My Cats Been In A Fight What Should I Do
If you are aware that your cat has just been fighting it is best to confine it indoors but not to give too much attention to start with cats can be very aroused when they have just been fighting and they are best left alone until they calm down. Superficial cuts and scratches are common and easily seen, but bite wounds are often difficult to detect as a cats teeth puncture the skin causing deep but narrow holes that quickly heal over, trapping bacteria inside. If your cat hides, appears listless or withdrawn or lame after a fight then you should consult your vet as it may have a bite abscess.
Why Cats Fight: Territorial Issues
To understand why your cat fights for seemingly no reason at all, its important to get back to their ancestral roots. Millenia have passed, but cats are and will always be territorial animals. When your cat determines that a specific area belongs to them whether its your whole house and yard or the entire block then your cat will fight to defend it from any other cat that tries to encroach upon said territory.
This type of territorial battle royale that occurs between cats generally involves outdoor catfights when your cat spies another cat in your yard or on your street. The other cat in this situation which may even be a stray or feral feline may harbour those same sorts of feelings about the territory your cat is treading on. Thus, the problem becomes significant to both cats, and fighting is generally their way of duking it out and determining who reigns supreme and what turf is whose.
Thats not to say that cats that live together indoors dont go through this same territorial drama. Cats use scent to mark their territories, and whether you can pick up on the odour or not, other cats can. It’s sometimes the case that multiple cats living in one home may spar when one cat marks the territory that another cat perceived as belonging to them.
How To Help Cats Get Along
Treatment for aggression or fighting between cats varies depending on the type of aggressive behavior but may include desensitization, counterconditioning techniques, or drug therapy.
Management methods for cat aggression include:
- Spay or neuter your cats. Fighting is common between intact males, and intact females are likely to have litters, leading to maternal aggression.
- Provide additional perches and hiding spots, such as boxes and cat trees. This allows your cat to escape and/or hide when they feel threatened or afraid.
- Have plenty of catsâ supplies. Having multiple food and water bowls, litter boxes, perches, and toys can prevent fighting over resources.
- Reinforce incompatible behaviors â any behaviors that cannot occur at the same time as the problem behavior. Praise them and toss healthy cat treats to reward your cats.
- Try using pheromones. There are products that mimic a natural cat odor, which may be effective in decreasing aggression.
- Keep cats separated, especially at mealtimes. Separation may need to last only a few days, but if the aggression is persistent and severe, it may take several weeks before you can gradually reintroduce the cats.
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How Do I Stop My Cats Fighting Each Other
If you have more than one cat it can be very distressing when your cats fight, but its not that unusual for them to fall out from time to time.
Pet cats have evolved from a largely independent species that likes to be alone so theyre unlikely to live together in perfect harmony all the time. However, the issue can come when the fighting becomes serious, or carries on for a long period of time.
Understanding Feline Body Language
Your cat’s eyes, ears, body, and tail all attempt to communicate their feelings â with you and with other cats and animals. Some postures and cues to look for include:
- If your catâs ears are backward, sideways, or lying flat , theyâre likely annoyed, angry, or frightened.
- If their pupils are dilated, they may be feeling nervous or submissive, or defensively aggressive.
- If their tail is held low or tucked between their legs, they may be feeling anxious. If itâs thrashing back and forth, theyâre likely agitated.
- If their back is arched and their fur is standing on end, they might be scared or angry.
Catsâ vocalizations also communicate their feelings:
- Growling and/or hissing indicates your cat is annoyed, angry, frightened, or aggressive.
- Yowling or howling means your cat is in some kind of distress. They could be in pain, trapped, or afraid.
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What Makes Cats Feel Afraid
Cats have an array of fears and phobias based on their instincts. Most are rational, but not all. Common things that cats are afraid of include:
- Loud noises
- Pacing around
All cats will display these behaviors from time to time, but your cat should not be constantly frightened and skittish.
