close up of a badass tabby cat snarling at an unseen foe

How To Stop Other Cats Attacking My Cat?

You’re about to drift off to sleep when you hear a terrible shrieking coming from your backyard. It sounds like a cross between a baby crying and some getting attacked with a knife.

You’re halfway to dialing 911 when you realize your cats not in the room, and it’s probably them outside getting ready to brawl with another ferocious feline. Of course, as a caring owner, you realize it can’t possibly be your cat instigating trouble! But how to stop other cats from attacking your cat?

Most cats are reasonably calm animals, and they prefer to spend their days chilling out on the couch or curled up in a ball in their bed.

Some love attention, while others have independent personalities and prefer to sit on the other end of the room and look at you.

Unfortunately, cats are domesticated predators, and they come with predatory instincts. That also means that some cats can have aggressive temperaments.

As a result of the heightened aggression, these cats are prone to getting into fights with neighbors, cats, and strays.

An aggressive kitty will end up living a shorter life, and they’ll probably have a few trips to the emergency room from time-to-time.

There are all sorts of reasons why cats develop aggressive behavior. If your cat is always getting into fights, it might not be the other animals that are the problem.

Treating your cat for aggression requires a veterinarian working with you to understand the underlying triggers causing the condition.

two cats circling for a fight one hissing the other looking large

Triggers like medication, anxiety, boredom, and many more contribute to aggressive behavior. It’s challenging for vets to nail down the cause of the behavior without observing the cat.

This post looks at how to identify underlying causes creating aggressive behavior. By identifying and treating these issues, you can stop other cats from attacking your cat.

#1 Anxiety and Fear Causing Aggression

The most common type of aggression in cats relates to fear and anxiety building in the animal. Fear creates defensive and offensive responses in your kitty, such as spitting, hissing, growling, and spitting.

This anxiety can occur due to separation from living situations or an aversion to owners or visitors. The anxiety may also occur due to introducing another cat into the home environment as a living partner.

The cat may also flatten the ears to the head, and the fur stands up to make them look bigger as they arch their spine.

What are the Underlying Causes?

Cats come in one of two personality types. The first are those that are playful and confident and those that fearful and timid.

Timid and fearful cats that don’t receive the correct socialization by 12-weeks old start to experience more fear and anxiety than other cats, leading to aggressive behavior as they age.

How Do I Stop This Behavior?

a pair of grey street tabby cats in a stand off about to fight ear flat big postures

The treatment for the condition depends on the extent of the behavioral problems with the kitty. Some might need no treatment at all, and they grow out of it with time and care by the owner.

Others might need behavioral modification therapies like counter-conditioning and desensitization, along with medication.

The length of the treatment could take a few weeks or several months, depending on the state of the anxiety and fearfulness in your cat.

Owners need to note that using punishment or forceful restraint as a strategy to stop your cat from being aggressive will create further anxiety.

As a result, your cat doesn’t get any positive reinforcement from the treatment, creating a negative feedback loop in response to your efforts.

#2 Aggression Between Males

Aggression between males is the most dangerous form of behavior. It’s a real problem, especially if your cat gets in fights with strays and neighbors cats.

The issue with this type of aggression is the potential for violence and bodily harm to the cat.  During a catfight, the cats will use their claws and teeth, sometimes causing severe lacerations that required medical treatment.

What are the Underlying Causes?

This kind of aggression in your kitty typically starts at around two to four-years-old. At this age, the cat is “socially mature,” and many of these issues with aggression between males occur due to competition for mating rights.

In neutered males, the behavior shows up later in life, and it has more of the role of boosting the cat’s social status than its mating rights.

How Do I Stop This Behavior?

Having your male cat neutered reduces incidences of catfights and strays picking on your cat at night. If you have males at home, always have them neutered, or they’ll start spraying over everything.

It’s important to note neutered cats may continue to spray, but not at the same volume and frequency as unneutered cats.

Some owners may have to change the cat’s social environment to prevent the behavior. If you have two males exhibiting aggressive behavior towards each other, keep them in separate areas of your home. Only introduce them in controlled situations.

orange and grey main coon cats both in the air slapping each other in battle

#3 Playtime Aggression

Some cats might play rough with each other, giving the appearance of fighting. Some of the playtime may involve scratching and biting, but not to cause severe injury. Some cats play harder than others and might rough up other cats.

What are the Underlying Causes?

Some cats might experience hyperactivity disorders causing them to play rough with the other cats in the house. They might also be brazen enough to start pestering smaller dogs.

Typically, younger cats weaned early or were hand-raised are more prone to exhibiting this aggression. In some cases, it is part of normal cat behavior.

How Do I Stop This Behavior?

Treating this playtime aggression requires owners to redirect the cat’s energy towards toys instead of the other pets in the house. Trying to scold or pull your cat away won’t do anything but get you scratched or confuse your cat, reinforcing the behavior.

Owners might need to change out the toys to keep the cat interested. You might have to encourage the cat and stimulate them to engage with the toy.

Playing with your cat for five to ten minutes every day helps to wear out this aggressive behavior in your cat. Wearing light leather gloves and a long-sleeved sweatshirt is a great way to protect your hands if your cat likes to claw and bite when playing.

You can also place a bell on the problem cat’s collar to stop it from sneaking up on your other cats or the dog. According to experts, introducing a small kitten into the environment may cause the cat to change its behavior.

#4 Territorial Aggression

Territorial attacks on your cat typically happen at night, involving feral cats around the community. If your cat decides it doesn’t want to sleep and escapes to the yard, it may encounter strays wandering on your property.

Strays are far more aggressive than house cats, especially males. They also live in constant survival mode, so they’re often more skilled at fighting and stronger than house cats. As a result, your cat might end up with a serious injury in a fight.

a black cat and calico stray fighting in the street

Cats will hiss, growl, and circle each other before a fight, raising their hair and bearing teeth.

What are the Underlying Causes?

Some owners might not train their cats to stay indoors and sleep at night. Since cats are crepuscular animals, they go out at dusk and dawn to hunt prey.

How Do I Stop this Behavior?

Train your cat to sleep at night and stay awake during the day. Play with them for a few minutes an hour or so before bedtime to wear them out, and give them their meal before bedtime.

If your yard is not too large you can also try using cat deterrents to keep other cats away – this can reduce the chances of a territorial clash. Check out some of the ideas in this post if you need some pointers on deterrents.