Agressivity

No fighting! Understanding aggression among cats in your household

My cat is aggressive with other cats, what can I do? How can I prevent my cat from attacking my other cat? Living with two felines (or more) can sometimes cause chaos in the household. Such aggression among cats is common, can be subtle, and has two forms: passive and active.

Examples of aggressions between cats

How can we describe aggression between cats? Here are a few subtle situations that describe passive aggression:

  • When we notice that a cat (aggressor) blocks access to food bowls, litter boxes, the comfy couch in the house, etc.
  • When a cat (aggressor) stares at another (victim). To look at each other is one thing, but to stare is another story. It may seem like nothing, but it is threatening and intimidating to be stared at constantly.
  • When one of the cats (victim) goes out of their way to avoid the other cat (aggressor). This is a reliable sign that one is uncomfortable in the presence of the other.
  • When a cat (victim) stays apart, isolated from the other cats in the household. This is one of the ways a victimized cat keeps away from their aggressor.

Even if cats are masters at being subtle, some can be openly aggressive and are highly visible and vocal. This what we call active aggression:

  • When a cat (aggressor) pursues another (victim). It may look like they are playing, but surprisingly it is always the same one that is being tagged! If they are playing, they will switch roles. Also, it is important to make sure that the cat being chased doesn’t show signs of distress.
  • Sometimes we witness a fight between cats, or notice the signs later. Some fights can leave wounds or bite marks. But even if they don’t, they remain stressful for the felines involved.

Levels of Aggression

When there are a few slaps, without wounds or changed behaviours, it is considered to be mild aggression. Your reaction in such case is minimal. It is normal for a cat (just like humans) to have animated discussions with their roomies!

However, when fights are common or the victim can’t seem to freely wander the house because they have to keep an eye on their aggressor, then it is mostly moderate aggression.

When we have severe aggression we witness physical or psychological consequences. Severe wounds can happen and the quality of life of the cats involved is highly affected.

How to Help Your Pet?

To reduce the risk of aggression between cats within the household, it is best to offer a rich environment. That means that there are enough resources spread around the house to make sure that every cat can do as they please without running into each other. Therefore, it is important to have multiple litter boxes, water and food bowls, spaces to rest and scratch, and many toys available. Keep in mind that cats like to see things from above. When you place resting shelves, make sure that they are big enough for only one cat. This way, once a spot is taken, the other cat will most likely go somewhere else.

In cases of moderate to severe aggression, you should see a veterinarian about it. The appropriate plan of action will be established to address your pet’s specific aggression. It is sometimes necessary to separate the two cats for a while and to reconnect them gradually. There is also medication that can alleviate the violence-anxiety cycle in the aggressor and/or the victim.

Conclusion

If you witness frequent conflict between your cats and don’t know what to do about it, know that your veterinary team is there to answer your questions and provide advice. This way you can anticipate what causes the fights and make changes that will prevent such aggression!

Have more questions?

Please do not hesitate to contact the Passionimo veterinary clinic near you.