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Healthy Cats

Does Your Cat Need a New Home?

Try these solutions to 6 common problems before you make that decision.
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6 Reasons Your Cat Doesn’t Need a New Home

Here are solid solutions to problems that you may not have thought were fixable.

Inter-cat aggression. Do you like every new person you meet? Neither does your cat! Bring a new cat into a household with established felines and everyone usually becomes purring pals -- but sometimes things don’t go so smoothly and fights break out. Cats instinctually have a social order where one cat is dominant, so some degree of fighting is normal when first introducing a new cat. This usually resolves quickly once the new order is established. Cats can also become aggressive for reasons such as illness.

To help you get a handle on cat aggression:

•         Talk with your vet first. If one of your cats has recently become aggressive, the cause could be a serious illness. Get your cat examined by the vet before taking any other action.

•         Let cats get acquainted slowly. When introducing established cats to a new cat or kitten, don’t hurry. Let them meet by smell and sound first. After a week, they can be visually introduced, and after that, let them spend time together. And introduce the newbie to each established cat individually.

•         Reduce resource competition. Litter boxes, food bowls, water, kitty perches -- cats will fight over all of these if there aren’t enough to go around. Reduce kitty traffic jams at these hot spots by having several food and water bowls in different locations, multiple perches, and at least two litter boxes -- or one for each cat, if you can manage it.

•         Consult a behavior specialist. If illness and resources aren’t the issue, it’s time to call a veterinary behaviorist or CAAB, who can help you get to the behavioral root of your cat’s aggression.

•         Don’t punish an aggressive cat. Don’t fight aggression with aggression; the result is often more aggression -- and fear. To stop a cat fight, squirt the cats with water, clap your hands or make another loud noise, or throw something soft, like a wadded up sock, at them. Never try to pull fighting cats apart.

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