Sometimes, cats that have lived together harmoniously can suddenly turn on each other and get into fights. It can feel confusing and frustrating to have the peace disrupted in the home suddenly.
Fortunately, these fights don’t happen out of nowhere. There’s something that triggers them and finding these triggers can help you resolve and prevent future fights from happening. So, here are some common reasons why cats may suddenly start to fight with each other.
The 6 Common Reasons Cats Start Fighting All of a Sudden
1. Changes in the Environment
Changes in a cat’s environment can cause them to feel stress or anxiety. Cats that feel unsure and unsafe can become more easily agitated and act out unexpectedly. If you notice that your cats are fighting, check for any recent changes that may have triggered agitation.
Changes can be environmental, such as moving to a new home or living with new housemates. Changes can also be circumstantial, like being left home alone for longer periods of time or taking new medication.
2. Cats Mature
The relationship between cats can evolve as they grow and mature. For example, a kitten may get along with an older cat, but once that kitten reaches adulthood, its attitude towards the other cat may change.
Adult cats tend to be more territorial than kittens, so if they feel like they don’t have enough space, they can start to fight each other. Also, as cats reach their senior years, they may become less patient with other cats and act out.
3. Insecure Territories
Cats need to have their own space. They can become very protective of their favorite spots and may end up fighting over specific spaces in the home. If you feel like your space is too small for two cats, you can try to increase the number of territorial spaces by bringing in more cat trees, hammocks, or perches. These items can create healthy space and boundaries between cats so that they’re less likely to come across each other and get into a fight.
It can also be helpful to separate your cats during mealtimes so that they can feel completely relaxed while eating and not have to worry about their food getting stolen. Sometimes, installing more litter boxes helps cats by giving them more space to relieve themselves without getting dirty.
Boredom can trigger many destructive and unwanted behaviors in cats. So, it’s important to provide plenty of exercise sessions and enrichment activities to keep your cat busy and stimulated.
Bored cats often have a lot of pent-up energy, and they may end up acting more aggressively. They can also try to entice and bother other cats to play with them, which can cause agitation and initiate a fight.
5. Health Issues
If your cat is experiencing any pain or discomfort from an underlying health issue, it may start to act more aggressively or be easily agitated. Even changes in hormones can make cats feel more irritated and uncomfortable.
Sudden changes in behaviors can point to internal health problems. So, it doesn’t hurt to take your cat to the veterinarian to see if there’s a physical cause that’s affecting your cat’s behavior.
6. Playtime Gone Wrong
These types of interactions are normal, and they often resolve themselves. Sometimes, cats just need to express themselves and sort out boundaries on their own. However, if the scuffles start to become more aggressive and more frequent occurrences, it’s important to intervene to keep both cats safe.
How To Safely Break Up a Cat Fight
There are instances where cats need to be broken up for the sake of safety. The best way to break up a fight is to intervene before they happen. These are some signs of aggression that cats may show when they’re getting ready to fight:
If you see any of these signs of aggression, act right away and try to distract the cats. You can make a loud noise by clapping your hands or shaking a can filled with coins. Spraying water with a plastic spray bottle can cause cats to try to escape the scene. If the cats are engaging in a fight, you may need to use more water to separate them.
The last thing you want to do is reach in and separate the cats on your own because it can be unsafe. Also, make sure not to hit or chase any of the cats because this will ultimately sever any trust that they have with you.
If the fights become frequent, take your cats to the veterinarian for a checkup to rule out any physical conditions that are triggering aggressive behaviors. You can also work with a cat behaviorist to figure out how to create a harmonious living space for you and your cats.
Cat fights can happen from time to time between two cats. There’s usually a new trigger that causes these fights, such as changes in the environment or an underlying health condition. There are plenty of animal specialists that can help you figure out what’s causing these fights. So, make sure to find what factors trigger fights so that you can do your best to make adjustments to prevent any future fights.
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