The most senior of the current group is about 13, and has become a bit grouchy in her dotage. Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of feline interactions from the forum to see what we can learn. Cats who are just playing and ‘mock’ fighting will often have their bodies positioned forward towards each other. Most cats will defend their territory (within the home or beyond) against invaders. Guide to Cat Behaviour Counselling. It can be difficult to know the difference between social play and an aggressive altercation. We keep the kittens away from our cats until they reach at least two pounds, and even then, we keep a close eye on the interactions, as the youngest of our kitties is, as of 2017, 6 years old! Recognising When Your Cats are Play Fighting. Playtime (which, again, might look to an outsider like fighting… The oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism in cats (Felis catus) is associated with “Roughness” assessed by owners. An addition of a new cat to the home correlated with frequency of dispute and the more cats in one household, added recurrent tension signs. Unlike dogs, who use play as a form of social interaction, kittens along with adult cats’ motivations for play is centred around predatory behaviour. Play aggression or mock battling is a typical part of cat habits. Adult cats may have their ears slightly back and will continue to wrestle each other. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 20, 411-421. Barrier separation such as baby gates, cardboard, wood, or plastic boards can also be useful to block view of each cat. Problematic cat behaviour is also affected by several genes: one of them is the oxytocin receptor, which has been identified as contributing to irritability signifying that genetic testing may become an important tool in the veterinary behaviourist field. Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://www.elsevier.com/locate/jfms, States, T. H. (2019). However, it can be hard to tell at times if your cats are playing or fighting. There are several reasons that cats might not get along. But the foster kittens...I have to separate them, especially the boys, several times a play session for biting hard enough to make the other screech! Kittens are very social along with a high play drive from early age. After this has been done with no major reactions (usually over a period of another one to two days, sometimes more while they get used to each other), you can try a face to face meeting. Cats that are fighting each other raise red flags. Playing. Environmental enrichment and multiple resources scattered around the house such as litter boxes, beds, scratching posts, bowls, hide, and perch boxes will help to reduce stress, increasing your cats’ ability to cope with disruptions. Rolling, tumbling, lightly biting each other and gripping are indicative of a fight or playful behaviors. Introducing a New Kitten or Cat. When you see your two cats on the floor chasing each other and batting with their paws, it can be easy to confuse the good-natured playing, or roughhousing, with actual fighting. Toys, puzzle feeders, foraging opportunities, and supervised outside time should be provided to all cats even if they have outdoor access, although extra enrichment should be offered to indoor cats. Re: Are my cats fighting or playing? Playing. ALL of them are spayed/neutered, so that is not a factor. 3 How to Know If Cats Are Fighting Or Playing. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from International Cat Care: https://icatcare.org/advice/aggression-between-cats/, Halls, V. (2013, August). Reinforcement of friendly playful interactions and reduction of aggressive behaviour is reliant on correct integration of a new cat and awareness of cat groups’ social dynamics in multi-cat homes. In addition, if a cat gets hurt, this is a sign cats are not playing. Cats who are playing typically have their ears forward and their nails are not out. Some cats just wont give peace a chance. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 6, 19-28. Siblings commonly indulge in play sessions; stalking, chasing, as well as pouncing that may seem like fights. It’s usually easy as a cat parent to know when the situation needs your intervention. It’s something that benefits felines, beginning in kittenhood and also expanding completely through the senior years. How to tell when a cat is playing or when fighting . Cats that are fighting each other raise red flags. Inter-cat social play peaks around 8-10 weeks of age, then object play becomes prevalent. All the rest mostly get along, but one of them (a male) has taken exception to a semi-feral (female) we rescued, and bedevils her constantly, to the point she was getting UTIs from being scared to go to the litter box! Feline Behavioral Health and Welfare. She mostly stays to herself and sleeps, but when awake, she hisses at the others, even though they used to get along. Normal feliNe behaviour and why problem behaviours develop. FlourishAnyway from USA on April 23, 2017: I have five indoor cats who all get along well. It's better than watching a wrestling match. This goes for kicking as well- it should be playful and should not cause injury. If you are still unsure if your cats are playing or fighting, record their interaction and post your comments below. I've been under the assumption that they're fighting, so I break them up, but are they actually playing? Feliway may help in reduction of inter-cat tension and habituation to a new home in combination with other anxiolytic products. Watch very closely and you can tell. Play fighting is silent, the biting is gentle, causes no injury or … Here's what you need to know about cat playing versus cat fighting. However, cats who are ready to fight may look defensive, will lean away from each other, and puff out their fur in order to look larger with their spine curved and legs raised to seem taller. Common Feline Problem Behaviours Aggression in multi-cat households. I have two crazy cats that play all the time, at first I thought they were fighting but my Vet assured me they were only playing. Cats can play in a very rough manner and it is not uncommon for an owner to misinterpret playing cats as fighting cats. I stopped breaking my cats up and now they will start playfighting and then eventually they walk away in opposite directions. This would be a sign that things are not going well. The way I can tell the difference in playing and fighting is that if they're fighting, they'll really growl and make a fuss. No yowling or screaming should be present in play. It’s usually easy as a cat parent to know when the situation needs your intervention. If one cat seems to be taking a bigger beating than the other, it’s likely a real fight. Cats start playing at an early age. Mischievous cats will take turns to be on top of one another with equal time spent rolling onto their sides or backs. There are a few exceptions to this rule (some cats are just more vocal and will meow or growl a bit, even when playing with toys.) We have articles and information, pet store, free petsites, ask the vet, … A cat with a tail like this is feeling fearful, overwhelmed or angry. Cats will often engage in mock aggression, or play fighting, to meet their primal need to hunt and guard their territory, both of which are essential to the survival of a cat in the wild. allaboutcats.