Specialists who deal with behavioral problems in pets are, very often, with queries that refer to clashes or fights that occur between cats.
These queries can be divided into two main groups, on the one hand, the cases in which the owner has introduced a new cat in the house and the resident (s) do not tolerate it, and, on the other, those in which two or more cats that coexist in apparent "harmony" begin to get bad and to fight, often suddenly and very intensely.
There is no single cause to explain these situations. Sometimes the problem appears when one of the cats goes to the veterinarian or the hairdresser and returns to the house. In these cases it seems that the new and strange smells for the other cat are the triggers, as long as they cause the resident to "not recognize" the other cat and begin fighting.
Other times The reason that gives rise to the fights is some noise or sound that is produced in the house. They are usually sharp, loud and loud noises, like those produced by metal or glass objects that fall and break.
Sometimes, the sound that originates the altercations comes from one of the cats, For example, if any of the owners step on one of them and he responds with a meow or high-pitched scream.
In all these cases what usually occurs is a very intense fear reaction in the cat that hears the sound and which directs aggressively towards the cat that emits it. In the case of the objects that make the noise, you could go to them, but probably the cat is not prepared to face a vase or a pan, so what it does is redirect fear andthe associated aggression towards the individual that is closest and that is usually the other cat. Thus, this type of aggression is known as redirected aggression.
Other situations that can lead to fights, although they are usually less frequent than the previous ones are visits to people's home, normally unknown to the cat, the arrival of animals of other species, for example, dogs, and the absence of the owners for several days, For example, for a vacation. Sometimes, this problem appears during the visit of the person who takes care of the cats, while in others the problem begins when the owners of the trip return.
In addition to new or strange smells for cats, or the appearance of individuals with whom the cat is not perfectly socialized, it is very likely that These situations lead to an alteration of coexistence when there are previous levels of significant stress in cats
Knowing why there is that stress in cats is sometimes simple and obvious, but with not infrequently may require arduous research by the professional to reach a successful conclusion.
As we see, there are different and varied reasons that can "break" the relationship between cats. But, in addition, depending on many factors, this rupture of the relationship can be of different intensity and more or less lasting. All these aspects will determine what measures may be the most appropriate to try to restore it as soon as possible and get peace to reign at home again.
- My cats have fought, what do I do?
This question has no universal answer. It depends on how intense the fight has been, what caused it, or how the cats are after the fight, among other aspects.
- Little intense fights
If the fight between the cats has not been excessively intense, it has been short-lived and the cats have stopped on their own initiative, we can try to keep them at a distance from each other in the same room from the house for at least 30-60 minutes.
It is very important that they are calm and that they relax during that time. To do this, at least one of the family members must be with one of the cats and another with the second of them. At that time you can give caresses cats or cares that they especially like, so that the tension is reduced as soon as possible, and sudden movements or loud voices should be avoided.
In addition, when the cats start moving around the house again, we must be attentive to any signs of tension, especially the stares of one on the other or the slow movements and hesitant of a cat when passing near or in the direction of the other cat. If these behaviors are observed, with tranquility, we must increase the space between them.
If the fight has happened at night or before we go to work, it may be interesting that sleep in separate rooms or stay in different rooms until we return from work. Then they can be together under our supervision to act before there is another fight.
- Very intense fights
If the fights have been more intense, long or have ended because we have intervened to separate, the best thing is keep them physically apart.
Something that many cat owners do not know is that in these little cats the tension can last hours and sometimes even days, after a scare or, in this case, after a fight. For this reason I recommend that my clients keep cats at least twenty-four hours apart. If we don't wait for that time and we try to get the cats together again only after a while after the confrontation, the chances of a fight coming back are very high.
Once those hours have elapsed and if we observe that cats behave normally, At least with the family, we can let them start seeing each other somewhere in the house other than the place where the fight occurred, to avoid possible "memories" of the situation. Ideally, these first encounters be brief to reduce the chances of problems between them.
In addition, as we have said before, it is recommended that there be distance between cats, which Don't be too close together, especially in places of passage. To help achieve this, it is very good to distribute several feeders, drinking fountains, sandboxes and resting places in different areas of the house.
If things go well, we can gradually extend those contact periods. If at any time there is Some tension between cats, we can use a prize or quiet game that "distracts" their attention of the other animal.
- How do I intervene in the fight?
