Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fighting Felines: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?





One of the most common problems cat owners face is that of cats who share the same space, but can’t seem to get along. When a new cat is brought into a home with an established, resident cat, the transition does not always go smoothly. New cats should always be introduced gradually. Start by limiting the newcomer’s range to certain rooms in your home. The established cat will know there is a new cat in the house, but neither will have to be in the other’s space at first. Let the established cat smell anything with which the new cat has had contact, and leave the item in a communal area. This will let the established cat know that eventually, this will be a shared space. Face to face meetings should be brief at first, and must always end on a good note. Reward both cats for their good behavior with treats, play activities, and praise.

If one of the cats is bullying the other, you may need to seek help from a trainer or behaviorist. Many Certified Professional Dog Trainers are also great with cats, so don’t give up if a Google search for cat behaviorists is fruitless. As a short term solution, make sure the cat who is being bullied has access to a high shelf, cat tree, or kitty condo. Height provides cats with feelings of both confidence and safety, and a cat who is not feeling stressed is less likely to develop health and behavioral problems. Additionally, the bully cat should wear a collar with a bell attached. The sound of the bell will alert the other cat to the movements of the bully. This prevents the target from being ambushed or stalked, and gives him plenty of time to escape to higher ground. Make sure the collar is labelled for cats, and will safely break apart if it gets caught. This trick alone tends to even the field, and should help keep the peace until a the behaviorist arrives.