3 Ways to Know if Two Cats are Fighting or Playing

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3 Ways to Know if Two Cats are Fighting or Playing
3 Ways to Know if Two Cats are Fighting or Playing
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Fighting is normal feline behavior, but sometimes it's hard to tell if the pussies are actually playing or if it's for real. To distinguish one from the other, look at body language and the nature of the fight. When they're playing, for example, they take turns; but if they are fighting, interrupt with a loud sound or put a barrier between them.

Steps

Method 1 of 3: Observe Body Language

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 1

Step 1. Check for growls or hisses

When cats are playing, they don't make much noise; at most they meow.

If they don't stop hissing and growling, it's not a joke

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 2

Step 2. Look at the ears

In play, cats keep their ears forward or erect, or slightly bent back; on the other hand, if they're all the way back (almost touching their head), it's very likely to be a fight.

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 3

Step 3. Look at the claws

A playing cat's nails are hidden or retracted (much of the time), and even if they are exposed, they are rarely used to hurt the other.

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 4

Step 4. Check for bites

During a play fight, cats bite each other very lightly without causing any damage. But if you see that (at least) one of them is biting for real, be suspicious.

Howls of pain, hisses and growls are also bad signs

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 5

Step 5. Observe the body position

Playing, cats keep their bodies positioned forward; fighting, they alternate between attacking and bending backwards (to escape opponents' scratches).

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 6

Step 6. Look at the fur

When they are aggressive, cats keep their fur upright; it's an attempt to look bigger. If their tails are ruffled, maybe it's not a joke.

Method 2 of 3: Examine the nature of the fight

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 7

Step 1. See if there is reciprocity

When playing, cats take turns: both spend the same amount of time on top and bottom.

The same goes for chases: they intersperse between chasing and being chased, like a real tag

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 8

Step 2. Note the speed of attacks

Fighting games involve lots of breaks and starts, allowing them to rest and change position. Real fights, on the other hand, are much faster and neither of them stops until there's a winner.

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 9

Step 3. Pay attention to post-fight behavior

It says a lot about what just happened: after a disagreement, cats tend to avoid each other (or, at the very least, the grumpiest of them will).

If that doesn't happen and they continue behaving normally, they were just kidding

Method 3 of 3: Breaking the Fight

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 10

Step 1. Make a loud noise:

clap your hands or pans, slam a door, shout or use a whistle. Hopefully, that will be enough to distract the cats and end the fun.

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 11

Step 2. Create a barrier

This tends to work as cats lose eye contact. Put a pillow, a piece of cardboard, or any other object that blocks their view, and as soon as they stop fighting, put them in separate rooms until they calm down.

To prevent this from happening in the future, make them interact little by little

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 12

Step 3. Don't separate them with your bare hands

Want to put them in the middle of two aggressive cats to see what happens? It's not just your fingers that can get bitten and scratched: one of the animals (or both) can jump in your face.

Not to mention that they can redirect anger towards you, affecting the relationship you have even after the events

Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Step 13

Step 4. Prevent future disagreements

Don't make them compete for resources: each should have their own litter box, food and water bowls, beds and toys in different parts of the house. Also know that neutered cats are less aggressive and therefore fight less.

Reward them with praise and treats when interacting amicably

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