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. x In such cases, it is best to separate your cats … This entire process typically takes anywhere from a day to over a month! Image titled know if cats are playing or fighting step 1 image titled know if cats are playing or fighting step 9. Even after they end the show of a play fight, the cats continue to be friendly to each other. Cats are prone to indulge in social play in the right type of environment: full of obstacles, hiding holes, cat trees, activity centres, and boxes with entry/exit holes to name a few. The pair will stop and start a lot, much like wrestlers moving on a mat to get into position. If cats have been fighting, they will remain tense, may get injured and will want to evade each other as much as possible to stop another fight … If you just got two new cats or are introducing a new cat to one you've had for a while, you may be shocked to hear horrific new sounds coming from your precious babies or to see one lunge at each other with open jaws, or tumble around on the floor with their legs locked together. Conflict and affiliative behavior frequency between cats in multi-cat households: a survey-based study. Cat parents are often left unsure about whether the cats are just having an enthusiastic play session or a physical battle that requires intervening before one or both cats get hurt. If they are flat, they could be fighting, but if their ears point up, it's probably just playing. Inter-cat clashing along with fighting can cause a lot of stress to the resident cat(s) and owner. Are they fighting or playing? Sometimes the animal is acting out because it has misguided aggression. Cats that are not familiar with each other can be fighting and not playing. The experts believe that the key to deciphering if cats are fighting or playing is to perceive their body language. The Ways That Cats Play Even if your kitty has never spent a night out, they still have primal instincts to hunt and protect themselves and their territory. Retrieved September 24, 2020, Sharon L. Crowell-Davis*, T. M. (2004). In a fearful or aggressive cat, you will notice piloerection, which is another word for a puffed-up tail. :-O (Where has the time gone?!). Furthermore, observe the nature of … Discussion. Fighting cats avoid each other after the end of the fight. This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Post by Kay » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:26 pm my rule of thumb has always been the noise they make - growling accompanied by hackles raised is true aggression, and a danger sign, but hissing and pawing is warning without danger 10. To tell if cats are playing or fighting, listen for aggressive sounds, like hissing or growling, which cats only make in a fight.. Also, look to see if their ears are pointed backward and are flattened down on their head.. Play fighting should be disrupted if it accelerates into hostility. While engaged in fighting, there’s usually no role … You will see fur flying and tears in the animal's skin. Defensive, puffy postures and leaning away from each other while hissing with bared teeth are signs that your cats feel threatened and aren't having fun. They will chase each other around, and make a lot … Cats that are merely familiar with each other and without a bad history will also play fight. The behavior of the cats after putting a show, be it a fight or play, will tell you what they were actually doing. Retrieved September 25, 2020, from 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.07.039, Ramos, D. (2019). Some play sessions can lead to an individual cat becoming over-stimulated besides boisterous which can be stressful for a cat that is not as excitable, so keep a close eye and diffuse tension to avoid escalation of arousal when one displays signs of aggression. If you keep breaking them up, then they never settle their duel. Once separated, it’s best to leave cats alone in a quiet room until fully relaxed. A long list of factors contribute to aggressiveness, including stress, poor socialization, and territorial conflict. Cats execute ambush attacks, roll around, sometimes even test just how hard they can bite. Cats that have been living together for some time will be comfortable play fighting a little rough. Overt fighting can cause injury, incapacity of hunting, and even death. To determine if they are playing … Cats can make other-worldly noises when they’re in a real fight – in addition to other indicators like ears back, hissing and growling at each other – puffed up tails and arched backs. After all, cats don't use words, so all they have are sounds! There will be sense of balance in which both cats engage in chase and roughhousing. Y.-M. (2015). Neutering or spaying your cats will help address certain aggressive behaviours, particularly in intact males. Then, provide each cat with the towel that was rubbed on the other cat so that they can get used to the scent of the other one. Hand-raised kittens that have not been socialised with other cats during the critical period are anecdotally at risk of developing problem behaviours such as nervousness, aggression, and reduced coping mechanism during environmental changes. Such cats, therefore, form a more harmonious multi-feline household. Here, you will learn how to tell if your cat is merely playing with other cats or if he is getting hurt in a big fight. Each cat takes a turn at being on his back and pouncing on his feline friend. Tips To Tell if Your Cats are Playing or Fighting Watch their body language. If there is no blood then it's probably play fighting. The movements and motions look similar, making […] Play aggression or mock fighting is a normal part of cat behavior. Some cats turn to active aggression faster than others, dependent on individual genetics, sex, and early experiences. Rolling, tumbling, lightly biting each other and gripping are indicative of a fight or playful behaviors. I recently spotted my cats… The cats would more or less circle each other and keep their distance, showing off how threatening they can look, until one charges. But this could just make things worse, Sackman warns. 3 How to Know If Cats Are Fighting Or Playing.
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