Increase environmental enrichment to give the cats ways to divert their attention, release energy and have fun! Set up food-dispensing toys, puzzle toys and other opportunities for solo playtime. A bird feeder outside the window or some cat shelves for climbing and playing may divert attention and ease tension. Increased enrichment will give the cats something to focus on other than each other.
If the previous set-up in the environment included having your cats share one litter box and one scratching post, you should increase those numbers. During the time the cats were separated you already had to increase the number of resources so keep that up once the cats are together again. The less the cats have to share and/or complete, the less likely they’ll fight. Provide multiple litter boxes in various locations around the house so a cat doesn’t have to cross the path of the other cat. The same goes for scratching posts and any other valued resources.
When it comes to meals, provide separate bowls for the cats. This will help lessen the chance of competition and bullying. In some cases, depending on your specific situation, you may find that the best way to create a peaceful co-existence during mealtime is to feed the cats in separate locations.
Remember the Importance of Choice When it Comes to Cats
A cat who doesn’t feel she has a choice is the cat who feels threatened. The cat who feels backed in a corner is the one who will lash out or display unwanted behavior. As you go through the reintroduction process, keep in mind how important choice is to a cat so you can tweak and adjust your process to provide that crucial necessity.
If you have a question about your cat’s behavior, you can find information in the articles on our website as well as in Pam’s books. If you have a question regarding your cat’s health, please contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a replacement for your cat’s veterinary care.