Aggression between cats at home is therefore a common problem for cat owners. It can often be seen in cats newly introduced to each other but also between cats that have previously been friendly until an event has resulted in a problem in their relationship.
If there is tension between members of a multiple cat household, often occurring when the resources available within their territory is perceived as scarce, cats will adopt one of a number of strategies to survive.
They will either learn to avoid each other, using visual and olfactory forms of communication geared towards increasing distance between each other, adapt to the situation by suppressing natural behaviour to avoid conflict or repeatedly encounter each other which results in active aggression.
In cases where the individual is unable to adapt it may become chronically distressed, leading to behaviour that is a problem for the owner, such as urine spraying or other types of house soiling, or even develop stress-related disease such as idiopathic cystitis.
Hissing and growling
Blocking each other
Stalking or chasing
Staring at each other
One cat hiding away
Food - As solitary hunters each cat should have separate feeding areas, away from each other.
Water - Water bowls should be positioned away from the feeding areas, in the wild cats wouldn’t drink where they eat.
Scratching posts - These are best placed near to resting areas and entrances/exits. They need to be rigid and tall enough to use at a full stretch.
Safe areas - Some cats like to be partially or fully hidden at ground level, many also enjoy high perches especially when feeling threatened. Ensure the area they like to rest in is soft and warm.
Play - Predatory behaviour through play is important for cats however if one cat isn’t as confident play should only occur when other cats aren’t present.
Toileting - Cats will toilet away from food and where they feel safe. Litter trays should be provided for each cat plus one extra all located in separate areas away from resources and in quiet areas.
To find the best areas to place these resources within your cat’s environment visit the Make Your Home Cat Friendly.
If you have more than one cat see how to provide essential resources for more than one cat, download our: Resources checklist for a cat friendly home.pdf 452.60 kB