much water they are consuming and any bathroom habits. This is important, because there may be a medical reason behind this sudden change in behavior, for at least one of the cats.
Why Having Littermates Is So Important During Kittenhood
The early interactions between kittens and their mom are vitally important for the development of learning abilities, social skills and personalities of the kittens. It is a common misconception that kittens are ready to be separated from their mom and littermates as soon as they are weaned and start eating on their own .
The truth is, however, that it is generally recommended to keep the kittens with their littermates for at least 12 weeks. The first 7 weeks of kittenhood are marked as the period of socialization and it is during this period when the kittens start grooming each other and interacting. But the period between the 7th and 14th week is the most active play period, and this is when the kittens start more actively interacting.
Kittens observe their mom and siblings and start playing with objects and animals around them. Through this play, they practice their physical coordination and social skills. They chase each other, pounce, ambush, leap, hug and lick. They behind scooping, tossing, pawing and holding objects. This is the crucial learning period when the kittens are learning how to be a cat and when they’re exploring the ranking process .
How To Help Cats Get Along Together
Also when there are signs of conflict or tension between your cats, it will not resolve with time.
You need to act now as cats do not reconcile after conflict. Essentially cats find it hard to forgive and forget.
Using FELIWAY Optimum will help your cats get along and live together in harmony. Use several diffusers if cats use different rooms.
See our article on the 7 tips to help cats get along together.
Caution When Introducing Cats
Watch for bullying, sometimes one cat will not let the other one through a door, or have access to the food bowl. You may see them swatting or hissing when the other cat tries to go to the food bowl. Watch for signs one cat is avoiding areas. If you think shes being bullied make sure she has her own space and things like bed, litter box, food bowl.
Never punish either cat if they show aggression. If you see, signs of aggression go back a few steps. Scent swap for a few days and start visual contact slowly again.
Introduce Your Cat To The New Kitten
When you bring your kitten home, allow your cat to sniff it while the kitten is in a carrier or your arms. Go directly to the room previously designated and set up for your new kitten and allow the kitten to explore. The litter box, food bowls, bed, and some toys should all be easily accessible. Do not let your older cat have unsupervised access to the kitten.
At night, when you are not home, and whenever you are unable to supervise the kitten and your older cat, keep the kitten in its designated room with the door closed. As your cat gets curious, it may stick its paw under the door, sniff under the door, and listen to the kitten. Do this for about a week, depending on how your cat is acting with the changes. Dont forget to provide a lot of attention to your older cat after playing with your kitten. Itll need your attention and support and the scent of the kitten on your clothing will help it get used to the newcomer.
Part 3 Of 3:dealing With Conflicts
How To Introduce Or Reintroduce An Old Cat To A New Kitten/cat
These tips can be used to introduce two cats when one is aggressive or to introduce two aggressive cats. You can also use this method to reintroduce cats that suddenly aren’t getting along anymore.
How To Train Your Older Cat To Accept A Kitten
Adrienne Kruzer, BS, RVT, LVT, has worked with a variety of animals for over 15 years, including birds of prey, reptiles, and small mammals.
Many cat owners do not realize their friendly, single adult cats may have trouble getting along with a new kitten. A new kitten is typically eager to make friends, but the older cats in the household may want nothing to do with the younger one. Often times the older cats will appear sad, reclusive, hiss a lot, and sometimes even stop eating if it isn’t adjusting well to the new member of the family. These behaviors are because cats do not like change, especially when it involves their established territory. Introducing a kitten to an adult cat can cause a lot of stress in your household, but there are some things you can do to help make the introduction go more smoothly.
Preparation is the key to a successful introduction of a new kitten to your older cat. If you prepare your cat for the new arrival and make the changes seem less drastic, then it is more likely to adapt to its new roommate. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for this adjustment with these steps.
#3 Eliminate The Need To Compete
Your cats are more likely to get along if they dont feel they have to compete over resources.
