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How To Stop Cat From Attacking Other Cat?

Updated May 30, 2022
How To Stop Cat From Attacking Other Cat?

To determine how to stop a cat from attacking other cat, the owner must first identify the underlying cause.

Aggression towards people or other animals is one of the most common behavioral problems in cats.

Bringing a new pet into the house is always delightful for the owners. However, a cat already living in the home may not share the excitement.

And while tension between newly acquainted cats is expected, the reason for aggression between cats that used to get along isn’t always apparent.

Owners should pay close attention to cats’ interactions, prevent fights, be patient, and develop a behavioral strategy to effectively deal with the problem.

Identify The Cause

A cat may attack another cat for numerous reasons, including territorial and hierarchy conflicts, jealousy, maternal aggression, play aggression, and pain. Identifying the cause of the cat’s aggression can help you effectively deal with unwanted behavior.

A female cat being aggressive toward other cats in the household or even the owner is typical because she’s protecting her kittens.

That’s an instinctive behavior that usually subsides once the kittens grow up, so no action is necessary apart from keeping the mother and kittens separate from other animals.

However, the mother cat attacking her kittens is a symptom of postpartum depression. If your cat behaves aggressively towards young kittens, seek veterinary help. Hissing on grown kittens usually indicates that the mother is simply tired of feeding them.

Aggression is common when a new cat appears in the household because cats are highly territorial, hierarchical animals. A cat used to living alone may perceive a new pet as an invader in its private space.

Sometimes, conflicts also arise because a senior cat doesn’t like the owner giving attention to another animal.

Cats living together for a while rarely behave aggressively towards each other, but it may happen during play. Play-induced aggression in cats occurs from a triggered hunting instinct combined with sensory overload.

Distinguishing between playing vs. fighting cats isn’t always simple, and a chase that started as a game can quickly turn into an attack. Playing cats charge roles frequently. If you notice that one cat constantly runs after another, take action.

If you have several cats of different ages, older cats may attack younger ones, fearing they would steal the owner’s attention and take the older cat’s place.

Lastly, a cat may start attacking another cat due to emotional distress caused by pain or confrontation with another family member. For example, if a cat knows it shouldn’t harm kids, but a child handles it roughly, it may attack another cat.

Separate The Cats

The first thing you should do when you notice one cat attacking another is separate them. Keep the cats in different rooms while you’re identifying the root of the issue.

If a cat attacks another cat because they aren’t yet accustomed to each other, switch the rooms every couple of days. This way, the cats can get used to each other’s scents without meeting.

After a while, you can open the door slightly and let the cats smell each other. If they remain calm, open the door more. Reintroduce the cats slowly, closely monitoring their reactions. If they show any signs of aggression, separate them again.

If separating the cats in different rooms is impossible, get them individual bowls, beds, and litter boxes. This way, your cats will have fewer reasons for conflict.

Keep the food and litter separate even after your cats get used to each other. Private space is essential for every cat. Furthermore, cats concerned about their food’s safety may overeat or eat too fast, which causes digestion issues.

Don’t Try To Soothe The Cat

An aggressive cat doesn’t choose its targets. Wishing to soothe the distressed cat is a natural reaction of a caring owner, but touching the cat right after the conflict is plain dangerous. An anxious cat can injure the owner.

Instead, leave the cats unwind alone. Don’t approach the cats for some time – the duration depends on the conflict severity. When you see your cats grooming themselves, eating, or resting, you safely come close.

Don’t Let Them Fight

Some owners think that cats must resolve their issues by fighting to decide who’s the boss of the household. However, the cats should know that the owner is the only head of the house, and hierarchical conflicts are strongly discouraged.

Never let your cats fight it out because the conflict will only worsen. In the best-case scenario, the cats may severely injure each other and make a massive mess in your home.

In the worst-case scenario, one of the cats will always attack the other, causing it to constantly feel anxious at home. The longer you let the cats fight, the lower the odds of them becoming friends.

If your cats got into a fight while you weren’t home, inspect both animals for injuries when they calm down.

Assess your pets’ legs, tails, ears, and facial area for bites and wounds. Ensure the cats aren’t limping or having difficulty breathing. Cat bites and scratches are highly susceptible to infection, so disinfect any wounds you find.

How To Stop a Cat Fight

Anyone who has ever observed cats fighting knows that distinguishing who’s who and stopping that ball of fiery aggression isn’t easy. Therefore, every owner should learn how to stop a cat fight quickly and safely.

Although your first instinct may be to jump in the fight to separate the cats, never try to stop them with bare hands. Instead, distract them with a loud noise.

You may yell, clap hands, drop something heavy on the floor, or ring a bell. Any sudden noise will do the job.

If the fight is severe and cats pay no attention to the noise, you can pour some water on them to make them run away.

Neuter The Cats

Do you own two male cats? They may never get along. Unneutered male cats tend to be aggressive towards other males, regardless of how long they’ve lived together and whether they have a shared love interest.

Male cats can live together peacefully only while very young or old. If one cat sprays, neutralize the smell as soon as possible because it can trigger the other cat.

The answer to how to deal with inter-male aggression in cats is straightforward – neuter them or keep them separately.

Neutering the cats is the only way to calm their hormones, but this doesn’t always help. After neutering, you will need to reintroduce the cats slowly, following precautions. Despite neutering, your cats will remember that they had a conflict.

On the same note, you may wonder – do female cats fight with male cats due to mating-related conflicts? Yes, that’s possible when one of the cats is in the mating phase, and the other isn’t.

The solution is the same as in the case of two male cats fighting – neuter/spay the cats or separate them.

Pay Equal Attention To Both Animals

Often, pet parents pay more attention to a new cat in the family, neglecting the older animal. That’s natural because changing house is always stressful for cats, and the senior pet is already accustomed to the environment.

However, the older cat may become jealous and attack the younger one trying to get rid of the competition. If your cat is jealous of another cat, pay increased attention to both animals, ensuring they feel loved.

Avoid petting the younger cat or playing with it in front of the older one. You can start doing that after the animals get used to each other.

Don’t Leave Cats Unsupervised

Never leave conflicting cats without supervision. Even if your cats know that you discourage fighting and avoid confrontation while you’re home, they may attack each other as soon as you shut the door.

But how to know you can leave conflicting cats home alone? Wait until your cats can be close for extended periods without showing any signs of aggression. Ideally, they should be able to play together and even groom each other.

Don’t leave your cats together without supervision if they still avoid each other. The cats may try to keep their distance and ignore each other, but if they come close while you aren’t home, they may start a fight.

Reward Desired Behavior

Cats can’t draw links between their actions and punishment, but they can draw connections between their actions and rewards. Don’t yell at your cats for fighting, but reward them with petting or treats after every positive interaction.

Have your cats sniffed each other and walked away without hissing? They’ve deserved a reward. Have they played together without turning the game into a fight? Encourage them to do that more often.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies for cat aggression aren’t a long-term solution, but they can help you calm down your pets during first interactions or after a fight.

To keep the aggression at bay, you may let the cats sniff catnip, pheromones, chamomile, lemon balm, or hops.

Image credit: Pixabay