CATS WHO HATE EACH OTHER

Some cats just plain hate each other. I donít know why. Their humans donít know why. Our dear goddess Lady Bast doesnít know why.

They.
Just.
Do.

So, what do you humans do when you have two of those cats who hate each other?

Letís go back in history a bit. There are some things you can do when the second cat arrives in what the senior cat considers his/her very own home. The place to do whatever you can to make the introduction go as smoothly as possible is when you bring cat #2 home. But this is a slightly different problem than WHY some cats despise each other so heartily. Take a look at another article in Cat Care about "Bringing the New Cat Home" and "How to Introduce the New Kitten (or Cat) to the Home Cat(s" to insure as little hatred as possible. Usually, these introductions go pretty well, and Kitty has a new friend -- or at least something to think about while you're at work.

But just to be prepared for the "worst case scenario," letís look into the hate problem a little further.

Your kitty was so sweet and lovable with you, you felt sorry for him/her when you had to leave for work. Lonely kitty! Solution: Get him/her a kitty friend!

Um, not necessarily. There are several reasons why this could signal the opening round of Cat Wars I.

Cats Are Very Territorial.

That mans a cat feels a stranger has invaded his/her territory.
In a case like that, a cat might be aggressive toward one cat -- usually the most easy-going -- but friendly to another.
The time when problems crop up is when a new kitty arrives, a young kitten becomes a grownup cat, or the home cat looks out the window to see a strange cat in the yard -- the home cat may chase, ambush, hiss, and/or meow angrily.
And itís not just the boys. Girl cats can be just as infuriated by strangers.

But boy cats have a special hate for other boy cats, especially if one or both of them is not fixed. Adult boy cats may threaten and even fight with other boys. Theyíll fight over a girl, for a better (in their opinion) place to nap, or to defend territory.

In cat disputes, both cats are likely to stare, howl, snarl and fluff their tails. If one backs down and walks away, the seeming victor is satisfied and will usually also walk away. If nobody backs down, itís likely an actual fight may result. That means, the two cats come together, roll around biiting, kicking, yelling, clawing and then -- walking away. They theyíll start againÖWhat can a human do? Distract them. This isnít too difficult. In my opinion, theyíre rather happy to have a good excuse to drop the fight -- people can get hurt in those fights! All the humans have to do is clap hands, toss a pillow, or grab the always-nearby squirting water bottle. These moves can also break up an actual fight -- but humans, donít get involved! You could get hurt.

Another reason for fighting comes when a cat faces what he/she considers an attacker -- animal or human -- that he/she canít escape. This could be punishment or threat of punishment from a human, an attack from another cat, or anything that makes the cat frightened. (This is one of the many good reasons for NOT punishing a cat by hitting or striking. It does not teach your cat anything except their human ďfriendĒ is actually someone to be feared.)

If the cat is crouching with legs and tail pulled in, ears flattened against head, and rolling a bit to one side, humans, donít approach this cat. If someone ten to 20 times your size came up to you, threatening you, and you couldnít run away, how desperately might you fight this frightful monster? Yes, me too. With all Iíve got.

Let your cat calm down. If your cat gets angry at a stranger in his yard he saw while looking out the window, donít try to reassure him by petting him. He may turn and bite you -- not because he hates you, but because his mind is so filled with ďSTRANGER! INVADER!Ē that itís all he can think about at the moment.

If youíre seeing more-than-usual amount of aggressive actions out of your cat. Call your vet. Sometimes cats are feeling sick and miserable, and taking out their feelings on anyone that crosses their path. The vet may also have a short course of anti-anxiety medicine your cat could take while youíre working on ways to change behavior.

If the vet doesnít find any problems, you could try starting the introduction process all over again (Yes, weíll get to that subject shortly.)

There are professional humans called ďanimal behaviorists.Ē You could consult with one of these people.

If all else fails, you could look for another home for one of the two who canít get along.

Did I mention, spay or neuter your cat? If I didnít, I should have. This is NOT cruel to the cat, as some humans say (especially if they are looking for an excuse to cheap out on this procedure.) Really, the behavior of one non-fixed cat can affect every pet in your home.

-- Dear Tabby

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