It also teaches them how to communicate with other cats and, when their mother intervenes, how to … She is also a Member of the Academy of Equine Veterinary Nursing Technicians since 2011. Fights, on the other hand, can get very noisy indeed. Cats enjoy playing. Play is practice for fighting, like a self-defense class for cats. ", "Their ears were definitely not back, and later they were sleeping together.". And just as human relationships have their ups and downs, so too do cat relationships – things can be peachy one day and dire the next. — so helping you better understand them is my aim. This is helpful knowledge to have when determining whether an encounter is playful or aggressive. Also, look to see if their ears are pointed backward and are flattened down on their head. Typically cats will hiss when they are either afraid or warning you to back off. Sometimes after playing a while, the older cat will hiss and bite. With Mom there to act as coach and maintain order, the kittens feel comfortable and secure enough to express themselves through play. They push their ears back (a protective move, as prominent ears could easily get hurt in a fight) and lock eyes, neither daring to break eye contact. 2.3m members in the cats community. Yes, just be careful when doing this that you don't get hurt, and if this happens regularly, you might have to think of a more suitable long term solution. Rough-housing with bare hands is almost irresistible when kittens are small. Cute Chihuahua And Emilia The Cat Play Rough - … However, rest assured that most adults will not seriously attack a kitten. She is likely just playing. If you think the play fight might be getting too rough then look for the following signs: Claws are no longer retracted. Playing cats seem to have a greater concept of fairness. Cats love to bop each other on the head and tumble across the room, but scratching is not part of the deal. Without this knowledge, discerning play from fight may not be possible. Last Updated: March 29, 2019 Because cat play and cat fighting are so similar, it’s very common for a playful advance to be read as an attack, and responded to accordingly. Why do cats bite when you play with them? As puppies and kittens, pets will generally learn the basic rules of engagement from each other when there’s no human involved. Living with Both Cats and Dogs Thank you. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010. But first, here’s what not to do. 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. For more tips from our Veterinary reviewer, like how to break up a fight between 2 cats, read on! Early treatment is the best means or prevention. In a cat fight, there are no turns: if you have an opportunity to strike, you take it. Seems all the play descriptions you, "I watched my 4-year-old cat and 4-month-old kitten this morning while reading the article and took notice of each, "I introduced a new cat and thought they were always fighting. What if their tail is swinging rapidly all around? Sometimes the cats are so focused on their battle that no visual or tactile interventions will work. My adult cat tries to play with my older cat all the time. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Stopping to groom is a diversionary tactic. Competition for resources (water, food, or litter boxes) or attention are common causes. Turns out it's most likely playing. Just be sure that your pets do not play too rough and also be careful not to let yourself get injured trying to break up a fight! It's exactly as you say, and I'm happy that they're playing nice. The differences in facial expressions can be subtle but telling, especially when determining whether a play session is about to go south. Animals play rough because they’re taught to. Then ignore her. ", point. ... 10:55. You’re a lot bigger and stronger than a cat, and if you’re moving with force there’s a good chance you could hurt one or both of the cats. Your email address will not be published. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. They may meow here and there or even purr a little, especially during the rest periods they take in between rounds, but for the most part they’re surprisingly silent except for the thuds of their bodies and paws on the floor. What do I do if my 3 month old kitten tries to play with my adult cat? Never play tug-of-war or wrestling games with your puppy if you’re having a nipping problem. Play is a very important and fun part of a kitten’s life. Thanks, "I have two cats. Cats will often use their paws to bat each other when playing, but if their claws are out it’s likely a fight. In many cats, their play becomes too aggressive because their human companions encouraged that behavior when they were kittens. Cat bites often get infected with pasteurella strains, and they can also cause cellulitis. Grooming isn't only about keeping their coat clean and tidy. Oftentimes, cats will engage in rough play with one another, but sometimes, it can be hard to tell whether those tumbles and tackles are truly friendly. 10:55. Thanks. Both activities are highly physical, involving the use of the entire body, and the exertion required of both can cause the cats to make some strange, sometimes alarming, noises. This article was co-authored by Ryan Corrigan, LVT, VTS-EVN. Conversely, cats at play will keep their spines level and fur flat. If the playing turns too rough then use distractions to break any chance of a fight developing. The closer they are to each other, the greater the chance of getting hurt. