Unfortunately, playing can sometimes escalate beyond simple ‘play’. Don’t expect your cats to wrestle and tackle each other with finesse and gentleness. The kitten initiates it. Please note that you do not have an appointment until you receive confirmation from us. After the “fight”, it’s fairly easy to tell - if your dog is bleeding, then they were fighting. Is my cat playing or fighting - pets.ca is Canada's source for info on pets including dogs cats birds and more. Friday: 8:00am - 6:00pm Play between cats can often look a bit more aggressive than we’d expect. If cats that normally play fight have a more ‘aggressive episode’, owners should never directly intervene – this may escalate the cat’s anxiety and lead to increased aggression between the two cats or even towards the owner. Are your cats fighting or playing? If there’s another cat in the home, it also gives them a chance to hone their social skills with members of their own species. of 3: Is Your Cat Playing or Fighting? Rough play: Sometimes cats can be playing and it can get rough. Play is fun, it is good exercise, it allows cats to be cats, and it should not be discouraged! If you’re new at living with cats and are unfamiliar with how they interact with each other, it can be easy to misinterpret playtime exuberance for aggression. Monday: 8:00am - 7:00pm You will see fur flying and tears in the animal's skin. She starred in the Animal Planet UK series Psycho Kitty, and is one of the most popular and sought-after cat behavior experts in the world. Each cat takes a turn at being on his back and pouncing on his feline friend. So we've got an 8 year old cat, Billie, and I recently got a ten week old kitten, Violet. The pair will stop and start a lot, much like wrestlers moving on a mat to get into position. It sounds like they are just playing. Even when it is not necessarily perceived as problematic, it is quite common to hear cat owners casually comment that ‘my cats fight all the time.’ But are they really ‘fighting’ or are they simply ‘just playing’? 14200 Clopper Road, Boyds, MD 20841, Phone: (301) 540-7770 With mom watching over kitten play, Diane explains, “They learn how to communicate with other cats and that claws and teeth can cause pain.” Examine their hair. How to Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting Method 1 Hi all, I posted about a week and a half ago about my adult cat (Leo, 5) and kitten Pepper (10 weeks). For severe, true fighting, clapping of the hands may be effective in breaking up the two cats but again, never should a human attempt to intervene as that can be very dangerous. Tuesday: 8:00am - 7:00pm Cats often target the backs of necks or fall on one side to bunny-kick the other pet. This is part of why cat playing often seems like fighting: the same skills and techniques are used for both. Cats who normally have a hostile relationship or cats who are unfamiliar with each other won’t typically engage in play together. Cats execute ambush attacks, roll around, sometimes even test just how hard they can bite. cat play or cat fight? Cats, particularly littermates, frequently indulge in specific behaviors that if one did not know otherwise might be inaccurately called a cat fight, when in reality it is not at all. If it’s two cats are playing, you want to pay attention to which one is doing most of the hissing. Please schedule an appointment today! Few people would confuse the middle-of-the-night growling and screaming of two cats outdoors as being involved in a major cat fight. In this video I talk about cats playing and how to tell the difference between a cat fight and two cats playing, which can look very similar! The energetic fighting typically consists of biting, scratching, grabbing, clutching, pouncing, ambushing and chasing -- the whole works. Kittens also use playtime to learn about their developing skills and practice stalking, chasing and pouncing. Male cats are especially aggressive and these cats keep fighting. How To Tell If Cats Are Playing Or Fighting Mock fighting and aggression is typical of cat behavior during play. The way a cat plays as she ages may change but the desire to play should hopefully remain throughout a cat’s life. Don’t expect your cats to wrestle and … As kittens, cats learn from interactions with their littermates. Sometimes, they also dominate female cats. Several feline behaviorists weigh in on the signals that can help you tell the difference and provide tips on when and how to break it up. Unfamiliar or hostile cats may develop a friendly relationship and start playing together but that’s something requiring behavior modification and a g. Create elevated locations for cats who want to engage and also for those who don't. If a kitten does get too rough with another -- which is indeed possible -- … We will do our best to accommodate your busy schedule. When cats play they can take turns being the aggressor. Also I think its normal for the adult cat to put the younger on in its place, basically like teaching them. I recently spotted my cats, Murphy and Zeki, playfully wrestling in a hallway, so I recorded them. An occasional hiss in the middle of a play session is not of concern as this may be indicative of a misread play cue. When cats play fight, there will be no injuries (unless accidental) and at they will get on with their business. Playing entails stalking and sneaking up, pouncing, swatting with claws retracted. As a cat ages, its mobility and energy may lessen but gentle games can still be enjoyed by both cat and owner. They have sniffed noses a few times, he has swiped her a few times, all during supervised visits as my older cat seems nervous about the new addition. When it comes to adult cats, many still enjoy engaging in playtime with their companions. 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 from happening. Another obvious way to tell if cats are fighting or playing is the result. There are a few general guidelines to help you when trying to evaluate whether your cats are playing or fighting: Play between cats can often look a bit more aggressive than we’d expect. Cats, particularly littermates, frequently indulge in specific behaviors that if one did not know otherwise might be inaccurately called a cat fight, when in reality it is not at all. Things have really improved but I was hoping t In most situations, both cats will be either playing or fighting. 