Should You Break Up A Catfight
Its fairly normal for cats to have an aggressive episode during play sessions. Playtime can get heated at times, leading to increased irritation between cats and possibly leading to a small scuffle. If you attempt to pet your cat and they hiss, flatten their ears, or puff up their coat, its best to stay clear or you are likely to get scratched or bitten. But what about two cats whose playing turns to fighting?
They Dont Want To Share Their Pad
Remember that your resident cat has been master of the house for some time they are used to having things their way and when a new kitten is introduced, they may be reluctant to share their space. Make sure that you have plenty of resources for your kitties set up one litter box per cat, with one extra, in separate areas. You should also make sure that your resident cat isnt displaying their unhappiness by eliminating outside the box. Each kitty needs easy and constant access to their own food, water, scratching post and litter box – theyll also like to have their creature comforts such as favourite toys and sleeping or hiding spots.
What Was Causing My Cat’s Aggression
And thats what I did, but what I found was there wasnt a whole lot of information that explained what would have caused this new behavior between previously affectionate siblings.
After some research and talking with the shelter where we adopted them as kittens, we found that the cats may have had an experience that led to a misunderstanding. This was confirmed after talking with Dr. Marci Koski, certified feline behavior and training consultant.
Dr. Koski explained that sometimes an inside cat can have a perceived threatening experience, such as seeing another cat or strange animal outside. At the same time, your other cat passing by carefree, can send the wrong message to the threatened feline. That aggression is then transferred to the carefree cat just chilling and minding their own business.
If youre like me, I was asking, What? This cant be true! Apparently, its not that uncommon for felines, who have been familiar with one another, to have some traumatic event reshape the way they look at one another. Friends turned foes overnight. Or in their case its literally a family feud. So, I decided I needed a plan of action and with the help of Dr. Koski, heres how we started.
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She’s Telling Other Cats To Settle Down
If you’ve recently brought home a kitten as a companion to your older cat, you may hear more hissing. This is normal and doesn’t necessarily mean that the cats aren’t getting along or that they are going to fight. Hissing from an older cat that is playing with a kitten can just be a way of telling the energetic kitten to settle down and not play as rough.
He Feels Afraid Or Threatened
Your cat might hiss if a person or another animal comes onto your cats territory and makes him feel uncomfortable.
For example, if your cat runs into another cat in your yard, he might hiss as a warning to let the intruder know that its his space. Hes letting the other cat know that hes afraid or stressed out and wants to be left alone before resorting to fighting.
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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 cats supplies. Having multiple food and water bowls, litter boxes, perches, and toys can prevent fighting over resources.
- Reinforce incompatible behaviors 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.
How To Tell The Difference Between Real And Play Fighting:
Sometimes play between two cats can become rough. However there are telltale signs that two cats are playing fighting and not really fighting.
Play fighting is mock aggression, which is common in kittens and siblings who have grown up together. If they are playing, they will take turns being the aggressor and sometimes appear lazy about their attacks.
Their body posture will not be so severe as in real fighting, with ears up and body forward. They will stalk, chase, and pounce on each other for fun.
They will even throw each other to the ground and bite, but never intend to cause damage during mock fights. Hissing and growling are also huge indicators, as cats just play fighting will typically not hiss or be vocal in any way. Vocalization of aggression is the biggest sign of a real fight.
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How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Get Used To A New Cat
It takes most cats eight to 12 months to develop a friendship with a new cat. Although some cats certainly become close friends, others never do. Many cats who don’t become buddies learn to avoid each other, but some cats fight when introduced and continue to do so until one of the cats must be re-homed.
What To Do When A Cat Hisses
When your cat hisses, its important to recognize whats prompting the behavior and then take appropriate steps to make your cat feel comfortable. If youve cornered your cat or surprised her with a pat, chances are shes hissing out of fear.
