Can't We All Just Get Along? Recognizing and Resolving Cat Conflict

Give Cats Space

In many cases, conflict can be avoided by giving each cat a separate set of resources — water, food, litterbox, perch — in safe, quiet individual locations out of view of the other cats. Separate resources let the cats avoid each other while retaining access to everything they need. You can enrich the general home environment by adding three-dimensional structures to increase the cats’ sense of space, such as kitty condos or cardboard boxes, and providing enough toys, window seats and hiding spots to support the number of cats sharing your home. Also, be sure to spread your time and affection generously among your cats to avoid competition for this vital resource.

Cats who just can’t get along might fare better by living in a refuge. A refuge can at least provide safety for the cats until a longer-term solution can be devised and occasionally is the best long-term resolution. In severe cases, a behaviorist may need to be consulted for assistance so the cats in conflict can share the same spaces more safely and comfortably.

Of course, occasional conflict between housemates can occur regardless of species. Our goal is to reduce unhealthy conflict to a manageable level for the cats involved. The best way to avoid conflict in the first place is to provide an abundance of resources so that cats can interact on their terms to whatever extent they are comfortable with while retaining their independence.

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