People who have lived with more than one cat know it’s normal for them to play-fight from time to time, as evidenced in this “pattycake” video where two dubbed patty-cats have collected more than 20 million views on YouTube. Cats naturally want to be on top of the food chain, so whenever more than one cat is in company, fights are bound to break out. The question is, how do you stop a hissing, yowling, claws-out cat tiff without getting hurt?
The staff of LazyPaw Animal Hospitals has broken up our share of cat altercations, and these top tips have helped us diffuse feline tension again and again.
Reconsider the idea of adding another cat to the fold.
We might think one cat is lonely and would love a new playmate, but cats are fiercely territorial and often see a new addition as a threat to be put in her place. If you are set on having two cats, give each a separate litter box, food, water, toys, perch, and scratching post to avoid extra cause for a turf war. Introduce new cats to one another carefully, since a bad first impression could wreck the whole relationship.
Is the aggressive cat feeling well?
When people are sick or in pain, they tend to get cranky. Cats are no different. If a normally chill kitty is suddenly a beast to your other cat and takes a swipe when their housemate just wants to play, she might not be feeling well. Pain is hard to notice in cats, so if your cat starts acting fussy, consider a trip to the vet clinic for a checkup.
Learn to spot the signs of fighting versus playing.
Cats, especially as kittens, like to play rough. If cats are displaying a “play face” with mouths partway open and hopping sideways, everything is probably fine. However, when cats start hissing or growling, it means play time is over and the boxing bell just rang loud and clear.
What do I do if my cats are definitely fighting?
Don’t jump in the middle or try to scare them with a broom, which will only get you scratched, bit, or damage the cats’ trust in you. The best thing is to distract the cats away from fighting. Try clapping, stomping your feet, or throwing a pillow nearby. You can also use a spray bottle with water, which will snap both cats out of the fighting trance. Best of all, grab a toy to see if you can redirect their energy into play, which might help them learn to work out their aggressive tendencies without harming each other.