On their own, cats tend to be aloof, content on spending their day chasing after little animals or watching birds by the window. But when paired with other cats (or dogs), they could exhibit behaviors that are not typical of their calm, cool, and collected demeanor. They will hiss, yowl, pounce, or run around, throwing threats at each other but rarely do they engage in a real fight.
Cats are extremely territorial; any cat that will invade their space is seen as a threat. The thing with any solitary creature like household cats is that you cannot just introduce a new pet and expect them to get along. This upsets the long-established hierarchy in your household as far as the cats are concerned.
Eventually, they learn to (begrudgingly) get along and co-exist with other pets but not without effort on your part. You see, cats have different personalities and sometimes, these personalities get in the way of getting along with others.
But of course, there are cases wherein cats refuse to get along at all. They become aggressive; biting and trying to claw each other’s eyes out. In cases where tension is ongoing and the health and well-being of your pets are compromised, you need to learn the root of the conflict.
Knowing Conflict from Cat Play
Cat play looks a lot like a real cat fight but it’s just their way of establishing a relationship. Cats get a kick out of fake biting, clawing, or pouncing on each other. They will tackle, chase, nip, and wrestle playfully, especially with younger cats. This is normal; they’re probably having fun or they are trying to establish their rank in the household.
On the other hand, if you see blood, intense hissing followed by a lot of biting and scratch marks on their faces, it’s a real cat fight. Cats will sometimes fight to the death. Break the fight up so that no cat loses an eye.
The reasons for unruly cats that do not get along will vary from personality conflicts to territory issues. In some cases, older cats become aggressive to newer cats because they are sick. Cats will naturally hide their own illnesses as a way to survive. They don’t want others to pick on their weaknesses. That’s why when they’re feeling particularly sick, they will become aggressive.
If the conflict seems to be about their opposing personalities, try to give each other equal level of affection. Giving more attention to one cat will make the other jealous. Do not make them share anything until they become comfortable to each other’s presence. The same thing goes for territory issues, you want to separate both cats and give them their own space until they get used to each other.
Introducing a Cat to Other Pets
Introducing another pet to a cat is a process in itself. The older cat has to become accustomed to the newer cat’s (or dog’s) presence gradually.
When introducing a new cat to the household, we recommend taking it to another room, a room that the older cat rarely goes to and keep it locked in so the older one won’t sneak in and confront the new guy. Keep him there for several days until the older cat becomes receptive to the presence of the newer cat.
Do not leave the warring cats alone. Always have someone keep watch of both cats to prevent any confrontation. Conflicts between cats usually don’t last very long. Just be patient and exercise caution whenever you introduce a new pet to your other pets.