How to Stop Your Cats From Fighting
- by Rufus and Coco
Many cats tend to get along well, especially if they have shared the same living space for at least several months. But sometimes, when introducing another pet into your home or when your cats might not have enough territorial space, fights can occur and they can be quite difficult to manage.
In today’s article, we look at several methods of preventing your cats from getting into fights all the time.
5 Tips to Prevent Your Kitties From Fighting
Understand the problem
Finding out the reason why your cats fight in the first place will help you find the best solution to the issue. If you have recently adopted another kitty and you haven’t given your old one enough time to get used to her, this could be a problem in itself.
Cats can fight because they don’t have enough space to share, but they can also fight for food or other reasons. If you have same-sex cats, fights can occur due to hormonal imbalances, especially if they are unneutered and unspayed.
Significant changes in your cats’ lives can also lead to them developing aggression. If you moved homes recently, your cats might begin to fight one another purely out of stress and not necessarily because they hate each other.
Re-socialise your cats
When you bring a new cat into your home, you have to separate her from your other one for a period of at least a week or two.
Cats have to get used to the presence of other cats gradually. You can keep one in the living room and wait for the other one to get accustomed to the scent of the new cat so that when you do make their acquaintance, none of them is shocked.
If aggression has developed between your cats, a good way of calming them down would be to give them a time-out from each other. This can mean anywhere from several hours to several days depending on how much they dislike each other.
Consult an animal behaviourist
When everything seems to fail and if you can't manage to distract your cats when they’re fighting, something else might be at the root of the issue. Animal behaviourists can come into your home and determine what’s making your cats stressed and can also give you some advice as to how you can make your pets feel more comfortable with each other.
Another aspect we have to note here is that some cats might become aggressive due to health problems. Dementia is not uncommon in senior cats, and fighting some of their ‘roommates’ is typically a consequence of them feeling more fearful of their environment.
Create separate zones for each cat
Spending all of their life indoors might be okay for some cats, but that doesn't mean that they don't need their space. Did you know that, on average, an indoor-only cat needs at least 18 square feet of living space, meaning at least 5.5 square meters (and that’s just for one cat)?
So as much as you might want to adopt another kitty, if you do not have enough space for two, you may have to care for just one. If you live in a tiny apartment or studio, both of your cats are going to be stressed on account of them not being able to establish specific territories.
Ideally, you should also have separate litter boxes and feeding and watering bowls for each of your felines. Your home will basically be split up into three major areas - two of them are going to be marked as individual territories for each cat, and one will be the safe area in which they can interact without getting into trouble.
Each zone should be equipped with perches and cat trees so that every pet has cozy spots to hang around in.
Reward friendly behaviour
A mistake that some pet owners make when trying to calm their kitties down is giving them treats in order to distract them momentarily. While this can work, especially if your cats are motivated by snacks, the truth is that if you do this, you will be rewarding negative behaviour.
So, whenever you see your cats getting along well, give them a treat to effectively tell them that this is what they are supposed to be doing all the time.
If you’re looking for a great cat treat, we suggest checking out our Reel Fish Crunchers as they’re packed with protein, minerals, as well as Omega 3, and they’re also healthy and natural since they don’t contain any preservatives, colourings, or flavourings.
Safely breaking up a fight between your cats
Physically breaking up a catfight can be very tempting, but you can get one of your pets hurt or even yourself.
Distracting your cats with loud noises such as roughly closing one door, opening a window, or even clapping your hands loudly are better solutions.
You can even bang on a pot or throw a large toy toward them. Once one of them runs away and hides, you can take the other one to a different room to give both of them enough time to calm down.
Why do cats fight anyway?
We’ve already mentioned a lack of space as one of the obvious reasons why cats end up fighting each other, but there are several other factors that can make them develop aggression towards each another.
Here are several examples:
Changes in their age - cats become adults at around two to three years of age and that’s when they can start fighting for status
Routine changes can leave both of your cats feeling anxious or stressed
Territory changes due to remodelling
Maternal aggression - if one of your cats had babies and the other one tries to touch them, the maternal instinct of the former will kick in and try to protect or defend her kittens
Rough play - which can lead to overstimulation and aggression