Food: Offer Separate Cat Food Bowls
If you think about it, most domesticated pets still have remnants of their feral ancestors. One of the resources that was the hardest to find in the wild was food. Even though the cats in your household get plenty of cat food and water, some of that territorial instinct remains. After all, in the wild, it could mean the difference between life and death.
As cats become acclimated, they may be fine with sharing a food bowl, but until then and even after the new cat is let out into the shared areas in the home, make sure to maintain separate food bowls and keep them in different parts of the house if possible. Also, consider feeding food-driven cats separately .
If bullying occurs while the cats are eating, put the cats in two different rooms and close the door so that they can eat in peace.
Litter Box: Provide Enough Litter Boxes Or Litter Trays
Another important component with helping a new cat to get established and to prevent bullying behavior is to have enough litter boxes. When a cat uses the bathroom, he or she is at its most vulnerable. If the cat feels threatened, he may forgo the litter box and find a “safer” place to do bathroom business.
- One Litter Box per Cat Plus One: I have a cat who likes to take advantage of other cats using the litter box to pick a fight. To help alleviate this problem, I have added more litter boxes in other parts of the house.
- Create a Safe Environment: If you have a cat that is bullying other cats in the litter box and the litter box is covered, consider taking the top off, at least for a while. This allows the dominated cat to feel like he or she can see around and fend off an attack.
- Keep Them Clean: Make sure the litter boxes are cleaned at least daily to encourage use and prevent misuse.
The rule of thumb is one litter box per cat, plus one extra.
Jackson Galaxy, cat whisperer
To prevent conflicts in multi-cat households, provide enough of the essentials.
Why Does My Cat Bite And Scratch Me When Were Playing
Its critical to devote a significant amount of time each day to playing with your cat. I propose 15 minutes twice a day, once in the morning and once before night, so your cat doesnt bother you. Allowing your cat to release nervous energy in this manner can assist with a variety of problems, including aggression.
Examine how youre interacting with your cat if she assaults you during playtime. Switch to a teaser toy on a long string if she pounces on your hand or arm when you offer her a toy. Allowing your cat to pounce on your hands or treat parts of your body as toys is not a good idea. Shes prone to get carried away and launching more serious attacks on you.
During the fun, keep an eye on your cat to make sure he doesnt get angry or frustrated. Allow her to occasionally catch the teaser toy. She will become cantankerous and irritated if she never gets the satisfaction of a successful hunt. One of the reasons Im not a big fan of laser pointers as toys are because of this. If your cat enjoys chasing the dot around, thats wonderful however, because theres nothing to catch, some cats will become upset and take their frustrations out on you. Make sure theres a reward in store: a few minutes of chewing on the toy or a sweet treat to help her satisfy her hunting drive.
When I tickle her tummy or take her up, why does she attack me?
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Frequently Asked Questions: What To Do About Stray Or Feral Cats
Stray and feral cats are starkly different. Stray cats have either been lost or abandoned but warm up to social interaction. Feral cats, on the other hand, have not been socialized with humans and are extremely fearful. Their offspring, if not captured and socialized within a given window, will become fearful of humans as well. Stray and feral cats often either free-roam or join an established colony.
Take action accordingly and never handle a fearful cat. On the other hand, if a stray cat is friendly and seemingly healthy, has a collar, or can be scanned for a microchip, consider reuniting the cat with its owner. As for feral cats, refer to your local Trap-Neuter-Release or TNR program.
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Question from Diane:
I have a 7-year-old neutered male cat who sometimes fights with his brother and only one of his sisters . He will jump on them and bunny-kick them very aggressively and they are obviously in pain when he does this – as the screaming and flying fur attests. It’s like he’s temporarily in a trance. He acts quite normally before and after, I think, and I’m really not sure how to explain this behaviour to the vet. It’s been going on for about two months now but there’s been no major changes in the house in that time. The “queen” of the house died in January but I can’t link it to that since it was so long ago. Any ideas? Have you heard of that behaviour before? Thanks for your insight!
Answer from Amy:
My cats fight each other tooth and nails sometimes even though most of the time they seem to be best friends forever. In a multi-cat household, cats, especially male cats want to develop their social status by duking it out with other cats. The interesting thing is female cats do not usually engage themselves in a fight. Some of them naturally arise as the leader because of their calm and confident temperament.
Is it Medical?
If the aggression is not due to illness, below will give you an idea of why cats fight and how to resolve this problem.
Why do Cats Fight?
How to Stop Them from Fighting?
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What Should I Do If That Happens
“First and foremost, you must avoid the cat until it calms down.”
First and foremost you must avoid the cat until it calms down. If the aggression is being redirected toward a second cat in the household, the two cats may have to be separated. In some cats, separation to another room with water and litter may only be required for a few minutes, but it is not unusual for it to take hours, or in some cases days, until the cat is calm enough to be reintroduced safely to the other cat. In some cases, regardless of the length of confinement, the cat remains aggressive to the other cat after it is released. This is most likely if the redirected aggression was met with retaliation, punishment or another fearful event . In addition, if the attack leads to a change in relationship between the cat and the victim then the aggression may persist.
“The biggest mistake that owners make in trying to resolve this problem is to try and bring the cats together too soon.”
What Not To Do
- If your cats are fighting, dont allow the fights to continue. Because cats are so territorial, and because they dont establish firm dominance hierarchies, they wont be able to work things out as dogs sometimes do. The more often cats fight, the worse the problem is likely to become. To stop a fight in progress, make a loud noise, such as blowing a whistle, squirting the cats with water, or throwing something soft at them. Dont try to pull them apart.
