In Pets

Heather from Cat Behavior Chat Facebook Group had a question about cats who hate each other.

Greetings Heather:

We are going to assume that you are asking both why cats hate each other and what can be done about it.

We are glad you asked this because this is an all too frequent problem and often handled badly with a less than beneficial outcome for one of the cats. First, we would like to address the idea of one cat “hating” another cat. This concept is a misnomer—cats rather than “hating” one another, are threatened in some way by another or mutually threatened by each other. How an individual cat reacts to the threat is the difference between a cat who will fight at every opportunity or a cat who “allows” themselves to be bullied/victimized.

Unlike dogs, who have evolved in packs and are driven by pack order can usually fight to resolve who the alpha dog is. They know instinctively that there is only one pack leader and once pack order is determined, all can typically live in peace. Cats respond to threats from other cats much differently as they have a much more territorial evolution.

Additionally, as humans reincarnate, so do our pets. Cats who have had more lifetimes as a domesticated animal have learned to better cope with sharing territory. Because of that, some “recently” domesticated cats do not have a good mechanism for dealing with threatening cats who they are forced to live with.

Cats who cannot escape each other, even though they have “fought it out” will continue to think of each other as threatening. Unfortunately, this behavior is usually not noticed in a kitten, because it isn’t until they reach sexual maturity that this behavior fully manifests.

As far as what cats perceive to be threatening, it is usually just as simple as to whose territory will the house belong.

So now, what to do? The challenge is that this behavior is so instinctive in cats new to domestication, that aside from keeping the cats tranquilized, it is almost impossible to change that behavior. Sometimes the best solution for everybody is to rehome the cat(s) who cannot cope with living with other cats. Short of that, complete separation would be your next best option. Plenty of room in your home for the number of cats you have is important under all circumstances. Even the most “domesticated” cat will want their own space from time to time. It is never a good idea to keep cats living in a stressful environment. The territorial behavior will probably escalate, and just as in humans, too much stress can lead to disease.

If you are introducing new cats to each other the right way (there is much information available on that topic online) and you see that problems are arising—either fighting or bullying, it would be wise to seek the help of a professional animal behaviorist or animal communicator to see if the issue can be addressed easily. We specifically say “easily,” because it is critical to address the issue quickly even it means returning the cat to the shelter or breeder it came from before all the cats (and humans) suffer undo stress.

This article was received through “tuning in” to my spirit guides and receiving this  information.

©2018 Rhonda Weisberg

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