In a multi-cat household, skirmishes tend to erupt. One cat establishes himself as the Alpha cat. The Alpha cat is the cat that automatically seeks the highest spot in the house, demands to be fed first and will at times spray his mark (urine) on the home.
As the other cats grow and mature, their own alpha tendencies come into play. Gradually they challenge the alpha attempting to take over. The Alpha cat will engage any other cat that challenges even kittens. Kittens learn early from mom cat and littermates how to wrestle and roll together, rabbit -kicking each other as instinct kicks into gear and the survival mode engages.
You should never step in between two cats that are fighting. They are not focused on you. Their stress pheromones are at maximum level. You stand a good chance of getting scratched or bit. Even after the cats separate, you should leave them alone for a few hours. Never pick up a cat that has been fighting!
Use a broom to guide one cat into a room, and shut the door. Go in later; ignoring the cat leaving food, water and litter pan. Then leave, because your cat is still in the moment of the battle fully aroused and angry. You will know it is safe to approach your cat once he begins to start grooming or eating.
Here are some tips to stop cat fights:
- Spay and neuter! Spaying and neutering goes a long way to stopping aggression.
- Keep claws trimmed.
- Don’t have too many cats. Cats need their individual space. If you have multiple cats, be sure you have places where these cats can get away from the others.
- Use a wooden kitchen chair and gently set it between the two cats without hurting the cats. This takes patience and a gentle touch. But it will startle the two cats and they will back away. Use a broom to guide one cat into another room for a break. Remember to close the door, isolating the cat temporarily.
- Spray bottles do not work to stop fighting cats. The cats are so engrossed in their battle, that a tiny stream of water will not even bother them. Moreover, it can scare them and make things worse.
- Yelling and screaming to break up a cat fight is not recommended. Cats react to our stress level. If you are upset and anxious, making a lot of noise, look for the cat fight to accelerate not diminish. Staying calm tends to work the best.
Most battles between cats are mock battles. You can tell the mock battles from the real conflicts by learning about the body language of cats. Your key points to watch are the tail, the ears and the eyes and where the body is in relation to the ground. Understanding the true body language of cats goes a long way toward knowing when cats are playing and when they are fighting.
Written by Mary Anne Miller
Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!