- Prevent future fights. This may mean keeping the cats totally separated from each other while youre working on the problem, or at least preventing contact between them in situations likely to trigger a fight.
- Dont punish the cats involved. Punishment is likely to elicit further aggression and fearful responses, which will only make the problem worse. If you attempt punishment, you may become a target for redirected and/or defensive aggression.
Because their social organization is somewhat flexible, some cats are relatively tolerant of sharing their house and territory with multiple cats. Its not uncommon for a cat to tolerate some cats, but not get along with others in the house. However, the more cats sharing the same territory, the more likely it is that some of your cats will begin fighting with each other.
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Aggression Due To Medical Issue
Aggression with a medical origin is also common.
Pain is the most sudden medical cause for sudden aggression, particularly in older cats or those who have always had a calm temperament. Arthritis, dental disease, trauma, and infections are just some of the conditions that can cause pain and subsequent aggression when a cat is touched or thinks he or she might be touched, in a painful area. In addition to pain, cognitive decline, a loss of normal sensory input, or neurological problems can all lead to aggression.
Solutions To Get To The Root Of The Problem
Now that we know the primary reasons why your cat may be bullying your other cat, its now time to break it all down. Here are solutions to tackle the root cause of the problem.
Again, behavioral problems in cats cannot be fixed overnight. Helping your cat to become calmer and gentler and relieve his or her stress is a long-term solution, which often involves a combination of the solutions below.
Ive organized these solutions into temporary and long-term solutions.
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How Do Cats Mark Their Territory
When you think of territorial cat behavior, you might picture two hissing, yelping cats fighting over their turf. While aggression between cats can certainly be a sign, territorial behavior can present in a variety of ways. Here are some signs your feline friend may be trying to mark their territory:
Give Your Cat Some Hiding Places
When cats feel stressed or are worried about encountering another cat, they like to hide to help them feel safe. Give your cat lots of places to hide in the garden by planting tall plants, placing potted plants around the cat flap or even creating a little outdoor enclosure for them to hide inside. Its also a good idea to create some hiding spots indoors too. Cardboard boxes are ideal for your moggy to shelter inside!
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An Aggressive Cat Might Be Responding To Trauma
Dont laugh: Cats can suffer from post-traumatic stress. Their brains are wired similarly to ours, and the effects of chronic anxiety from past human violence or struggling to survive on the streets can lead cats to become aggressive. In order to resolve this issue, a short course of anti-anxiety medication , homeopathic remedies or flower essences can help make a cat less reactive to triggers.
Tips To Stop Your Cat Fighting Outside
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Why Does My Elderly Cat Howl All Night
Elderly cats often experience joint pain and sore muscles. Some old cats even develop arthritis and other conditions associated with the bones. Now, these conditions can be painful. If left untreated, your cat will begin to howl relentlessly throughout the day and night. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
What Do You Do If Your Cats Are Fighting
Watching your cats fighting can be heart-breaking here are two animals that you adore and they are hurting each other! While your first instinct might be to jump in and separate them, do be careful. Cats can be aggressive they are worked up like this, and you may get a lot of scratches for your efforts. We suggest trying to gently separate them, as long as you are sure you are not in harms way.
Distract them: Cats can get very engrossed with fighting, but you can try and distract them. Find something you know the love, like a toy, and make a noise with it. This might get their attention and stop the fight.
The most important thing to remember when stepping in to halt the fighting is: dont get hurt and dont make you cat more stressed/scared with the techniques used. So dont be aggressive towards your cat, and dont use heavy-handed techniques.
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Fear Can Cause Cat Aggression
A terrified cat will respond with body language thats obvious to an experienced cat caretaker: She will turn sideways and puff up her tail and fur in order to look larger. Her ears will flatten backwards, she will hiss and her pupils will dilate. Attempting to approach a cat in this state is risking an aggressive reaction, not because the cat dislikes you but because shes in the middle of a panic reaction.
Why Is My Cat In Conflict With The Neighborhood Cats
While fighting is common between cats that live together, it may also occur if your kitty believes that another cat has encroached on their territory. Its not uncommon for your kitty to see the cat next door as a furry foe rather than a friend. A neighbours cat might also believe that your kitty shouldnt be near their space – and tensions may escalate.
There are lots of reasons that your cat may be in conflict with other local pets:
- Cats leave scent markers to alert others to their territory so when your kitty finds that someone else has marked their spot they may not be too pleased. This can be a problem both inside and outside the house. In particular, male cats are more likely to be aggressive over their territory.
- Some kitties are more aggressive than others – you may find that there is a neighbourhood bully around. Within the home, you may also find that your male cat is dominating your female cat, that there is a battle ensuing between siblings – or that your cuddly kitty is the one picking a fight.
- Sometimes cats can get a bit rough when theyre playing and this may look like a fight. So, are your cats fierce enemies or just play fighting? If youre not sure, you can test your knowledge of cat conflict signs in our friends or foes quiz. Keep in mind of course, that what starts out as play can escalate!
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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
Why Are My Cats Fighting All Of A Sudden
If your cats start hissing and clawing out of nowhere when they used to be friends, you might find yourself wondering, “Why are my cats fighting all of a sudden?” What was once a happy friendship has now turned into bullying and flying fur. Whether they’re fighting because they smell differently or got spooked, your cats probably won’t stay enemies for long. Here are some reasons why your cats don’t get along anymore, as well as steps to help ease them into a friendship again.
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