Blending cats into one household: August 2008 Archives

About the author: Sabina Sayegh runs a successful Pet Nanny service in the San Fernando Valley, California area. Her website has loads of information for cat lovers. This post is an excellent resource for multiple cat owners that are trying to understand why their cats don't get along all the time.

Understanding Why Cats Fight

why_do_my_cats_fight.jpgIf you have a household with multiple cats, you know that cat fights do happen. Even if your cats generally get along, at times, they can still fight. While humans may not completely understand why their kitties are fighting, cats have their reasons for fighting. Some of these reasons are similar to the reasons that humans have disputes. Cats express their discontent with other cats by picking fights. The reasons why cats fight can help you determine how to prevent your cats from fighting in the future.

Fighting for their territory: Many cats fight because of their territory. One of the reasons that cats fight is because they feel like an unwanted cat has invaded their territory, even if it is a cat that has lived with them for a long time. Cats are much more territorial than dogs and the gender of the cat has very little to do with it. Contrary to what many people believe, female cats are sometimes just as territorial as their male counterparts. If you have two cats in your home, you might notice that one cat hisses and swats at the other whenever he feels his territory has been invaded. This can also happen if you bring a new cat into the home. They are simply defending their territory.cats_fighting.jpg

Social ranking: Either male cats frequently threaten and fight with each other for social ranking or despite what you may think; even neutered males may do this. If you have multiple cats, especially more than one male cat, one cat is usually considered the "alpha male" and will be at the top of the cat hierarchy. Two cats might posture their bodies, then begin howling and screaming at one another. If one of the cats walks away or backs down, then the catfight is usually avoided. However, if neither one wants to throw in the towel and surrender, then one cat will attack the other by jumping forward and attempting to bite the neck. The other cat will fall on his back and tries to bite or scratch the attacker with its hind legs. The two cats might go through this several times before walking away. There are usually no injuries sustained in these kinds of fights. You may even notice that kittens or young cats play with one another this way. Most of the time, you will not need to interfere.

cat_fighting_why.jpgAggression: Cats also fight as a result of some kind of redirected aggression and this is quite common, especially with indoor cats. Your cat might be looking outside the window at another cat or dog crossing the yard. Your cat begins to feel territorial and aggressive at this cat, but since this other cat cannot be reached, he may instead attack the other family cat. Another example is if you are giving your cats treats. One cat may reach the treat first and begin eating. The other one wants a bite, but the cat that is eating may become aggressive over the treat and begin to swipe or yowl and the other cat. Usually this is not the case……..because they do sense their home is only a home if everyone tries their best to get along.

If you find your cats fighting occasionally, you should know that this is common and quite typical of cats. Most of the time, you will be able to tell whether or not your cats are fighting for "blood" or just playing around. The time to stop a fight is when it gets nasty otherwise; allow your cats to work it out themselves. If you feel the need to stop a catfight, then you should do it carefully. Even the most loving cat can bite or scratch you in aggressive passion. To stop a fight, you should make some kind of loud noise, such as a handclap. Since cats are startled by loud noises, they will both stop to see what is making the noise. You can also spray water on them to interfere with the aggressive behavior.

Cat-Fight.jpgWhen you find your cats fighting, it is best not to punish the cats for their fight. Cats do not understand punishment and fighting is a natural instinct in cats. The best thing to do is only interfere when necessary. If you find your cats are fighting more than they should, it is time that you find out why. Do they fight over a litter box, a food bowl or a prime window location? Make sure each kitty has his or her own "things" and a place to retreat when they feel overwhelmed by other pets in the house. This will go a long way in preventing real catfights.

Other posts I think you might be into:

The amazing story of Christian the lion...

12 cats that will be extinct by 2020

A cat's daily diary vs a dog's daily diary...

pictures_cats_and_dogs_living_together.jpgIf you are thinking about getting a cat and a dog, you'll need some pointers. There is a lot of truth to the saying, "fighting like cats and dogs" unless you introduce your dog to your cat carefully. According to a study soon to be published by Applied Animal Behavior Science, if you follow some ground rules your cat and dog can become the most loving companions.

1) It is best to make the introductions while they are both young, around 4 - 6 months old is the best. In fact, at this age, they are young enough to learn each other's body language and communicate with each other.

2) Get your cat first and get him used to the house before you get a dog. This way the cat can establish his territory before the dog enters the territory. For the cat this ensures a sense of security. The cat becomes the "alpha dog" in that territory. Which makes your cat much more receptive to the dog and makes the dog respect the cat. Which is exactly what your cat needs to be happy in this arrangement.

pictures_of_cats_dogs_getting_along.jpg3) All cats and all dogs have their own personalities so if you've followed steps one and two and your cat and dog are still not getting along, it is probably a clash of personalities so you just have to make the best of it. Give your cat a safe place where the dog can't go and give him lots of loving.

Read more about In Multi-Pet Homes, Cats are Top Dogs!.

Other posts I think you might like:

The true story of Christian the lion...

12 cats that will be extinct by 2020

The European Cave Lion was the largest cat that ever lived...

A cat's daily diary vs a dog's daily diary...

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