Pet Parenting: ‘My two cats fight constantly’

Dear Denise,

My two cats fight like crazy. They seem to hate each other and will go out of their way to aggravate each other. Is there anything we can do to foster peace among these two sweet (to the humans) pets? We have a boy and a girl and they’re about two years apart in age.

Thank you!

Dear Mama:

Cats are very territorial, and if your two kitties weren’t raised together that may be part of your problem. To begin bringing about peace, you need to provide personal space for each cat. That means two litter boxes, two lounging areas, two scratching posts (scratching is a powerful territory marker and if your furniture isn’t suffering, you’re very lucky), and even separate play times with you. And I do mean ‘play,’ not just lounging.

Kitties need kitty play, stalking, pouncing, etc. This will not only increase endorphins, those feel-good chemicals, but it will expend excess energy.

In addition to providing your cats with some individualized attention and space, I would also suggest utilizing a Feliway plug-in in the common areas of the home. This product pops into the wall and emits a scent that is an analog of the facial pheromone that cats use to mark things as their own. The scent is also calming for many cats, so it may help them relax.

You can also try adding a couple of drops of Rescue Remedy to their water for a few weeks. RR is a homeopathic stress reliever and I always recommend it during times of change or stress. Your cats may never be friends, but they should at least learn to tolerate one another’s existence. If things don’t improve in a month or two, you can discuss prescription medication with your vet, but I only suggest that as a last resort.

Good luck,

Denise Holmes is a pet behavior counselor in Northwest Arkansas with over 25 years of experience. She focuses on family pet training and animal-assisted therapy.  She has consulted with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, helped set up a variety of local programs and produced a CD to help expecting parents introduce the family pet to a newborn, Denise works with the whole family, including the kids, to foster a great relationship among the people and their pets. She comes to you so she can work with the pet in its own environment. (Plus, it saves time for busy moms!) To discuss your Pet Parenting issue with Denise, call her at 479-225-6063.