When the Claws Come Out
Understanding and preventing aggressive cat behavior
Introducing a new cat? Take it slow.
A new pet can be perceived as a threat to your cat, so give them time—and a little help—turning the unfamiliar into a familiar sense of companionship. First, make sure each cat has their own belongings: Separate litter boxes, food, water and toys. Then, help each cat get used to the other’s scent. Begin by rubbing each cat’s towels or favorite toys on the other cat. This helps them associate the “new” scent with their favorite things—and begin to understand that the unfamiliar scent is not a threat.
Separate anger from illness
If your usually friendly cat suddenly begins taking swipes at other pets, it could mean your cat is feeling ill—and a trip to the vet may be in order.
Be aware of redirected aggression
Indoor cats may become agitated by an animal they see on the street: They feel threatened by the outside animal and frustrated that they can’t protect their territory from inside the house. In an attempt to relieve their frustration, they may then turn around and pick a fight with another indoor pet.
Stop a fight in progress
If a fight has begun, you don’t want to enter the fray, so it's best to make a sudden, loud noise from a hidden spot. Try clapping your hands or banging a pan. The noise will startle the cats, and they'll likely both run away.