Monday, July 4, 2011

How To Stop Cats From Fighting With Each Other

Once you have decided you want to adopt a cat, you should consider a few important factors. Do you already own a cat and want to add another cat to your family or is this the first cat you will add to your family? If you already own a cat, you need to consider how this cat would react to a new member of the household. If the cat you own is an older cat, it may not like the idea of a new cat around, or if you are adopting a kitten, your older cat may not want a young and full of energy kitten bothering him. You must take into consideration how you think your first cat will respond to the new cat. Is your cat young enough to tolerate a new kitten? Does your cat have a good amount of energy to play with a new kitten? Or does your cat prefer to be left alone? Nobody can really know for sure how two or more cats will get along with each other, but if you look closely at your cats personality, you may be able to determine how your cat would respond to a new cat. If you dont consider this, you might find yourself researching how to stop cats from fighting with each other.

The best way to stop cats from fighting with each other is to avoid getting into this situation in the first place. If you already own a cat and are looking to adopt another one, consider adopting a cat that is closer to the other cats age. This way you are pairing up two cats of similar age and energy levels. This is important because if you have an older cat, it might not have the desire or energy level to be playing with a kitten all the time, and the kitten would more than likely aggrevate the older cat and this could be a cause for your cats to fight with each other. If your first cat has been the only cat in the house for an extended period of time, it may feel threatened by a new cat and could become a reason for the cats to fight with each other. If you are going to introduce a new cat into your home, there are some steps you can take to help stop cats from fighting with each other before it even starts.

The first thing you should do before introducing a new cat to an already existing cat is to have the cat checked out by your vet before exposing it to your cat. Cats can carry diseases and you will want the new cat to have a clean bill of health before it is introduced to your cat. Otherwise you run the risk of exposing your first cat to potentially harmful or deadly diseases that can be transmitted when cats fight, bite or scratch each other. Your vet is also a valuable source of information, helpful hints and suggestions that can help you introduce the cats to stop the cats from fighting with each other before it even happens. Once you have a clean bill of health for your new cat, you can work on slowly introducing the new cat. One way to do this is to keep the new cat in a separate room behind closed doors with its own food, water, litterbox etc. Your first cat will smell the new cat under the door and this can help them get used to each others scent and let your first cat know another cat is present without them actually coming into direct contact right away.

After the cats have identified each other through scent, and this may take a while, you will want them to slowly become introduced to each other in short, supervised sessions. If the cats hit it off right away, you can be more liberal about the amount of time they spend together. But more often than not, there will be some tension between the cats until they get used to each other. Supervising the cats together at first is important so you can immediately stop the cats from fighting with each other if it occurs. I found it useful to have a spray bottle of water readily available during all cat interactions so that if a cat fight occurs, spraying them with water is often a good way to break up the fight without risking you getting bit and scratched trying to separate them. Do not attempt to stop a cat fight by getting directly involved with it. Use the spray bottle of water to separate the cats. You must be patient while your cats are getting used to each other and you may need to keep them separated for a while. Feeding the cats on opposite sides of a closed door is also helpful in bringing them together without the risk of a fight and this can help them associate food with each others scent.

Another good way to stop cats from fighting with each other is to make sure each cat has their own personal possessions. Each cat should have its own food bowls, water bowls, litterbox, toys, beds etc...If you attempt to make them share, you are just encouraging a fight to occur. Cats are independent and generally do not like to share and by providing each cat with its own belongings you are reducing the risk of a cat fight over an object. Make sure they each have their own separate eating and sleeping areas, and their own scratching posts and toys. You should always have a litterbox for each cat plus one additional box available.

There are also pheromone sprays available to help stop cats from fighting with each other. You can purchase these type sprays in pet stores and online and it works by reducing cat stress, and helps to soothe a stressed out cat. Just make sure you read the instructions on the bottle and follow recommended usage by the manufacturer. Keep in mind that this does not always work, but can be worth a try. I recommend discussing the use of pheromones with your vet before you use it as he can provide more detailed information and helpful hints to make sure you use the product correctly.

You also must understand that your cats are going to have to work out the problems between them. In multiple cat households there is usually always one cat who is dominant, and the other submissive and this is usually determined by the cats themselves. There will likely be confrontations between the cats, and this is not always avoidable. Little disagreements will occur as the cats adjust to each other and set boundaries and limitations, but you do want to avoid full blown cat fights to reduce the risk of them injuring each other. Be attentive to your cats behavior, and you will soon recognize when a cat is looking to play or looking to fight, etc...and you will be able to redirect unwanted behavior before it starts. Always reward your cat's good behavior with treats or something they enjoy as positive reinforcement for them being together and not fighting.

These types of approaches can help stop cats from fighting with each other. But, remember that you will need to be patient. A happy mulitple cat household usually does not happen over night and will require effort on your part. It may take some time before your cats peacefully exist together, but it can happen with a little help from you. If you have tried everything, and nothing seems to stop your cats from fighting with each other, I recommend you contact your vet for further assistance

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