If you have a new cat, she might hiss when you approach because she feels threatened. It takes time for cats to settle in and get to know you and your family, so its important to get your whole family on board in this situation. Give your new cat a place in the home thats all her own, such as a room where no pets or other family members are allowed.
How you react when a cat hisses is very important. Here are the steps you should take:
- If a cat hisses at you, back up and give them space. Make sure that everyone else in your family does the same.
- Ensure that there are places in your home where your cat can hide for a little peace and quiet.
- Assess their behavior and try to determine whats causing their hissing. Once you do that, you can work to find a solution.
Cat hissing may not be a big deal. Consider whats happening in your cats life to see what may be causing sudden hissing. Remove any issues or problems that might be causing discomfort. It could be a simple matter of putting the toy back.
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Why Do Cats Yowl At Each Other
Before I brought my second cat into my home, I rarely heard the sound cats make when theyre communicating with each other. I only occasionally caught the nightly howling of the neighborhood strays, but that was the extent of my experience. Needless to say, I was understandably terrified when my two darlings started screeching at each other! ?
To get to the bottom of this issue, we have to start with the basics of feline communication. In domesticated species, separating human-directed verbalizations from intraspecies communication can be a real challenge. But if itll help us figure out how cats communicate amongst themselves, its a great place to start this conversation.
Hiding Makes Cats Feel Safe
In the wild, cats hunt alone. They depend on stealth to survive not only to avoid enemies, but also to hide from prey they want to catch. Cats like warmth and small places help to retain their body heat. Smaller spaces that protect a cats back are also easier to defend. However, cats also always want an emergency exit. Thats why your cat loves that new basket you bought or the cardboard box you just unpacked.
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Helping A Shy Cat Adjust
The shy and fearful adult cat will require patience as he begins to build trust with his human caregiver. It is important he be given adequate time in his safe room before being introduced to larger portions of his new dwelling.
Human caregivers need to make sure areas where the cat may escape to be blocked off . Cats are masters at hiding. A particularly shy cat can remain out of sight for days if hiding spots are available.
Once the cat is secure in his safe room, it is your responsibility to gradually build trust and a positive relationship with him. A few tips:
- Always approach him at his level.
- Dont stare directly into his eyes rather, talk softly to him and offer a few slow blinks before turning away.
- Stay with him during feedings, so he associates you with positive things.
- Try to find toys that engage him. Play regularly and consistently when he is willing.
- Anytime a positive behavior or interaction occurs, offer treats, soft praise or an appropriate caress .
Most important, let him move at his own pace. If he isnt ready to be picked up, dont pick him up . If he is only comfortable having the sides of his face and chin rubbed, dont keep trying for a full-body caress.
This process may take several weeks to months. But the time will be well spent as your new cat begins to show signs of trust and affection, such as following you around the house, rubbing against your legs or arms, sitting next to you and sleeping near you.
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.
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Warning Humans And Other Pets
Your cat hisses to communicate that they do not want to be bothered. Some cats may simply hiss because they want you or another human member of the family to leave them alone and let them have their space, and they may also hiss at other pets in a similar way.
If your cat is not very friendly toward humans or other animals, she may hiss often to tell intruders to leave her alone. This is just a warning to let these people or pets know they may be scratched if they dont heed it. Continuing to bother her anyway may result in a swat or two!
If Your Cats Keep Fighting
If your cats aggression is severe or becomes unmanageable, contact a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist for guidance. These professionals can provide deeper insight and guidance on behavioral modification for your cats.
Unfortunately, some cats simply cannot live together peacefully. If youve exhausted your resources, time, and energy in the hopes of resolving aggression or fighting between your cats, it may be time to consider finding a new home for one of them or keeping them permanently separated.
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Change Your Cat’s Environment
Providing enriching experiences for your cat doesnt have to require a lot of time, effort, or money. And providing an enriching experience within their environment was the first step we took. One of the first suggestions Dr. Koski made was pheromones to help keep our cats chill. If you have a larger home, I recommend the starter set from Comfort Zone Multi-Cat.