Thats why you should provide each cat with separate food/water bowls, a cat bed, toys, scratching posts, etc.
Dont allow your new cat to use your other cats possessions! It might make your resident cat protective, territorial, and even aggressive.
Cats also shouldnt have to. It increases your cats stress levels and the likelihood of accidents in the house.
You need at least two litter boxes, preferably three, to ensure that your cats have a place to do their business.
If you have more than two cats, youll need to purchase enough supplies for all cats plus some extra to avoid resource guarding.
Types And Causes Of Feline Aggression
If theres no medical reason for your cat acting aggressively, one of the following could be in play:
Fear aggression. Fear aggression may occur in situations that make your cat feel threatened or trapped. If your cat feels afraid, they may act in aggressive ways to defend themselves.
Maternal aggression. Maternal aggression may happen when an animal or person approaches a mother cat and her kittens. The mother cat may growl or hiss, swat at, chase, or even try to bite another cat who gets too close, even if they typically get along. Maternal aggression usually goes away after the kittens are weaned from nursing. If a female cat is maternally aggressive, consider spay to prevent any more litters.
Play aggression. All feline play consists of mock aggression, so rough play is nothing out of the ordinary. Cats may stalk, chase, swipe, sneak, pounce, kick, ambush, and even scratch or bite each other during play. However, play can lead to overstimulation, which can escalate to aggression. This commonly happens between cats with a significant age difference.
Territorial aggression. All animals can be territorial, and cats are no exception. When cats perceive their territory is being encroached upon, they may hiss, swat, growl, and even stalk and/or chase the intruder whether thats another cat or a person.
Keeping The Peace Between Cats
To prevent future disputes, make sure each cat has her own cat bowl for food and water, play space, and cat litter box. Both doctors also recommend having an extra litter box, just in case.
Cats like to climb, McMillan says, so give each cat her own cat perch where she knows she can get away from the other if needed. The most comforting thing for any animal is to be able to seek out your own safe haven when things aren’t going well, he says.
Pheromone dispensers may also help relax anxious cats. Both doctors say theyve also seen positive results with nutraceuticals, though they recommend talking to your vet first. You want to make sure these products wont interact negatively with any medications your cat is prescribed. Your vet may also recommend anti-anxiety drugs to help preserve the peace.
Remember: some cats may never get along. But hopefully, you can get to the point where they at least tolerate each other. Living in peace is the goal, McMillan says. They may not like each other, but they can at least live together and not cause problems.
Competition For Social Ranking
If your cats are still in the getting-to-know-each-other phase and are doing the kind of play fighting described above, dont worry. Theyre probably battling for the alpha cat position in the household.
This happened with my two cats after they met. The play fighting went on for about two or three months. They had a good fight almost every day. Gradually, that tapered off, and they began getting along much better.
Solution: If you suspect thats whats going on with your cats, then just let them get it out of their system.
“Don’t mess with me!”
Your Turn: Advice For Encouraging Cats To Get Along
Now Id like to take to the comments and leave tips and advice for pet parents whose cats are not getting along.
Has this ever happened to you before? Did your cats ever get along? What did you try? What do you wish you tried? Please share your story.
Any thoughts you have on this topic please leave down below! You absolutely would be helping so many pet parents out if they stumble across your comment.
Dig KittyClysm? Check out all the other blogs I pen & photograph.
Elises Favourite Tip
One of the most frustrating problems Ive had to deal with as a pet parent is staying on top of my cats desire to play. While this is typically hard to do, toys like these that allow cats to play by themselves make the job one heck of a lot easier.
The hits in my household are ridiculously affordable: , ball track toys, &kick sticks. I have a slew scattered around the house, so when my cats get bored, even if Im busy or not even home, my furries are able to actively play.
