Cats are extremely particular about their environments. Upon adding another cat to the household, many pet owners are met with resistance and even aggression. Aggression between cats can cause serious stress on the entire household. Cats can happily coexist, but the transition can require behavioral work.
Types of Aggression
Cats often exhibit territorial aggression. When a new cat comes into the home, your original cat may immediately mark them as an intruder. Many pet owners code territorial aggression as male, but female cats can be just as territorial with one another. One cat will be the clear agitator. They will chase, ambush, or stalk the other, typically blocking their access to certain areas such as bedrooms or litter boxes.
In other cases, cats may show defensive aggression. This occurs when cats feel threatened, whether in form of punishment, attack, or environmental stress. A defensive cat will sit flat on the ground with their legs pulled under the belly, ears back and tail tucked.
Not every form of aggression is cause for concern. Cats often exhibit play aggression, an often intense but harmless form of entertainment. Play aggression caan look like regular aggression between cats: stalking, biting, swatting, chasing, etc. However, in play aggression, there is no clear agitator or victim; the roles will swap regularly. Their bodies and ears will lean forward rather than backward. Play aggression is especially common among kittens and is considered completely normal feline behavior.
Luckily, there are ways to manage aggression between cats. Begin by separating their resources evenly. You should have separate yet identical food bowls, litter boxes, and beds for each cat. Consider adding additional perches or hiding spots for each cat. Not only does this limit territory disputes, it decreases stress in the environment. Your cats will always find their needs fulfilled in a more comfortable manner.
Stop fights when they occur, but do not intervene. Make a loud noise to distract the aggressive cats. Do not punish them; this will make them feel more threatened. Instead, try your best to separate the cats for the time being. Reintroduce them to one another slowly.
If your cat’s behavior changes suddenly, it may also be a sign of illness. Sick cats often experience increased irritability and thus are more likely to become aggressive. If this is the case for you, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
At Claws N Paws Day Spa, your dog or cat can find professional grooming services. Right next door, you can board your cat comfortably in our cats-only boarding facility. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at 714-962-1005.