It comes with three diffusers and six refills, which we needed with each cat on separate levels of the home. However, if you are in an apartment or smaller living space, you may not need multiple diffusers, in which case Feliways Multi-Cat Starter Kit is perfect.
Why Arent My Cats Getting Along
The reality is that oftentimes, even if your adult cat is friendly, they could have a difficult time getting acclimated to having a new kitten around. The adjustment is just as huge for the adult, older cat as it is for the young kitten. Treating both of your pets with understanding and patience will be useful in your journey ahead.
While younger kittens are frequently eager to make friends, adult cats are sometimes more standoffish and settled. As a result, there is sometimes conflict between the two. Older cats can even act out if they are distressed that there is a new addition to their family.
Sometimes they will hiss, stop eating, or even act depressed. If you are concerned about the health of your older cat â or your kitten â you should seek veterinary attention. Pawp has a team of vets who are available whenever you need them, wherever you need them, so you can get your questions answered as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, you might be confused why your older cat is hissing at a new addition to your family. Here are several reasons why your cats are having a difficult time getting along.
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How To Calm The Hissy Fit
The best way to handle a hissing cat is not to scold or stare down your cat, but rather to give him space and let him calm down. If a new animal in your home has triggered the behavior, keep them safely apart and carefully supervise interactions when the time comes.
If an unfamiliar guest has triggered the hissing, allow your cat to sniff the persons shoes so he can explore the new scent safely. Give your cat a little timeeventually, he should grow accustomed to visitors and may even start hanging out with the group.
Why Do Cats Hiss 7 Reasons For This Behavior
It often takes us by surprise when a cat, whether it be ours or someone elses, hisses at us. Contrary to popular belief, this isnt usually a sign of aggression or hatred towards you. Rather, it is fear that makes them hiss. Hissing is completely normal behavior and something that even big cats do. Domestic cats have several different reasons that lead to this behavior. Mostly, it is a way of communicating that they feel threatened. So, what are some of the reasons that your cat might hiss? Lets take an in-depth look at some of the main situations that lead to this behavior.
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What Does It Mean When Cats Growl At Each Other
Growling is another sound cats make when they are angry or want to scare off a potential threat. Kittens, as well as older cats, may growl when cornered. They’ll hunch their body and puff out their tail and the rest of their fur. A low-pitched growl is usually a warning, telling the threat it needs to back off.
Why Do Cats Hiss And Growl At Each Other
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Many cat owners will see the uglier side of their pet when it crosses paths with another cat. Often this will occur when a new cat is adopted into the family.
Even if an introduction goes very well and the proper steps are followed, most likely there will be hissing and growling. Hisses, growls, gentle swats, pinned ears, and other clearly upset behavior is a cat communicating distress or aggression.
While canines have evolved to be social creatures, cats have evolved to be, mostly, solitary creatures. Making friends can be difficult, and keeping them can be a challenge as well.
Although cats have a natural inclination toward solitude, early socialization to other cats, humans, dogs, and others can make a huge impact on their future ability to be social. If the cat is not used to other animals, a new cat is a break from daily routine and environment.
This is a disruption and, potentially, a threat.
But why do cats hiss and growl at each other? Mainly, it is a warning. If a cat feels threatened, it will begin to hiss and growl, accompanied by puffed fur, arched back, and sometimes crazy tail posture.
Another cat is an unknown, and unknowns are scary. Although, hissing and growling are not always so harsh and can be translated as a cat simply asking for more space.
Summary of todays article:
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How Do Cats Hiss
The hiss is created when the cat forces a burst of air out through her arched tongue. If your face is close enough to the cat when she hisses, you can actually feel the air being shot out through her mouth . She will pull her lips back as well and the ear position will be flattened against the head. Additional body posture typically accompanying the hiss includes arched back with piloerection of haircoat.