After The Introductions Have Been Made
Whether you just introduced a new cat or you’re trying to get two cats you’ve had for a while to get along, here are some tips that might help:
- Cats Like Their Own Spaces And Their Own Stuff: Try having two of everything including food and water bowls, litter boxes , beds, etc… If they have their own, they won’t have to fight over them. Also, don’t force them to be in the same space. Let them come and go and be sure that each has a favorite comfy spot where they can steal away for a catnap.
- Ease Congestion: Are there spaces in your home where your cats tend to bump into each other and get into a tiff? If so, add kitty walkways or tubes along the walls to avoid that situation.
- Lots Of Playtime: Spend time playing with your cats to burn off energy and relieve stress. Playtime should be separate until they are getting along and then you can play with both cats together.Some cats take monthsor even longerto warm up to each other, so be patient. Even if they’ll never be best friends, most cats will at least learn to tolerate each other.
How To Make A Cat And Dog Get Along
This article was co-authored by Dominik Feichtner. Dominik Feichtner is a Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviorist and the Owner of The Dog Behaviorist NYC out of New York, New York. With over eight years of experience working with dogs, Dominik specializes in general obedience, behavior modification, and puppy training. His commitment to a balanced, common-sense approach led to his recognition as one of the Best Dog Trainers in Brooklyn and one of the Best Dog Trainers in NYC by Pooch and Harmony in 2020.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 25 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 935,565 times.
Thinking of getting a dog but afraid your cat won’t like it? Have a cat and a dog but the two just won’t stop fighting? While many cats and dogs don’t get along right off the bat, there are ways to help them adjust to living with each other. By taking your time and understanding what both of your pets need, you can create a happy, peaceful home with both a cat and a dog.
Why Do Cats Fight
The first step to stopping cat fights is to understand why they start. In the wild, cats generally have strong relationships with their moms, aunts, and siblings, says Dr. Jill Sackman, head of behavior medicine service at BluePearl Veterinary Partners. But once theyre on their own, they tend to be more solitary creatures.
Should another cat cross into what they consider their territory, theres bound to be a stand off, she says. This applies in the home as well. Many fights start with a cat protecting what she considers hers, be it an area, a toy, or a human.
Then there are cats who used to get along, but the relationship changed after a traumatic event. Sackman says she is working with a cat who had a painful accident in the kitchen. The kitty got her foot caught in a wire rack and, after falling to the floor, the first thing she saw was her brother. She now associates him with the pain, and the two fight like mad, Sackman says.
Signs that cats arent getting along can be obviousall you have to do is listen for the hissing. But other times, the aggression can be subtler, says Dr. Franklin McMillan, director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society.
You might notice one cat leaving the room when the other enters. Or a more submissive cat may try to hide or disappear to avoid a confrontation when the more dominating cat gets close. Cats have different personalities, McMillan says. And sometimes those personalities just dont mix.
Tips I Didnt Have To Implement That You May Want To
In terms of advice I can think of to make cats a lot more happy, a lot less anxious, and thus a lot less likely to get into fights with one another, here are a slew off the top of my head:
Make sure youre giving your cats enough attention. If one wants more, and the other doesnt seem to get jealous, give the cat that needs more attention what he or she needs. If both cats are getting what they need, what you give doesnt need to be equal. Theres only tension when a cat feels theyre lacking in something.
Make sure you have a tonne of places for cats to sleep, scratch, and use the litter. You do not want competition in these fields. Invest in small cat trees like the or cardboard cat scratchers like the , as these typically have scratch posts or pads and cat beds, two-in-one essentially, if you need more of both beds and scratch spots, but dont want to spend a lot .
If you know a few different things your cat likes specific spots to nap in, specific foods, treats, cuddles in sunny spots, scratching under his or her chin do it. As much as you can. Spoil that cat rotten! He or she will be so much better off in terms of anxiety levels for it.
Give your cats time. It takes ages to train cats to do something as simple as being comfortable to be driven around in a car, but you can train a cat to do that, and you can train a cat to be okay with another cat as well. Just dont assume its going to happen on your schedule.