I’ve had my two pet cats for a while. But of late I find that they are often fighting.
Cats who live in the same house, just like siblings, will occasionally get annoyed with each other and may fight. However, aggression between cats should not be ignored, and if your cats seem to be spending more time fighting than getting along, it’s time for you to take some action. There are a number of reasons why cats fight. Luckily, there are things you can do at home to restore the peace.
Cats fight because of hormones. As cats reach maturity, even if they have always gotten along, they may start to become more aggressive. Out in the wild, cats between two and four years of age start to compete for territory and even house cats still have that instinct. The first step to stopping aggression is spaying and neutering your cats. There are also pheromone products, like Pet Remedy, you can plug in or spray around the home or serve as calming pet food options that may also suit your household. Speak to your vet about which of these products may be best for your situation.
Introducing new cats into the house can cause fights. When you bring a new cat or kitten home, your resident cats will see the newcomer as an intruder. Make introductions to new cats slowly. Allowing them to smell each other first before meeting can help avoid conflict. You can achieve this by rubbing a towel or toys over one cat and then rubbing the same item on the other cat to mingle their scents. Do this several times a day for several weeks, so when your cats do meet, they are used to each other’s scent.
Jealousy makes cats fight. If one cat feels another cat is getting more of your attention, it may feel left out. Set aside some one-on-one time with each of your cats in addition to playing with them together.
Cats fight over territory. Cats, by their nature, are not sociable animals like dogs. Wildcats may have territories spanning many kilometres. Your cats may be fighting over a territory as small as your couch. It is likely that each of your cats will have a spot in your home that they consider their own. It is essential that you provide enough spaces for your cats to own that they don’t fight over one place. You could try introducing a new cat tree or even building cat shelves. Some people even build ‘catios’, outdoor enclosed balcony spaces so your cats can enjoy the outdoors while remaining completely safe.
Even if you take all of these measures, cats may still fight. You may need to separate them and reintroduce them slowly with supervision over time. Praise your cats, play with them and give them treats when they behave and separate them if they start to fight again. It is important not just to leave fighting cats to it — if a fight breaks out, you need to step in. Cats have sharp teeth and claws, and leaving them to fight will likely end in injury and a costly vet visit. Loud noises or a quick squirt of water will often stop cats in their tracks. Never hit or chase them, as it may lead to your cats not trusting you. It will take some time and patience, but if you are consistent, your cats should be able to coexist fairly peacefully even if they don’t become best friends.
Dr Sara Elliott is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and practises at the British Veterinary Hospital in Dubai. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.