Cat fights: Making your cats get along – Part 2

Anyone that has ever owned cats that don’t get along with each other will know how upsetting and difficult this can be. Cats are independent by nature and like to have their own territory carefully marked out. They will fight to protect it from unwelcome intruders.

Introducing a new cat into a home that is “owned” by an existing cat is often leads to problems. The incoming ktty will try to stake its claim, while the existing cat will defend its territory. This is always unmanageable though. A small kitten will often charm an older cat, and earn the “right” to share its territory. If two older cats live together, they often “divide” the home, and turn into upstairs or downstairs kitties, or front yard/back yard prowlers.

But its not always possible for two cats to tolerate each other, and fighting may break out. This can be distressing for the owners, and if battles aren’t resolved could result in one being ousted by the other. So what’s the solution?

If both cats are toms, spaying may help. Toms should, in any case, be spayed to prevent unwanted kittens being born, but may also help both to become more docile and less prone to fighting. Another solution may be to encourage them to divide their territory by feeding them in separate parts of the house. This should always be done at the same time so they aren’t tempted to “steal” from each other, which will cause even more fights. Providing both with separate sleeping arrangements also helps them to divide. A more extreme answer may be to introduce another pet into the home – having a dog around may give both cats a bigger and more challenging intruder to deal with.

If the fighting persists, keep a careful eye on both cats. Injuries can be painful and get infected, and should be treated promptly. Provide safe hiding places for both – small spaces can be created with flower pots, wooden boards, boxes and bricks. If a cat has a defend-able space it can hold off a full attack until help comes to hand. And don’t try to get between them! Use a large towel to throw over one or both, a broom handle to push one off the other, or even a dish of water to give them both a shock. Don’t hurt them, just frighten the more aggressive cat off, giving both a chance to dive for cover.

Watch out for signs that one cat is being ousted. It may stay away for longer and longer periods, while it tries to establish it’s own territory elsewhere. Its sad to loose a cat in this way, but even sadder when a much loved pet simply disappears, leaving you wondering what happened to it. If you notice this happening, take responsibility by looking for a new home for the cat. If you can find somewhere nearby, and explain the situation to the new owner, you may still be able to visit, or cat sit during vacations. If children are involved, use the separation as a way of teaching them about the painful fact that not everyone will be able to live harmoniously, and let them be as involved as possible in the plan. Decide together which cat will leave, and where it’s new home will be.

We all want our pets to live contentedly with us and with each other, but not every story has a happy-ever-after ending. If your cats are fighting, make sure you do everything that you can to behave as a responsible pet owner, and don’t let it lead to disaster.

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