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Aggression Between Cats In The Same Household

If you have more than one cat living under the same roof, chances are you might encounter catfights at some point. Frequent aggression between cats can frustrate owners and cause potential risks to pets, sometimes even serious wounds. 

Working with inter-cat conflict is no easy feat. That’s why we’re here to narrow down some tips for you to better manage and curb the aggressive behavior. 

Why do household cats fight?

Aggression between cats is part of normal feline behavior. It is strongly impacted by early social history and exposure to humans or other animal pieces. Reasons for some cohabitating cats partaking in rough fights could be various as below:

Lack of socialization

aggression between cats

Socialization is the process of getting a cat to engage in and enjoy interactions with other animals (same and different pieces). Ideally, it can start with the “sensitive period” which lasts for about 2-7 weeks of age for kittens.

If cats receive enough socialization, the animal can develop appropriate social behaviors and get on well with remaining mates in the house. On the other hand, without adequate experiences, some cats do not understand normal feline communication and etiquette. As a result, they might hold aggressive attitudes towards their own species. To make the matter worse, they could have intense responses to the sight of another one. Running away and hide in fear, attacking in an attempt to get the other cat away from their personal space, for instance.

Aggression between cats: Territorial aggression

In fact, cats are more serious when it comes to territory than any household pets. They mark their turf by leaving their chemical scents, chin rubbing, and urine spraying around the house. 

If a kitten feels that his territory has been invaded by an intruder, territorial fights are bound to happen. The patterns in this type of aggression between cats include hissing, ambushing, and chasing the other one, or even swatting when contact occurs.  You can easily catch sight of territorial problems when introducing a new cat into a household or when a young kitten reaches an adult one. 

Sexual behavior to cause aggression among male cats

You might see mature male cats threatening, and sometimes involving in fights with other males. These behaviors are considered as sexual challenges over a female to get a mate during a heat.

This type of aggression involves some common body posturing, staring, stalking, and howling. If one male cat jumps forward, then he’s telling his competitor that the fight is now beginning. Normally, sexual aggression between cats does not cause severe injury. However, you should always keep tabs on puncture wounds that are prone to infection. 

Competition for resources

aggression between cats

In a multi-cat household, it’s quite common for one or more cats to prevent access to major resources. In some cases, if there is a lack of food or water, cats in the same household might manifest aggression towards others. It’s a normal reaction that is inherited from their wild ancestors. However, if one steps back and is willing to share what he’s got, there will no aggressive behavior or conflict to happen. 

Read more: How Long Can Cats Go Without Food? Pay Attention If Your Cat Is Not Eating

Redirected aggression due to a third party

As the words imply, this cause of aggression is directed toward cats that didn’t initially provoke the behavior in the first place. For example, a household cat sitting in the window may feel a potential risk from an outdoor cat walking outside. If he is not able to attack the outsider, he may instead turn and throw a tantrum at the other family cat.  

Medical health issues

The suddenly increased irritability in a cat’s behavior towards other ones in the home could be an early indicator of health problems. Don’t overestimate the changes. They might indicate that your pet is suffering from medical conditions such as dental disease, hyperthyroidism, and cognitive dysfunction. 

How to better manage aggression between cats

Discipline your pets from a young age

aggression between cats

First and foremost, you can prevent inter-cat aggression by directing your pet to the right track from a young age. Just remember that whether you choose to make a command, set rules, or train your feline, avoid physical punishments. This might only pay the way for counter effects such as making the animal more aggressive or overly anxious. Meanwhile, extreme physical penalties can also lose the hard-earned trust and bond with your cat.

At the same time, you need to be patient with them. It might take a while to make your cat disciplined, but hard work pays off! 

For a more detailed explanation and tips to effectively discipline a cat, take a closer look at this informative article: How To Discipline A Cat: Tips Every Owner Must Know 

Provide multiple and separated resources

Create an enriched feline environment that prevents cats from having to share their own things. You can consider having multiple litter boxes placed in different locations and provide them adequate foods/water to avoid competition. An important note is that you should avoid encouraging poor behavior. Giving attention or food to the aggressive kitten may calm him down in the short term. But it rewards poor behavior. 

Proper introduce a new pet member

Having a proper introduction to help your pets get to know each other is essential. If your current feline is always friendly, it can be very tempting to just let him about the new cat. However, don’t take the importance of introduction for granted. Cats don’t always hit it off the right way and a negative experience can set a poor foundation for their relationship. 

Don’t urge in cat-to-cat introductions, instead, take your time. If the first effort comes to nothing, try the second one but in an open-space area like parks. 

Check-ups with the vet 

aggression between cats

Finally, if there is a sudden change in your cat’s behavior, your must contact your vet immediately for a thorough health examination. Pets often hide symptoms of health issues until they’re seriously ill. So, you should always be aware of and keep an eye on your cat’s wellbeing. 

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