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When To Give Up On Cats Getting Along?

When To Give Up On Cats Getting Along?

Since having one cat inside the home is such fun, many people consider having an additional feline friend.

This is super exciting, as two cats mean twice the good times! But, this can also be challenging, considering the high chance of two cats disapproving of each other.

With the proper introduction and with time passing by, the two cats could start to tolerate each other. Some owners will be fortunate even to witness their two pets liking each other.

However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, two cats simply won’t be up for living together. No matter what you do, it seems that it just isn’t meant to be.

When to give up on cats getting along? There are five clear indications that you shouldn’t expect these two to become friends.

Let’s take a look at them and also explore what to do in this situation.

1. Fighting

two cats fighting

It isn’t unlikely for cats to fight at the beginning of their co-existence. They need time to get used to each other’s presence. 

This will be especially hard for the resident cat that’s used to having all the house for its own. Fighting behavior is one of the warning signs when introducing cats

Of course, this is a highly undesirable behavior in cats. But, it should stop occurring once your two pets start to get used to each other.

It’s worrying if you continue to witness wounds and bloodshed between your two cats after weeks or even months of cohabitation. This means that they are obviously not getting along.

Fighting can be a form of playing among felines. But, it should be gentle and shouldn’t include cats hurting one another.

Therefore, constant fighting over a longer period of time indicates your two pets still don’t approve of each other.

2. Change In Their Eating And Litter Box Habits

It will usually take some time for two cats to become friends. This isn’t the easiest task in the world, so you should be patient here.

Senior Cat Wellness explains how it can take a cat 8 to 12 months to become friends with another cat. Male cats are known to accept a new feline friend more slowly, especially if they’re intact.

In this period, you could notice your cats’ eating habits change. Also, one of your cats, or both of them, might defecate out of the litter box.

If this doesn’t stop even months after the initial introduction, this is certainly a sign your cats aren’t getting along.

A change in a cat’s eating and litter box habits could be the result of anxiety and stress in them. In this situation, the presence of the other cat is the source of stress.

Normal eating behavior is crucial for a cat’s health. Also, your cats should have normal bowel movements and should defecate in the appropriate place.

In the case you keep noticing these behavioral changes in your cats, it’s time you give up on them getting along.

3. Hiding Behavior

cat hiding behind yellow curtain

Cats can hide for different reasons. Sometimes they just want to find a private, quiet place to sleep. Felines enjoy and thrive on having some time alone.

They could also hide as they try to feel safe and protected. However, hiding can indicate that something is wrong with a cat.

For instance, cats that hurt won’t show their pain easily. Instead, they’ll hide, to not look vulnerable.

Another possibility is that cats hide when they’re anxious. Once again – another cat’s presence can make the other cat feel anxious.

If hiding behavior continues even months after your two cats started living in the same space, one thing is clear: Their relationship isn’t progressing as you might hope.

4. Body Language

Cats can’t use words to communicate, but we can learn a lot from their body language.

Observing your cats’ body language can help you find out whether they’re getting along.

According to the PetMD, there are some obvious indications that a cat is feeling threatened or fearful by another cat. These are looking away, licking its lips, and pulling its ears to the side.

When a cat feels threatened, it’s likely to display aggressive behavior. 

If this behavior lasts for too long in your two cats, it’s likely the time you give up on them becoming friends.

5. Prolonged Eye Contact

photo of two cats looking at each other

Sometimes you could notice your cat staring at you without blinking. This could be due to you doing something that seems to be rather interesting to your feline friend.

However, this could also be its way of asserting dominance. This isn’t the most likely reason for your cat staring at you, but, it could be an explanation for it staring at the other cat.

The prolonged eye contact is typically seen among felines that have just been introduced to each other. Your resident cat may attempt to establish dominance over the new cat in the household.

This could continue to last for a long time, and is one of the signs you should stop expecting your two cats to get along.

Why Aren’t You Two Cats Getting Along?

There are a couple of explanations for your two cats being unable to become friends.

Let’s look at each one of them.

Territorial Behavioral

This is the most likely reason for your resident cat to reject accepting another pet in your household.

All cats are territorial, and a situation like this provokes this behavior in them. 

Your cat feels like the new pet in their home is invading its personal space. It loved to have all the house for itself, and doesn’t like the arrival of the new cat interrupting its solitude.

Your house and your yard are the territory your cat claims as its own. Some of the most common signs of territorial behavior in felines are urine spraying, stalking, and hissing and growling at the other cat.

A Change In Their Routine

Cats dislike changes very much.

Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center explains how even small changes to a cat’s environment and routine can be quite upsetting for it.

And, let’s be honest, a new cat present all day long in their space isn’t exactly a minor change.

Your cat’s surroundings and routine should be as predictable as possible. The new animal company could simply be too much for your cat to handle.

Lack Of Socialization

orange cat standing in cat bed

Your two cats not getting along could be caused by a lack of socialization.

This can come as a surprise, since you noticed your resident cat perfectly socialized around you and your family members.

Well, there’s a chance that it just hadn’t spent any longer period of time with another cat around.

Young kittens learn how to socialize from their mother and littermates. Early separation from them can make a cat less capable of forming social bonds with other felines in the future.

Some eventually learn how to behave with other cats, while some will never become successful at it.


Hostility between your two cats could have something to do with you.

Your resident cat was used to having you all by itself. You provided it with all the pets, your time, and attention for a long time.

All of a sudden, it needs to learn to share your attention with another cat. This isn’t an easy task, especially for territorial creatures like cats.

You can expect it to show some other behaviors to claim you as its own, such as suddenly laying on you.

Lack Of Resources

Cats hate sharing their space, but also their resources.

Your cat disapproving of the new pet could be connected with them sharing some of their items. 

Your two cats certainly don’t like seeing the other one drinking from its water bowl, or using its litter box.

What Should You Do In This Situation?

two gray cats fighting

Providing your two cats with enough resources and enough space for both of them can be helpful. Giving them the same attention and time is also desirable.

Offering them treats when they don’t act hostile towards each other could be a way for them to get along.

However, in some cases, nothing will seem to work. It’s possible for two cats to simply dislike each other.

You certainly don’t want to continue seeing your two pets fighting all the time. Living like this can become a nightmare for both you and them.

One thing you can do is to reach out to a veterinarian, or a pet behavior specialist for advice.

Unfortunately, if even professional help doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need to consider rehoming one of your two cats.

This is hard, but it’s also hard to see everyday aggression between your two pets. Having two cats should be about them having nice company when you’re away.

It shouldn’t be this challenging, especially not for such a long time. If they haven’t adjusted to each other in months, it’s best to have them separated.


When to give up on cats getting along?

Despite your patience and good intentions, there’s a chance your two cats will never start approving each other. Continuous fighting and hiding behavior could indicate this.

Also, your two cats could display changes in their eating and litter box habits. 

There are several reasons for hostility among felines. Some of the most common ones are territorial behavior, lack of socialization, a change in their routine, and jealousy.

Help from a veterinarian or pet behavior specialist could solve conflicts for some cats. Still, there could be some cats that will never get along, regardless of how hard you try.

In a situation like this, it can be necessary to rehome one of the cats.

This isn’t an easy decision, but you should be realistic here. Constant conflicts and anxiety are not the way two cats should be living together.

Sometimes it’s simply a better idea for one cat to be the only pet in the house.