If you have two or more cats in your home, you may find yourself dealing with occasional scuffles between them. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce conflict and get your pets back to living together in peace.
Whether your cats are fighting over a food bowl or something else, the first step is to figure out what’s causing the issue.
When cats fight over food bowls, it can be quite frustrating for you. This behavior usually happens when one cat is greedy and wants to eat more than the other.
They also tend to switch their bowls during feeding, which can be perplexing for you. Sometimes this behavior is because the cats are trying to investigate something in the other bowl or because they are territorial.
Another common problem is that some cats carry their food out of their bowls and then eat it from somewhere else. This is a remnant of their wild, hunter-gathering habits and is an indication that they prefer to eat in their own, private space.
Having separate food and water bowls ensures that your cats are eating their preferred foods at the appropriate time. This can help them avoid gastrointestinal problems and stomachaches. It’s also a good idea to keep your cat’s bowl clean and sanitary after each meal, so it doesn’t grow bacteria or flies.
2. Cats are territorial
When a cat feels threatened, they may try to keep other animals away by marking their territory. This can include urine spraying, rubbing, scratching, and even aggressive behavior.
This type of aggression can also be triggered by changes in your cat’s environment. For example, if you bring in a new piece of furniture or a new pet, your cat may become territorial over the item.
Territorial aggression in cats is most common among adult males who aren’t neutered. It can be triggered by stress, sexual maturation, or a change in routine.
Territorial aggression can also be a sign of a medical issue, such as pain or thyroid abnormality. A visit to the veterinarian can help you determine the underlying cause and provide a treatment plan.
3. Cats are stressed
Changes in the household, like moving furniture or having a baby can cause stress for cats. Cats are very sensitive animals and are often very quick to react when there is a big change in the environment, says Danielle Gunn-Moore, Ph.D., chair of feline medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
When they are stressed, they may exhibit symptoms like dilated pupils, a crouched position, ears flat back against their head and raised hair. They may also start vocalizing, swatting or growling more frequently.
If you notice that your cat is fighting over their food bowl, make sure to separate them so they can eat at their own pace without worrying about the other cat guarding it. This will help calm your cat and reduce their stress level, advises Kornreich.
Other signs that your cat is stressed include urinating outside their litter box, spraying and hiding more often. If these behaviors seem unusual, it’s important to take your cat to the vet to ensure there is nothing else going on with them and to get help addressing their stress.
4. Cats are jealous
Cats are creatures of routine, which means they need to protect what’s important to them. This might include food, water, treats, a place to sleep, or even human affection.
When cats see their favorite spots being occupied by another feline, it can lead to jealousy. They might swat or hiss at the new cat or move to another part of the room.
Some breeds are more prone to this behavior than others, so it’s best to watch your cat closely and observe their cues.
Jealousy is a common occurrence when new people or animals come into the household. These changes can affect a cat’s stability, which in turn triggers them to become anxious and insecure.