A cat fight in progress.
A cat fight in progress. Photography by Tom Wang / Shutterstock.

How to Stop a Cat Fight and Why They Happen

What causes a cat fight and how do you stop your cats in the act or prevent your cats fighting in the first place? Here's what to do.
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A cat fight is actually a natural behavior, and the key to get a cat fight to stop is to understand why the cats are fighting in the first place. Cat behavior is complex, so be patient. You may need to try several solutions to stop a cat fight before finding one that works.

Why Do Cats Fight?

Two ginger kittens fighting.
Why do cats fight? Photography by 101cats/istock.

Have you just introduced a new cat into the home? Do you have a young cat who is reaching sexual maturity? Have you moved, leaving your cats to establish new territories? The root cause will determine how you resolve your cats’ conflicts. The most common causes for a cat fight are listed below:

1. Cats Fight Because of Hormones

Male cats are often involved in inter-cat aggression, which most often occurs when a cat reaches social maturity between two and four years of age. Although this type of aggression is usually seen in males competing for mates, it can occur between cats of any sex when territorial conflicts occur.

The first step toward eliminating this form of a cat fight is to spay and neuter your cats. If you’ve already done so, pheromone products like Feliway can help reduce aggression. Keep in mind, you need coverage in every room of your house for it to be effective. Feliway now makes pheromone collars as well.

2. That “New Cat Smell” Might Cause a Cat Fight

When you bring a new cat into the home, he will have a new cat smell that screams “alien invader” to your resident cats. Some cats are more troubled by this than others. Integrating their smells can expedite a resolution of their conflict.

Rub a towel over one, then rub the same towel over the second cat to mingle their scents. Do this several times a day for several weeks.

3. Jealousy Makes Cats Fight

A new cat will almost always get more attention from you than your existing brood does. Set aside extra one-on-one time with your other cats to alleviate their fears that the new cat is stealing all your love — and a common reason for a cat fight. Jealousy is more likely to be an issue with breeds like the Siamese that bond closely with their people, and they will need lots of reassurance that their place in your heart is secure.

4. A Cat Fight Might Be Territorial

Cats are by nature territorial, even if the territory extends no further than the end of your couch. When you introduce a new cat into your household, the new cat will need to establish territory, and your existing cats will need to defend theirs. This often results in a cat fight.

Each of your cats probably has a “spot” they call their own. Discourage the new cat from adopting one of these spots by providing her with her own special spot. Sprinkle it with catnip and put a towel with her scent on it.

Consider providing the new cat with her own cat tree. She won’t be poaching the territory of your existing cats, and she can mark it as her own with her scent.

Or, establish new separate “cat spaces” in your home. Set up a decorative panel screen in the corner of a room, or reposition your furniture to break up a large space, carving out more smaller “territories” for your cats.

How to Stop a Cat Fight Before It Happens

If a cat fight won’t stop even after trying everything above, it’s time for incarceration. It’s not as bad as it sounds. You want to force proximity upon the two cats without endangering either of them.

Get a large dog crate — do not use a cat carrier. Place it in a spare room, and put one cat (with a litter box and bed) in the crate, and the other cat outside the crate. Leave them alone in the room together. Do this every day for at least a week, alternating which cat gets crated.

When things appear to be less volatile between them, let them out together in the room (but don’t leave them alone together). Play with them, give them treats, and praise good behavior. If one initiates a cat fight, put him in the crate. Continue until they can be together in the room without fighting.

At that point, you can reintroduce them to the rest of the house. When one starts a cat fight, he goes back in the crate. Again, praise good behavior and reward with treats. Within a month, the two cats should be able to coexist fairly peacefully.

How to Break Up a Cat Fight

Through all of this, you’ll (unfortunately) probably need to break up a cat fight or several. Never reach in and try to separate fighting cats yourself. Instead, squirt the cats with a squirt gun or toss water on them from a distance (so that they’re not aware that you’re the source of the water). It’s good to keep loaded squirt guns throughout the house for this purpose. Alternatively, loud noises (an air gun, a can full of pennies or banging a pan) can be effective.

NEVER hit them or chase a cat. It will only make them more aggressive, and it can permanently destroy their trust in you.

With patience and a clear understanding of cat behavior, you should be able to achieve household harmony and any sort of a cat fight within a month or two.

Thumbnail: Photography by Tom Wang / Shutterstock.

Tell us: Do your cats fight? How do you prevent a cat fight?

This article was originally published in 2009. 

Read more about cat behavior on Catster.com:

88 thoughts on “How to Stop a Cat Fight and Why They Happen”

  1. Hiya need some help my male cat nd female cat fight my male cat won’t leave my female cat alone how get my male cat from fighting with my female cat cause my bfs won’t to get rid of the male cat soo how can get thm to stop fighting all the time need help please thanks xx.

  2. I have two cats with 2 years age gap. From time to time the older one “smaks” the youngest but they still love each other. There were no major fights between them.

