Romping Or Fighting? How To Tell If Your Cats Hate Or Love Each Other At Playtime

Posted on: 21 August 2018


Cats often fight each other in homes, but it's not always a bad sign. Sometimes cats just wrestle for the fun of it, but at other times, it's a serious fight that could have serious consequences for either or both cats. If you're not sure if your cats are literally at each other's throats or are just having a play-fight, read this guide to find out.

Why Cats Fight

Cats start wrestling when they're just kittens with their siblings. It's a way for them to practice their combat so that they'll be successful in taking down prey and defending themselves from predators in the future.

When it's kitten behavior, there's typically no real threat or malice behind it. Kittens love to play, and play-fighting is one way to get exercise, train themselves, and have fun all at the same time. However, once adulthood hits, problems can occur.

Signs of a Real Fight

Cats do give off certain signals before fighting that people can pick up on if they know what to look for.

If you see two of your cats staring each other down while standing, it could be the start of an issue. Cats typically give each other a fair amount of space, and direct eye contact is a sign of aggression among cats.

In addition, look for signs like flattened ears, licking or working the mouth, or high-pitched yowls or screeching sounds. These are all signs that real aggression is underway and that a fight may subsequently break out if one of the cats doesn't back down.

Signs of a Play Fight Turned Bad

Just because a fight starts out playfully doesn't always mean that it stays that way. Cats often show signs of distress when they're in a fight that they don't want to be.

For example, one of your kitties may let out a high-pitched cry while being pursued. They may frequently run away from the other cat, only to be pinned down and bitten by the stronger cat. In addition, if you see one cat being bitten on the back of the neck, this is a sign of dominance and not a play behavior.

If your cats seemed like they were playing but one of them is now exhibiting signs of distress, this may mean that the other cat has overpowered them. In essence, one cat does want to leave the fight and stop playing, but the other one won't back down and keeps attacking. At this point, it transitions from a play fight to a real, unfair fight.

If you think your cats are fighting, pheromone products and private time for both kitties may be helpful. You should also take them to a vet to ensure that there are no transferrable illnesses that one could pass to the other and have them spayed or neutered if they haven't been already, which can help to tone down aggression.

For more information, contact your local veterinarian.