I need a little advice

LavonLavon Member Posts: 2
I am new to this group.   Here's a little history...   I adopted two young cats from a shelter about 1 month ago. They are sisters from the same litter and they are about 1 yr old.  They are adorable and lovable.  They typically play well together, however it seems that more and more their play times turn fiercely aggressive.  They get into a ball, hissing, howling, screaming, and "kangaroo kicking" each other's faces while holding tightly to one another... so as not to let the other get away.  These fights are horrible!  I fear that there will be serious injuries to their eyes.   I work during the day, so I am not certain whether or not they do this while I'm gone, but it is relentless while I am at home.  I am concerned that jealousy may be an issue, however I am at a loss as to how to handle this.  I give them both equal attention.   Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should do?   

Comments

  • TwinkleTwinkle BirminghamMember Posts: 10,879 ✭✭✭✭

    Treatments to try

    • Instead of heading straight for prescription meds, try changing up the environment so that the cats can have more of their own space.
    • Put water and food in different places around the house rather than in just one area.
    • Make sure to have one litter box per cat, plus one more, and put them in different, out-of-the-way places.
    • Try using a feline-appeasing pheromone spray or plug-in diffuser to help calm cats.
    • Try buying some scratching posts.

    Cats also sometimes take out their anger or fear on whoever is the closest, whether it's you or their feline housemate. In fact, this practice is actually quite common among indoor cats, which are, in a sense, trapped. For example, let's say your cat is looking out the window and sees another cat or dog in the yard. Your cat, which is territorial by nature, gets agitated. But he can't do anything about the animal outside because he's stuck inside the house. So he turns around, sees his buddy and picks a fight. Although such behavior certainly isn't desirable, it's good to know it's considered typical in cats. Still, you can help prevent such situations by observing what agitates your cat. If he loves sitting on the couch by the window, for example, but is often distressed by what's going on outside, close the shade during the day or put up a large screen.

    In order to correct the aggression between your cats you have to find out what’s causing it. If the aggression is sudden and uncharacteristic then there could be an underlying medical cause. Any time there’s a change in behavior your cat should be examined by the veterinarian in order to rule out possible medical causes. One cat might be experiencing pain or has developed arthritis and that may be causing the aggression toward the other cat. Visiting your veterinarian is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped.

    Cats Need Vertical Territory

    If you’re at all familiar with my work or have heard any of my conference lectures, you’ve heard me say that we live in a horizontal work but cats live in a vertical one. You have some prime real estate within your home that isn’t being used – real estate that just may make a difference in whether you have a happy cat household or an unhappy one.

    You can increase vertical territory in so many ways. If the budget allows you can go over the top and create amazing vertical space or you can do very cost-effective changes. Your cats will appreciate any vertical enhancements as long as they’re safe, secure and comfortable.

    Make Positive Associations for the Cats

    The behavior modification aspect of helping your cats become friends again involves giving them a reason to like each other. Create positive associations. Provide opportunities for good things to happen when they’re in the presence of each other. Maybe they get treats when they’re together. Feed them in the same room (but using separate bowls) so they learn that whenever food is present, the other cat is nearby (but not threateningly close).

    Be aware of giving equal amounts of attention so one cat isn’t favored over the other. You may be upset with the one cat whom you feel is initiating the aggression but it’s important to show each cat an equal amount of attention.

    Playtime is a Valuable Tool When it comes to Cat Behavior

    Use playtime as a behavior modification tool. Conduct individual interactive play therapy sessions so each cat has chances during the day to focus exclusively on being a hunter and can enjoy the game. Do these sessions separately so the cats don’t have to worry about each other. In addition, conduct parallel playtime sessions so the cats can play “together” but not have to compete for one toy. If there’s another family member available, have him play with one cat while you play with the other. The cats will see that they’re in the room together but no one is doing any intimidation. If you don’t have another family member to help, you can still do parallel play by holding a fishing pole-type toy in each hand. It’s awkward at first but you’ll get more adept at it with practice.

    Clicker Training Your Cats

    This is another valuable tool you can use when dealing with two cats who are not getting along. Clicker training involves the use of a little sound-generating device that makes a cricket-type noise when you press it with your finger. The sound of the clicker can be used to mark the behavior your want from your cat. By pairing the sound of the clicker with a food reward, the cat will learn to associate the clicker with something positive.

    Be Calm to Help Your Cats Remain Calm

    How you behave can have an influence on your cats’ reactions to each other. If you’re tense when they’re together because you anticipate something awful happening, they’ll pick up on that. If you punish a cat for reacting to his companion cat then that will do nothing to help them find a reason to like each other. Be calm so your furry little emotional cat sponges will hopefully be calm as well.

  • LavonLavon Member Posts: 2
    Wow... thank you Twinkle.   Much of your information is very helpful.  I will try it.
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