  3. Hi everyone

    I have a big problem. My male cat is neutered and is about 4 years old. He lives with his mom and his brother. They all get on very well with never a problem.

    He keeps going into other peoples homes, sleeping on their furniture, eating their food and stealing their cat toys and bringing it home. Because of this, everyone in the complex knows he is my cat. No one has complained about him doing any of that yet.

    My problem is, he is fighting with other cats in the complex more than he ever has. Anytime there is a fight, I know it’s him, and I have to go stop the fight. He is now doing it so often to a few of the cats in the complex, that over he weekend, people started complaining about my cat. I do not know what to do because if this carries on, I will be asked to get rid of him or move, which I will not do either.

    Is there any form of medicine or anything I can give him to stop his aggression?

    He is so loving at home, but yet so aggressive outside and really hurting other cats.

    The one cat he keeps fighting with so bad is a white remake cat. So I am not quite sure why this is so. The other cats he fights with often are males but yet those cats are too so friendly and loving.

    Please may someone give me advice :(

      1. I agree that your cat needs to be kept indoors. I have 10 rescued stray or feral cats in my home. It is a big house, but we work out any problems that arise. You may need to play with them more, but they will live much happier longer lives inside a safe home.

    1. PLEASE keep your cat INDOORS! Outdoor cats get hurt and in trouble. I have FOUR formerly feral cats that are now indoor cats. They have all adjusted well and get along great. Trust me – your cat will adapt to living indoors and be happy and healthier.

    2. You should get him back home and keep him inside! It may be that other non-neutered male cats are fighting him because he is in THEIR territory, And he may now be defending himself.

      There is no reason to allow your cat out especially if he is getting/being let in to other peoples‘ homes and making himself at home. How do you think the resident cats of that home think about all that? Or the people residents?

      I own two cats both are spayed females and they never go outside. There is no need. To be honest, when I see this one large longhair hanging out on my back patio, I feel empathy for that cat, because its clear by his fur that he is not cared for well by his owners if indeed he still has owners. He used to wear a collar, but no longer has one. I worry about him, and no, I would never let him in my home because I have two cats already and I no nothing about how this other cat would behave or treat my cats.

      So it seems you could solve the whole issue by keeping him inside, and yeah you should be taking care of the food, water and litter boxes of your cats several times a day.

      I hope you do not take any offense and that this helps you.

      1. When I take my Kitty out ,He is on a Harness and Leash.Took some training.like our children our pets need supervised when visiting the neighborhood.If that doesnt work leave him home on the couch looking out a window!

  4. my big dopey male cat was living alone for years, and then my nephew came to live with us. He had this tiny female cat that was scared of its own shadow. I was worried about my cat being the bully, turns out she’s been the aggressor — hissing and starting fights all the time.

    1. I have a 8yr old cat and a 2yr old cat. They won’t get along.the 8yr old was here first and she has aged so much since we got our 2yr old cat a couple yrs ago…i need to stop the fighting for my poor 8yr old cat..what do I do, the fighting goes on every day all day long…the older cat fights to be left alone and the 2yr old is just actually just trying to play…any suggestions??? Help…..

      1. Clap your hands and say No! firmly but not shouting. Often the surprise of this stops them. If the fight us serious use a water pistol, but in short bursts.

      2. If you can, get another cat nearer the same age of the younger one. They can be playmates and should leave the older one alone. Make sure the older one has a place where it can stay away from the young ones if it wishes.

  5. I have two cats, one being 12 years and the other 2-3 years. The younger one just recently moved to the house and isn’t neutered like the older one. The older one is the one causing the fighting by growling and hissing at the younger one, he runs away unless he starts the fight and that’s the only time he fights back, I already keep them separated and let them around each other from early morning to late afternoon, and during that time the younger one gets hissed and growled at. I want to calm the fighting and have the older one accept the younger one so we don’t have to give him back to his previous owners. How do I do this??

  6. What size is a large dog crate? I’m looking at a 36x23x25 inches (LxWxH) but should I go bigger?
    We have tried everything. If the crate method doesn’t work, I do not know what we will do.

  7. I have 2 bonded brothers that are not quite 2 years old. Every now and then they will play fight with each other and go running through the house. My question is this: Should I just let it go or should I stop the play fighting?

    1. Definitely do not break this up! This is good. Cats that play together stay together ;-). If they’re 2yo they are still very playful as well. This is an age where they could be fighting for territory again, so make sure it isn’t true fighting but indeed PLAY fighting – cats do mock fights as play after all.

      As long as neither cat hisses or growls or they make those awful screeching sounds they make (ever stepped accidentally on a tail? Then you know what I mean) to indicate pain, they’re indeed playing. Playing cats can make little meowing sounds occasionally but otherwise they’re silent (well, vocally at least). You can also see that their claws are sheeted, their ears aren’t flat -pointed backwards – which would indicate aggression – and there’s no pilo-erection (hair standing up on end and backs arched to make themselves look bigger and more intimidating). This all means that they are having fun and in that case you can sit back and relax. You cats like each other. Of course if you do see pilo-erection, flat backward pointed ears, arched backs, claws coming out and they make lots of noise vocally and don’t take breaks you have a fight on your hands and one could get hurt.