0 0. Under socialization, dominance, and hormonal aggression play key roles in how feral cats within colonies interact with one another. As a general rule, play sessions occur between cats that belong to the same social group. 1 0. As well, most of us can appreciate the enjoyment of watching two tiny kittens stalking each other on either side of a curtain or darting out from under a bed just as though they were hunting prey in the wild. This goes for kicking as well- it should be playful and should not cause injury. Subscribing to my channel is greatly appreciated!! Examining the Nature of the Fight. Play is normal behavior that provides young animals with opportunities to develop their physical coordination and problem-solving skills. New kitten and older kitten playing or fighting? If your cat goes outdoors at all, keep these these safety factors in mind. But what about everything in between kitten play and a major cat fight? One of the kittens will pounce, and then the two of them become a rolling ball of fur. Thursday: 8:00am - 6:00pm I've been introducing them to each other - I didn't expect them to be great friends because Billie is really territorial with other cats on the street and she's been alone for so long, but I can't tell if they're playing or fighting! With play aggression, you typically won't hear any hissing or growling and although the bites or scratches hurt, the cat's face won't look as if he's fighting for his life. Observing Their Body Language. You'll see cats and dogs take turns chasing, wrestling, and pinning each other. Ears forward, claws may or may not be out. Pets aim open-mouth inhibited bites at the legs and paws of each other, and they paw and bat each other without force to hurt. Littermates tend to have the strongest bonds, often exhibiting all of these ‘same social group’ behaviors, and with very regular frequency. When cats play, rather, they do bite, and it may look aggressive, but those bites do not cause harm to the other cat in any way and do not lead to injury. Their ears are typically forward in play, their claws may be out but they dont cause damage, and their bodies lean forward not back. If they’re ‘just playing’, let them do their thing! These are actually play sessions. A Cat Clinic Your cat may need to act out their aggression by picking fights with their brothers and sisters or by causing a fight with a strange cat. Play for a kitten, like any other young animal, is essential for its development to maturity and for the majority of adult cats, it is a pleasurable part of domestic life. Cats that have lived together all their lives enjoy playing with each other a little roughly at times and will chase after one another making a lot of noise. Cats learned to scratch and chase each other around during playtime from the time when they were still kittens. Two cats are considered to be in the same social group if there is mutual grooming, touching of noses, rubbing against one another, cuddling close together, playing, or any combination of these behaviors. Cats will often have play sessions with another cat all of their lives, not just when they are kittens, as long they have another cat to play with. She offers an explanation on determining whether a cat fight is just play or the real deal. My four year old cat and eight week old kitten play fight like mad. Holiday gift ideas for the cat lovers on your list. Kittens learn a lot about proper social behavior by rough playing. Acknowledging these behaviors might help you prevent your own cat from encroaching on a feral cat's territory and to also recognize when a fight may occur when a stray cat comes into your own cat's territory. The following post was originally written by fellow cat veterinarian Dr. Colleen Currigan of Cat Hospital of Chicago. Saturday: 9:00am - 1:00pm Wednesday: 8:00am - 6:00pm It’s something that benefits cats, starting in kittenhood and extending all the way through the geriatric years. Maternal Aggression Its common for kittens and young cats to engage in rough, active play because all feline play consists of mock aggression. Few people would confuse the middle-of-the-night growling and screaming of two cats outdoors as being involved in a major cat fight. Play Fights are Part of Healthy Cat Interaction. Cats who are fighting may bite so hard that they draw blood. 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. The kitten jumps on the cat and then bites its ear and other body parts and the cat dont actully bites that much she kinda like cuddles and tries to get rid of her,then the kitten again jumps on her and bites her,the cat kinda like punches the kitten with her paw,is it play fighting or fighting? Method 2 In these situations, cat owners, if observant, may notice other body language clues as well, such as flattened ears, claws extended, piloerection (back of the spine elevated with fur ‘fluffed up’), firm, swift tail swatting (‘mad cat tail’), or confrontational stares (as if the cats are having a ‘stare off’). Will they ever be friends. Playing or Fighting? 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. Even between kittens, playtime can look a bit rough. 