Cats don’t always get along. If you have more than one cat at home, you might notice when one cat is bullying or fighting the other cat. This may happen occasionally, but if you see incidents becoming more and more frequent, it may be a sign of one cat bullying another.
Frequent catfights are not only frustrating, but they can be dangerous to the physical and emotional health of your kitties but also you and your family. Letting cats fight it out is dangerous, so what do you need to do?
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do at home to stop your cat from bullying your other cat. But first, are your kitties fighting? Or are they just playing? Let’s have a look.
Are Your Cats Merely Playing, or Are They Fighting?
It can be tough to distinguish whether your cats are playing or fighting. After all, cats are naturally playful, and monkeying around seems like a daily activity that they do. So when do you know if one is already bullying the other?
Playing can include chasing after each other, bouncing off, light swatting, or even a slight hissing. However, when they start to growl or injure each other, your cats are already fighting.
If one cat hides from the other, appears scared, or starts peeing or pooping in unusual spots, then that cat is being bullied.
Cats use both verbal and silent communication to bully another cat, and if you’re unsure, here are some signs of bullying:
- Staring at the other cat
- Mounting behavior
- Biting the nape of the other cat
- Blocking access to food, toys, or litter box
- Staring with a forward-facing position
Your cats may not be physically fighting all the time, but if a dominant cat is behaving in these ways, these are signs of bullying.
Related: Unprovoked Biting
Why Do Cats Fight?
There are many reasons why cats fight or bully other cats. Some of the most common causes include redirected stress, aggression, fighting over food, toys, territories, age gaps, and many different reasons.
Here are some common scenarios of why cats would bully another cat:
- Changes in the cat’s social group include when a new kitty is introduced in the household.
- Changes in routine, which causes stress in cats, and their aggression is misdirected towards other cats.
- When a street cat interacts with a house cat.
- Age – cats reach social maturity between the ages of 2 to 4, and this is the stage in their life when they challenge other cats for social status.
- Same-sex cats also usually fight during mating season.
Understanding why one cat may be bullying another cat will help you make the necessary steps to stop the behavior.
3 Ways to Stop Your Cat From Bullying Other Cats
Here are some ways you can stop your cat from bullying the other cat or other cats in your home:
1. Create a Calmer and More Peaceful Home
If cats are stressed, their needs are not met, and they’re generally unhappy and unhealthy, they have a lot of pent-up energy. When this happens, they tend to take it out on other pets in the home, and if you have another cat, such as a kitten or older kitty, then the dominant cat will most likely bully them.
Create a happy, calmer, and peaceful home by making sure your cats have their own spaces to sleep, eat, pee, and poo, as well as plenty of comfortable rooms to nap and rest. A calm and peaceful home also doesn’t start and end with the physical surroundings, but also how you treat your cats.
Spend time equally with each cat, playing, cuddling, and making sure they are stimulated. Give them healthy food, clean water, and make sure their health needs are met as well.
When all of your cats are equally happy, instances of bullying will be less or eradicated.
It must also be noted that cats that haven’t been spayed or neutered are more likely to get into fights because of their hormones, leading to inter-cat aggression.
2. Give Each of Your Cats Their Territory
Cats are territorial, and they mark their spots often, which means that they need their very own spaces to call their own. If you have multiple cats at home, sharing may lead to catfighting and dominant cats bullying targets.
Set up lots of places around your home where cats can have their own spaces and territories. Set up cat trees, condos, interactive toys; give each cat one litter box plus a few extras on different levels of your home if you live in a multi-story home.
Separate your cats’ food and water bowls, give them their toys and beds and make sure they have options to escape to higher ground if you’ve noticed a weaker cat being bullied.
3. Reintroduce Your Cats
If your cats have been fighting more frequently and things have gotten more intense, it may be time to reintroduce them to each other.
Start by separating them into different rooms where they don’t get to interact with one another. If you don’t have separate rooms in your home, such as a studio apartment, you might need to use a cat cage to separate them.
You can swap their blankets, so they get used to each other’s smells, make their lives more pleasant by giving them treats, playing with them separately, and generally making them calmer and more stress-free.
Once both cats are calm, you can start reintroducing them to each other but don’t place them close together yet. You can let them stay in one room, or you can let the dominant cat get out of the cat cage.
Make sure their time together is supervised – which means you’re there the whole time. Create a happy and peaceful time when you place them in one room or space. Feed them treats, give them toys, and play with them.
Create an environment where they don’t see the other cat as a threat. Reintroduce your cats by creating positive reinforcement. When they see the other cat and you give them a treat, they will associate the positive feeling of the treats with the other cat, lessening their sense of threat or intimidation.
If all else fails, you can seek the help of a board-certified veterinary behaviorist who can offer professional therapy or specific medication that can help control your aggressive cat’s behavior.
Many cats don’t get along, and it’s completely normal. What’s not normal is if the fighting happens frequently, and the target cat suffers physically and emotionally because of the bullying. When you notice these behaviors in your cats, it’s time to act to make sure your cats are happy and healthy, living peacefully together under your roof.
By creating a calmer, more peaceful home, giving them their own territories, and reintroducing them to each other, you can hopefully stop and prevent bullying and aggressive behaviors.
But when all else fails, help from a board-certified veterinary behaviorist might be the best solution.