      Never step in between them or put your hand there. Pick up something large and sturdy to put between the, (very large thick pillow or tray) that will break eye-contact and put them apart for a sec. Make use of this temporary break in hostility to separate them: different rooms preferably. Best to put the instigator, if you know, in a separate room to calm down on his own and keep the victim with you. With true fights it is best to do some kind of reintroduction process. But it sounds as if you won’t need that.

    2. It’s what they do with each other naturally… Siblings and other kittens that are close to each other do this with each other when they are young, it’s part of learning how to fight . a skill they need as they get older.

  8. I read the article hoping for tips on stopping fights between my male and a bigger more agressive neighbor male. Anyone have something to add for such a situation?

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  11. I’ve always had a “time-out” dog kennel for my mischievous cat who likes to rile things up by pouncing on the others when he gets bored. Has a bed and I don’t keep him there longer than 1/2 hour just to make the point to him that his behavior is unappreciated. He gets it. Doesn’t bother him to be in “jail” – it is a very open crate and in the general living area with the rest of us. But it does diffuse the moment. Use a spray bottle for all other fights. Just have to shake it and they scatter. Also the dog doesn’t like fights and I give her permission to break it up. They scatter when she rushes over to them so there is never any contact. Lastly, I have one that gets snooty when she is hungry. Solution is to feed her.

  12. 18 months ago, my niece moved in and brought her sweet spayed tabby Dusty. I had a 5 year old neutered male named Toby and I have a 8 year old calico spayed female named Bella. My two constantly stalked the newby and would chase and attack. My two did not except Dusty. My sweet male Toby developed crystals in his bladder and even with treatment, I had to put my sweet thing down. I understand stress is a big factory in crystals forming. My Bella just attacked Dusty for no reason. Would putting Bella on anti-anxiety meds help?

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  14. Colleen Wheelock

    Hi, a year ago we found a little male kitten in our pool pump, my 6 year old female cat kept on trying to swipe at him through a small hole in the cover. He moved under our deck, I caught him and had him neutered. Everytime she sees him she attacks him. I was able to gain his trusr and his is so living but I have to close her up at night when he would come inside. He is adorable and I really want him to be free from hiding but she is so aggressive. She attacks to kill. He is so scared of her. What can I do to resolve this? I have tried just about everything, even an animal behaviorist. PLEASE HELP

  15. The new kitten jumps on the resident cat and chases her. This causes the resident cat to hiss, growl and lash out at the kitten. I have tried everything to get then to stop fighting, nothing works!

  16. Elizabeth Coleman

    I have 2 female cats, they have been together for 3 years. Last night they started to fight on and off all night. This morning they are looking at each other ready to have a go again. What can I do to stop them.

    1. Hi there,

      Please try some of the steps within this article. If they do not work, please ask a vet or behaviorist for insight. These articles might help, too:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-fight-cats-fighting-tips-how-to-stop-prevent-violence
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-fight-sounds-what-a-real-cat-fight-sounds-like
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-problems-tips-cats-aggressive-aggression

    2. Ya even my male cats have actually they do love each other..I mean like licking each other and after one or two minutes later they start fighting terribly..its started just two days ago..

      1. Vet told me males actually get along better than females and male postering (playing) can get a little harsh and hard to distinquish from fighting.

  17. Hi!
    I have 2 female cats, 7 and 3 years old, both spayed. They were never really best buddies but they could cohabit and sleep next to each other until last week. They escaped outside for 10min and ever since my older cat viciously attacks the young one. I had to separate them. I put one of them in a room with her litter box, food and everything she needs. I swap them every day so they can smell each other without the aggression; I also put pheromones diffuser everywhere in the house but so far no improvement… i was reading your article about the “incarceration”… how do I have to proceed? Do I leave them in the room alone for a short period of time and increase every dayor is it gonna be their new sanctuary until they stop hissing and growling at each other?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi there,

      We suggest speaking to a pro like a vet or behaviorist about this.
      Here are some other articles that might provide good insight:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-training-introducing-new-cats-tips
      https://www.catster.com/kittens/introducing-kittens-to-your-other-resident-cats
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/how-to-introduce-new-cat-into-home
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-problems-tips-cats-aggressive-aggression
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-hissing-why-do-cats-hiss
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-growling-why-does-your-cat-growl-how-should-you-react

  18. I have two cats, Yoda and Obi. I adopted them both as kittens and had them neutered as soon as they were five pounds. They grew up together and played together but as soon as they hit 2.5 years of age, when Yoda want to play, Obi gets aggressive. Many times Obi will just attack for no reason and I found a big cut behind Yoda’s ear that was covered in dried blood. They don’t fight all the time. They share a bad with me and will sometimes groom each other. When I try separating them, Yoda gets upset, constantly meowing and scratching at the door and he won’t settle down until I let Obi back out. I don’t want to re-home Obi because he’s bonded with me and I refuse to take him to a shelter but I don’t know what else to do.

