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Published: Sunday August 10, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday August 11, 2014 MYT 5:35:11 PM

How to talk your cat out of a fight

CATS are a lot like people in that they can be calmed down if you get them right at the beginning. However, once they’ve lost their temper, they take at least 20 minutes to calm down.

Angry cats are dangerous to touch because they’re geared up for a fight, and so uptight that they can’t tell friend from enemy. They can’t help themselves because their flight-or-fight system revs up, flooding their bodies with adrenaline and other hormones.

With strange cats, the best thing to do is to try and break their eye contact. Insert a broom between the two and talk soothingly. If necessary, very gently move the broom towards one cat and say, “Shoo.” Never whack the cat! You could break bones.

If it is your cat who’s fighting, you can learn to talk your cat out of trouble. Getting your pet to listen to you is something you have to start early. Call your pet at least twice a day, every day, and always be kind to them when they come. The second you yell or smack, you’ve taught them that coming to you has bad consequences. Your cat should learn to always have the utmost confidence in you.

Generally speaking, cats below 18 months old should be considered “in training”. They’ll come but they need lots of positive reinforcement: kisses, ear-stroking and treats. If you do it right, you’ll end up with a cat you can talk out of a fight.

How that works is this. First, approach your pet and talk soothingly. Don’t raise your voice; talk sweetly, calmly and repeat, “Come on, let’s go home,” as if you’re just doing a routine call. It should take about two minutes and then your cat should move towards you. Ignore any hissing or yelling, just praise and pretend you’re going home like you always do.

Don’t touch your pet! Just walk home together and, when your kitty is calm, reward yourselves with kisses, ear rubs and treats. Cats don’t think like us so there’s no point in trying to reason. All you can do is to establish a pattern and to leverage that. A cat can only be trained with continuous love, and it takes a lot of time, so be patient.

Tags / Keywords: Katz Tales, Ellen Whyte, catfights, angry cats

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