Preventing Cat Fights

Things may be going great for your cats, but changing routines and underlying health conditions can disrupt a peaceful household. If your sweet cat is suddenly acting aggressively, you should take them in to see their veterinarian and make sure they are not experiencing any health ailments. If your cat receives a clean bill of health, then there may be something at home that is causing their behavior changes.

Typically when cats fight, they are not on the same page when it comes to playtime. Tending to each cat’s enrichment needs will help prevent unnecessary scuffles. There may be other triggers that cause unwarranted fighting as well, including when they both want attention from you, when they become territorial over the best resting places in the home, or if they see a cat strutting nearby for example. Be sure to observe your cats closely to see what may be triggering them to fight.

If the fighting becomes incessant, causing a cat to become incredibly stressed or stuck in hiding, separate both animals into separate rooms providing them with the necessary items. These items include food, water, a litterbox, a comfortable place to rest, and comforting interaction from members of your household for at least one hour per day. Separating your cats helps calm them down and may take a few days or weeks for them to reset, pending the severity of their fighting. While your cats are on a timeout, you can take that time to make adjustments in your home to prevent this behavior in the future. Some ideas include:

  • Making sure your cats have enough resources such as boxes, beds, food and water dishes, litterboxes, toys, access to natural sunlight, safe hiding spaces, and scratching posts to share. The right amount varies with each household.
  • Figuring out the right amount of time your cat needs your sole attention each day.
  • Covering a portion of your windows with a window covering if that pesky outdoor cat wanders by often.
  • Teaching your cat to come when called. It is possible, especially when treats are involved! Calling your cat when they become anxious will help redirect their attention.

Reading cat body language can be tough! The more you understand what your cat is saying through their behavior, the more you’ll be able to help them. Signs to look for when cats become anxious include dilated pupils, growling, staring, tense body posture, and a flicking tail.

It is up to you to determine when to reintegrate your cats, pending on the severity of their fighting. It could be a few days or a few weeks later. When you reintroduce them, make sure you can keep an eye on them. There will likely be hissing and walking away when they see each other again, which is regular communication for cats. What we want for your cats is for them to listen to each other’s behavioral cues and have healthy outlets for playtime.

You may also utilize synthetic feline pheromones like Feliway. Some cats respond well to the pheromone, which helps relax them while some cats may act the same. You can scoop up this product, and others like it at your local pet store or Amazon.

Integrating cats may take some time and trial and error, but it is worth it for a peaceful household. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to us at info@ruffstartrescue.org.

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