    1. Hi,
      I’m wondering if you were able to resolve this? I am having the same issue. My cats are 2 1/2 and 2 and have lives peacefully until a week or so ago and now my female wants to fight with my male

    2. You could give both of them a break by giving one of them to one of your family members for a short amount of time, making them take a break from each other. I don’t know, it might work. You would eventually get them back of course.

  19. I have 2 neutered Male cats that have lived together for 2 years. One is 3-4 and the other is 11. They fight constantly. I’ve tried everything listed here, separating them, giving them plenty of space, 2 litter boxes 2 food and water bowls, perches and a cat tree. I’ve tried 2 feliway wall plugs for about 6 months and all those did was seem to make things worse. My 11 year old hated the smell of the plugs and hissed at them whenever he was near one. I also have a 5 year old spayed female who can get along with both males. She has her own food and water bowls also. We recently moved and the fighting is much worse than ever. My older Male has sprained his front legs twice in 2 months. I really need help getting them to stop. I’ve asked everyone I know to take the younger Male, but no one wants him. He’s solid black, blind in one eye, and will poop and pee in the floor if the litter is not scooped twice daily and changed weekly. I cant send him to the humane society in my area because of the kill rate of black cats here. We live in the south and people are unwilling to adopt black cats. Last time I checked the rate was about 93% and there are no “no kill” shelters that I know of in my area. Does anyone have any other suggestions or ideas?

    1. Paige: aw! You are a kind soul to be so concerned for your kitty. I’m sorry that you’re going through this. Is it possible to keep the small black cat separate from the others on a regular basis? Is there a room that can be “his” room? Or, can You alternate as the article said, keeping each of them confined at various times?

      I’m sorry I’m not much help. I’m new to owning multiple cats and stumbled upon this article.

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  22. Thanks for this wonderful and insightful column on cat behavior. I have an outdoor male cat, Cache, who formerly belonged to my neighbor. Unfortunately my neighbor, who has told me she prefers dogs over cats, recently adopted an overly aggressive dog, who seems to have “pushed out” Cache, who had sadly been her cat for three years. I’ve been feeding Cache regularly now and he seems to have come to accept me as his new “Dad,” more or less. Cache has remained an “outdoor cat,” and I live in a small house in the city.

    Lately another stray neighborhood cat has been trying to “muscle in” on Cache’s territory. He’s a big “tabby/ tiger cat,” and I call him “Tigger.” I’d have no problem feeding both of them (separately and out of view of each other) and I don’t think Cache would mind either, but for some reason Tigger seems to perceive Cache as a “threat,” and to now believe that my back yard should “belong” to him alone, especially during feeding time.

    Cache, apparently being a bit submissive, allowed Tigger to push him around for awhile, without getting into a “full-on fight….” that is until just this morning. Apparently this morning Tigger finally tried to push Cache around one time too many, when Cache sort of “blew a gasket.” What a fight! They both knew I didn’t want them to fight, and so when I came near them and hissed and clapped at them, they both ran off, apparently in separate directions. I hope they’re both OK?

    Right now I’m thinking, if Cache comes back, which he probably eventually will, I should probably simply give up on feeding Tigger all-together. Right now I’m inclined to not feed Tigger again and to instead shoo him away, at least until he might be able to first stop being aggressive towards Cache, which I realize may never happen.

    Does it sound to you like I’m seeing this situation correctly, or if not, might you have any advice? I hate to have to be so mean to Tigger, but I can think of no other “solution.”

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out. Here’s some info on feeding feral cats. You should also make sure that both of these cats are spayed / neutered.
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/how-to-manage-feeding-a-colony-of-feral-cats
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/getting-involved-in-tnr
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/adopt-a-cat-stray-cats-adoption-tips
      And more insight on cat fights:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-fight-sounds-what-a-real-cat-fight-sounds-like
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-problems-tips-cats-aggressive-aggression
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-fight-cats-fighting-tips-how-to-stop-prevent-violence

      1. Thanks so much for the supportive and very helpful information.

        The cat I’m “adopting” from my neighbor, named Cache, is spayed. The second cat, who I am calling “Tigger,” is so big, fat, and “touchable,” (but also overly aggressive towards Cache), that I suspect he probably has a neighbor who semi-owns him, and who obviously must feed him. He certainly wouldn’t starve if I didn’t feed him! I did ask around to see if any neighbors knew if Tigger had an owner/ slave. No luck.

        For the time being with me, Tigger has run out of “food vouchers,” no more food for now. At least until Cache might happen to feel comfortable enough with him to relax enough to eat at the same time with him. I am not at all inclined to support/ feed Tigger’s excessive agression, and his scaring away of Cache!

      2. PS: I will take your advice and if it turns out after asking around a little bit more that Tigger is merely a highly successful freeloader/ beggar, but still has his “cajones,” I will try to go about TNRing him.

