Curbing Agression Between Cats

By October 13th, 2011No Comments
We know that cats that are well-socialized will likely be more sociable than those who haven’t been around many other cats.
Many people adopt a second cat, thinking that the resident cat will be happy. This is a risky move. Just because your cat is sweet and loving with you doesn’t mean he’s going to be sweet to another cat. But we’re here to help negotiate a truce.
Types of  aggressive behaviors

Territorial aggression: This occurs when a cat feels that an intruder has invaded her territory.
A cat may be aggressive toward one cat (usually the most passive), yet friendly and tolerant with another. Female cats can be just as territorial as males.
Inter-male aggression: Adult male cats may threaten, and sometimes fight with, other males.
This is more common among unneutered cats. They may fight over a female, for a higher place on the totem pole, or to defend territory.
Defensive aggression: Defensive aggression occurs when a cat
tries to protect himself from an animal or human attacker he
believes he can’t escape.
This can occur in response to punishment or a threat from a person, an attack or attempted attack from another cat, or any incident that makes the animal feel threatened or afraid.
Defensive postures include:
• Crouching with the legs and tail pulled in under the body
• Flattening the ears against the head
• Rolling slightly to the side
Continuing to approach a cat in this posture is likely to cause an attack.
Redirected aggression: Cats direct this type of aggression toward another animal, or even a person, who didn’t initially provoke the behavior.
For example, your cat is sitting in the window and sees an outdoor
cat walk across the front yard. He gets very agitated because that cat is in his territory. You pet him; he turns and bites you.  He doesn’t even know who you are at that point – he’s so worked up about the cat outside that he attacks the first thing that crosses his path.
Smoothing ruffled feathers
Your first step should always be to contact your veterinarian for a
thorough health examination. Cats often hide symptoms of illness until they’re seriously ill; your aggressive cat may be feeling sick and taking out his misery on others. If your cat gets a clean bill of health, consult your vet or an animal behavior specialist for help. They will advise you on what can be done. You may need to start the introduction process all over again, keep the cats in separate areas of your home, or even find one of the cats a new home if the aggression is extreme and can’t be resolved. Consult with your veterinarian about a short course of anti-anxiety medication for your cats while you’re working on changing their behavior. Never medicate your cat
on your own.
Spay or neuter your pets.
The behavior of one intact animal can negatively affect all of your pets. See article below.
Don’t count on the cats to “work things out.” The more they fight, the worse the problem is likely to become. If you see signs that a fight may occur, distract the cats by clapping loudly, tossing a pillow nearby, or squirting them with water. These actions can also be used to break up a fight.
Don’t touch them, or you might get seriously scratched or bitten. Seek medical attention if you’re injured.
Don’t punish the cats involved. Punishment could cause further aggression and fearful responses, which will only make the problem worse.
We do know that cats that are well-socialized will likely be more sociable than those who haven’t been around many other cats.
On the other hand, “street cats,” already in the habit of fighting with other cats to defend their territory and food, might not do well in a multi-cat household.

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