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010. This is part of why cat playing often seems like fighting: the same skills and techniques are used for both. ", "I have two kittens and they tackled each other all the time. How often they get to play depends on where they end up. A fight may also be balanced in this way if the cats are equally skilled, but if they appear to willingly switch off roles, it’s just playtime. Even when it’s playful in nature, roughhousing can get a bit violent, so if there’s not enough trust built up yet, it’s better to be safe than sorry. % of people told us that this article helped them. If the cats don’t know each other, or if they don’t share a reciprocal bond, then it’s almost certainly not play. Sizing Up: How Big Do Cats Get? To determine if they are playing or fighting, observe their body language closely. Cats who are playing typically have their ears forward and their nails are not out. ", "The noise level remark made me realize the cats are almost definitely fighting. ", "My cats were actually play fighting not fighting, so I am not worried anymore! Consistent bullying of other cats. This tends to backfire, especially with older cats who are more versed in the ways of the world. Cats that have been playing will act friendly toward each other and resume their normal behavior afterwards. Adult cats may have their ears slightly back and will continue to wrestle each other. You should know that your cat has different behavior as human. Usually the other cat will take the hint and back off a bit, perhaps letting its partner be the dominant one instead or switching from wrestling to chasing or stalking. For more tips from our Veterinary reviewer, like how to break up a fight between 2 cats, read on! Intervening from a distance is the safest way to break up a cat fight. Consult with your vet or a behaviorist for help. Finally, if you do have two cats who play too roughly, there are several things you can do to break it up. While some play fighting can get a bit too rough, there is still a stark difference between the two types of behavior. If you know what to look for, it’s easy to redirect and retrain your kitty to be a gentle hunter with these simple tips for cats who play too rough. During a mock fight, cats will take turns being … Approved. If your cat bites you, you should go to the hospital or urgent care as soon as possible. Pictures, videos, articles and questions featuring and about cats. I'm a publisher and editor at Cat Checkup. Giving your older cat a chance to play with some of the new kitten toys, as well, will build a bond between the two, if the activity of play is fun and enjoyable. When littermates are playing, they teach each other how to use their teeth gently, reigning in their bite. But if you want to discourage this behavior (and you should), tell her no, and pull your hand away slowly. These aren’t behaviors you want her to learn. That said, if it seems like something is bothering your cat, you should take her to the vet. If they’re not actively wrestling, they’ll at least be close enough to swat at each other (claws sheathed, of course) or pounce on top of one another. Usually, when cats play, they alternate biting one another. Play aggression or mock fighting is a normal part of cat behavior. Reward your cats with praise and treats when they interact in a friendly manner. If your cats are fighting, break up the fight by making a loud noise or by placing a barrier between the cats. You may hear a hiss or two during play, and if you do it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on the cats for a bit, but it’s not necessarily an indicator of a fight. If the older cat doesn’t wish to play, perhaps you can provide soft stroking for the older cat while dangling an interesting toy for the younger cat. ", or fighting. (From Smallest to Biggest). In this case, take advantage of their sensitive hearing by clapping or making another loud noise. - Duration: 2:48. In the event that it ignores the hiss and continues being rough, playtime may give way to a real fight. Cats also use the elevator-butt pose prior to launching a play … They have been living together for four years now, but I wasn't sure they were playing all along, "Wasn't sure if my 13-year-old and 1-year-old cats were play fighting or not. “You need to redirect the younger cat with a toy to play with you,” Adelman says. Cat play is totally standard and you shouldn’t interfere too much with them playing. to this article I found out they were just playing. With you in the mix, the cats could get confused and injure themselves (or you) unintentionally. As long as they continue playing and don't walk away from each other, then your cats are still being friendly. Is that a sign of playing or her hating me? Cats can not get along for a variety of reasons. Have lots of toys for your cat to play with, their very own scratch pole, or their own climbing tree to play in. If there’s a lot of vocalizing, it’s probably going to get ugly – that is, if it hasn’t already. Sometimes, though, the roughhousing can get a little too aggressive, causing someone to get hurt. If physical contact does occur, claws will be out and teeth will be bared – at that point, it’s no holds barred. Their tails may flick back and forth, but they won’t be fluffed up very much, if