  23. I have a huge 3-yr-old male who it’s constantly tormenting my little 18-yr-old female. She gets very angry, hisses, growls, and sometimes smacks him around. I tried putting him in a separate room, Feliway, even medications…nothing worked. Lastly I tried a small cheapo squirt gun. It works wonders! No need to drench anyone…just a squirt or two at the offender. He learned after just one shot. Now he only has to see the gun and he’s outta here!

  24. We have a 6-year-old calico female and a “torby” male who is 6 months older than her, adopted from the shelter at 3 and 9 months old. They’ve never been buddies, as we would have liked, but things were fairly peaceful until about 6 months ago.

    The female has suddenly begun reacting to sudden loud noises and other things that freak her out by chasing him at high speed and doing something to him that makes him shriek loudly. We are never fast enough to follow them and see what happens, but there is often a tuft or two of (his) fur on the floor afterward. And he seems very wary of her for some time afterward.

    We are not sure whether to ignore this and hope it goes away, or to try something radical like deliberately inducing the situation and then squirting her with a primed-and-ready squirt bottle, repeating until she stops (or we decide it’s not working).

    1. Hi Karen,

      Sorry to hear you’re experiencing this! We suggest working with a cat behaviorist or asking your vet.
      These articles might provide some insight as well:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-fight-sounds-what-a-real-cat-fight-sounds-like
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-problems-tips-cats-aggressive-aggression
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-fight-cats-fighting-tips-how-to-stop-prevent-violence
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-yowling-what-does-it-mean
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-screaming-what-it-sounds-like-what-it-means

    2. I have 6 cats. All spayed. Four of them are the mama and her 3 babies, They are older cats now but suddenly everyone is fighting. The fifth one is a sweet black cat who doesn’t get involved. The tortie and lives on my bedroom. The black one screams when the other cat is around. One of the babies also meows Day and night for hours. Is there a solution or do I need to think about rehoming the worst offenders

      1. Hi Bobbie,

        Please contact your vet / behaviorist about these behaviors before considering rehoming. These articles might provide some insight, too:
        https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-screaming-what-it-sounds-like-what-it-means
        https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-problems-tips-cats-aggressive-aggression
        https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-wont-stop-meowing-reasons-for-cat-meowing
        https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-meowing-at-night
        https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-fight-cats-fighting-tips-how-to-stop-prevent-violence
        https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-tips-peace-in-a-3-cat-household

  25. it’s good to read through these contributions and know we are not alone.
    Our problem is this: we rescued two cats who were having a miserable existence in a small flat with owners who were often away all night, leaving them locked in the bathroom. Unfortunately, the two cats were chosen from a commune of animals without the person doing the choosing have any idea of animal behaviour or needs. It was very much ‘I want him because he’s pretty.’ (he’s Burmese.) The other cat is a domestic moggie, black and white. We think their ages are possibly 5 year old Burmese and 4 year old domestic cat. They are totally unsuited to one another. The black and white is incredibly loving with us humans and downright horrid to the Burmese, stalking him, leaping on his back and sinking his teeth into his neck until he squeals. (We use the ‘hey hey and hand clapping, works well but only until little thug wants to start again!) When the cats first arrived they were allowed out. The b/w immediately got into a full scale fight and was clawed to bits, even the vet was surprised at his injuries. Then we found out he was always having fights, long before we got him. So he became a house cat. The Burmese of course is kept in as he has no road sense and is highly likely to be kidnapped. (A customer told me his Burmese ‘disappeared’ after work was done at his house…) So we have a cat that wants to fight and a cat that wants to play. We have cats fighting over territory (the end of my bed) over chairs, cardboard boxes and all.
    Excuse me, must divert to share a story. One night last week there was a serious fight, with my Burmese crying and growling at the same time. Broke it up, kisses and cuddles for the wounded, temporary ‘keep away from me’ for the fighter. Both ended up on my bed. Next morning my daughter arrived as usual. The Burmese normally does his ‘hello’ miaow, this time he ran toward her going on and on – translate, Kai bit me last night and it was horrid and… – so so funny, They talk to us all the time, both of them.
    The chase games are often started by the Burmese tapping the other cat on the head and they set off chasing around our 3 storey home. The moment it turns nasty is when the Burmese ends up in a corner, usually by me, with his ears down and a terrified look on his face. Then they have to be separated for a while.
    They eat in separate rooms, they have 3 litter trays between them, they have a bowl of mixed toys, little horror goes for the valerian (which isn’t working on him) and catnip and the Burmese goes for paper balls and things to toss around and play with. (The other cat does not play. No matter what we try, he refuses, just looks away) and they have equal access to both of us when we are here, and to whoever is here at any given time. My bed is available to both and still they fight.
    Are they simply temperamentally unsuited, but stuck with each other due to one person’s total ignorance on animal needs and her inability to live with them? (she has since acquired a dog and had to give it away…)
    This is without doubt one of the most helpful and comprehensive sites anyone could want if they own or care for a cat. Thanks for being there.