Although there may be times when it is inevitable, It is not advisable to try to separate the cats by catching them with our hands or using the feet. This can cause us injuries (sometimes important) and, what is worse, that some of the cats associate us with the experience and that is tense or even aggressive with us for a while.
The ideal is use a heavy blanket to cover cats while fighting. By being fairly immobilized by the weight of the blanket, it is more likely that, above it, we can separate at least one of the cats and take it to another part of the house.
PAUL HERNANDEZ. VETERINARY ETHOLOGIST
Why do cats fight?
It is impossible to determine exactly why two cats fight. We can only orientate ourselves based on the cat character and the situation that occurs, trying to guess it. The main reasons that cause fights between cats are the following:
- Fight for the territory: Especially when a new cat comes home it is possible that cats that already live in the home show some rejection. Snorts, ambushes occur and your cat may not allow the new access to food or water. Depending on the character of the cats, if they are male or if they are not sterilized, injuries can occur if the enmity goes further. This situation can cause stress in the new cat and delay its adaptation to the house.
To avoid these initial fights you must separate the feeders, so that the new cat has its own space. This will also prevent the original cat from feeling invaded by using another cat feeder.
- Fight for females: When several cats live together at home, including unsterilized males and females, many fights can occur. Especially during the time of heat, males will try to monopolize the female.
Sterilization avoids these situations, makes coexistence easier and prevents unwanted pregnancies. Keep in mind that it is very difficult to keep an unsterilized female away from males if they live in the same house. Informant in our article about the advantages of sterilizing a cat to learn more about the subject.
- Defending: When a cat feels threatened or cornered it can become very aggressive. You can be scared of a strange person, a dog or another unknown cat. They feel especially scared if they are cornered and cannot escape that situation.
If your cat bristles its tail, it arches its back and begins to emit a hoarse growl means it feels threatened or scared. You should never try to hold it in your arms or try to caress it. The best is that leave him alone, only to be able to be. Come back when you are calmer. Keep in mind what has caused that situation since in similar situations you can attack to defend yourself.
The arrival of a new cat
The arrival of a new cat home is a very important event in the lives of our cats. They feel they own your house, so a new feline is supposed to invade their territory. Therefore we must prepare the first visit of our new cat:
- Prepare an area for the new cat: You must have your own water and food. If in a first contact you try to eat from your original cat feeder, it may react badly.
- Growls and snorts: It is normal that in the first contact the two cats growl, stare and look very cautious. You should not worry, it is normal. Do not try to play or approach from the first moment. They must do it on their own as the days go by.
- Gradual presentation: If possible, make the first visit last a few minutes and gradually let them share space. Locking them both in the same room without knowing each other will surely lead to fighting.
- Avoid jealousy: Try to pay the same attention to both cats. Jealousy between cats can cause clashes. Keep it in mind especially the first few days.
- Cat walkways: preparing an environment in which a cat can hide, climb and feel more comfortable can greatly help the first days to be more positive. We encourage you to use walkways, shelves and bridges.
Properly preparing the arrival of the new individual can avoid fights and discomfort within the home. Responsible adoption should always consider these small details.
Game or fight?
Although your cats get along great, it is possible that occasionally a fight occurs. They have plenty of food and have plenty of space but still fight. Do not worry, it is common, cats have a very special character and between them small disputes occur and are resolved.
Even so the fights are not good and we must know how to differentiate when our cats are playing or fighting. Sometimes, especially young cats, they play very intensely and it may be that at the moment they emit a growl or snort of warning. They are moments in which the game goes to more. Cats will solve each other. It is not advisable to intervene in these cases unless it has clearly passed into the fight.
To know how to recognize if it is a fight or a game between brothers we must observe and pay attention to each cat. If you know his personality you will be able to recognize immediately what situation is taking place.
How to stop a fight
To begin with, it is essential that you differentiate a fight or aggression principle with a simple alert. Cats, like other animals, cannot express among themselves what they feel through words. For that reason, when they feel discomfort or discomfort they respond with snorts, grunts and showing their teeth.
Suppressing this natural behavior of the cat can lead to an arisco and aggressive cat since we are teaching him that he should not growl, and therefore he could attack directly without prior notice. When our cat snorts another cat is explaining what its limits are and how far it can go. Do not be alarmed.
It is important if we observe fights between our cats do not let them go to more. If we let them fight, they can get hurt in the ears or neck especially. They will get used to that relationship and it will be very difficult to rectify their behavior. When your cats start to peel, follow these tips:
- Do not try to separate them: When two cats are locked in a fur they can scratch or bite you if you try to separate them. Never put your hands between them.
