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Cat Aggression: Cat Fight


Cat Aggression: Cat Fight

Postby admin » Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:38 pm

http://cats.about.com/od/amyshojai/a/10 ... ession.htm
A cat fight, more technically termed inter-cat aggression, frustrates owners and can cause cats to lose their home. Most inter-cat aggression involves intact same-gender cats, and gets worse during mating season. That's why spaying or neutering before a year old decreases or prevents about 90 percent of inter-cat aggression. But any two cats can decide they hate each other.

After all, you don't automatically love every human you meet.

Why expect cats to be any different?

Kitty Poker Communication

Cats usually work out their social standing with posturing and kitty bluffs, and neither kitty gets hurt. In these situations, cats can usually learn to tolerate and/or avoid each other.

However, the lowest ranking cat (often an older, or ill kitty) can become a target picked on by the other felines.

Acting like a victim (slinking around, using submissive body language, hiding) is the equivalent of wearing a "kick me" sign and invites bullies to increase their bluster. Never allow cats to "fight it out" as that rarely settles conflicts but makes matters worse.

Why Cats Fight

Cat-on-cat fights can result from any other kind, such as redirected aggression, play aggression, and fear aggression. Changes to the cat's social group (addition or departure of a member) can prompt an increase in face-offs. Environmental changes such as moving or rearranging cat furniture or feeding/bathroom stations, also can cause the fur to fly. Basically, any change in the routine may leave one or more cats so stressed they take it out on each other.

Cats reach social maturity at two to four years of age when many cats first challenge others for status.

Not enough space predisposes cats to territorial disputes. Cats mark property with cheek rubs, patrolling, and urine marking. Some diabolical felines lure others into their territory and then "discipline" the other cat for trespassing.

Feline territorial aggression is notoriously hard to correct, and marking behavior is a hallmark of potential aggression. Outdoor cats are more aggressive on their home turf and the cat closest to home usually wins the dispute.

Cats use verbal and silent communication to elevate their status in the eyes of the other felines. They challenge each other with stares, forward-facing body position, hisses and growls, mounting behavior and nape bites, or blocking access to food, play, or attention. Some dominant cats use "power grooming" behavior-energetically licking the other cat-to make her move away.

10 Tips to Stop Cat-to-Cat Aggression

Reduce the urge to fight by adding more territorial space so the cats don't have to share climbing, hiding, and perching areas. Create a house of plenty with MORE toys, cat trees, litter boxes and feeding stations than the cats can use all at once.
Electronic cat doors that can only be opened by the collared victim cat will allow her to access the entire home yet retreat to a safe area the aggressor can't follow. These pet doors open in response to the magnetic "key" inside the collar. Look for "keyed" pet doors at pet products stores or on the Internet, and install in your interior door to keep one cat upstairs, for instance.
Avoid rewarding poor behavior. Giving food or attention to the aggressive cat may calm the angst but actually pays her to be a bully. Instead, catch Sheba before she gets hissy and redirect her behavior with an interactive toy, such as a flashlight beam, to lure her into play in another direction. That can also help her associate good things with the other cat-rather than with being nasty.
If the toy doesn't work, interrupt with an aerosol hiss. Then once the cat walks away and is calm, reinforce the desirable response-acting calm-by offering a treat, toy or attention.
Go back to basics and treat the aggressive cats as though introducing them for the first time. It's best to give the victim cat the choice location of the house, and sequester the bully cat in the isolation room.
If you see no significant improvement within a week, talk with a veterinary behaviorist to see if drug therapy may be helpful. Drugs may help control the aggressive behavior in the bully cat, while decreasing the "kick me" defensive posturing and vocalizing of the threatened cat. Drugs aren't a cure, but can be a tool that helps training work more effectively.
Once the signs of aggression, anxiety, and/or hyper-vigilance fade, begin to gradually expose the cats to each other in very controlled situations. Begin with the cats in carriers, or controlled with a harness and leash, at opposite ends of your largest room or longest hallway.
During each session feed cats tasty foods or engage in play. This helps both cats learn to associate each other with fun, positive rewards.
Interrupt unacceptable behavior (hisses, growls) with a squirt of compressed air or water gun, and toss small stinky treats to reinforce "good" (calm) behavior. Counter conditioning can take months and require much patience and time.
Once cats have learned to tolerate each other and are allowed to freely roam, create at least two feeding stations and two bathroom locations but the 1+1 rule is even better (one for each cat, plus one). Locate them so cats won't be trapped or surprised when using either.
Thunder and fury with no blood spilled indicates they have excellent bite inhibition. But few fights resulting in lots of damage indicate that at least one of the cats either has very poor inhibitions, or seriously wants to kill the other cat.

