It might be difficult to tell if cats are playing or fighting. For example, it’s easy to assume that cats from the same kin are just playing and not fighting since they’ve already formed a bond. However, there’s no guarantee that cats with the same bloodline won’t fight.
On another note, you might’ve become extra worried thinking that your cats were fighting since you caught them biting each other, but it could be that they were just showing playful affection. How can you tell the difference?
When your cats make a fuss, you might wonder: Are they fighting or playing? These are some signs that you can look out for to help you determine if your cats are fighting or playing.
How to tell if cats are fighting or playing
There’s chasing, pawing, and biting. Are your cats fighting or playing? Here are some tips if you’re not sure:
1. Pay Attention to Their Body Language
A cat’s body language is a good indication to determine whether your cat is fighting or just playing.
Your cat is most likely playing when…
- They aren’t loud
When cats play fighting, they don’t make loud noises or shout. They chase and bite each other gently, which leads us to the next sign.
- They’re gentle
Yes, they may touch, bite and chase one another but not with the intent to inflict injury. They are gentle and soft, and their claws are retracted.
- They take turns
When cats play or fight with each other, they may chase and bite one another, or even lick each other alternately. You might wonder: Why do cats lick one another and then fight? Cats that are grooming each other exhibit bondedness, so if they seem like they’re fighting right after, it’s probably just play-fighting. They are not in attack mode.
- They are now relaxed.
Things are more often than not back to normal, even if there was tension after a cat fight.
Your cat is most likely fighting when…
- They are showing signs aggression
They might exhibit a tense body, flat ears, or a swishing tail, for example. They may make unusual and loud sounds, such as hissing, growling and hissing while looking at the other cat with a hawk eye.
- Their arms and paws flail
If cats are constantly pawing at each other, it’s likely they are interacted aggressively.
2. Watch How They Treat Each Other
While cats don’t necessarily need to live with other cats to be happy, they can live in harmony when they consider the other as part of the same social circle. Research shows that it would be a huge plus if they could live with each other. environment doesn’t make them feel like the other is their rival when it comes to food, resources, and comfy spaces where that they can lounge in or climb up to.
Watch your cats’ daily routines and behavior to determine if they are friendly to each other. Are they friends?
They are most likely friends if…
- They cuddle and sleep beside one another.
- They are a team.
- They enjoy rubbing against one another.
There may be tension between cats if…
- They keep a safe distance from each other when eating & drinking, sleeping or using the litter box.
- They try to block their resources, and only use the other approach if the first has left.
- They avoid each others and rest in different areas.
Causes of cat fighting between cats outside their social circle
Their territory is under threat
If you have cats that get to roam around your neighborhood, you might have experienced your cat being intimidated by your neighbor’s cat or other cats that they encounter outside. You might have seen them fight with other cats.
Cats that have never met before will likely give each other space to avoid fighting. Sometimes, however, one cat may be too assertive in claiming their territory and this could lead to them getting into a fight. Cats are territorial creatures and might be anxious if another cat invades the space they have.
What if your cats suddenly start fighting with each other? Cats are generally good at avoiding conflict and will resort to fighting as their last resort. So when your cats who previously got along suddenly aren’t on good terms, there are a number of possible causes:
A change in your home
Cats are creatures of routine. Routine gives them security and safety. However, cats can feel stressed or threatened if their environment suddenly changes. This could be due to visitors staying for an extended time or new furniture arriving.
Cats bring in a different scent
Cats that belong to the same social circle have a common scent that allows them to recognize that they’re part of the same circle. Their stranger danger bells may ring if one cat brings home a different smell.
If one cat feels scared or frustrated, they might try to redirect their feelings by fighting with the other cat/s. If they hear a loud noise, they might try to redirect it by hissing at or attacking another cat.
If cats feel that they have to compete for resources and spaces around their environment (which can escalate in an indoor setting that doesn’t have enough space to move around), they might fight with each other.
How to Stop a Catfight
Keep them apart
When a cat fight ensues, it’s best to keep them away from each other to avoid injuries. To avoid getting hurt, you should not be too aggressive when trying to end a fight.
To distract your cat, make loud noises or play with toys. This helps to redirect their attention, and stops them from fighting.
Let them Cool Off
To avoid aggression and anxiety, calm your cat before you start to stroke or carry them.
Tips To Prevent Fighting In Cats
- Ensure that there’s enough space to move around
It is best for cats to have their own food and water bowls, litterboxes, and sleeping areas. This will ensure that they don’t feel like they are competing for space.
- Provide hiding and climbing areas
Cats love verticle spaces, which are areas where they can climb and hide when they feel threatened. These areas would make them feel secure and safe.
- Neuter your cat/-s
Unneutered cats are more likely not to be calm and behave aggressively. These behaviors can be prevented by neutering and help to keep them safe.
- You should have plenty of time to play and bond with each cat
It helps cats express themselves naturally and relieves stress. You may use Interactive toys Makeshift items and toys to keep them stimulated. Playing gives your cat an outlet for their excess energy and mental stimulation.
- Consider pheromone diffusers
Pheromone diffusers emit a scent that mimics feline-pheromones. This can help reduce stress and unwanted behavior in your cat.
- Secure windows
You can prevent neighbor cats from entering your house by locking your windows. At the same time, you won’t be worried about your cat wandering off.
- Talk to the other cat’s owner
How can you stop cats from fighting in the outdoors? Talking with the owner of the other cat who you caught your cat fighting is okay. Try to schedule the time your cats can go out so that they don’t run into each other.
- Keep your cats inside at night
This is recommended to keep your cat from more aggressive cats or road accidents.
- Keep important resources away from windows, communal areas, or cat flaps
To avoid your cat feeling unsafe and competing with other cats, you should not place food, water bowls or litter boxes in communal areas.
- Re-introduce or introduce your cats
Be patient with introducing new cats to ensure they feel comfortable in each other’s company. Go slow and don’t rush things. First, it’s best to keep them in separate rooms. Next, you can introduce your scent. You can then let them stay in the room together, but with a barrier to make them feel secure.
If you feel that they are fine with each other’s company, you can remove the barrier. If they are friendly and positive, reward them. You should allow them to get to know each other and be comfortable. You can continue these steps if they get into a fight.
If your cats still don’t get along after the suggested actions above, it would be best to separate them first and contact your vet or an animal behaviorist to help determine what is causing their behavior and how it can be addressed.