- Get your attention: Say a "Do not!" energetic or another word in a high tone. A whistle or a blow is also valid. You must get the attention of the cats so they stop paying attention to the fight. That will probably cause the less dominant individual to flee.
- Spray: You can use a water spray to correct them but this action could turn against you, keep that in mind.
- Never use physical punishment: Aggressions are never productive. You will only make the relationship with your cat worse. You should always use positive reinforcement. You can use rewards to reward them when they reconcile.
If your cats have quarreled or have been about to do so, it is convenient to try to anticipate and prevent it from happening again, read on and discover the proposals of Animal Expert.
How do I avoid fights?
To avoid fights between the cats of our house we must observe them and know their personalities. Each cat reacts differently to certain situations. Some are especially arisco at the time of sharing food and others if they are disturbed when they sleep. Follow these tips:
- Anticipate: when two cats are tense it is evident. When you notice that they start looking for each other, get their attention and try to cut the discomfort at the root. A simple high word can distract them and cause the discussion to end.
- Promote a pleasant atmosphere: The catwalks, the tranquility and the relaxing music can help you create an appropriate environment so that the calm in your home reigns. If instead you dedicate yourself to shouting, breaking objects and driving your cats crazy, it is very likely that a problem may arise.
- See what caused the dispute: Although sometimes we will not know the cause, sometimes. If you discover that the problem is that they compete for the same bed or the same toy, solve it. Buy another bed or other toy to avoid those fights. The use of the sandbox can also cause fights, get two sandboxes!
In a matter of weeks the new cat and the original will share games and probably bed. The cats They are very affectionate among themAs soon as they meet and have spent time together without fights, they will groom each other and their relationship will strengthen. It is very gratifying that our cats get along, since they will spend a lot of time together at home and in many cases without control of their owner.
And when I am not at home?
The ideal would be separate the cats in different areas of the house so they don't fight each other. In addition to radically avoiding any kind of fight, it will help them relax and feel comfortable.
When separating them, do not forget that everyone should have access to food, fresh water, a sandpit and a comfort zone. In addition, intelligence toys as is the kongThey can help calm your stress by promoting relaxation and stimulating your mind.
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If you want to read more articles similar to Tips to avoid cat fights, we recommend that you enter our Behavior Problems section.
What are the types of aggressive behavior that cats can show?
Cats can show different types of aggressive behaviors.
If the aggression is territorial, the cat can be aggressive with some cats but tolerant with others. The typical behavior of this type of aggression includes the case, the persecution, ambushes, snorts, high meows and even the aggressor cat can try to prevent the other from accessing sites such as his sandbox or his bed. Although it seems that males are more aggressive, Feline females can become as aggressive as males in a matter of territory.
However, males can fight each other simply by being male, by a female, by a higher place in the hierarchy or to defend their territory. The fact that one cat is threatening another can be seen by the bullying of the attacking cat towards the other, staring, arched loin and bristly fur. If the other cat does not turn around, a fight will occur.
A third form of aggression is defensive aggression. This happens when a cat tries Protect yourself from another animal or human that you think you cannot escape. It may be the punishment or threat of punishment by the owner, an attack or attempted attack by another cat or any incident that makes the cat feel threatened or scared.
The defensive posture that the cat adopts in these circumstances is to crouch with the tail and legs under the body, crush the ears against the skull and roll slightly to the side. Approaching a cat in this pose can make him feel more threatened and cause an attack. Cats can redirect their aggression against another animal or person, even if they have not caused the attack, simply because they feel threatened or nervous. Even if your intention is to comfort the cat, he may attack you because he is nervous about something else.
If your cat attacks others frequently, consult your veterinarian, since your cat may be sick and is paying his stress with others.
How do I separate two cats that fight?
Don't you think of getting in the middle of the fight or touching them while they fight, because you could go wrong. To separate two cats that fight, you must give a loud shout or slap, as close as possible to the fight, or use a water jet against the cats. In short, something that distracts your attention. Under no circumstances should objects be used or thrown against cats or they will believe that you want to participate in the fight. Once separated, you should get them to relax, and then comfort them separately.
Do not count on your cats to solve their problems alone. You should be the one who mediates among them, looking for the cause of the problem and putting solutions to prevent it from happening. Especially when they fight don't touch them or punish them, since you will only aggravate the fights. And under no circumstances introduce more cats into your home.