Why Do Cats Fight

Why do cats fight is a question often asked by cat owners. Sometimes it is in play while other times they mean business! This article tries to explain why cats fight.

Kitty Fights: What To Do When the Claws Come Out

Why DO Cats FightWe pet owners love our pets equally, and it breaks our heart to see them hurt one another. Did you know that discord is more readily apparent among cats than with dogs? As an owner of three beautiful cats, I sought to understand and prevent this from happening, and I hope that sharing what I know can be of help to fellow cat owners.

Why Do Cats Fight?

Cat owners must remember that our pets are natural hunters, so aggressiveness is part of their nature. Though domesticated breeds have no need to hunt for food, expect aggression to still be evident in their behavior. It also doesn’t help that they were born with tools for violence: claws and needle-sharp teeth.

Cats are also very territorial. They seek to assert their ownership of any property and consistently protect it from intruders. This helps explain their unfriendly and unwelcoming behavior towards other cats.

Another contributing factor to feline aggression is lack of socialization during their “kittenhood”. If a cat was not exposed to other cats while it was still a kitten, it is very likely to display aggressive behavior over the years.

Bad Kitty!

Below are some things that you may have observed in your cat. These behaviors may trigger fights among your pet and other felines.

  1.  Bullying the new cat. The introduction of a new cat will rouse aggressiveness in your older one for two reasons: the latter is asserting her territory, and it is an alteration of her environment. The newcomer will also be hostile because she senses she is trespassing on another cat’s turf.
  2. Feeding time forays. Cats living together in a household sometimes tend to hiss and claw at one another during meal time even if they are already friendly with each other. When they do this, they are merely protecting their lion’s share of cat food.
  3. Tom vs. Tom. Male cats, or toms, tend to show hostility towards one another, especially the grown ones. Aside from territoriality, toms fight because of competition, especially for the attention of the female cat (the queen). During the mating season, which lasts from about ten to fourteen days, cat fights among toms tend to be very vicious.
  4. Tom vs. Queen. Male and female cats fight with each other too during the mating season. This happens when the tom tries to mount a not-quite-ready-yet queen. This may ensue to growling, clawing and biting.
  5. Maternal Aggression. Just like any mother in the animal kingdom, mama kitty will do everything to protect her litter. This may sometimes include aggressive behavior towards another cat approaching her and her kittens.

Making Kitty Peace

Now that we have understood the usual reasons for the violent behavior observed among our household cats, we should do our part to promote a peaceful co-existence among felines. As a responsible cat owner, it is up to you to address the kitty fights that can be very dangerous at times. The following suggestions may be of help:

  • Gradually introduce the new cat to the old ones. Separate them initially, but make sure that they can still smell each other’s scent. In this way, they get to be familiar with each other without the violent contact. With a lot of patience, your cats will get used to one another. This will create a peaceful environment for them in your home.
  • If your cats fight during feeding time, feed them separately. For added measure, put some distance between them and make sure each has enough food.
  • Make sure that your kitten has interaction with other cats so that she will acquire social skills and be less aggressive when she grows up.
  • Certain herbs and pheromones may mellow down the behavior of your cat. Be sure to consult your vet regarding this matter.
  • Reward your cats for their friendly behavior. This will make their interaction with the other cat a positive one.
  • If two cats that used to be friendly suddenly became aggressive to one another, reintroduce them to each other carefully. Be sure to separate them during this phase. Use restraints such as a leash if necessary, as your cats’ safety will always be more important than their freedom.
  • Neuter your toms. Neutering your male cats will reduce their aggressiveness, especially during mating season.
  • Keep in mind that pets still have to be handled with care when they are behaving aggressively. Picking up an unsettled cat carelessly may result to being clawed or bitten forcefully.
  • Your cat’s aggressiveness may in fact be medical, rather than behavioral in nature. If your cat continues to behave badly despite the measures you’ve taken, seek the help of your vet.

Feel free to know more about cats or any other pet for that matter. On the internet you will undoubtedly come across informative website which tell you about the proper way to manage your pets.  Understanding the nature of your pets is the key to controlling their unwanted behavior. With knowledge, patience and unconditional love, we can make our pets’ lives more peaceful and enjoyable.

About the Author

Iris is a retired veterinary assistant. She has five cats, two dogs, and a parrot who speaks fluent Cantonese. She spends her spare time writing for the Bannock Animal Medical Center.

References:

The Cat Health Guide: Cat Aggressive Behavior – [http://www.cat-health-guide.org/cataggressivebehavior.html]

The Cat Health Guide: Male Cat Behavior – [http://www.cat-health-guide.org/malecatbehavior.html#aggression]

The Cat Health Guide: Cat Mating Behavior – [http://www.cat-health-guide.org/catmatingbehavior.html]

APSCA: Aggression Between Cats in Your Household – [http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-articles/aggression-between-cats-in-your-household]

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