Are Your Cats Playing or Fighting?

Are Your Cats Playing or Fighting?

Jul 15, 2022
10 min

It is not always easy to tell if your cats are fighting or playing because both events look pretty similar. Distinguishing between these two events is a common problem for many multi-cat households. 

When playing, it is normal for cats to jump on, bat at, and chase each other. However, these same traits also play out when they are fighting each other. 

The reason why many cat owners find it difficult to distinguish is that cats play aggressively. Hence, your cats might be playing, and you would think they are not having a happy interaction. 

In this guide, we will help you to tell if your cats are fighting or playing.

How to Tell If Your Cats Are Playing or Fighting

Cats apply different tactics when playing and fighting, which look similar for both events. Here are some of the ways you can tell if your cats are fighting or playing:

  • Listen for Hissing or Growling: Cats are less noisy when playing. If they make noise while playing, it would likely be a “meow” rather than a growl or hiss. If your cats continually hiss or growls, chances are they are fighting.
  • Claw Position: When cats are playing, their claws are usually retracted or sheathed most of the time. If the claws are not retracted, they will not intentionally use them to hurt their playmate. However, if the cats are using their claws to hurt each other, they are most likely fighting. 
  • Ear Position: When mock fighting, a cat’s ears are usually in an upright or forward position (some cats position their ears slightly backward when playing). Nevertheless, if your cats’ ears are positioned or turned back against their head, there is a chance that a battle is ongoing. 
  • Teeth Actions: Biting does not frequently occur when cats are playing. Even when they attempt to bite, it usually does not cause any harm. On the other hand, if you notice your cats biting each other with the intent of causing harm, then they are no longer playing but fighting. Cats usually alternate biting each other when playing. But, if you see one cat always biting the other while trying to get away, it has gone beyond playing.
  • Hair Position: Your cats’ hair position is another way to determine if they are fighting or playing. When in a real fight, cats usually have their hair standing firmly. They make their hair stand during a fight to look bigger. Hence, if the hair on your cat’s body, tail, or both is puffed up, there is a higher chance that a battle is about to commence. 

What Should I Do If My Cats Are Fighting?

If you notice your cats fighting, it is vital you break up the scrap as soon as possible. However, physically intervening can be detrimental, as you or your cats might get hurt. 

The best way to stop the fight is to make a sudden loud sound such as clapping or being audible. You can also place a barrier between the fighting cats. 

Product Recommendations

Kong Active Pillow Legz Cat Toy

  • Kong Active Pillow Legz Cat Toy

    One thing that makes cats engage in a fight is boredom. With this cat toy, you can keep your cats busy and active without fighting each other. However, you need multiple toys so they do not fight over one. This toy is sturdy, making it an excellent option for even the most active cats. Its design sparks hunting instincts, and it would even make your cats get along smoothly. 

Kong Pull-a-Partz Bugz Cat Toy

  • Kong Pull-a-Partz Cat Toy

    This is a 4-in-1 toy with endless fun and playtime. It is the best option for multi-cat homes, as it encourages cooperativeness. The toy is lightweight, and it entices pouncing and batting instincts. It is ideal for cats of all ages and sizes.

Solid Gold Grain Free Chicken & Egg Dry Cat Food

  • Solid Gold Grain Free Chicken & Egg Dry Cat Food:

    With the right food in their bowl, your cats will have nothing to fight about. This grain-free, gluten-free formula is made with premium ingredients to provide your cats with all the essential vitamins and minerals they need. It contains taurine to support overall body function. 

Kit Cat Deboned Chicken & Salmon Toppers Canned Cat Food

  • Kit-Cat Deboned Chicken & Salmon Canned Cat Food

    This wet formula is grain-free and suitable for all life stages. It helps reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and kidney stones. The formula contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for improved brain function and healthy skin & coat. 

Petkit Fresh Nano Metal Dual Cat Bowl

  • Petkit Fresh Nano Metal Dual Cat Bowl

    Most cat fights start when battling for food in the same bowl. To avoid this, we highly recommend this dual cat bowl. It is made with premium quality material, with a solid base that will not move even when your cats push it. It is also well angled to encourage good eating posture and reduce strain on your cat’s neck. 

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