Pet Tips

Tip – 17 – Cat play or cat fight ?

Tip – 17 – Cat play or cat fight ?

Are my cats playing or fighting – How do I tell?

If you have a multi cat household or your outdoor cats hang out with other cats, chances are you will encounter cat play. Cat play usually involves chasing, swatting, hissing and nipping. To a human though, cat play can often look rough, so how can you tell the difference? First off if you know that the two cats in question have never been friendly to each other then chances are what you are witnessing is fighting. Cat fighting is something that should be stopped through distraction, since it can lead to disease transmission and/or wounds and wound infections.
If you are unsure if the cats are playing or fighting rely on your ears and eyes. If you are still unsure, err on the side of caution.

  • Screaming is a sure sign that the cats are fighting.
  • One cat being overly dominant is another sign of fighting, usually in cat play the roles shift.
  • Hissing a few times from either cat is normal but continued hissing suggests a cat fight is underway or about to get underway.
  • Finally and perhaps most importantly in cat play, except for accidents, neither of the two cats gets hurt.

The best way to separate fighting cats is through distraction. Making a loud noise or drop something heavy on the floor. That will usually startle the cats and send them running in opposite directions. Shaking a can of food treats (if they are used to that sound) is another great distraction that will stop the fighting.

Remember cat play like any type of animal play is normal and you shouldn’t get involved. Cat fighting is also fairly common but due to the potential that your cat may get harmed or injured, you should try to stop it through distraction. Do not actually try to physically remove one cat from another or you too may get harmed.

5 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar Kellie says:

    Shaking a can of treats is NOT a good distraction for playing/fighting cats. If you introduce something that tastes good while they’re playing/fighting, they will learn to associate food with this behavior and will eventually pick a fight/play session because they know you’ll feed them. Because of the increased interaction between them, this can result in a larger chance for injuries or hostility between the cats. BAD ADVICE!! The BEST things to do when the cats are displaying an undesirable behavior are, like you said, making a loud noise or dropping something heavy. But, some other things you can do are giving them a squirt or 2 of water from a spray bottle or shaking a soda can with a few rocks or coins in it.

  2. Avatar Lucie says:

    I once read that when two cats stare at each other, that means they want to fight, and if one cat turns away, that means that cat doesn’t want to fight. Whenever my two oldest cats, Fudgie (female) and Marlin (male) stare at each other, I try to get one of them to look away. Is this an okay thing to do, or should I find another way to get them to stop? Is that thing about the staring even true? Thank you in advance.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Why is this bothering you? Although cats can scare each other down, cats can also just look at one another without issue.
      I’d let the cats work this out on their own….

  3. Avatar edith alessi says:

    Hi I have 2 cats one 11years old the other5.They jump on the back and bite there neck.they only do it when one of them is laying down.They don’t draw bood.I yell to stop and they do.It scares me.are they playing or is my older cat jelouses.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Sounds like play to me…but you are the observer…just keep an eye on the play and if it changes – feel free to post this question on our forum.
      Good luck.

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