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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Feline Body Language

Housemate Aggression

Proper Cat Housing


Famous Quote
One is never sure, watching two cats washing each other, whether it's affection, the taste, or a trial run for the jugular.

- Helen Thomson - 

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Why Can't My Cats Just Get Along?

In multiple cat households, cats may fight if resources are limited. Resources include food,
water, scratching posts, beds, litterboxes and human attention. Therefore, up the resources to lower the aggression

Cats often fight among themselves for a variety of other reasons such as fighting over territory or a female in heat.

In some cases, the cats will never get along, and must be permanently separated. In most cases it is recommended to keep cats separated in the home rather than putting one cat outdoors. If your cats are not getting along consider a Pet Behavior Analysis with Dr. Tripp  Here are a few simple guidelines to keep the tension down, and the positive social interactions up.


Why do cats become aggressive?

Aggression can also be triggered by physical illness or discomfort. Rule out this cause of aggression by taking your cat to your regular veterinarian for a thorough physical examination and diagnostic tests.


Types of feline aggression: fear, territorial, parental, play, redirected, predatory, petting-induced, pain-induced, social status, medical, learned.

Situational aggression: Sometimes, aggression is situational. In other words, certain circumstances trigger the cat's aggression. The aggression can be specific to one family member, strangers, other pets in the household, or to strange pets. Keeping a behavioral diary helps identify these circumstantial triggers.


Cats often fight to defend or establish territory. After a serious cat fight, separate the cats. Learn the proper steps to re-introduce them using positive reinforcement for calm, friendly behaviors.


What to do


Once medical causes are ruled out, the next step is to complete a pet behavioral history analysis by a veterinary behavior consultant to determine the probable causes of the aggression and the prognosis for improvement if going forward with effective treatment and behavior modification.

Cats often display more than one type of aggression. Treatment usually includes behavior modification and changes to the cat's environment. Behavior medicine therapy may also be helpful for some forms of aggression.

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