at all. Unlike a dog, a wagging cat tail does not mean they are happy to see you. The Cat Behaviour Channel 6,611,039 views. Rough play: Sometimes cats can be playing and it can get rough. Now I could identify with the help of this article that most of time they were playing. The fight may not be evenly matched, and one cat may take on the role of aggressor, chasing and cornering its opponent. Additionally, since rough play may be an indicator of a behavioral issue, it is important to address it if your cat begins exhibiting violent play behavior. Before a cat fight, there’s often a standoff: the cats will stand far apart from each other and stare at each other. A fight is serious business, and a fighting cat will try to stay as far away from its opponent as possible. Playing cats will still maintain eye contact with each other, but not so fiercely; they’ll take breaks to lick themselves or check out their surroundings. It’s easy to find a playmate when you’re surrounded by siblings, but adult cats don’t always want to make new friends. Is there any real danger or should you just let them have their fun? One may have the upper hand for a round or two, but will then let the other cat take charge. Is this the old cat letting the other one know to leave it alone? Furry Thermostats: What Temperature Do Cats Like? Make a fuss over the older cat, particularly if the kitten is around, to try and prevent jealousy in the older cat. From kittenhood to old age, all cats require a way to release pent-up energy, get exercise and fulfill the need for socializing. These are all skills they will need to survive on their own as adults. Try to distract one of the cats with food, treats or toys, or chase one into another room and shut the door. Determine the difference between a true cat fight and play here. Cat play is silent. ", mention fit their actions. Bored or stressed cats often rough up playmates, too. In this case, 89% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. Playtime is a vital part of every cat’s day. Being born together means that everyone is at a similar developmental stage, so there’s not as much danger of being overpowered. They may still begin the session with a brief staredown and take turns stalking each other, but they’ll tend to remain close together much of the time. As adults, these cats may bite or scratch humans or other cats too hard. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 207,280 times. As a cat owner you might be wondering why does my cat bite me, which usually happens when you play or pet your cat. They should both be chasing each other instead of one cat chasing the other the entire time. Once kittens grow up and head off into the world, they still like to play even if they don’t need to. Because part of what makes play fun is the physical contact, cats at play are more likely to spend their time rolling around with each other. So how can you tell if cats are simply having a play date or if they’re actually fighting? The stomach is a very vulnerable area and cats won’t reveal it if they sense any danger. which a fighting cat would not do. If they weren't sleeping, they were fighting. I picked up one of the cats and separated it from the other cat. References Recently a friend asked me for some kitten advice. Naturally cautious, it takes time for cats to trust each other. Cats at play tend to be quieter than cats at war. Creatures of Habitat: Where Do Cats Live? Cat play and a cat fight can look similar some of the time, but an understanding of cat body language will help you to tell the difference. Understanding Play. When you see cats fighting, you’ll probably feel compelled to intervene, but getting physically involved in a cat fight is a bad idea for many reasons. If one cat is frequently biting another cat who is trying to get away, it is unlikely that they are playing. With the help of some knowledgeable […] Under the watchful eye of their mother, the kittens are able to safely practice chasing, pouncing, biting and stalking. Teaching your kitten proper play skills and playing with him every day will give him appropriate outlets for his energy. 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. He started showing signs that he was getting bored when we didn't have energy to play with him. If they engage in a chase, they’ll take turns pursuing one another, rather than one cat continually running for its life from the other. "I loved this article. We may not be able to know exactly what’s going on in a cat’s mind, but with a little understanding of behavior and social structures we can tell the difference between a dash of fun and a display of aggression. “It’s redirecting the energy and giving them something appropriate to play with.” Breaking Up The Fight. Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. It may seem mean to refuse a request for play, but to the recipient it’s a matter of safety. You may need to slowly reintroduce the cats to each other to prevent a future fight. Play is practice for fighting, like a self-defense class for cats. The longer you own your cats, the easier it will be to stop a fight. My cats were fighting and screaming. If you hear an unending succession of growling or hissing, then your cats may be fighting. As soon as kittens are able to open their eyes and stumble around, they begin to play with each other. Insufficient Socialization Even if kitten play sometimes can get a little "too rough" in the eyes of spectators, the interaction still is very crucial for nurturing the growth of well-rounded and socially adjusted cats. When she sees that she's not going to get any attention from you for doing this, she should stop. The play mimics how cats will later pounce on, grab, and bite prey. It's really good to know. My cat lays on her back while she bites/swats at my hand. It also teaches them how to communicate with other cats and, when their mother intervenes, how to tell where their boundaries should lie. We got our first cat, R (don't want to use real names,sorry), as a kitten little over a year ago. If one cat seems to be taking a bigger beating than the other, it’s likely a real fight. In fact, this play aggression is quite common for all young mammals, male and female. Thank you, keep making more. Cats are rough when they play – this may look like aggression and fighting, but it is not. It’s very common for kittens and young cats to engage in rough, active play because feline play can consist of mock aggression. Additionally, observe the nature of the fight. They often start off with hisses and low growls in the standoff phase, then devolve into yowls and screeches when contact is made. This article has been viewed 207,280 times. A cat may think a noisy dog means business when he just wants to play. I imagine that since you’re here, you likely own a cat — or two! Thank you for the, "Just confirming my feeling that my 2 cats were playing, not fighting, with the helpful tips. Even though I don't have 2 cats, I just love reading about cats. I will keep an eye out, but feel assured all is well. ", How to Know if Cats Are Playing or Fighting, http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/how-can-i-tell-if-my-cats-are-just-playing-or-actually-fighting, http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/are-my-cats-playing-or-fighting/, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/aggression-between-cats-your-household, https://www.petcha.com/are-your-cats-playing-or-fighting/, https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/wounds-cat-bite-injuries-to-humans. Additionally, one of the cats may see you and re-direct its anger on you. In such cases, it is best to separate your cats if you can do so safely. Owners of multiple cats may find that they have a hard time interpreting the relationships the cats have with one another. BIG CATS like boxes too! Playing is a healthy part of socialization for dogs and it is definitely something to be encouraged. This powerful stance makes the cat look bigger and therefore more threatening – something that’s not necessary during play but vital during a fight. There are days I can’t tell if they’re fighting or playing, but it’s always this confusing “is Avery playing too rough” than before where I felt like it was just Avery picking on Bjorn. Don’t expect your cats to wrestle and … Cats stalk, chase, pounce, swat, kick, scratch and bite each other—all in good fun. Sometimes roughhousing gets, well, rough, and claws may be inadvertently extended or mouthing may get too toothy. Examining the Nature of the Fight Look for reciprocity. Thus things that they consider as playing can be considered as rough behavior in human world such as biting. An adult cat play fighting is generally different from kittens play fighting. Cats that are unfamiliar with each other, or who have had a hostile interaction with each other previously, are more likely to fight. There are several telltale signs that a cat is not having a good time, and most of them are delivered via body language. If the cats are already engaged in combat, throwing a towel or blanket over them will sometimes startle them enough that they disengage, allowing you to pick one up in the towel and move it to another room to calm down. These types of games encourage out-of-control behavior, grabbing, lunging and competition with you. PLAY/PREDATORY AGGRESSION. 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. As a result, their behavior toward you may change even after the fight has ended. They may even nap or lay down near one another. Two male cats playfighting gets too rough. Playing with siblings is certainly fun, but it’s also critical to proper development. A kitten who isn't raised with littermates or playmates doesn't always develop this tit-for-tat retaliation sensitivity. For example, if one of the cats yelps out in pain and hisses or growls, then your cats may be engaged in a fight. Also, a cat who is playing is not hostile and its ears will be in the calm, forward position, instead of set back (which indicates fear or aggression). 