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Why Do Cats Fight?

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If you’ve ever seen two cats get into a fight, you know how upsetting it can be. Cat fights can occur between two pets within a home or between random strangers outside. Either way, the noises made by two cats engaged in a battle are unmistakable for anything else, and the war wounds can lead to costly veterinary bills for the cats’ owners. Whether the fights are occurring between beloved feline pets or strays outside a home, most people are anxious to understand what causes cat fights and what they can do to stop the behavior from occurring.

Common Reasons Cats Fight

There are several reasons why two cats may decide to engage in a fight. Here is a list of the most commonly seen motivations behind this type of behavior.

1. Territory

Much like some breeds of dogs, cats can be extremely protective of their property so much so that they are willing to fight anyone who appears to be taking a liking to it. When a cat fight is motivated by the guarding of one cat’s territory, the fight most typically occurs just outside the home. On occasion, a feral cat will challenge the authority of a resident cat, causing a fight to break out.

However, territorial fighting can occur between household pets as well. Cats will often roam throughout their homes and yards, marking the area with their own unique scent. If the cat shares a home with another cat, this scent marking can also lead to fighting.

2. Natural Aggression

Some cats simply like to fight. Of the two genders, male cats are far more often predisposed to aggression than females. Cats with aggressive tendencies will often pick on the felines they perceive to be weaker within the home or among strangers found outdoors. This is sometimes seen by a male exerting his authority over a female, between siblings, or a random attack on a stray or feral cat outside.

3. Play that Goes too Far

Cats do enjoy playing with one another, and when they play, they can get too rough, causing the play session to escalate from fun to fights.

Though cats will learn to cohabitate with other pets if necessary; by nature, they are not animals that were designed for pack living. To set a multi-cat household up for success, it is necessary to implement a few simple strategies, such as separate feeding areas, multiple water dishes throughout the house, and several beds in secluded areas to promote alone time for each cat.

Help! My Cats are Fighting. What Do I Do?

It is very hard on the heart to witness two cats that you love dearly embroiled in a fight. If your household pets are no longer getting along as well as they once did, there are several things that you can do to help prevent fights from breaking out in your home.

Though your natural instinct may tell you to attempt to intervene, this is the worst thing that you can do as you are likely get hurt. Distraction is a far better technique. You can do this through any number of means including a beloved toy, some tasty treats, or even just a noise to startle the two cats apart.

Since cats hate being wet, keeping a spray bottle filled with water on hand is another effective tool you can make use of if your cats get into a fight. Spraying a small amount of water on the two fighting felines is often enough to grab their attention enough to pause the battle going on between them.

If these gentler approaches are not having the desired effect, it is then time to consider different solutions. Sometimes cats will exhibit aggression as a result of an undiagnosed health condition. A visit to your veterinarian for a wellness examination and routine bloodwork may help to detect a health problem your cat can be treated for to reduce the aggression.

As a last resort, an animal behaviorist can help. Animal behaviorists are trained in the thorough understanding of feline behavior patterns and can help identify the problem then design an action plan to eliminate the fighting and promote a happier home for both cats involved.

Why do cats fight? Without the ability to ask them ourselves, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason why, but we do know that some of the causes can include aggression, undiagnosed health issues, and territorialism. If your cat likes to cause a ruckus with his sibling in your house from time to time, you can find relief for the problem by following one of our top tips to restore the peace in your home.  

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