If you are wondering and worried about why your cat has started behaving aggressively, understand that there may be many reasons for this. The commonest reason is undersocialisation, a lack of delightful experiences with other felines early in life.
Reasons for Aggression
Lack of Social Skills: If your cat was brought up as the only cat, with a little to no company of other cats, he may react aggressively when he is introduced to another cat. The reason for his aggression may be a fear of the unknown, lack of feline social skills and dislike about the disruption brought to his environment and routine.
Need of Consistency: Cats love consistency more than a change. This tendency becomes especially intense when the change involves a newcomer to his well-established territory. This is because cats are a territorial species. While some cats try to overlap their territories to a great extent, others prefer to stay away from their neighbours. Two unrelated male cats or two unrelated female cats may find it extremely difficult to share space.
Personality Clash: Another reason for aggression may be a personality clash. Cats don’t get a chance to choose their housemates and we humans normally select the wrong match. Of course, it may happen sometimes that two cats get along just fine. In other situations, relationships change with time.
Underlying Medical Condition
Any abrupt change in the behaviour of your cat could point towards an underlying medical condition. If you see any abnormal physical or behavioural symptoms or if your cat suddenly stops eating, visit your Upper North Shore vet right away.
Other Types of Aggression
If your female cat has just delivered a litter of kittens she is bound to show aggression in the form of growl, hiss, swat, chase or bite to another cat with whom she was previously friendly. This kind of aggression typically calms down as soon as the kittens are weaned. Neutering maternally aggressive cats can be a solution to prevent future litters and eventual aggression problems.
Aggression while playing is commonly seen in cats because the play itself essentially consists of mock aggression. Cats chase, stalk, pounce, scratch, kick, sneak, attack, swat and bite each other, but it’s all in good fun!
They also often change roles. You may see their ears typically forward and claws out, but they won’t cause damage.
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Tips for Managing Multiple Cats
If you have multiple cats and are finding it difficult to manage all of them, here are a few useful tips.
- Never allow the cats to fight. Cats never resolve their problems through a fight. On the contrary, the fight gets worse. Stop the fight with a loud clap or spraying a water jet.
- Neuter your cats. Usually intact males are prone to aggression.
- Keep their resources separate and reduce competition by providing identical food bowls, litter boxes and beds in different corners of your house.
- Provide extra perches. More number of hiding spots and perches will let your cats to retreat themselves whenever they prefer.
- Don’t try to console your aggressive cat. Just leave him alone and give him his space. If you try to get close to him, the aggression may be redirected to you.
- Encourage the desired behaviour with a reward.
- Try pheromones to reduce stress.
If Still Your Cats Don’t Get Along
Consult a cat doctor from Gordon Vet Hospital to solve the behavioural problem of your cats. A qualified animal behaviourist can be of a great help. He will evaluate the problem and help resolve the clash.
Some cats just can’t live together peacefully. In such a case, instead of making them spend years of stressful coexistence, it’s more humane to separate them permanently.