How Can I Tell If My Cats Are Playing or Fighting?

How Can I Tell If My Cats Are Playing or Fighting

Watching interaction between cats can be an amusing sight. However, what can look like fun, can often turn to fighting in a blink of an eye.

Cats can play hard, and the lines can look a little blurred from our perspective. So are they ways we can spot what is going to turn into a fight?

The problem is that a lot of cats will meow or screech when they are playing. They can get pretty excited and animated. Just as they would if they were fighting.

They can raise the fur on their backs, hiss at each other, and act very aggressive. Even though they are in fact just playing. So it can be a cause of concern.

As a rule of thumb, you should never come in between two cats fighting. If you do you’re more likely to end up with some injuries yourself than helping the situation.

If you have more than one cat, and they are not getting along it can be hard to set a balance they are all happy with. This can be achieved though, and I will discuss this further.

It’s a lot easier with younger cats. They are much more susceptible to change, and to getting along with other cats. They also play a lot more, so it may not always be fighting.

Knowing the Difference between Cats Playing and Fighting

Cats that have been living together for some time will be comfortable play fighting a little rough. They will chase each other around, and make a lot of noise.

Often having a brief encounter when they hiss and scratch at each other. Then they will be back to living in harmony a few minutes later.

It’s nothing to worry about. At worst, you may want to make a noise to discourage this. Nothing too loud, you don’t want to traumatize them. But just a little warning to shift their attention.

Sometimes a sign that cats really do like each other is when they will fight without making any noise. This is something my cats do. I don’t even know they are fighting unless I see it.

They are being careful not to hurt each other. Almost like a good play fight, and they are training how to actually fight.

If you see your cats doing this, don’t be alarmed. Do keep an eye on them however, just encase things to escalate. If you ever see any injuries on your cats, this is a sign that you need to do something.

If your cats still spend time together and look comfortable in each other’s company, let them be. If that is how they want to spend their time, who are we to say no.

Are One of Your Cats Injured or Ill?

If you notice a normally harmonious relationship has gone sour between two or more of your cats. One of your cats may be in pain and reacting defensively as a result.

I have seen this before, and it’s a fairly common reaction. Cats like to be left alone when they are in pain. Having another cat jumping on them is going to provoke a bad reaction.

You need to get a vet to check out your cat as soon as possible to resolve this. Cats are notorious at just keeping themselves to themselves when sick, but a speedy recovery is what’s required.

If it’s more the case that your cat is sick rather than a physical injury, separating them if possible is advisable.

I’m sure you can appreciate how far some peace and quiet can go to aiding a recovery.

In Summary

You need to keep an eye on the dynamic in your household. Sure, cat’s that have grown up together are going to get along fine in almost all cases.

But introducing cats, bringing older cats into the house, and other cats in the neighbourhood can really upset the balance.

You have a duty of care to do everything you can to ensure cats do not injure each other. Keeping an eye on them and looking for signs of playing vs fighting will help you become aware of any real fighting.