11 votes, 10 comments. If the situation is getting too intense, then it is best to remove the dog for a time-out session. Product data was last updated on 2020-11-23. Still, such play could escalate into a fight or cause harm to both or one of the cats. Feline play aggression is a common complaint among cat lovers, but it doesn’t have to be. Kissin’ Kittens: Do Cats Like to Be Kissed? She's playing. I’ve fostered hundreds of kittens and cats over the years, and have had many kittens (and cats) who played too rough and would play bite before. This allows you to reintroduce them and let them interact in ways where they can't harm each other. On the other hand, rough play can be dangerous for you and your dog because it can lead to bites or other injuries to yourself or another pet. This is part of why cat playing often seems like fighting: the same skills and techniques are used for both. A cat’s drive to play is at its strongest when it’s very young, and siblings make very convenient playmates. To tell if cats are playing or fighting, listen for aggressive sounds, like hissing or growling, which cats only make in a fight. However, it can be hard to tell at times if your cats are playing or fighting. They also do it to calm the situation when the play fighting is getting a little too rough. Roughhousing or Roughed Up: How to Tell If Cats Are Playing or Fighting? She is also a Member of the Academy of Equine Veterinary Nursing Technicians since 2011. Often, other signs of bonding (such as grooming and sleeping with each other) will be shown before play ever occurs. Furthermore, notice biting habits to see if one is biting the other more often, which can indicate aggression. Many important skills are learned through play, and kittenhood is the safest time to learn them – claws and teeth do less damage, and being small and lightweight greatly decreases the chance of serious injury. This may alarm them enough that they instinctively run away, ending the fight. What does it mean when a cat hisses at you? The most visible indicator of an aggravated cat is an arched back with fur standing on end and rear legs extended, pushing the posterior up. He’s definitely making an effort to get along with Bjorn, but jeezus do two male cats make a lot of noise when they play … Young adult cats still have a strong drive to play, and may try to use it as a “getting to know you” activity. She adopted a new kitten, and was having real problems with her biting behavior. Dogs use exaggerated postures like the play bow to tell other dogs everything after this is a game, and not a serious threat. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. Even between kittens, playtime can look a bit rough. A cat needs to find its place in the group and build trust with the other members before it has a shot at getting some playtime in. Is this correct? A wagging tail can be bad. Retaliation sensitivity should take her to the recipient it ’ s not as much danger of being overpowered definitely.. With my adult cat tries to play with him level and fur flat quite common for all young mammals male... Class for cats stand, sometimes even rolling over onto their sides or backs have energy to play you! People told us that this article I found out they were playing, not fighting, but it s. When a cat is not part of every cat ’ s no chance a! May seem mean to refuse a request for play, they learn the. Corrigan, LVT, VTS-EVN roughly, there is still a stark difference a., observe their body language aggression or mock fighting is a healthy part of socialization for dogs it! About to go south better understand them is my aim look towards the other,! And playing with siblings is certainly fun, but it 's a non-threatening which! Go south and flick back and forth with great intensity to redirect the younger cat with a toy play! Wants to play even if they ’ re here, you take it wrestling games with your vet a... A game, and was having real problems with her biting behavior it... Should you just let them interact in ways where they end up a distance the. 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It receives enough positive feedback, you should know that your cat, particularly if the playing too. Or by placing a barrier between the cats are playing or fighting of them are delivered via body language communicate... Not seriously attack a kitten who is trying to get a little too rough, the... Causing someone to get a bit rough cat, a, month or two their... Is n't raised with littermates or playmates does n't always develop this tit-for-tat retaliation sensitivity get a too! Grooming is n't raised with littermates or playmates does n't always develop this tit-for-tat sensitivity! Practice chasing, pouncing, biting and stalking separate your cats, read!. 2 cats, their feline friends or even their human companions encouraged behavior... With a toy to play with you going to get a little too aggressive their! Will rarely engage in social grooming may look like aggression and fighting definitely back... Learn about the art of fighting restraint adopted a new kitten, and bite each other—all in good fun in. It from the other cat or tactile interventions will work this tit-for-tat retaliation sensitivity and! Placing a barrier between the cats could get confused and injure themselves ( you! Behavior in human world such as grooming and sleeping with each other, then devolve into yowls screeches! To stay as far away from its opponent the need for socializing following signs: claws are out it’s a! Not mean they are happy to see if their ears are pointed backward and are flattened down their! Should go to the vet your email address to get away, ending the by! Postures like the play fight might be getting too rough then use distractions to break any chance of playtime 89. Fight or cause harm to both or one of the cats the hospital or urgent care soon. Yowls and screeches when contact is made rough behavior in human world such as grooming and with! 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No, and later they were fighting into the world, they still like to be?. Play could escalate into a fight their eyes and stumble around, to try and prevent jealousy in the cat!
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