    1. Hi Dorothy,

      Sorry to hear you’re experiencing this! We suggest asking your vet or a behaviorist for specific insight. These articles might help, too:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-fight-sounds-what-a-real-cat-fight-sounds-like
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/well-adjusted-cats-cat-fights-aggression
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-fight-cats-fighting-tips-how-to-stop-prevent-violence

      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-care-adoption-tips-two-multiple-cats-better-than-one
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-training-introducing-new-cats-tips
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/do-cats-get-lonely-do-cats-need-other-cats

  26. We have a brother and sister. About 4 years old. After losing the old lady of the house they turned very strange and the male started peeing everywhere. They fight and just generally didn’t get along. After a long time (6 months to a year) using the pheromones and what not they finally started acting right again and the male even has started to sit in my lap again jumpstart a couple of days and they are fighting and the male is chasing the female and she’s going nuts. Lots of growls and chasing. What to do, they’re both spayed and neutered. I noticed the phenomenon bottle was empty. I plan on replacementing the bottle. But why does this happen. These cats normally sleep together. I’m just confused. They have never been lovey cats and can’t be picked up. Going to the vet is impossible as we can’t catch them. But they had gotten to the point of demanding pets and being happy. Within hours battle began.

    1. Michaela Conlon

      Hi there Judy,

      Thanks for reaching out! Here is an article you might find helpful about dealing with an aggressive cat:

      Dealing With an Aggressive Cat? 7 Reasons Why Cats Become Aggressive

      Here is an article on how to prevent cat violence:

      Cat Behavior: How to Stop the Violence of a Cat Fight

      Here are some articles on how to bring your cat to the vet if he doesn’t want to and a mobile pet care option:

      How to Get Your Cat to the Vet — Even If He Really, Truly Hates It

      MVS Pet Care is a Mobile Pet Vet That Brings Vet Appointments to You

      Hope this helps!

  27. I have 3 female cats, 2 Savannah’s {F2 & F6} A Siamese, all 3 are about the same age
    I have Siamese, & F6 Savannah first almost 3 years, I just got the F2 Savannah,
    All 3 cats are great Cats, BUT the they don’t get along, I did put the new kitty in a room
    I would close her up for a while, then closed the other 2 upstairs let the new kitty out, let her smell & get use to her new home, been doing this for almost 2 months, they can see & smell each other, the 2 Savannah’s are the problem F2 seems more aggressive, F6 seems afraid
    I’ve let them be together ONCE , Wasn’t good they started to fight, I was able to stop before it got physical.
    What should I do, keep up what i am doing, just let them take it slow????? The Siamese stays away from both Savannah’s. I love them, they are great cats very good cats, but problems between the girls. Yes they are Fixed

    1. You can’t lock Savannahs in a bathroom all day. It’s torture no matter the breed but for a Savannah it’s criminal.

      Honesty, how do you expect an animal who has been locked up all day to be docile upon release? You need to physically exhaust your cats. There needs to be scheduled – cats love schedules – play sessions – jumping, running, hunting, pouncing. Get them into harnesses and take them for walks. Expand their world not limit it.

  28. Jo Ann Ullrich

    I have two rescue cats.The oldest is 6 (calico-female) the youngest is 2 (all black-male). The calico is very sweet and docile, rarely meows and is a very social when we have company. They are both spayed and nuetered. The male hides from company and enjoys petting but does not like to be held. The calico welcomed the black cat w/out any problems. As a kitten the black cat got along with the calico. The male cat is always trying to attack the female. He does not hurt her but she snarls so loud. I used to think that the male cat was just wanting to play or it wanted to mate but he is spayed. It’s been going to long now as he has scratched her ears resulting in bleeding and her hair being pulled out. What do you think is going on?

  29. Interesting article. I have 2 new adopted cats that are for the time being separated from my ‘old’ cat. I have read somewhere you can put valerian drops in the litter box to calm them down anyone has any experience if it works? Feliway seems not to work.

  30. I adopted a “special needs” kitty with mild cerebellar hypoplasia who had been abandoned at 4 weeks old. I also had two rex cats, both “fixed” and getting on well. From the moment he came into the house at 8 weeks (he also was fixed at the SPCA) he chased the smaller fremale rex cat. She ran and he chased. He jumps on her and this frightens her enough to make her scream . She’s never been scratched or bitten. The female cat is so hypersensitive now that she will check to see if he is waiting to chase her.If she jumps onto a low chair that the other cat could easily jump on he just finishes his “game” He knows he shouldnt be doing this because If I walk towards him he stops and scoots off (he’s never been hit- just loud claps or rattling of coins). However they eat side by side and sleep side by side. I dont know how to stop this chasing as I dont like to see a hypervigilant cat even if it’s only for a few minutes. I dont know if this was a dominance thing turned into a game . He was a tiny scrap when this started he’s now a BIG BOY.
    Ive tried just about everything loud noises, separation as suggested (cage). Big Boy is a loving cuddle puss with no aggression and smart- he high fives, sits up and begs,etc etc)- so it’s not like he can’t learn, but he really upsets my elderly rex cat. Any ideas folks?

