There is an ongoing discussion about whether cats can be counted as social animals or not. Certainly, the ancestors of the domestic cat were solitary predators, but there has been more than enough change over the course of their existence for the domestic cat to exhibit a different set of behaviors. For proof, look no further than the fact that when cats are living out on their own, it is not uncommon for the females to form colonies of their own. Likewise, it is perfectly possible for cat owners to have multiple cats living in the same household, though convincing them to accept such a situation can be much easier said than done. Still, it isn’t impossible, meaning that interested individuals shouldn’t give up hope in this matter.
What Do You Do with a House Full of Cats that Don’t Get Along?
For starters, it is important to look into the potential reasons that cats don’t get along with one another. For example, it is possible that one or more of the cats are under-socialized in the sense that they haven’t spent a lot of time with other cats. As a result, when they meet a new cat, they become aggressive because one, they are cautious of the stranger, and two, they don’t actually have any of the socialization skills that they can use when interacting with other cats. On top of this, interested individuals need to remember that cats don’t like sudden changes to their normal circumstances, thus adding to their stress under said situation.
Of course, under-socialization is far from being the sole potential cause for cats not getting along. Another potential cause is the sometimes territorial nature of cats. Simply put, there are some cats that don’t mind it when their territories overlap, whereas other cats can become very uncomfortable. This is particularly true when a cat perceives the new cat as intruding upon its territories, which is something that can result in an aggressive response. Meanwhile, it is important to note that aggression between cats might not necessarily be a sign that the cats are not getting along with one another. For example, mother cats are known to get aggressive at other cats when they have kittens, which should subside once the kittens have been weaned. Likewise, there are cases of cat owners mistaking the play fighting between kittens for real fighting, though generally speaking, it should be pretty clear which is which. Finally, it must be mentioned that there are plenty of cases in which two cats just don’t get along because their personalities are incompatible with one another.
Understanding why two or more cats are not getting along should help interested individuals come up with a potential solution for their problem. For example, if the cause seems like it could be the cats’ territorial nature flaring up, one solution might be separating their beds, their litter boxes, and their food bowls by putting said items in different parts of the home. Likewise, consider adding more perches, which should enable the cats to spread themselves out a bit more. Similarly, if the cats aren’t getting along because they are being excessively cautious around one another, it might be a good idea to introduce them in short supervised sessions instead of doing it all at once. Of course, it tends to be even better to make sure that cats get plenty of feline socialization as they are growing up, but that is not an option for more mature cats that are nonetheless having issues.
With that said, there are a number of other solutions that might be worth trying. For example, use positive reinforcement to encourage cats whenever they interact with one another in a friendly manner. Similarly, make sure to break up cat fights because there is no such thing as fighting things out, not least because cat fights tend to make things worse. However, while cat owners should intervene to break up fights, they shouldn’t intervene to soothe aggressive cats because being too close could cause that sense of aggression to be directed towards them.
Ultimately, if a cat owner has two or more cats that are not getting along, they should seek out either an animal behaviorist or a similar specialist who can help them figure out what is happening, which in turn, should help them come up with the right solution for their particular problem.