Easy Steps to Help Your Cats Get Along

Stephanie Dube Dwilson

Cat owners often adopt more than one pet because they want their cats to have friends. You might want another cat around to keep your kitty company. But sometimes, two cats just don't get along. Whether it's a new introduction that went poorly or a sudden issue that just started between two cats, you may feel discouraged if your cats are now communicating with hisses and claws. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help your cats get along again.

Give Them Their Own Territory

Cats often don't like to share and can become selfish with resources. They might be territorial about essentials like litter boxes, food, and water. But they can also get possessive about a favorite window perch, a cat tree or condo, a pet bed, a catnip toy, or even a favorite towel.

You can avoid these issues by making sure all the favored resources are in plentiful supply and in different locations in the house. Don't keep the toys all in the same location, or the window perches right next to each other. Maintain one litter box per cat, plus an additional box. Keep the food bowls and water dishes in different spots throughout the house. Each cat will have his own preferences, and they can work out territorial issues much easier if everything is plentiful and located in multiple locations.

Visit a Veterinarian

If one cat has had a sudden change in behavior or mood, you might want to visit your veterinarian. Sometimes a cat will act out due to illness or pain. A vet visit will ensure nothing more serious is at play.

Use Calming Diffusers

Calming diffusers are a great way to help your cats feel safe around each other. These diffusers release drug-free, odorless vapors that mimic a cat's natural pheromones. These communicate in a cat's language that an area is safe and secure. For multiple cat homes, try the Comfort Zone Multi-Cat Diffuser. Set them up in the rooms where your cats spend the most time. One diffuser lasts about 30 days. Or, you can snap a Comfort Zone Calming Collar around each cat's neck to help keep them calm and relaxed wherever they go. Each collar lasts for about 30 days as well.

Look for Triggers

Look for triggers that might be stressing your cats, causing them to take their tension out on each other. For example, a stray cat wandering outside at night might make your cats so upset they start hissing and clawing at each other. Or a cat that just returned from the vet might have an unusual smell that causes your other cat not to recognize her.

Try to minimize any triggers if you can find them. You might want to close the window shades at night if that's a trigger, or even set up motion-activated sprinklers outside to deter strays from wandering too close.

Reintroduce Your Cats

Sometimes cats were introduced poorly and always had tension with each other. Or one cat might have been startled by a sudden noise when the other cat was around, and now that fear has been "misdirected" onto the innocent cat.

Whatever the situation, you might need to reintroduce your cats if they've had ongoing tension. A new introduction can help them start making positive associations again. Keep them in separate rooms for a few days or weeks, and sometimes swap towels and other items so they can "smell" each other. Even switch rooms from time to time.

Feed them on opposite sides of a closed door to help build positive associations. Then use a screen door, so they can see each other. When your cats can eat near each other without hissing or tensing up, slowly crack open the door. Then give them supervised visits together. If one cat tenses up, redirect his attention to a catnip toy or treat. Over time, they'll likely start getting along again. Just remember, this process can sometimes take weeks, and that's okay. Give your cats the time and space they need.

If you're wondering if your cats will ever get along again, the answer is they likely will. They just need a little intervention on your part to help them create a purrrfect truce. Giving them their own territory and reintroducing them to each other can help bring peace back to your home.