The Border War Inside My House
Why I May Have to #BuildThatWall
It may not be gunfire, but it might as well be. There is nothing like the sudden and intense screeches of an actual catfight.
Ever since a recent vet visit for our two cats, they have been like mortal enemies to one another. They have claimed different areas of the house, and have frequent standoffs that require intervention from higher authorities (usually me). This has made managing meal times, playtimes, and sleep times much more difficult than usual.
We have tried different interventions to bring peace to our little nation. We tried bribery, both cats getting a nice catnip toy. This started out well but soon turned to conflict when one cat (Ozzie) decided he was jealous of the other cat’s (Boo’s) catnip banana and grew tired of his catnip carrot. He attempted to fight her off for it.
When giving handouts, they MUST be equal, otherwise conflict will ensue.
We have tried separation, or sanctuary rooms, if you will. This works to a certain degree, but whichever cat is cordoned off starts making a real mess of the environment in short order, as if in some kind of protest. The free cat then typically taunts the one in isolation, as if to ridicule the barrier put between them.
When attempting separation, both parties should have equal access to resources if at all possible.
I personally have tried aggressive domination, or about as “aggressive” as I’m willing to get with two cats I love dearly. A brief scruffing followed by gentle placement in another room or separate location is about as aggressive as I have gotten. There have been side effects to this too though. Now my daughter has seen me yell at our cats when they fight, and she has either periodically been scared of me when I yell or starts imitating the behavior and yells or pushes the cats herself. Neither or these effects are desirable and thus aggressive confrontations have ceased.
Aggressive resolution of conflict always has casualties, in this case the casualty being the changed behavior from my lovely 17 month old daughter.
So now we are trying the “just let it play out” method and hoping that over time they will learn to love one another again. We have enough space and resources for them to live together or separately, as they see fit. Realistically, I could never build a wall to keep them permanently separated, it would hurt too much…