You just rescue a sweet little tabby from a shelter, hoping she can keep both you and Mickey, your five-year-old cat company. However, when you finally take the little tabby home, Mickey is all hissy fit and loud growl. Does he have a problem with this certain little tabby or does he have problem with any other cat?
Seeing your cat acting hostile with other cat can be upsetting, because it means your cat is feeling threatened. There are several conditions that cause hostile behavior in cat, particularly with other cat. Depending on the cause, you can later determine what action is the best to keep the hostility in a minimum or even get him to change his heart. Below are several causes of hostility toward other cats.
1. Your Cat is Territorial
That cat is a territorial animal is no question. When another cat comes to his territory – whether it is a stray cat passing by or new cat you just brought home, it is natural that he doesn’t like it. Sometimes, this is because he is afraid the new cat will replace him. Sometimes, he simply doesn’t like to share. Therefore, he will act aggressive toward the other cat – especially during the first meeting – to warn the other that this area is his.
When your cat is being territorial, showing him that the new cat is not a threat helps. Give both of them separate everything – food bowl, toys, litter box, and hiding place. This way, your cat won’t associate the arrival of the new cat with less food, less toy, or less attention. It is even better if you put them in different location instead of next to each other. That way, they won’t cross each other’s way when they are reaching for their food and there will be less misunderstanding and tension between them.
2. Your Cat is in Competition
Same-sex adult cats rarely get along because they are naturally in a competition to win the opposite sex. When same-sex adult cats meet each other, they may exchange loud meow and engage in a staring contest which can lead to physical fight. In male adult cats, they may fight for dominance. They will stare, charge ahead, scratch, hit, and then all of a sudden stop and start again. Obviously, physical fight can inflict wound and injury for the cats involved, so the faster you stop them, the better.
If you have an adult cat, spaying the cat will make him behave less aggressive toward other same-sex adult cat. However, if you find your cat fighting with another cat, don’t interrupt their fight directly since you may get hurt instead. Clap loudly using your palm, or spray them with water, or use air compression to stop.
3. Your Cat is Protective Mama
If your cat is female and has just given birth to her kitten, she will turn into a protective beast for them. She has reason for this. Papa Cat is known to come back and eat the male kitten to eliminate future competition. However, sometimes Mama Cat’s aggression is directed not only to the Papa but to any other creature – maybe including you.
If this is the case for your cat’s aggressive behavior, she is worried about the safety of her kitten. Give her plentiful place to hide so she’ll feel safer. Another thing you can do is to spay the mother later – to avoid future mating. Spaying the mother also lessening the protectiveness streak in a mother cat.
4. Your Cat is Scared
Sometimes the cause of aggression is unrelated to other cat at all. Your cat may get scared because he has seen a particularly vicious cat outside the house from the window and his instinct is reacting in defensive mode. If another cat in the house (or even you, for that matter) approaches him, his body will react first and attack.
If your acts aggressive while he is giving off the sign of fear – tense body, tail between his legs, and flattened ears – it is better to let him alone until the fear subsides. If you try to pet him, you may get bitten or scratched. If there is another cat in the house, distract him and prevent him from approaching the scared cat.
5. Your Cat Lacks Social Skill
Cat is actually a creature that enjoys the presence of other cats. However, some cats are more social that the other. The lack of social skill in cat can be caused by bad experience with other cat when he is younger. A cat raised from birth in a household with other cats is likely to be more social than a cat rescued from the street.
If this is the cause, then there is little you can do. Maybe you really want to have another cat, but if your cat doesn’t seem to be okay with this, it’s better not to. Every cat is unique, so let them have what they want.
However, there is something worth to try. You can make your cat associate the new addition of cat in the household with better thing. For example, buy new toys for both of the cats after you bring the new cat in the house or upgrade their diet with tastier snack. Also, try not to bring both of the cats to the vet immediately to avoid your old cat associates the arrival of the new cat with vet visit.
Now that you know what to do when your cat is turning against each other, next you should know what you absolutely must never do to them. There are two things you should remember. First, never punish any of the cats for their aggressive behavior. This will only push them to be more aggressive because they think they need to defend themselves. Second, never let cats figure out their disagreement by themselves – since they usually won’t stop fighting unless one of them submits and it can happen only after the cat is badly hurt. Therefore, play active role in preventing and stopping cat fight.
Aggression in cat can be caused by many conditions. Pay attention to your cat whenever he is being aggressive. Notice what happened to him before he acts aggressive. Did he just meet same-sex adult cat that provoke him? Does he look scared at the same time he is being aggressive? After you find out the cause, react accordingly. This way, you can minimize the pain – both physical and emotional – on you and your cat’s side.