Tips for Cats That Don’t Get Along
5 August, 2014
If you have more than one cat, you know how there are some cats that just don’t get along. Most cats do get along well, but once in a while you have a cat family that isn’t exactly harmonious. Or maybe you have a cat and suddenly he and your other feline member aren’t getting along. Below are some tips to help.
There are many reasons that cats might not get along. The most common reason that your cat might not get along with others it that he or she wasn’t properly socialized or had unpleasant experiences with other cats early in his or her life. If your cat grew up as the only cat, with little or no contact with other felines, he may react strongly when he’s finally introduced to another cat because he’s afraid of the unknown, lacks feline social skills, and doesn’t like the disruption to his routine and environment.
Some cats don’t get along because there is a personality clash… not all humans get along or aren’t great roommates for the same reason. In some cases, however, cats get along just fine until something scary becomes associated with the other cat.
Play aggression is perfectly normal
It’s common for kittens and young cats to engage in rough, active play because all feline play is really mock aggression. Cats stalk, chase, sneak, pounce, swat, kick, scratch, ambush, attack and bite each other—all in good fun. If they’re playing, it’s usually reciprocal. They change roles frequently. Their ears are typically forward in play, their claws may be out but they don’t cause damage, and their bodies lean forward not back. If their ears are up and the claws are out, this is not fun playing, but aggression.
Tips to help your cats get along
1. Never let the cats fight it out on their own. Cats don’t resolve their issues through fighting, and the fighting usually just gets worse. Interrupt aggression with a loud clap of your hands, spray from a water gun or a burst of compressed air (no noise).
2. Neuter the cats. Intact males are particularly prone to aggressive behavior.
3. Separate their food bowls, litter boxes. Reduce competition between the cats by providing multiple, identical food bowls, beds and litter boxes in different areas of your house.
4. Provide additional perches or hiding spots. More hiding spots and perches will allow your cats to space themselves out as they prefer.
5. Don’t try to calm or soothe your aggressive cat, just leave her alone and give her space. If you come close, your cat could turn and redirect her aggression toward you.
6. Reward desired behavior. Praise or toss treats to reward your cats when you see them interacting in a friendly manner. And, of course, hugs and rub downs for good behavior.
7. Try pheromones. There are different products on the market that mimic a natural cat odor (which humans can’t smell), may reduce tensions. Use a diffuser while the aggression issue is being resolved.
Try separating and re-introducing your cats to each other
Separate your cats in different rooms for several days or weeks, with separate beds, bowls and litter boxes. This way they can hear and smell each other, but don’t have to interact.
Place the cats’ food bowls on opposite sides of a closed door. This will encourage them to be close together while they’re doing something that makes them feel good.
Each day, have the cats switch rooms so that they both experience some variation and get access to each other’s scents.
After a few days or a week, if both of your cats appear relaxed, crack the door open one inch. If they remain calm, open the door a bit more, then a bit more. If the cats remain relaxed, they may be ready to be together again. But if they react with any signs of aggressive behavior such as growling, spitting, hissing, then you should separate them again and try again in a few days.