Cat Aggression

catsfightenin

 

Help cats get along with you and fellow cats by  knowing the signs of feline aggression and how to stop cats from acting out. Get  to the root of cat aggression problems and solve them today. Start with a “Safe Room”

 

 

Introduction

There’s a right way and a wrong way to introduce cats to different species. Do it properly and everyone should live happily ever after; do it incorrectly and you could be in for a peck of trouble.

Regardless of age, it’s wise to keep both animals contained during first contact, by providing a “Safe Room”. This allows a controlled environment so neither pet gets hurt if the first meeting doesn’t go well.
Once the animals have accepted each other, you can let them mingle together but never leave a cat with another species unsupervised.
It may take a little while for your cat and the other animal to accept each other, so you’ll need to be patient. Most importantly, don’t try to force your pets to become friends.
It can be dangerous to introduce a cat and dog (or other animal) nose to nose while holding them. Some cats, if forced face to face with something that frightens them. That just makes things worse, and someone could get hurt. So go slowly and keep everyone under control until you’re comfortable with what’s going on.
If both animals stay calm and the introduction goes smoothly, reinforce that positive behavior with a treat, But don’t punish negative behavior, such as hissing or growling, because it won’t help. All you’ll succeed in doing is making your pet more stressed.

Non Spay/Neuter Pets (Spraying and Aggression)

Identifying the cause is necessary to determine whether the aggression is problematic or simply normal behavior. This also helps in selecting the most appropriate means of addressing any behavior problem. Common factors may include whether a pet has been spayed or neutered. No matter the cause, however, it is most important to stay calm and remember that your pets behaviors are also their means of expression.

If your pet is not spayed or neutered, behavior problems can arise. The best way to prevent aggression is to have this safe, routine procedure performed at an appropriate age. This generally reduces aggressive behaviors, bad temperaments, litter box problems, and the risk of running away, as well as the potential for unintended pregnancies.

Should aggressive behavior prove troublesome before your pet is ready for his or her procedure, it is best to keep the pets separated. This may involve confinement, but it is only temporary and will allow the pets some relief until the procedure is performed.

Once spayed or neutered, keep in mind that it may take up to one month after the surgery for the cat to exhibit appropriate behavior. You will find that once you pet is spayed/neutered the urine smell will decrease, Urine Marking for territory and Aggression will Stop.

Health Issues

Sometimes a cat will suddenly act aggressive for medical reasons. Any abnormal behavior or sudden change in behavior should be checked out by your veterinarian as soon as possible. If you spend time with your cat and get to know him, you will notice any changes in his behavior and habits right away. If there is a sudden change, don’t assume your cat is misbehaving. Check with your veterinarian first.

Hierarchical Aggression: My cat wants to be the boss.

Some level of aggression occurs between cats when they establish and maintain hierarchies in households. This is completely normal behavior, which is marked by such actions as swatting on the head, hissing, growling, posturing, and even light combat.

The best thing to do in this situation is to allow this process to continue so a hierarchy may be established and maintained. Interfering with this process may reinforce or worsen bad behaviors. For instance, the less aggressive cat may not learn to stand up for himself/herself, which will make the aggression worse. If this behavior escalates, simply break the cats’ sight of one another using an object and gently scoot one cat away.

You may also use “time-outs” by placing one cat in a separate room. Be calm when placing your cat in time-out as cats quickly pick up on negative and heightened emotions. Keep the cats separated for 10-15 minutes. If the aggressive behavior resumes after the time-out, repeat the process for 20-30 minutes. Continue increasing time-out time until the behavior ceases.

Certain aggressive behavior may escalate. Watch for the following behaviors: fighting involving hair flying, rolling on the ground, snarling or screaming; changes in health or eating and/or litter box habits; victim continually hiding; or aggressor urinating on victim. These are not normal hierarchical aggression behaviors and require further attention. Read on for more solutions.

Territorial Aggression: My cat exhibits aggressive behavior in certain places.

Though cats may tolerate their feline roommates throughout most of the house, they may still exhibit territorial behavior by preferring their own spaces for eating, sleeping and elimination. Make sure your cats have plenty of space, especially in disputed territories. Provide them each with their own litter box and food/water bowl. You may also feed them in separate rooms.

To give the cats positive associations with one another, try using positive distractions such as stick-toys and interactive play and cat scratcher. You can do this when you notice the cats’ body language indicating a potential dispute (posturing, hair raising, ears laid flat, dilated pupils, et.c). Also, pay attention to the time of day when and places where territorial disputes usually occur, and use positive distraction in these places and at these times. Do this instead of yelling, which will only increase negative associations between the cats.

You may also consider using Feliway room diffusers to calm your kitties. Another effective means of positive distraction is to toss treats in different directions (so they don’t go to the same area).

Boredom/Loneliness: My cats exhibit aggressive behavior when I’m not home.

If aggressive behavior tends to happen when you’re away from home, separate the cats while you’re gone. Give each cat his or her own comfortable space that includes food, water, and litter. This should feel comfortable and positive for your kitties, which can be achieved by providing lots of toys or turning on the TV or radio. Make sure this doesn’t feel like a time-out!

Surprise Attacks: My cat attacks my other cat when she/he is eating or using the litter box.

Surprise attacks by the aggressor when the victim is eating or using the litter box can lead to behavioral problems in which the victim refuses to eat or use the litter box. Therefore, these behaviors must be addressed immediately.

If the aggressive cat is attacking the victim while eating, determine how severe the behavior is. If the aggressive cat is merely pestering the other cat, it is best to let them sort it out. Shooing the aggressive cat encourages play-prey behavior, which becomes a game. If the pestering is too disruptive, calmly place the aggressive cat in a time-out.

If the aggressive cat is actually attacking the victim while eating, calmly put the aggressor in a time-out. If you leave food out at all times, find a spot that only the victim can use. If you feed only at meals, feed the cats in separate rooms.

Similarly, if the aggressor is attacking the victim while s/he is using the litter box, consider placing the box in a “safe place” for the victim. Otherwise, it can lead to inappropriate elimination.

I have tried everything and my cats still don’t get along! What can I do?

If you have tried addressing your cats’ behaviors and not succeeded in resolving the problem, keep in mind that some cats simply won’t get along. However, don’t give up! If you are attempting to re-introduce your cats, remember that this process can take up to six weeks, sometimes longer. Begin with a “Safe Room”.

In the event that a re-introduction or other solutions have not worked, you may want to create a permanent divided territory. In this situation, you can isolate one cat in a comfortable room equipped with food, water, toys, litter, and a source of stimulation (TV, radio, window seat, etc.). While this cat is isolated, the other cat may roam freely. The next day, switch the cats so the previously isolated cat may roam while the other may relax in the special room.

Eventually, you may be able to reintroduce the cats. By switching the cats in the room, they are able to sniff each other and get used to one another indirectly. If you do try to reintroduce them, be patient! Allow them to grow comfortable with one another at their own pace.

.