My Cats Have Suddenly Started Fighting
If your cats have suddenly started fighting, the safest option is to separate them into different rooms for 24-48 hours until they have both calmed down. You should also keep them inside for this time in order to avoid them meeting and fighting outside. Keep an eye out for any signs that your cats are frustrated by being kept inside, such as pacing, meowing to be let out, or raising themselves up by the door. Make sure your cats are kept separate for long enough that they can calm down, but not so long that they become frustrated and potentially more stressed. If you think either of them might be injured, get in touch with your vet as soon as possible.
It is safest to separate two cats who are fighting using a thick blanket or by gently pushing a soft bristled broom between them. Dont try to pick them up with your bare hands as you might get hurt by accident.
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Signs Your Cats Are Playing
Kittens are very social along with a high play drive from early age. They are taught skills such as grooming, feeding along with hunting from the queen and rely on littermates collaborations to learn social skills including agonistic and affiliative behaviours.
Inter-cat social play peaks around 8-10 weeks of age, then object play becomes prevalent. Toys present an outlet for natural predatory sequences as part of play, which prevents play biting.
Cats can be totally playful into old age however inter-cat interactions and social play may decline with maturity.
The following are indicators that your cats are playing:
- Cats who mock fight will often be calm as well as happy
- Ears in normal or forward position
- Body stance forward towards one another
- Hair will be flat
- May exhibit play bite only
- Wrestle and chase each other
- Jovial cats will not claw at each other, will not hiss, swat, or growl
- Mischievous cats will take turns to be on top of one another with equal time spent rolling onto their sides or backs.
- There will be sense of balance in which both cats engage in chase and roughhousing.
In certain social groups, male cats can often engage in extra play fights in comparison to females who may seem less interested in rowdiness after social maturity .
They’re Insecure About Territories
Sometimes sudden outbursts are caused by unease about territories in the home.2 Cats are naturally territorial, but friendly cats have learned to share their space peacefully. If you recently moved to a new home, they may need to work those issues out again.
Changes in your own life can also trigger territory insecurity and stress in your cats. If you recently got married, had a baby, or even changed your work schedule significantly, your cats might be feeling a little shaken up and insecure. They could easily take that stress out on each other. When a significant change takes place, try to stick to your cats’ routine as much as you can, including mealtime and bedtime. Spend extra time playing with them, so they don’t feel jealous. Be patient it might take a little time to adjust.
Your cat’s territorial protection instinct can also be triggered if stray cats are outside and your cats can see or smell them. In those cases, it might be good to close the shades when feral cats are roaming, or even set up motion-activated sprinklers to encourage feral cats to visit a different yard.
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Why Is My Cat Hissing At My Other Cats All Of A Sudden
Theres something strange when your cat hisses at every other cat it comes in contact with, especially if they used to be on good terms.
If your cats have always gotten along but now seem to be constantly at odds, you know there must be a reason. Sometimes all it takes is a little thought to figure out what that is.
Well go through some reasons your cats may hiss at each other. In addition, well delve deeper into the possible causes of this behavior.
Hopefully, with this knowledge, you will help them overcome their problems and reconcile their disagreements.
Keeping The Peace Between Cats
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.
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Cat Aggression Happens Due To Stress
If a cat lives in a highly stressful environment for example, a home in which people are fighting or a home with too many cats its quite possible for that cat to be quick to respond aggressively. Like children who live in homes with a lot of verbal and physical violence, or a lot of unspoken anger, cats often act out the dynamics of their human families.
Suggestions For Managing Your Cats
- Never let the cats fight it out. Cats dont resolve their issues through fighting, and the fighting usually just gets worse. Interrupt aggression with a loud clap of your hands or spray from a water gun.
- Neuter the cats. Intact males are particularly prone to aggressive behavior.
- Provide additional perches. More hiding spots and perches will allow your cats to space themselves out as they prefer.
- Dont try to calm or soothe your aggressive cat, just leave her alone and give her space. If you come close, she could turn and redirect her aggression toward you.
