Feline Feud: Aggression Between Cats

Fighting catsDisputes between cats are not so uncommon. Our feline companions still possess the cat-like need for established territories, not unlike their wild cat cousins. Combine this fact with a myriad of socialization and personality challenges, and aggression between cats becomes a matter of concern.

If your feline friends aren’t being so friendly with each other, there are ways to alleviate some of the friction and encourage a more civil cat cohabitation.

Triggers that Prompt Aggression Between Cats

Fighting among cats in a shared household is not only stressful, it can be dangerous and leave your pets vulnerable to serious wounds and infections when there is no intervention.

But, why don’t some cats get along?

There are a number of reasons, some of which include:

  • A poorly planned introduction of a new cat into the home
  • Lack of early socialization (likely prior to you bringing kitty home)
  • Illness and/or pain
  • Stress related to aging (including vision and hearing loss)
  • Too few places for individual cats to retreat
  • Not enough litter boxes, feed stations, places to perch, etc.
  • Age difference
  • Cats have not been spayed/neutered
  • Behavioral problems, such as phobia and anxiety
  • Personality conflicts

Because there are so many potential causes of aggression between cats, the first place to start is to have your pet examined. If the cat who prompts these fights is doing so because he/she is in pain or ill, the sooner the problem is diagnosed, the better able we are to treat the underlying illness or condition.

Likewise, if your pet suffers from intense fears or phobias, these issues can be addressed through behavioral counseling and/or medications such as antidepressants. Contact our team for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Solutions to a Happy Feline Home

While there may not be one, foolproof solution to making pals out of two felines foes, there are ways to create a more harmonious situation for all.

  • Provide separate areas for cats to hide, relax, and sleep
  • Offer at least one litter box per cat, plus one more, placed throughout the home
  • Use a pheromone spray such as Feliway, which has been effective in reducing stress and anxiety
  • Do not allow fights to escalate – use a distraction, like a laser pointer or other toy, whenever tensions start to rise
  • Feed your pets separately, and in different locations
  • Offer more than one window perch or access to screened-in patios or other locations for bird watching
  • Don’t punish the cats for fighting as this can actually create additional stress
  • Spay or neuter unaltered pets

Remember: do not get between fighting cats, since you will be at risk of serious bites or scratches. If your cat or cats suffer any injuries, including bites, have them examined and treated. Cat bites can often lead to infections.

Your friends at Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital are here to assist should your cats continue to fight or are creating a dangerous environment for each other. Call us to schedule an appointment or to ask any questions about behavioral difficulties with your feline companions.

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posted in:  Pet Safety  |  The Cat's Meow