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Have Your Cats Become Fighting Felines?

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I have a couple of cats I’m sitting for now that have lived together for several years peacefully, but for some reason they’ve started fighting.

It’s important to determine what caused the problem so an appropriate solution can be identified. Start by observing your cats as they interact. Do you see a pattern?

There are many things that can cause a rift between cats. Below are some common reasons:

Redirected Aggression-This happens when a cat is feeling upset by a particular issue but isn’t able to get to it directly, so he takes his frustration out on someone/something that is readily available, which may mean another cat in the house.

Territorial Aggression-Cats are very territorial, and if one cat in the home oversteps predefined boundaries, this can lead to fights to regain dominance.

This type of aggression can also come into play when one cat goes to the vet and then returns home. The returning cat may have a different scent due to medical procedures done at the vet’s office, so when he returns home, the cat that stayed behind doesn’t recognize the other’s scent, so sees him as a cat new to the home.

When you find yourself in a fighting feline household, make sure there’s room for each of them to have their own escape hatch. Ensure there is a litter box for each and locate them in different parts of the house if possible.

Be sure there are vertical areas for them to access independently, like cat trees. Watch how they interact at eating time and set up separate food and water stations if necessary.

Once aggression between cats living in the same home starts, it is usually necessary to reintroduce them. We’ll go into more detail about reintroduction in an upcoming post later this week.

source: Starting from Scratch, by Pam Johnson-Bennett, 2007

Categories: cats, pet behavior, pet care

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