Does your furbaby turn their nose up at sharing their space? Cats are territorial animals and will often fight to defend their area! Of course, this means that they may come into conflict with other neighbourhood cats. So what can you do to limit kitty conflicts?
WHY IS MY CAT IN CONFLICT WITH THE NEIGHBOURHOOD CATS?
While fighting is common between cats that live together, it may also occur if your kitty believes that another cat has encroached on their territory. It's not uncommon for your kitty to see the cat next door as a furry foe rather than a friend! A neighbour's cat might also believe that your kitty shouldn't be near their space - and tensions may escalate.
There are lots of reasons that your cat may be in conflict with other local pets:
- Cats leave scent markers to alert others to their territory so when your kitty finds that someone else has marked their spot they may not be too pleased. This can be a problem both inside and outside the house. In particular, male cats are more likely to be aggressive over their territory.
- Some kitties are more aggressive than others - you may find that there is a neighbourhood bully around. Within the home, you may also find that your male cat is dominating your female cat, that there is a battle ensuing between siblings - or that your cuddly kitty is the one picking a fight!
- Sometimes cats can get a bit rough when they're playing and this may look like a fight. So, are your cats fierce enemies or just play fighting? If you're not sure, you can test your knowledge of cat conflict signs in our friends or foes quiz. Keep in mind of course, that what starts out as play can escalate!
6 TIPS TO STOP YOUR CAT FIGHTING OUTSIDE
- Respect your kitty's need for space. Unlike dogs who'll happily stay by our sides at all times, our cats prefer a little more space sometimes! Try and be aware of your furbaby's needs for space and make sure that your own cats have their own resources (food, litter tray, bed, toys and space), as sharing resources can cause stress and make kitties more likely to fight; indoors and with other outdoor cats.
- Use an electronic cat door that is only opened by the collared victim cat to keep them safe. If your kitty is being terrorised by outside cats, an electronic cat door ensures that they (and only they) can access their home, or a specific room, and rest in a safe haven, undisturbed by the aggressor cat. Fitting an electronic cat flap on your front door is a good way to ensure neighbourhood cats can't follow your kitty home!
- If your kitty is involved in a spat, you can try and distract them with something you know they'll love such as a toy. While it's important to try to prevent conflict, if your pet is already engaging in the fight - and your presence isn't enough to break up the tension - try clapping loudly to scare the cats apart.It's important not to be aggressive towards fighting cats as this will only add to their stress - never punish your pets! Instead, remain calm, ensure that you maintain a safe distance to avoid getting hurt, and try to encourage your pet to join you indoors away from other cats.
- It may be best to keep your cat inside to prevent them from being attacked by another cat. If your cat has been attacked multiple times then keeping them inside is the best way to prevent this from reoccurring. It can be especially concerning if your cat is mild-mannered but is always being ambushed by a neighbourhood cat as your kitty could be injured. Letting them out after dark is particularly dangerous. If you can hear your cat fighting then go outside to see what's going on; this should scare off the stranger cat.
- If your cuddly bundle of joy keeps fighting and you suspect that they are the perpetrator, make sure that they're feeling healthy. It is always checking that your kitty isn't experiencing any underlying health issues by consulting your vet. You may also want to consider getting help from an animal behaviourist - or cat training school. They can help you get to the bottom of your cat's aggression and manage their behaviour.
- Use FELIWAY Optimum Diffuser to help your kitties feel relaxed and secure in their environment. If your cat has been unsettled by conflict with a neighbourhood cat then consider using FELIWAY Optimum Diffuser to help your furbaby feel comfortable, calm and at home in their environment. If your cat is scared, then FELIWAY Optimum will provide them with constant comfort.
It can be distressing if your cat is getting into fights with other cats, but following these tips should help restore harmony in your neighbourhood. You can always speak to other cat parents if there's a particular cat that is causing chaos; remember that keeping your cat indoors is a good way to protect them from fighting.
You can also take a look at our tips to help your cats get along if your own cats are fighting with each other. Why not have a go at our fun quiz and test your cat knowledge? Can you guess which is a sign of friendship and which is a sign of tension?