More often than not, cat fights are a result of redirected aggression, play aggression or fear aggression. Feline face-offs are usually prompted by change in the cat’s social group with either the addition or departure of a member.
Aside from that, changes in the environment such as a rearrangement of cat furniture or feeding and bathroom stations can cause some felines to flip as well. Essentially, any changes in to their regular routine and rote may leave cats so stressed that they take it out on each other.
Even an absence of space inclines felines to territorial disputes. Felines mark their territory with cheek rubs, patrolling, and urine markings. Some fearless ones have been known to bait others into their territory and afterward “teach” them a lesson for trespassing. Territorial aggression is famously difficult to right, and “marking behaviour” is a sign of potential aggression.
Cats provoke each other with gazes, forward-confronting body position, hisses and snarls, mounting behaviour and nape bites, or blocking access to food, play or attention. Some predominant felines utilise a “power grooming" conduct, vivaciously licking the other cat to make her turn away.
But fear not for we have come up with a list to help you mediate your fierce felines from further paw-nching one another.
• Add more territorial space for each cat so that they don’t have to share climbing, hiding and lounging spots. Furnish your home with plenty more toys, cat trees and feeding stations than the cats can use at the same time.
• It’s 2017. Incorporate electronic cat doors into your home that can only be opened by the collared “bullied” cat so that they can access the entire home yet withdraw to a safe space where their aggressor can't follow. These doors specifically open in response to the magnetic “key” within the collar. Search for these “keyed” pet doors at pet products stores or, duh, the Internet.
• It’s hard trying your best to not succumb to offering treats to the adorable, wide-eyed faces of your felines despite their “bad” behaviour. Divert your cat’s attention with an interactive toy, such as a flashlight beam, when she’s being mean. This can also help her associate good things with her other counterparts, rather than being nasty.
• If toys prove to be useless, interrupt with an aerosol hiss. Once the cat walks away and calms down, reintroduce a treat, toy or just give her some well-deserved attention.
• It’s always good to return to square one and reintroduce your cats for the first time. Give the “bullied” cat the choice location of the house and isolate the “bully” cat to a room. Once the signs of aggression begin to fade, slowly expose the cats to each other in really controlled situations. Start with the cats in carriers, or controlled with a harness and leash at opposite ends of your home. To help both cats learn to associate with each other, feed them tasty food or engage them in play; in turn, leading to a fun and paw-sitive session!
• Interfere bad behaviour like hisses and growls by squirting compressed air or a water gun, and toss in treats to reinforce good, calm behaviour. Counter conditioning requires plenty of patience and time as it can take up to months, but it’s all totally worth it.