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. Aug 8, 2013 by Dr Colleen Currigan, Cat Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL. For some cat parents though, their cats’ playtime may look as if it’s crossed over into aggression. How about in your household? Play is practice for fighting, like a self-defense class for cats. But if you start to notice that one is doing more the hissing than the other they could be the fact that he it’s getting bullied by the other one. While they may want to fight, don't allow your cat to do anything more than hiss and swat at the kitten. If you notice two cats who view each other as opponents, are now wrestling, it probably isn’t a friendly encounter. Listen for growling or hissing. When this happens, hissing may be heard. Because of this, play fighting is a crutial part of kitten development. Kittens and cats need to play. Although more detailed information about integrating cats into a household is beyond the scope of this blog article, it is worth mentioning the importance of slow integration of new cats into a home where another cat or cats resides. If you live with more than one cat, hopefully, they have a good relationship and spend time playing together. If you're concerned that a fight is about to happen, distract the cats with a loud clap of your hands or a quick squirt of water. Cats stalk, chase, sneak, pounce, swat, kick, scratch, ambush, attack and bite each otherall in good fun. In general, some sort of ‘cat hierarchy’ needs to be established between the cats, and when introductions are done slowly (to prevent true fights), in general the parties are able to work out their differences on their own without human intervention. These signs are consistent with fight aggression in cats, not play aggression. Rolling, tumbling, lightly biting each other and gripping are indicative of a fight or playful behaviors. email@example.com Clopper Road, Boyds, MD 20841Phone: (301) 540-7770, New clients onlyNot valid on behavioral consultLimit one per customer (cannot be combined with other offers), Posted on: August 12th, 2013 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein. 1 decade ago. If your cats are kittens, that playtime is also used as a tool for them to learn how gently to bite in order to keep in playtime mode. It allows them to engage in species specific behaviors like hunting and stalking. There are a few things you can do if you find yourself in this situation. Three days ago I got a new kitten. Cats are animals with complex brains which give cats the ability to think, feel, learn, and enjoy various behaviors. However, if the hissing is more than just occasional, if the playtime repeatedly turns into aggression, if there is growling, if it’s the same cat doing the hissing all the time, or the same cat being the ‘aggressor’ instigating play that consistently escalates beyond play each time, then this may be a sign that the ‘play’ has escalated beyond ‘play’ and entered into the realm of aggression. They change roles frequently. Once the claws come out, then it’s business time, and somebody’s going to come out bleeding. How slow is ‘slow’ depends on the chemistry between the cats involved, and may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks or more. Cats that are engaged in a real fight will have their hair standing on end. Cats will happily play-fight with both big and small dogs and each other, but they only use teeth, and rarely bite hard enough to draw blood. If theyre playing, its reciprocal. However, sometimes you may run into situations where one cat is thoroughly enjoying himself and the other cat is ready to battle for real. These behaviors are considered positive by animal behaviorists because it indicates that they are eager to socialize with others. However, sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether cats are playing or fighting. Or they may rush toward one another in ‘attack-like mode’. The posture of a cat amenable to play is body leaning toward the “opponent”, not away. Cats that are more slowly integrated with one another may have a better chance of being in the same social group and enjoying the company of the others in the group, including ‘play sessions’ with them. Play fighting is therefore considered to be a way of relieving boredom and letting out excess energy. My cats have started to ‘play’, but I’m not if it’s playing or not, or my older cat is being a bit rough to show dominance? An adult cat may act out in this way to put her fellow feline housemate in his place, … of 3: Villes. Sunday: Closed, Sitemap | AccessibilityWebsite by DOCTOR Multimedia. In some cats, two cats may be in the same social group, but not all of these behaviors are seen, and those are seen may occur less frequently. |, Tips for Preventing Cat Behavior Problems during COVID-19 Isolation, Some Common Reasons Why Cats Stop Using the Litter Box, The “Must-Have” Checklist for Solving Your Cat’s Behavior Problem, Seven Things That Make Sense to Your Cat… But Not to You. As mentioned before, play aggression tends to occur more often with singleton kittens, young cats or ones played with too roughly by humans. During playtime with their littermates, they also learn important body language and communication skills. Bonded cats will often swipe at each other and have a bit of a hissy fit, but these bouts are never really anything to … She’s 8 weeks old and was born a barn kitten but was socialized and kept in and out of the house before I got her. Look for reciprocity. These are actually play sessions. Recognising When Your Cats are Play Fighting. In a nutshell, if these cues are not observed, if the interaction is relatively quiet (little to no growling or hissing), and if the cats seem to take turns as to who is the aggressor, then it is likely ‘play’. Fax: (301) 540-2041. Playtime is an important part of cat life. There are a few general guidelines to help you when trying to evaluate whether your cats are playing or fighting: Pam Johnson-Bennett is the best-selling author of 8 books on cat behavior. Try instead to redirect the negative behavior by distracting the cats (food, treats, favorite toys, even ‘baby talking’ does the trick with my own cats for mild ‘getting a bit beyond playing’ episodes). During a mock fight, cats … Thank you! We have articles and information, pet store, free petsites, ask the vet, contests, breeds and breeders, bulletin board, dog parks, lost and found, pet cemetery and more. It also teaches them how to communicate with other cats and, when their mother intervenes, how to … Even between kittens, playtime can look a bit rough. Cats who play fight do not move at a fast pace. In this case, the bond, even in the eyes of the owner, is less intense, but the cats are still considered by their owners to be ‘friends’ or ‘close’ and will still play.