I have 2 new cats arrived in the house since last year and they don't get along. The girl will be constantly looking for the boy to attack. They will be hissing at each other when they make eye contact and it's always the girl tried to initiate the fight first. However, they were able to eat side to side during breakfast and dinner. But often times, girl will be very territorial in the house and look for the boy to attack, then the boy will run to hide after a nasty bully. We have a small apartment and it's hard to separate them. I have tried to lock away either one of them and they cried to get out the room. I have also tried months of pheromones diffusers but did nothing. Sometimes they got hurt when went too hard. I am very worried and wish to find a way to ease their tension. Any tips?
How ease cat's constant fighting behaviors?
Inter-cat conflict is common in multi-cat households particularly if individuals aren’t related or socialized together during the sensitive period, even siblings have disagreements from time to time.
This is all remarkably familiar to me since like yourself I live in a small apartment with two feline siblings who don’t get along now that they are socially mature.
Great news, there’s lots you can do to reduce the tension by managing the environment. Also worth keeping the Feliway and plugging the pheromones in multiple parts of the house.
First thing feed both cats in separate locations since food aggression can cause strife when non-related cats fed in proximity. Designate numerous areas within the home as feeding stations to avoid intimidation and add puzzle feeders throughout the house to avoid competition and encourage foraging behavior.
Resource guarding can take place at the litter box as well, increase number of litter boxes in different parts of the house so they aren’t forced into the same area risking the tray getting blocked.
Increase number of perching sites including scratching posts (vertical and horizontal). Scratching posts should be placed near entrances, beds and feeding stations to ensure an appropriate surface is available in areas of potential competition as cats will often scratch when others are around as a means of communicating territorial rights.
Provide two play sessions per day and reward each cat with a treat following play or owner interaction. Likewise, ensure that there are toys in separate locations to prevent competition and social tension. Also, introduce indoor exploration like tunnels, paper boxes, bags and cat activity centers to encourage hide-and-seek games.
Lastly, baby gates, cardboard, or plastic panels can be useful to block view of each cat when disputes arise. During period of intense frequent dispute separate cats into different territories for days until they are calm and start re-introductions. Calming supplements or Anxiolytic may also be warranted, please consult your vet.
Best thing to remember that cats are solitary, territorial species who don’t like SHARING!
Let us know if anything specific helped reduce the tension.
All the best,