Friday, October 30, 2015

Aggressive Neighboring Cats

Aggressive Neighboring Cats

Guest post by Laura M. Sands


He’s handsome and brave, fun to watch and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. As he strolls through the neighborhood while barely acknowledging your presence, you decide that you’ve just got to get close enough for a proper introduction. You make up your mind to just go for it as your cat silently approaches to join the fun. Before you can take another step, though, fur is quite literally flying and a friendship is ruined before it even begins.

So what just happened here? Well, while you were daydreaming about all of the fun you could have together, an aggressive neighboring cat decided that three's a crowd and that your cat is no longer allowed in his territory. The bigger problem here is that his territory is your yard, so how do you protect your outdoor cat from future harm?

How to Handle an Aggressive Neighboring Cat

The first step toward managing an aggressive neighboring cat is to determine whether or not the cat has an owner. If the cat does have a home, work with the owner on developing solutions together. Aggressive cats who do not have an owner should be trapped, neutered and given to a shelter in order to be rehomed. Whether the cat has an owner or not, pet owners with outdoor cats should take every precaution to protect their animal through close supervision and working to deter the cat away from a yard especially while an outdoor pet is present.

Who Owns the Aggressive Cat?

If an aggressive neighborhood cat is causing a nuisance to your yard and your outdoor cat, do your best to locate the cat’s owner right away. Ask other neighbors if they are familiar with where the cat lives and watch the homes within the radius where the cat roams. You may even want to take a picture of the cat and distribute flyers around your neighborhood until an owner is identified.

Politely introduce yourself to the cat’s owner and explain the problem that you are having with their kitty. Avoid becoming hostile, focusing on blaming the cat or even labeling the cat as a bully. It may help to remember that most cats are territorial by nature and are usually acting on pure instinct to guard a territory they believe belongs to them. Ask the owner for input on how you both may create a solution to the problem. For example, you may agree on an outdoor schedule which would eliminate the cats coming in contact with one another.

If repeated attempts to solve the problem do not bring about results, suggest that the owner take her cat to a veterinarian. An unneutered male cat will often act aggressively in order to achieve dominance over other cats. Female cats will sometime do the same, especially with other female cats, so do suggest that the cat be neutered or spayed in an attempt to curb the behavior. A veterinarian’s visit is especially important if the owner maintains that the cat is not usually aggressive and that this behavior appears to be sudden. Cats are experts at hiding an illness and aggression may actually be a symptom of a larger medical issue.

An Aggressive Cat Without a Home

In the event that the aggressive neighboring cat does not have a home the solution is to safely remove the cat from your neighborhood. Speak to your local animal shelter about trapping the cat, having it neutered and rehomed. In this instance, you are actually doing the cat a favor in helping it get the care and attention that it needs.

Avoiding Attacks

If an aggressive neighboring cat attacks your outdoor pet, DO NOT attempt to physically break the fight up yourself. Do not even attempt to grab your own cat during a fight as both cats will be in an instinctive mental zone where they are determined to win (or at least not lose too badly) by any means necessary. This means that you will almost definitely be bitten or clawed if you physically intervene.

Instead, try to break their concentration from the fight by spraying with water or startling them by tossing a rock nearby. You may even attempt to separate them with a broomstick (being careful not to injure either animal). One of the cats will likely back away or even run after such a distraction, but the other cat is still likely to give chase. It is at this point that your cat may run to nearby safety or the other cat may run to get away from the larger animal (you) who it has determined to be a more formidable foe. Sometimes one cat may even just run a few feet away only for the tussle to start all over again in a new location. Be prepared to repeat your distraction steps as many times as possible until the fight has ended.

Become Your Cat’s Bodyguard

For as long as the aggressive neighboring cat remains a problem, you will have to protect your cat by closely watching her each time she leaves the house. Stand outside with her as she investigates her territory and do your best to keep the aggressive cat away from her. Also, take any steps that you can to shore up your yard in an effort to keep the cat and all other predators away.

Keeping an Aggressive Neighboring Cat Away

It may very well be that an aggressive neighborhood cat truly believes that your yard is his territory especially if you have just moved into the area. To this cat, you and your cat are the intruders and he will do anything to keep you out of his space. In these instances, you do have a battle on your hands, but there are steps that you can take to reclaim your territory. Here are a few tactics you may want to try:

        Remove food and trash which may attract animals to your yard.
        Spray your yard with one of many products created to repel cats (do keep in mind that this may repel your cat, too).
        Trap the cat and have him neutered.

Always chase the aggressive cat away when you encounter him in your yard. Make loud noises and be very boisterous in your gestures, but do not ever harm or make physical contact with the cat. Eventually, he may find your yard an undesirable place to roam or relax and may just concede the territory to you.

Never Give Up!

An aggressive neighboring cat can be quite annoying and even dangerous. Besides removing them, there’s no guarantee that one method will work on every cat. Even neutered cats will sometimes continue to be aggressive although usually less so. Be prepared to try several or even all of the tips detailed above before the right solution is found. Just know that with time, trial and patience an aggressive neighboring cat can be conquered.

Guest post by Laura M. Sands; blogger, copywriter and proud member of the Fetch! Pet Care team. As a national service provider, Fetch! offers a variety of pet care services from dog walking to overnight pet sitting. You may find other pet-related posts by Laura and learn more about Fetch! by visiting their most awesome blog.
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