/How To Know If My Cats Are Playing Or Fighting

How To Know If My Cats Are Playing Or Fighting

In a cat kingdom, play aggression is a normal part of feline behaviour. It’s a common way to bond with each other and fight against kitty boredom – it may look scary but be purrfectly fun behaviour for both of the kitty-cats! Although cats love to play fighting, but sometimes their play can turn to serious fighting. So, how do you tell the difference between playing and fighting? We’ve got you covered – read this article to learn how to look for the clues and find out if your cats are fighting or playing.

Ways To Know If Cats Are Playing Or Fighting

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Our feline friends are playful and energetic. Their play definitely does not look like that of humans! So, what to look for during cat interactions? Felines own a rich vocabulary in terms of body language. It can be hard to tell whether they are playing or fighting, however, there are some clues that can help you to determine if they are really fighting or simply just playing. Firstly, you have to observe their body language. In general, cats who are playing are silent, without growling or hissing. If they make any noises, you are more likely to hear a meow than a growl or hiss.

In addition, cats who are playing generally have their ears forward or upright and have their claws retracted most of the time. Although cats love to bop each other on the head and chase each other, they will not use their claws to hurt the other cat. Biting is typically not part of the deal as well. During a play session, they usually alternate biting one another and none of them yelp out in pain. If you notice one cat biting the other in order to cause harm, then it is highly likely that your feline friends are fighting. Kicking each other may involve in the play session too, but it should not lead to injury.

Read more: Understanding Cat Aggression

Flattened ears, fur standing on the  end, back arched, claws extended, puffed-up tail or confrontational stares – look out for these signs as they are consistent with fight aggression in felines. Cats who are engaged in a real fight will have their fur standing up – the response is known as piloerection. They also have their bodies positioned forward. 

Apart from observing the body language, you may examine the nature of the ‘fight’. During a play session, cats should be chasing each other instead of one cat chasing the other the entire time. If your cats are playing, they will stop the play session and start many times – so they can take a break and change positions! Cats who are playing will switch off roles between defensive and offensive.

Don’t forget to observe their behaviour afterwards as well – this will give you more clues to understand feline behaviour. Cats that have been involved in a fight will avoid each other afterwards. On the other hand, cats that are playing will nap or lay down near each other. They will act friendly towards each other such as touching noses when walking by and grooming each other.

Read more: Managing Your Cat’s Rough Play

How To Break Up A Cat Fight

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What to do if my cats are involving in a serious fight? According to A Cat Clinic, you should never physically intervene between two cats looked in a combat such as breaking up the fight with your hand – this may escalate the cat’s anxiety and one of the cats may redirect her anger on you. Try instead to redirect the negative feline behaviour by distracting your cats with food, treats or toys. Alternatively, you may make a loud noise by clapping your hands or blowing a whistle to distract your cats. It may be effective in breaking up the fight.

If you are unable to find a solution, consult your veterinarian to ensure that neither of your cats has an underlying medical condition causing their negative behaviour. You may seek advice from an animal behaviourist too.

Read more: Understanding The Alpha Cat Syndrome