Aggression Between Housemate Cats

Aggression between housemate cats comes in several forms, with associated causes. As cat owners, it behooves us when our cat pounces on his feline housemate or sibling, who counters with a paw in the face. Stalking, chasing, and sometimes roughhousing are common in multi-cat household. We need to fully understand these kinds of aggressive behavior so that we can take appropriate steps when needed.

Knowing the forms of aggression between cats, whether your cats are on guard or only playing by tuning into these behavioral clues.

Healthy play: Stalking, chasing, and pouncing are normal play. Such play-fighting usually starts at an early age with siblings. This starts with one kitten stalking the other, then pounce his unsuspecting prey. This turns around with trade off roles, with the victim chasing his former predator. The chase game is often a favorite in multi cat homes, including cats of all ages.  Play is generally quiet, though cats may hiss or make meowing sounds. Play-fighting is usually harmless fun, and intervention is only necessary when one cat is injure by accidental scratches or nips.

Foul play: Identifying by the sound and look of their interaction. You’ll hear wailing and howling, and one cat will act as a dominant force, intimidating the other. Each cat preface his attack with much posturing: back raised, ears laid back. They will not trade pounces or take turns chasing one another. Unlike healthy play-fighting is characterized by each cat’s offensive or defensive roles. After play, cats will act as friends, even curling up together for a nap. Fighting cats walk separate ways, one scared of the other.

If you must break up a cat fight, keep your hands away from the action. Never try to pick up a cat who is still in attack mode. Splash a glass of water directly on the aggressor’s face. Push a broom between the two cats to separate them. If cats are not yet making contact and are in the frozen position, hold a newspaper in front of them to block their view of each other. Ideally, the frightened cat will slink away and the aggressor will become calm enough for you to pick up and secure.


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