2017-08-11 / Pets

Why are my cats fighting?

Identify which one is the ‘alpha cat’
By Debrah Regal
Special to the Acorn

We all start out with high hopes of our darling, loving, little kittens growing up and staying that way. However, Mother Nature has other plans for cats that live in groups.

It is that way with all animals everywhere. There can be only one leader and the rest must fall in line. We humans never think about that and totally misunderstand our beautiful felines when they follow their instincts.

As a rule, cats live peacefully together. They will share food and water dishes and sleep and play together. Unfortunately, the feline world isn’t always peaceful, and fighting or “arguing” can occur.

You should be aware of their pecking order so you know who is the alpha cat. If you witness a conflict, do not reach your hands in the middle of the fight or you will be hurt.

Rather than reaching your hands in, try to distract your cats by throwing something noisy nearby or splash a small amount of water on them. You might even try to toss a blanket over the weaker one.

Once separated, place the cats in different rooms with their own dishes and litter boxes and a little soft music. Give both parties some time to settle down before allowing contact with each other or with children.

Of course, preventing a fight is always better than breaking one up. If you notice that one of the cats in your home is hogging the toys, resting places or food bowls, a conflict is more likely to occur.

Step in and make sure all cats have access to a litter box, food, water, toys and a comfortable place to rest in different areas of the house.

If you notice any unusual irritability or aggression, speak with a veterinarian to rule out anything medical first.

Be aware that there is a pecking order with your cats and learn how to handle the situations accordingly. In the animal world, the alpha or aggressor must receive all the attention first, such as being greeted by name, food, petting, etc. All others fall in place behind the alpha. By reinforcing the alpha position in your house, there will almost always be peace.

Debrah Regal is founder of Valley Cats Inc., an all-volunteer cat rescue organization that began in Westlake Village in 1999. For more information, visit www.valleycatsinc.org.

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