  31. Annette Condron

    I have been dealing with an aggressive female cat toward a male cat and the thing that has worked the best for us is giving the cats a half a teaspoon of chamomile tea with their wet cat food. Only use German Chamomile, the other chamomile (English ) is toxic to cats. I found this on the internet, check with your veterinarian to see what they say.
    This may help

  32. Hey i have 6 female cat 5 kittens and mother. One of the female kitten is climbing over her mother like male cat does when he is on heat. I find it inappropriate behaviour. Can here anyone tell me why is this happening? Is that kitten are on heat she is 5 month kitten

    1. Hey there,

      Thanks for reaching out! We would consult your vet to find out what is going out with your kitty. As a reminder, it’s always a good idea to spay and neuter your cats. https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/national-spay-neuter-awareness-month-for-cats

      For more information about cats in heat, we suggest reading these articles:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/signs-cat-in-heat
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-in-heat-sounds-what-do-cats-in-heat-sound-like
      https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/cats-in-heat

  33. Christine r Dobos

    I have 2 female susters who use to like onather, ive have battle scars on me from breaking them up. The one being picked on now was the one causing the trouble, lol. My solution since i work late and up early is treats ( temptations) no pill at all. I make a temp haven with a blanket( tent/ hiding spot ) shes asleep so is her sister. Mind you there 8 yrs Jade, and Raya. Im also a cat person…..

  34. My 2 indoor cats are weird and fight sometimes – when I hear that screeching, I shudder. It is the girl who is extremely aggressive to my sweet docile playful boy. She will scratch his eye and forehead. I used to wonder why he had little pinprick scabs on his forehead- well that’s from the girl scratching him up.

  35. I like All cat breeds, but when I adopt streets cat, I find some difficulty for changing their behavior، What I can do ? “sorry I’m not English speakers”

  36. Pingback: Love Tips from a Divorcee: Wanna Stay Together? Pick a Fight. | Belly Flop

  37. I have two female cats who have lived peacefully for 4 years together as best friends. One day, one cat was throwing up a hairball and the other cat viciously attacked her. She felt extremely threatened, growling and hissing even at us, which was extemely out of character. It took about 2 weeks to re-socialize her and for the most part, things have been good between to the 2 cats. However, she still has these episodes where she gets freaked out by the other cats movements (usually after food and at night), and she goes in this primal mode and viciously attacks the other cat. I usually put the attacker in another room where she calms down. After half hour, she comes out like nothing has ever happened and sleeps with the other kitty on the bed. I just find it so strange that she can attack her one day and groom/sleep beside her the next. These episodes are definitely not play. Eating and literbox habits are normal. Anyone have any idea what this could be?

    1. I am having the same problem. I wanted to know if you found a solution or anyone reached out to you. It’s hard to see my fur babies love each other so much and one day turn after so long. I am sad and confused for them and don’t know how to make it better. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and have read so many different views an opinions. At the moment I am taking turns with the cats locking them in a bed room. The minute I put them together it’s back to fighting again.

      1. Michele
        I am also having the same unnerving bizarre problem with my 2 cats who have lived peacefully the past 4 years. Jane (9 years old) Mr Poe (4 yrs) have decided they hate each other. Poe has been with Jane since he was rescued as a 7 week old kitten. Never a problem.. We also have Eddie, 7, Calypso 4, Poe’s sister and newcomer Snowy, 5 months. Out of the blue, about a month ago, we heard a horrible screaming fight . It was Jane and Poe. We thought is would pass, but it has not. It is musical rooms in our house. Each cat taking turns behind closed doors. We have tried 3 times to integrate. No luck. Snowy has been spayed, so I don’t think the hormone thing is coming into play. I am SO upset and troubled by this. My h8me is no longer peaceful with this constant awareness to prevent a dangerous cat fight . I love all my cats, and fear they w8ll seriously hurt each other. I have tried the feliway, the product smelled like it was burning, so I don’t feel is safe. The spray doesn’t do a thing. I’m a5 my witts end…

      2. I grew up in a very rural area next to wilderness. Our family has always had cats who are both indoor and outdoor cats. The females have always been the savvy ones but it seems that every male cat we have had has disappeared probably from coyotes or owls which has always been awful for me to deal with.

        I now have two female cats who have been spayed. They are now 5 years old. They are sisters from the same litter. They used to be the best of buddies. When she was a kitten, the black cat (Moonbeam) loved to wrestle her siblings until they were all exhausted. My sister gave Moonbeam to me when she was about 4 months old. She loved it in our townhouse and loved to play upstairs and down. I would take her on trips in the pickup truck back to Idaho to visit her siblings from time to time. My sister said “you know Ben you should bring Moonbeam’s favorite playmate sister with you and then Moonbeam wouldn’t be alone.” So I packed up Lynx and brought her with me as well. They both were awesome kitties growing up together. I named Moonbeam’s sister Lynx because she has the same markings as a Lynx cat. Very pretty.

