Last Saturday we talked about aggression, status and dominance with cats and what to do about it. Here are some more tips that may be very helpful!
If your cats can be in the same room for about twenty minutes (before they starts hissing, growling, etc), then you can also try to time their ‘meetings’, so you can separate them again before they get upset. But if you wait until the cats are upset, you’re already creating a bad memory.
You can start with keeping a fair distance between them. And as long as they are not showing fear, decrease the distance and increase time. Do this gradually over the course of days. Try to end sessions positive, such as with a treat or some play time.
Who’s The Real Bully?
If you know who is the real bully and the real victim, their status may have switched. You can help your cats to get the balance back in their ‘hierarchy’ by placing the bully in a room that is not a favorite territory. Not a favorite room like the bedroom, or the bathroom, or a room with his favorite things in it. It’s best to be a room with no scratching posts so the bully can stay on the ground. In meanwhile, put the victim in the rooms that are favored and make sure the victim has access to favorite territory spots such as a cat tree or a big window she likes to look out of, or hey, even on your lap.
It’s even better to play with the victim to build up her confidence. But also play with the bully (separated), to get rid of his build up energy and help him release his aggression.
Another option is to reintroduce your cats to each other is there is some serious fear and problems going on.
You can read about how to (re)introduce cats here.
Cats “like” (like is not the right word) it when they can flee from a situation and not fighting. This can be done by putting down cat trees, cat shelves or anything else that can make your cat flee up the cat tree or up in the room to escape from a nasty situation. tunnels, empty boxes or other places to hide in may make your cat feel safe, and if your cat feels safe, his fear level is low.
Play, Play, Play!
Playing is very important for your cats. It can change the mood and help them to get rid of built up energy and aggression that they else may release on a cat or someone else. If there is some tension in the room between the cats, go play with them, separated before bringing them in together again.
- Reduce the urge to fight by adding more territorial space so the cats don’t have to share climbing, hiding, and perching areas. Create a house of plenty with more toys, cat trees, litter boxes and feeding stations than the cats can use all at once.
- Avoid rewarding poor behavior.
- Once the signs of aggression, anxiety, and/or hyper-vigilance fade, begin to gradually expose the cats to each other in very controlled situations.
- During each session feed (or at the end of the session) cats tasty foods or engage in play. This helps both cats learn to associate each other with fun, positive rewards.
- Once cats are tolerating each other and are allowed to roam freely, create at least two feeding stations and two bathroom locations and add the 1+1 rule (one for each cat, plus one). Locate them so cats won’t be trapped or surprised when using either.
- Don’t use squirt bottles or anything like that. Working with something negative against something negative is bad.
What would you do if your cats fight with each other?
The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider