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Updated on July 20, 2022
If you are feeling helpless and have no idea about ‘How to Stop a Cat fight?’ then you are at the right place. I believe that the biggest drawback of being a parent of multiple cats is to see them fighting. I know it’s painful and scary watching your babies fighting like crazy. And, it hurts, even more, when one of them is submissive and she/he even skips his/her meals or stops living his/ her life freely because of the fear of the dominant companion. Sad but true.
The reality is many cat parents find themselves completely helpless in dealing with the situation and managing the behaviour of their cats. As a matter of fact, being a responsible cat parent you really need to figure out a way to put a full stop to this. And, that’s why you are here to learn ‘How to Stop a Cat Fight?’.
So, I thought why not address this issue and give you guys my suggestions with the hope that by the end of this blog post you’ll have the actionable plan in your hand that you can implement to solve the issue from its roots.
How to Break Up a Cat Fight(Safely)
Before we look at how to prevent your cats from fighting to solve the issue from its roots let’s first look at the methods you can use to stop the cat fight right away (from a safe distance).
Step 1: Stay Calm Do Not Panic
Yelling at the aggressive cat can fill her with more anger. She may take it as a challenge and would get even more aggressive or violent. So, the first thing I want you to do is not to get afraid by their voices nor raise your voice instead stay calm and get ready for the next step.
Step 2: Divert the Aggressive Cat’s Attention
Now we want to divert the attention of the cat who is aggressive and bullying her housemate. Because we want to break the eye contact between the cats and let the aggressive release her energy.
You can do multiple things to get this by using the following tools:
I) A Laser Pointer
Point the laser pointer towards the aggressive cat and move it randomly. This possibly breaking her eye contact with the other cat motivated her to catch the beam.
Next, move the pointer away from the cat slowly to increase the distance between both cats.
Here’s the link to get the one if you don’t have one already.
II) Water Spray
Some behaviourists also advise using a water spray(the one that you see at a barber’s shop). They advise you to spray it on both cats so that they get separated from each other to save themselves from water.
I personally feel that it’s better to use the laser pointer instead of the water spray because I don’t like to scare the cats.
If you don’t have water, get it from here.
3) Separate Both Cats and Keep them in Different Rooms
Till now you have been successful in keeping yourself calm and you have broken their fight from a safe distance. Good.
Now the next step is to increase the distance between them even more. Yes, you have to do this if you want to bring them close again.
Keep both of them in separate rooms. Completely cut off from each other. And believe me, it’s important otherwise they may fight again and even more fiercely.
What to Do After the Cat Fight Gets Over?
Once the fight is over and you have separated the cats now you have to work on their reintroduction.
Obviously, since they already had a fight once. They have attached a negative association in their mind of the incident and looking at each other’s faces directly may excite them again. So, at this stage, we need to replace that negative association with the positive. We can do this in stages.
Stage 1: The Isolation Stage
The isolation stage starts from the moment you separated and kept them in different rooms. Keep them prepared for some days and place all their belongings: litter box, bed, and toys in the same room.
Stage 2: The Coming Closer Stage
In this stage, we will bring the cats closer but with a barrier so that they can’t see each other but can smell each other’s scent.
Then we give them food and then we put them back in their respective rooms.
In this way, they will gradually attach a positive association that whenever they smell each other’s smell they get food or treats. Bingo!
Stage 3: Removing the Barriers Stage
This is the last step of reintroduction. Here we gradually remove the physical barriers between them. But remember, don’t do it at once. Move the barrier a bit every day. Finally, we’ll remove that completely when you are certain that your cats have now started liking each other and there won’t be the Third World War.
What You Must Not Do When Cats Fight?
You only need to know what to do if your cats fight but you also be aware of what not to do during or after the cat fight.
i) Don’t Yell at the Cats
Yelling can make the cats even angrier and aggressive or scare the submissive cat even more therefore you must not yell at them when they are fighting instead try to divert their attention.
ii) Don’t Go Too Close to Cats
Listen don’t get too close to cats when they are fighting no matter how brave you are. Just make a safe distance and break the fight by using a laser pointer or water spray. If you go too close they could scratch or bite you either intentionally or unintentionally. You can break the fight by maintaining a safe distance so why take risks?
iii) Don’t Punish Your Cats
The most stupid thing is to punish your cat for fighting. How can someone punish his/her innocent pet?
Giving punishment is neither gonna solve the issue nor bring any change in her behaviour instead it will fill her with fear and anxiety. Always remember you have to manage their aggressive behaviour by staying calm and sane.
Punishment is the least desirable tool for changing behaviour.VCA Hospitals
Preventing Cat Fights in the Future
If your cats had fought once it doesn’t mean that they can’t be good buddies again. Fortunately, you can manage their behaviour and help them to take a fresh start and build a strong relationship. Here are some tips for you to prevent fighting between your babies in the future.
1. Consult a Veterianrian
If you have noticed that one of the cats has suddenly changed her behaviour and now she has become a lot more aggressive than before. Then I recommend you to take her to a vet first. As discussed above health reasons could also be the cause of violence and hatred for the other pet. Your vet will diagnose the issue and would give the best advice if it is a health issue.
If your vet says that there is no health issue with your cat and she’s absolutely fit and fine then you may have to ask yourself whether are they fighting right from the first day they were met?
If the answer is yes, then you might have to reintroduce them again by following the procedure I told you above or consult any cat behaviourist whom you can trust.
Reintroduction is critical in removing the aggression due to multiple causes such as fear, territorial aggression and even aggression because of an age difference.
3. Play with Your Cats Everday
PLAY. WITH. YOUR. CAT. I don’t know any other way to stress this point as much as I want. Memorise that. Note that. Put a reminder. Or make a board and hang it on a wall that you need to play with your cats.
They have to release their excess energy build-up. They have to satisfy their instincts. There’s no other way out. Also, make sure they have a variety of toys to play with. Not necessarily need to go bringing a very costly toys just keep it simple but focus on the variety.
Some must-have toys for cats that I recommend are:
i) A wand with a string and feather attached.
ii) A laser pointer
iii) A soft catnip toy
iv) a ball
4) Make Sure Your Cats Have Enough Cat Essentials
You also need to ensure that your cats have enough of the essentials so that they don’t have to snatch objects or kick the other one out of the furniture
You must have enough litter boxes for cats. Similarly, cats like vertical spaces. They love to perch at heights so it’s your duty to provide them with a cat tree with enough tiers to accommodate all cats. You need one additional litter box on the number of cats you have.
These are some must-have essentials for cats:
2. An adequate number of litter boxes. This article talks about how to choose a litter box.
3. A cat tree with enough perches. Here’s my article that talks about cat trees.
- A separate bed for each cat. Read this article to learn about how to choose a cat bed.
Why Do Cats Fight?
Okay, the former four sections were more about how to break a catfight and how to reintroduce the cats and prevent the cat fights in the future. This section will focus on what are the reasons or causes that ultimately give rise to cat fights. Because the road to maintaining a healthy relationship starts with understanding the causes or reasons behind the WWE match between your cats.
The first cause that intrigues a cat to attack her housemate could be a disease. Maybe your cat looks completely fine from the outside but is suffering from a medical condition. Let me give you an example, like hormonal disbalance such as hyperthyroidism. Similarly, there can be other medical conditions that your vet will tell you about if they exist in your cat’s case.
So if you have noticed that your cat has suddenly started behaving too violently then there could be medical reasons. Maybe she’s not feeling well. She may be finding it hard to mind her behaviour and therefore she’s getting aggressive too quickly.
#2. Wrong Introduction
The biggest mistake that cat parents make is they think introducing a new cat is not a big deal. Just leave the new and old cat together at the same place for some time and it’s done.
No, it’s not like that. Honestly, this is the most common cause of all the cat fights.
Remember cats are territorial animals. It’s in their genes to mark and protect their territory. They have been behaving like this for thousands of years and this is one of the behaviours of wild cats that are still preserved in their domestic cousins.
Therefore a cat will never ever accept the other cat in their territory if they see him/her as an intruder.
Know that there’s a proper way to introduce or reintroduce cats to each other(I’ll tell you about this in a while for now let’s look at the third cause).
The third reason is linked to the second. Sometimes cats get violent because of fear. Because they see the new cat as an intruder who can harm them rather than a friend.
Here, I want you to recall the cat and dog fights. Cats know that they can’t put a dog down in a one-to-one fight but when they find themselves in such a situation then quite often instead of showing their back to the enemy they fight back aggressively. And, many times they get success in shifting the fear from their head to the dogs.
The same thing may happen between cat-cat and because of that, they become aggressive to bring the bullet to their knees.
#4 Maternal Aggression
A mother is a mother no matter if he is a human or an animal. Sometimes mama cat gets extra protective for her litters’ protection which turns into aggression and violence. In such a situation she might attack her fellow cats or even humans if anyone tries to get too close to her babies. Generally, this aggression is temporary and goes away in about six to eight weeks as soon as the weaning period ends.
#5 Overstimulation and Energy Build-up
Look, eat-rest-sleep-repeat this isn’t the cat’s life is all about! Your cat is still a predator, she still has some instincts that his wild cousins have. What do cats do in the wild?
They follow a pattern. Firstly, they get up, then they hunt, they catch the prey, they kill that, they eat and then rest. Note that, hunt-catch-kill-eat-rest is the pattern that cats follow and it’s natural, it’s instinctual. Even domestic cats possess the instinct and need to satisfy them.
However, what happens when they don’t get the opportunities to satisfy their preying instinct? You guessed it right, all this energy starts building up inside the cat(like magma) and one day…BANGGG…the volcano erupts and cats get crash with each other. That’s called overstimulation which becomes the cause of cats fighting sometimes.
#6 Territorial Aggression
This is another reason that is linked to the instinctual behaviour of cats. You know, cats are very much concerned about their territories. They don’t let other cats who are outsiders in their territory. Even the cats that live in groups like lions don’t accept anyone who is not from their pride except when the male lions invade the pride and kick-off or kill the existing male members of the pride.
Now, look at your innocent kitty closely. What would you see is she still possesses the territorial instinct. That’s why she rubs her head and body against the walls, sofa and objects or sometimes she kneads to mark them and claim her right.
So, when you introduce a new cat right away without following the proper introduction procedure; chances are, the old cat would see the new cat as an intruder. As someone who has got into his territory and wants to snatch kingdom and wealth.
That’s not acceptable man, “I’ll knock this intruder out of my territory and pride” maybe your cat’s want to say this in ‘human language’. So, she does everything possible to get this stranger out of the house.
#7 Age Difference
Age differences can also be the cause of the fight between two cats. When there is a large gap in the ages of the cats they may find it difficult to adjust and accept each other. Maybe your old cat is an adult and she has a very calm personality and the new member is younger, quirky and zippy. And, she irritates the adult companion by chasing, jumping and doing stupid things to get her attention and finally it ends up in a real fight.
#8 Lack of Cat Essentials
The last possible reason is you do not have enough cat essentials to satisfy the number of cats you have. Maybe they have only one litter box, one bed or a tree that is just one tier. And, both cats use any of them at the same time and fight with each other. Cats’ parents often try to save their money by not providing enough essentials to their cats and this becomes the root cause of the fight between them.
Are My Cats Playing or Fighting?
Many cat parents find it difficult to differentiate between the fight and play. Most of the time when cats chase and wrestle with each other during play. However, there are times when they actually fight. And, you must know this when it’s a fight and when it’s a play to control the situation before it gets escalated.
To differentiate between the fight and play you need to observe carefully the body language of your cat. The following gestures show that your cats are actually fighting and not playing.
#1) Flattened Ear
Look at their ears are they normal or folded backwards? If the ears are folded it indicated that she is trying to save her ears from the claws and teeth of the other cats.
#2) Arched Back
The next sign of anger and aggressiveness is the arched back. Cats like many other animals and try to make themselves appear big in front of the opponent. So they raise their back from the middle to appear bigger and more difficult to bring down by the opponent.
#3) Vertical Puffy Tail Which Twitches or Folded Tail Between the Legs
Cats’ tails tell a lot about their mood. Different positions of the tail are the sign of different moods that cats have. But let’s look at just two tail-positions that are relevant to a catfight.
i) Vertical Puffy Tail Which Twitches
If the tail of the cat is held high and they are twitching or fluttering it. This is a sign of aggression. Now she has judged the enemy his strength and she has decided to face him/her rather than accept a defeat.
ii) Tucked Tail Between the Legs
This gesture is just the opposite of the former it indicates that the cat is sacred and now she is in a submissive position. Okay, I have accepted your dominance now let me go and don’t hurt me.
#4) Puffy Body and Sideways Posture
Like the tail, cats puff up their bodies too and due to the same reason. To look bigger and strong and to scare the rival.
On the other hand, a lot of cats stand sideways while fighting this to save their bodies from the direct attack of the sharp claws and pointed teeth of the other cat.
#5) Fully Opened Paws with Claws
Normally, cats tend to walk and play by folding their paws a bit. But when it’s a fight they open up their paw fully, claws come out of their paws and they quickly strike the rival with paws.
#6) Opened Mouth and Showing Canines
Cats try to do two things by opening their mouth and showing canines to the rival cats. Firstly, they want to scare the rival by showing their pointed weapons. Secondly, they get themselves ready to bite as soon as they get a chance during the fight.
#7) Broadened Pupils
Broadened pupils and constant staring is actually a message to the opponent cat that I’m not scared of you. I want to fight with you. Now, show me what you got.
#8) Catfight Sounds
Another indicator of the fight is the sound that cats make when they are not well. Different kinds of sounds indicate different things. If the cat is hissing or growling this indicates she is either annoyed or angry with the fellow cat or she’s of her. While by yowling they show that they are sad, anxious, or scared of the other cat.
What to Do If My Cat Are Still Fighting Even After Trying Everything Mentioned in the Article?
Well, this happens very very rarely. Most of the time if you take all the aforementioned steps (as said) that will solve your problem. However, let’s take a worst-cat scenario where you have tried everything but your cats are still fighting. It’s time to make a decision.
Here you need to understand that some cats are not made to live in each other’s company. They may not stop fighting no matter how well you try to manage their aggression. At this point, you have to decide which cat between the two will live you in your house and which will live in a new family.
Undoubtedly, it’s a hard decision but it is the best decision in the interest of both of them. So you have to find a new caring family for the other cat and shift her there with a heavy heart.
Will Cats Fight to the Death?
In a domestic cat’s fight, death is possible but very unlikely to happen. And if it does happen, it’ll only happen as a consequence of the fight. Maybe during the fight one of the cats got seriously injured and ultimately die out of pain. But that’s a hypothetical situation. Most of the time domestic cats’ fights don’t escalate to the level of death and they get separated before it gets too serious. Because the weaker cat between the two accepts the dominance of the stronger and backs off.
Here we are once again and I am hating it once again! Anyways, that was all about ‘How to Stop a Cat Fight’, ‘Why DO Cats FIght?’ and ‘How to Prevent a Cat Fight?’. I have tried my best to give answers to all the relevant questions that one can think of about cats fights. I hope that now you have a better understanding of the causes of cat fights and an actionable plan in your hand to teach your cat to live peacefully together. If you still have questions then don’t hesitate to make use of the comment section. I’ll try to respond to you ASAP. I also humbly request to help to transmit this information to all those caring cat parents like you who are possibly dealing with the issue so that they can also have a happy cat family. To do this kindly share this article in your social groups if you liked it.
“Say No to Cat Fight”