When Cats Don’t Get Along….

two cats fighting

Cats are among some of the most territorial animals that humans can have as pets. Unlike dogs, they become attached to their environment even more than they do people. Grasping that concept, it’s not difficult to understand why some cats can just be difficult for other cats to get along with. What do you do, though, when you find yourself in a situation where cats just don’t get along? And how do you prevent two cats fighting in your house?

Understand How Cats Think

Each cat wants to own his or her territory, some are just more dominant about it than others. Two dominant cats cannot live in the same place together peacefully. More often than not, one cat will attempt to establish dominance over the other, and will be successful over time. The tension that you detect before that time comes, though, is enough to make you second guess bringing that second kitty into your home. Essentially what’s happening is this: Cat number one sees cat number two as an intruder on her territory, and cat number two will have to let cat number one establish dominance in order for things to mellow out. Rarely does it happen the other way around. For you, this means monitoring their interaction until they’ve worked the dominance structure out.

Gradually Exposure The Two Cats To Each Other

Monitoring interaction between two cats that aren’t getting along is crucial for their mental and physical well being. It’s unfair to put two cats together in the same place and to expect them to not be overly concerned or upset with the other. For the first few days that you have your second cat, keep them completely apart. Begin exposing them to each other by allowing objects that smell like the other cat into their presence. When the time is right, let the dominant cat (or the one who was there first) investigate the new one’s territory. Over a week or so, let them in the same room; be prepared for some hissing and batting as they work things out.  

Let the Dominant Cat Establish Dominance

It’ll either happen right before your eyes, or sometime when you’re not around, but things won’t be at peace until your dominant cat feels at peace, and in order to do that, it needs to feel dominant. This often means putting the more passive cat “in its place” by coming out on top in a physical altercation. Pay attention to how things unfold here, as you won’t both cats to remain safe as they work things out.

Give Your Cats Two of Everything

Once dominance is established, chances are one of your cats will still be on edge from time to time. To eliminate any anxiety or stress, go ahead and give each cat what they need separately from the other. Keep in mind that dominant cats can bully, so this is crucial for the well being of your passive cat. Though they may be “getting along,” one may guard the food or litter box in an effort to stake more territory for themselves. For this reason, it’s best to feed them separately, and to give them separate litter boxes, perches, toys and beds. This way, neither feels threatened by the other and both will live peacefully together.

Let’s face it: Cat’s have attitudes. We love this about cats, but it’s going to cause some riffs in the animal kingdom within your home from time to time. Do your best to monitor your cats beyond the dominance establishment, and you should live in a mostly peaceful home for your cats.

Do you have experience with two cats fighting in your home? For other blog posts about cats, click the links below!

How Do I Stop Cat Hairballs? 

Tips For Finding A Lost Cat

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