Fighting Cats: When Your Cats Are Fighting

Fighting cats are a problem that you will almost certainly encounter sooner or later if your home is a multi-cat home, or your cat is allowed outside.

Cats fight for several reasons, hierarchy, dominance, territory, fear and misdirected aggression.

Fortunately many disputes are settled before they become actual physical fights.

There may be much fixed staring, body posturing, displaying of claws, growling, yowling, hissing and spitting, - -

- - but an actual brawl is avoided if one cat backs down.

It is to the advantage of both felines to avoid the battle, the victor would be at risk of injury as well as the defeated cat.

Sometimes the fighting begins and then stops abruptly and both cats resume posturing.

One cat may decide that, having had a taste of the others fighting ability, he or she, is not going to beat the other and so backs down. Or neither backs down and the pair will recommence their conflict.

Should you interfere when two of your cats are involved in dominance posturing?

If the quarrel hasn't developed into actual physical aggression it is best to let your felines settle the dispute.

kittens play fightingKittens fight with their litter mates to develop their survival ability. The play fight can become quite frenzied but nobody gets hurt.

You could split up your cats, but they will only carry on the dominance dispute at another time, with the possibility of both parties being even more aggressive and the more chance of an actual fight.

If the dispute turns into an actual cat fight . . .

It is never wise to attempt to separate two fighting cats with your hands.

You will most certainly end up with scratches and bites and that will mean medical bills for you.

You have to find some way of distracting the brawling pair, this is sometimes no easy task.

Clapping your hands loudly, dropping something such as a heavy book, blowing a whistle, blasting an air horn or a loud shout may work.

If it is handy, squirting the brawling cats with the water bottle may get them apart, aim to get both cats.

When you have got your fighting cats apart, you will want to keep them apart. Try to get one of the pair into another room – do not try to pick up either cat, the cats will still be very aggressive!

Play Fighting

Most of us have seen kittens play fighting. Kittens engage in roughhouses with their litter mates to develop their survival ability, for exercise and for fun.

The play fight can become quite frantic and furious, but usually neither kitten gets hurt.

As well as being a physical workout for the kittens, and a grounding in how to defend themselves, play fighting is also the beginnings of establishing a hierarchy.

Some cats carry this activity over into adulthood. They will instigate a rough and tumble with their feline house mates, other pets in the house or neighborhood cats that they are friendly with.

There is no real dispute and issues of dominance and hierarchy have previously been settled.

The difference between a pair of cats playing and a pair of fighting cats is not normally difficult to tell. When play fighting there will be little in the way of hissing and screeching and the cats seem to take it in turns as the dominant fighter.

Fighting Cats, Territory and Dominance

Cats are very territorial animals. An indoor only cat may claim the whole house as his territory, and if he is a very dominant cat that may be the case even if he is sharing the house with other cats.

Other cats may be permitted by the dominant cat to access certain parts of that territory only at certain times. The alpha cat may claim a window area as his exclusive patch on a sunny day, but tolerate his house mates using it at other times.

A cat that is allowed out of the house may view only the backyard as territory, or it could be a much bigger area such as the whole block or more.

Un-neutered males may claim sizable territories, females and neutered males less large areas.

Many cat fights occur because of territorial disputes, if all the posturing and hissing fails then cats will battle it out to settle the matter. Female cats can be every bit as territorially aggressive as male cats.

It is not at all unusual for a cat to act territorially aggressive to some cats and display a tolerance of others.

Neutering greatly reduces the chance of aggression, but does not mean that a neutered cat will never fight or act aggressively.

There Was Peace Amongst The Cats But Now They Fight.

A multi-cat home may have been peaceful for years. Each cat knows his, or her, place in the hierarchy, territory has been established and fighting cats are a thing of the past.

But then something changes. Hierarchy needs to be reordered or re-established and disputes and fights break out. Cats are very much creatures of habit, and change causes cats stress.

The change could be something seemingly trivial to a human, but highly important to your cats and the social order in which they live.

friendly cats
Friendly cats that share their home can become fighting cats if there is a territorial dispute.

You rearranged your furniture? This could mean upsetting establish territorial areas, resulting in disputes and fighting.

Started a new job when you spent your days at home before? The change in routine could be a big upset to the feline social order.

An obvious change that often results in hierarchical battles is the introduction of a new cat into the home. Introducing a new cat always needs to be done with great care.

A new cat in the neighborhood will likely result in territorial disputes, perhaps with dominance posturing and even cat fights. A new arrival in the neighborhood can mean problems even if your cats are kept strictly indoors.

The sight of the strange cat through the window may be distressing for your alpha cat (dominant cat.) He can't get at the newcomer so he takes it out on his house mates in a display of misdirected aggression.

It can be extremely distressing for humans to witness their cats fighting, or even just acting aggressively with each other. But the thing to remember is that cats will establish a hierarchy whatever you do.

Fortunately, most often dominance and territorial disputes are settled without the cats actually hurting each another.

It is also most often the case that once the hierarchy has been settled in will remain so without dispute, although change can upset things as noted above.

Most domestic felines can live quite happily in a multi-cat home when they know their place in the social order.

Sadly there are a small minority of cats who are unable to coexist peacefully. They frequently challenge or attack their fellow cats, will not accept any position except being the alpha cat, and even then will constantly want to fight to reinforce their position.

This does not mean they are bad cats, but they may have to be permanently segregated for their own good, the good of the other cats and the good of their humans.

If fighting cats are your problem, you may find a Feliway Diffuser can help the situation. Many find the synthetic pheromones released by the diffuser help calm aggressive cats and help end unwanted behaviour.

Where Would You Like to Go Next?.

The Psychology Of Cats

Why Do Male Cats Behave As They Do?

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