Cats that hate each other and draw blood during fights have an extremely poor prognosis. When all tactics have failed to stop two indoor cats from fighting, then ultimately one cat may need to be placed in a new home or permanently segregated from the other in another part of the house. That's NOT giving up-it's making life better for the cats, and you.
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Re: Cat Aggression: Cat Fight

Postby admin » Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:02 pm

https://www.petmd.com/cat/behavior/how- ... tween-cats
It’s not always easy to keep the peace in a multi-cat household. Hissing, biting, and scratching can be as hard on pet parents as it is on the cats. Fortunately, there are ways to stop cat fights before they start.

Why Do Cats Fight?

The first step to stopping cat fights is to understand why they start. In the wild, cats generally have strong relationships with their moms, aunts, and siblings, says Dr. Jill Sackman, head of behavior medicine service at BluePearl Veterinary Partners. But once they’re on their own, they tend to be more solitary creatures.

Should another cat cross into what they consider their territory, there’s bound to be a stand off, she says. This applies in the home as well. Many fights start with a cat protecting what she considers hers, be it an area, a toy, or a human.

Then there are cats who used to get along, but the relationship changed after a traumatic event. Sackman says she is working with a cat who had a painful accident in the kitchen. The kitty got her foot caught in a wire rack and, after falling to the floor, the first thing she saw was her brother. She now associates him with the pain, and the two fight like mad, Sackman says.

Signs that cats aren’t getting along can be obvious—all you have to do is listen for the hissing. But other times, the aggression can be subtler, says Dr. Franklin McMillan, director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society.

You might notice one cat leaving the room when the other enters. Or a more submissive cat may try to hide or disappear to avoid a confrontation when the more dominating cat gets close. “Cats have different personalities,” McMillan says. “And sometimes those personalities just don’t mix.”

How to Stop a Cat Fight

When a cat fight starts, your first instinct may be to yell, clap, or break out the water gun. But this could just make things worse, Sackman warns.

Instead, you should take a deep calming breath and insert an object like a large piece of cardboard between the cats, McMillan suggests. This creates a gentle but impenetrable barrier between the two felines. If the cats are locked together, pick one up by the scruff, which will force him to release the other cat.

Keep the cats separated for a while to let them cool down. “Every time you have a fight, the relationship gets worse,” Sackman says. “The longer the fights have been going on, the harder it is to correct the relationship.”

How to Make Cats Like Each Other

Trying to mend a bad relationship between cats takes time, space, and a whole lot of patience. The following tips can also be helpful when introducing a new cat into the household.

Start by putting the cats in separate areas with their own cat food and water dishes, litter pan, and climbing spaces. Make sure to spend plenty of quality time with each cat in their respective areas.

Then, slowly reintroduce (or in the case of a new cat, introduce) the two cats. The exact timing of when to start this process will vary from case to case, depending on the severity of the relationship problems.

The first step is to allow the cats to share scents. Feed the cats at the same time on the opposite sides of a door, the doctors recommend. This allows them to associate the other’s smell with something pleasant, like cat treats or their favorite wet food.

Continue the scent swap by mixing their used litter together, Sackman says. You can also take a cloth, wipe down one cat’s paws and tail, and let the other smell it. McMillan recommends switching the cats’ spaces so they get a full dose of the other’s smell.

After that, it’s time for a face-to-face meeting. Put the cats on opposite sides of a screen or baby gate. This setup allows them to see and smell each other, but there’s still a protective barrier between them.

Once they get to the point where they can see each other without trying to start a war, you can remove the barrier completely. You’ll likely have better results if a friend or family member helps with this step.

Bring the cats into the same room and lavish each with tons of attention and praise in the presence of the other, McMillan says. Over time, this classical conditioning allows the cats to start associating their former foe with positive experiences instead of fear, domination, or pain. “It’s a matter of teaching them to like the presence of one another,” he says.

Keeping the Peace Between Cats

To prevent future disputes, make sure each cat has her own cat bowl for food and water, play space, and cat litter box. Both doctors also recommend having an extra litter box, just in case.

Cats like to climb, McMillan says, so give each cat her own cat perch where she knows she can get away from the other if needed. “The most comforting thing for any animal is to be able to seek out your own safe haven when things aren't going well,” he says.

Pheromone dispensers may also help relax anxious cats. Both doctors say they’ve also seen positive results with nutraceuticals, though they recommend talking to your vet first. You want to make sure these products won’t interact negatively with any medications your cat is prescribed. Your vet may also recommend anti-anxiety drugs to help preserve the peace.

Remember: some cats may never get along. But hopefully, you can get to the point where they at least tolerate each other. “Living in peace is the goal,” McMillan says. “They may not like each other, but they can at least live together and not cause problems.”
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