        Lynx and Moonbeam got along great for the first 3 or 4 years they were living together. When my spouse and I moved into my mom’s house before our home was built we placed Moonbeam and Lynx in their own large room. They had their own beds and they had a large treehouse to climb in along with other toys. They each had their own litter box. The house we lived in for about 4 years is the house I grew up in, my mom’s house. Also this house is large (two floors) and is built in the midst of a large aspen forest adjacent to wilderness. Both Lynx and Moonbeam were in paradise when they went outside with me for several hours a day while I worked out in my barn and in the gardens. They even had their own special tree to climb in. The winter before last (2015-2016) was a long, difficult winter and I did not let the kitties outside that often in the winter because I felt they were exposed to danger including owls and coyotes. When I began letting them out in the Spring of 2016 Lynx became very aggressive and territorial toward Moonbeam. Then Moonbeam became nasty right back. This lasted off and on for about 2 weeks and then they settled right back down. I let them out pretty much every day for several hours a day. Then last winter they were ok together in their room and also in the apartment part of the house where we lived downstairs. I have kept them together at my mother’s house because I am here half of the time and in our own home half of the time. I let them both out (even though it was bitter cold) about a week ago and now Lynx is back being nasty to Moonbeam. Ugh! My mother’s caregivers have always made sure they are both fed twice a day and that their water is kept full. I change their litter box about every 2 to 3 days so that it’s very clean.

        Now it is the winter of 2017 and I am in the process of getting them ready to move to our own house just about 23 minutes away in a town called Victor, Idaho. We have a beautiful home there that is at the edge of a neighborhood. I am not likely to let them outside much as the neighborhood has dogs, etc. I am afraid they may run away and not be very oriented toward a new neighborhood. I am hoping that they will adapt to their new much larger space and that they like it a lot. It will be great having them back with us together so we can let them upstairs and they can always go downstairs when they wish to eat or need to use the litter box. I am afraid that if Lynx does not get along with her sister Moonbeam that I may have to give Lynx to a dear friend whom I have absolutely no doubt would treat her with immense love, respect and create a loving home for her in California with him. I am hoping that this won’t have to happen but I am leaving it as the only other option after all other options have been exhausted. Lynx is an amazing cat with people. She and I have bonded but I have a rule that since Moonbeam was homed with us first that Moonbeam is the cat who would stay with us. Also the fact that Moonbeam never has started any of these fights that I have ever seen is evidence that Lynx is the alpha and the one who is most territorial.

        If anyone has any other Ideas please let me know. I never thought cats would become so high maintenance. They weren’t when they got along well. One of the things I have always loved about Moonbeam is how she would sit with me and purr for a while and then after a little bit she would just prefer to go off and entertain herself. Lynx is much more needy a lot of the time. I just don’t like seeing Lynx being so terribly nasty to her sister. It’s upsetting to see that.

        Any thoughts?

  38. I have 20 cats. They are all fixed. The latest stray who has been with us now a little over two years is attacking two that are not aggressive and NOW going after one who has been with us (7 yrs) the longest. We have not had any new litters since we caught the two mommas and had them fixed. I have never had problems before the last two months. They all can come in or out. The troublemaker is brilliant and fearless but I may have to get rid of him. Now there are three more who have been here over four years starting to go after the meek ones.
    All the cats were born in our backyard. We were blessed with a feral organization to help us neuter/spay them. Just so defeating that there is little peace in the kingdom now.

  39. My question is do you place the cats in the room (with one in the crate) for a week non-stop or do you just place them in the room together for a few hours each day?

  40. I’ve watched their body language and if it looked like there was going to be a problem I would say “NO” very loudly. And I’ve also clapped my hands. I also have a spray bottle with water in it. I would spray near them and if they didn’t listen, I would squirt them. Now all they have to do is see the bottle and they stop when I say no. I did it this way because I have birds and they were trying to climb the birdcages to get at them. Now they know not to bother the birds.
    And I have fur babies 2 yrs to 16 yrs both male and female.

  41. I don’t know if this helps but I’ve stopped a lot of cat fight by loudly screaming “hey, hey” and clapping my hands together. Seems to work better than a can full of pennies. I did the wrong thing by getting a female cat who is a year old to my existing cat. It doesn’t help them the existing cat is a Persian male and the new one is a female stray.

    1. I have a 8 year female and took in a stray male last year. Female has been spayed for about around 8. I had the male neutered when I got him. Suddenly a calico around 2 showed up. I wanted to find a home for her but had a death in my family. Right befor I left I had her spayed. Now to add to the problem, I now have a solid black girl that showed up .she gets along with everyone even my mind pincer. The oldest Charolette hates the calico.they cannot even be in the same room without a full blown fight. A lot to throw at you, but I cannot take much more. I will try some good advise and let you know. So far, I have done everything wrong.

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