- Reward desired behavior. Praise or toss treats to reward your cats when you see them interacting in a friendly manner.
- Try pheromones. You can purchase a product that mimics a natural cat odor , that may reduce tensions. Use a diffuser while the aggression issue is being resolved.
If the Aggression Is Mild or Between Two Cats Who Used to Get Along
If the Aggression Is Severe or Occurs Between Cats Who Have Never Gotten Along
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What You Can Do
- If your cats behavior changes suddenly, your first step should always be to contact your veterinarian for a thorough health examination. Cats often hide symptoms of illness until theyre seriously ill. Any change in behavior may be an early indication of a medical problem.
- Spay or neuter any intact pets in your home. The behavior of one intact animal can affect all of your pets.
- Slowly re-introduce the cats again following this slow introduction process. You may need professional help from an animal behavior specialist to successfully implement these techniques.
- In extreme cases, consult your veterinarian about medicating your cats while youre working on a behavior modification program. Your veterinarian is the only person who is licensed and qualified to prescribe any medication for your cats. Dont attempt to give your cat any over-the-counter or prescription medication without consulting with your veterinarian. Animals dont respond to drugs the same way people do, and a medication that may be safe for humans could be fatal to animals. Keep in mind that medication, by itself, isnt a permanent solution, and should only be used in conjunction with behavior modification.
Sudden Causes Of Aggression In Cats
Have you ever been peacefully petting a purring cat, only to have them turn around and swat or try to bite you? Ever felt hurt, maybe even a little betrayed by your furry friend? Cats are interesting creatures with complicated social cues. Feline aggression can occur unexpectedly for a multitude of reasons and can be difficult to predict. By learning to recognize causes and signals of feline aggression, you will be better able to help your feline friend feel more comfortable and minimize the risk of triggering less than desirable behavior.
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How Long Should You Wait Before Reintroduction
On the one hand,waiting a long time leaves them to sit with a negative association regarding the cat that was once their friend.On the other hand, pushing them together immediately is not going to give them time to relax and cool off. This could quickly lead to another fight.
The severity of the fight, and the state of the cats post-fight is going to dictate the length and stringency of the reintroduction process.
If the fight was minor, and the cats calm down quickly, the reintroduction may go very smoothly, and quickly.
If the fight was particularly brutal, and one or more of the cats is displaying severe hostility or fear, you are better off leaving them separated for a greater length of time. Let them cool off, and dont begin the reintroduction process if one, or both, are obviously still agitated.
Use your own discretion when deciding the length of time they should spend apart.
Cats Can Get Aggressive Due To Frustration
Redirected aggression is the term for violent acts carried out by cats because they cant reach the object of their predatory passion. For example, an indoor cat who sees another cat walking by or marking his territory in his turf may get into a highly reactive state. At that point, anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby, whether thats another cat, a dog or a person, may end up on the receiving end of the cats aggression.
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Types And Causes Of Feline Aggression
If thereâs 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 spaying 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 âintruderâ â whether thatâs another cat or a person.
How To Get Your Cats To Like Each Other
- Make sure each cat has plenty of his or her own space. This means putting their food and water bowls, litter boxes, and beds in separate areas.
- Dont give the cats catnip. It can increase aggression in some cats.
- Have plenty of their favorite cat toys around to distract them from fighting.
- Make the time they spend together as pleasant as possible. Encourage fun activities, such as playing or giving each one a treat.
- If you have a big cardboard box, open both ends and put it on the floor for them to crawl and play in. It’s rare to find a cat that doesn’t have fun with cardboard boxes.
- Give each cat plenty of individual attention.
- Dont leave the cats alone together when you go out until you’re confident they’re not going to get into a serious fight.
- Have some Feliway on hand. Feliway is a product that replicates a pheromone that can calm cats during times of stress or fighting. It comes in both a spray and an electric diffuser. It can be purchased at most pet stores and online.
- If your cat are not spayed or neutered, they will be more prone to aggressive behavior. Unless you breed cats, consider having your pet neutered.
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