Are your cats playing or fighting? Watch very closely and you can tell
Cats fight for a lot of reasons, just as do dogs and other animals. They are seeking dominance or they are fearful or territorial. Sometimes the animal is acting out because it has misguided aggression. So are your felines playing or fighting?
Before actively engaging in a full out fight, the felines may test the waters and through their behavior try to settle the dispute without getting into a nasty ruckus.
Observe the animal. Is body posturing going on? Are they staring at each other? One or the other may display its claws. Hissing, yowling, spitting and growling is another indicator that they are testing the waters. If one of the cats backs down, a fight is avoided. These creatures use body language or posturing to express their motions.
When there are two felines together, one may appear to be anxious if the other is more domineering and blocks access to the litter box or to their favorite bowl of gourmet cat food. This is a conflict-related situation.
A FIGHT MAY BE IMMINENT
When one cat is going to pounce on another one, its body is held in a straight forward fashion. The tail may move hurriedly from side to side and its pupils are narrow. The whiskers are forward and the ears are back.
If the feline is defending itself from another feline it will arch its back and lean backward or even put its tail over its back or between its legs. The pupils are large and the ears are flat. The hair may be standing on end. This posture is done to make the animal look as imposing and large as possible.
If the threat appears to be unavoidable, the feline that is about to be attacked may crouch so that his legs and belly are touching the ground. The whiskers and ears are pressed flat against the head and its teeth are showing.
Cats only expose their underside to show submission to try and avert an attack when there is no way to escape the situation.
When felines are playing they do not move rapidly and each feline takes his turn pouncing on his buddy and lying on his back. This means that they are taking turns being in the defensive posture as well as the offensive posture.
If they were actually being aggressive they wouldn?t switch up postures. They would remain in one posture or the other. The animals will stop and start as if they need time to readjust and get into position. When felines are playing they aren?t going to meow or yowl. Felines that are friendly with each other engage in mock combat, quietly. There will not be any screaming or yowling when playing.
Another indicator that it is entertainment and not fighting is the absence of hissing. When the hissing starts the good time has turned into an altercation.
At the conclusion of play, the felines will behavior normally toward one another. At the conclusion of a physical disagreement, they stay way from each other.
BREAKING UP A FIGHT
What do you do if two cats are battling and it?s getting nasty? You can leave them to their own devices, but one or the other, or both, is going to get hurt. Squirt them with water or distract them by making a loud noise. Throw something soft at them, but don?t throw anything heavy because that will hurt them.
When felines are in an aggressive mood, don?t pick them up because you are likely to get scratched. Entice the animals into separate areas so they can calm down and get over the spat.
Most animals are territorial and if one is naturally dominant it may or may not allow other felines into its area. When introducing a new creature into the mix know that fights may break out because of the alpha animal’s instinctive attitude about its area.