As a cat owner, especially if you are going from one cat to two cats or trying to integrate any new cats into your household, your primary concern is how to get cats to get along, as they may be hesitant towards one another. This doesn’t apply to all cats, but a new kitty could cause a sudden change in the calm balance of your space.
Getting kitties to get along depends on you as the owner creating pleasant experiences, giving them personal space, and making sure to introduce these new family members slowly.
This will encourage your cats to become familiar with each other slowly. Good behavior should be met with a reward to encourage your pets to be friends.
Happy cats, happy house, right? This may not technically be a saying, but it should! In order to maintain a positive environment, you don’t want to see your cats fight. So, let’s go over some ways to get cats to get along and the reasons they might be aggressive, to begin with.
Aggression Between Cats
I want to start off by noting that mock aggression is quite common, especially in young cats. People see this in dogs all the time but may not realize that cats play the same way and might just pretend to fight while having fun.
A multitude of things can cause true aggression. Your kitty might have issues with the territory when a new cat is under the same roof. They may have trouble staying calm if they feel like they don’t have enough individual space to go to, for example.
Whether it is playing or playful fighting, you want to keep an eye open for any signs of fighting, aggression, or unhappiness. This will help you help your cats to get along.
How Long Does It Take for Cats To Get Used to Each Other?
Eventually, conflict should subside, and your cats will get used to each other. I’m afraid this does not happen overnight, though; it could take weeks or even months for things to settle down truly.
You’ll often see cats being wary of others’ presence for about 8 to 12 months. Other’s scents could cause stress that takes your cat time to get over. You can help move this process along by buying additional perches, water bowls, and litter boxes so that none of the cats feel too overwhelmed.
Hissing, aggressive behavior, and other issues will shift to your felines, showing signs of returning to a normal interaction style. They will keep their own hiding spots and may stay on opposite sides of the house, but they might also end up being best friends! That part is not guaranteed, but it is possible.
How To Get Cats To Get Along With Each Other?
As a pet parent, all you want is to see that your furry family members like, and maybe even respect, one another.
Let’s talk about some ways to get cats to accept each other:
Your kitties will look to you for guidance, especially as they try to find a state of calm after new animals are introduced. Show patience to let your second cat know that their new home is a safe one while reminding your other cats that things are still primarily the same.
Cats’ bodies react to chronic stress, and another cat can sometimes cause this. So, staying patient will help to make your animals feel safe and healthy.
Identify Conflict Causes
Conflicts can arise for many reasons. It is up to you to find out whether stress, an underlying medical condition, territorial issues, or something else is the cause of this tension around your home.
Step in to stop any aggressive conflict, like fighting, by spraying water, clapping, or otherwise distracting the cats.
Try to maintain a routine, even if you see some gaps in the cats’ relationship. This should settle down over time.
Think About Territory
The territory is a significant factor in how well a new feline will get along with your other cat. The cat that has lived in your home for longer may become territorial about its space and need more than just different rooms to keep them apart at first.
You might want to invest in a baby gate to help separate spaces and create boundaries that the cats can settle into.
Extend the Time Together
Cats may be independent creatures, but they value their quality time with you and might feel like other kitties are getting in the way of it. On a similar note, they will need to spend more time with the other cat to get acquainted and become genuinely accepting of it.
The hope is that the more often you can extend your cats’ time together, the more amicable they will be.
Increase Kitty Resources
When cats go from having lots of space, toys, and a private room to relieve themselves, a newcomer can feel like an invasion of their sacred space.
To avoid these feelings, increase the resources that you have in your home. From what they eat to where they go to bed, it should feel like your kitties have enough individual space to function well.
Water bowls, scratching posts, litter boxes, and other resources can be game changers regarding how well your cats get along.
Neuter Your Male Cat
Males that have not yet been neutered will be prone to more aggressive behavior, which we certainly don’t want to see. This is especially concerning if you have any older, intact male cats and try to introduce a younger female cat.
Before being neutered, intact males want to show more dominance toward other cats and their owners. So, it’s best to nip this concern in the bud, quite literally, by neutering male cats early on.
Rewards and Attention
Reward your cat’s behavior when it is good. Toss treats to them if you see positive interactions. This will help them continue that behavior when they associate being nice with getting treats.
Try to avoid spending too much time with each of your individual cats, so jealousy doesn’t arise. This could cause your cats to act out and might put a pause on their progress.
Rewind and Control Introductions
Make sure that, while your cats are still separate, you devise a plan to introduce them. Control the environment, so they feel safe and are more open to interacting with other felines.
If you talk to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, they will tell you that first introductions are quite important, so take the time to do them right.
Treat Them Well
Treating your cats well encompasses everything from giving them treats to caring for their health and personal preferences. Cleaning their litter box and providing them with positive interactions are both important ways to avoid aggressive behavior patterns.
Questions like choosing the best cat litter for multiple cats might arise when considering this step. Ensuring you switch gears from being a single-cat household to a home with multiple cats is very important.
Check With the Vet
Your veterinarian will also be able to give you tips on introducing and acquainting your cats. They can provide recommendations based on your cats’ age, health, grooming styles, and needs.
If you need to take things a step further and work with a certified applied animal behaviorist, your general veterinarian can often refer you.
When To Give Up on Cats Getting Along?
Sadly, no matter what steps you take, not all cats get along well. It could take longer for two cats to become friends than the 8 to 12 months that are standard, or it could just never happen.
If you have exhausted your resources, given the cats’ space and care, and sought the help of a certified specialist, you should see a change. When this is not the case, you might begin to look into re-homing newer cats because it will be easier on them than your first cat, which is more used to your home and life together.
When it comes to your kitties, you want your kittens to get along. Like siblings, your ‘only cat’ might take some time to adjust to newcomers, but their bad behavior shouldn’t last forever.
Wishing all cat parents out there a happy, friendly, peaceful home!