Cats are known to be formidable and independent animals. They are equipped with sharp claws and teeth for protection and hunting. However, on some occasions, they may turn on each other and start a fight. Fortunately, catfights rarely result in death. Most cats will employ intimidation tactics such as growling, tail wagging, and back arching to scare away their opponent. However, if the tactics fail, they may resort to scratches and biting.
There are several reasons why cats may engage in fights. One of the primary reasons is territorial disputes. Territorial protection is an evolutionary technique that allows cats to stake their claims over food resources and mating rights. They will patrol and protect their turf day and night. A fight will erupt if a neighbor’s cat strays into the protected territory. To avoid injuries, neighboring cats will not engage in territorial fights thanks to invisible markers left by a scent from glands around the cheeks, paws, and urine markings.
Mating rights fights are another common reason for catfights. During the mating period, male cats will try to take over the alpha position by force. If there is a female cat in the vicinity ready for mating, male cats will hang around. With each cat trying to fend off the other, fights will start. Mating rights fights are the most dangerous since cats are driven by instincts and will not stop until one cannot continue. Additionally, the involvement of many cats may result in extensive injuries.
Protecting offspring is another reason for catfights. A female cat will viciously attack any cat or human who strays too close to their litter. This behavior is natural, and by warding off potential danger, the kittens have better survival chances.
Play fights are a common occurrence among adolescent cats. It is important for social, physical, and cognitive development. However, small skirmishes will arise if the game becomes serious, and one cat refuses to back down. In this case, you may need to intervene and separate them.
Unneutered cats have a wide range of hormones affecting their behavior. Other causes of aggression are stress, the introduction of a new pet or person in the house, fear, and the owner’s absence.
As a cat owner, it is essential to know if your cat has engaged in a fight. Signs to look out for include a change in behavior, lethargy, loss of appetite, puncture marks, fever, and limping.
Naturally, cats will stop fighting when one of the opponents quits. They may take a few hours or even days. But if you see or hear them fighting, it’s best to intervene and separate them. You can interrupt fighting cats by clapping and making loud noises to scare them. If that doesn’t work, spray water on them. However, never hit a cat, as this may result in injury.
To prevent catfights, you can take several measures. Tomcats love escaping out of the house to patrol the neighborhood. If you suspect there is a fertile female around, it is time to keep your male indoors. Though the cat will not understand what you are doing, it is better to keep it indoors until the female cat has moved on or her heat is over to avoid your cat coming into contact with other males. If you are not planning to breed your cat, a neutering procedure will help prevent fights and undesired litters.
Increasing resources such as litter boxes, pet beds, and food can also help prevent fights. When resources do not satisfy all the cats, small squabbles are bound to happen.
Desexing is highly recommended by rescue groups. In some countries, desexing is performed on all rescued animals before adoption. The reproductive system releases hormones that play a crucial role in the behavior of animals. At the peak of the reproduction cycle, you may notice your cat becoming aggressive, unsettled, and stressed up. During neutering, a veterinarian will remove a large section of the reproductive system. In male cats, the process involves the removal of the testis. In female cats, it is known as spaying, which involves the removal of the ovaries and the uterus.
Lastly, cat calming pheromones reduce anxiety and make the animal feel more secure. A secure and relaxed cat will rarely engage in a fight.
In conclusion, catfights are rare occurrences, but they can happen. It is essential to know the causes of catfights to prevent them from happening. As a cat owner, you can take several measures to prevent catfights, such as interrupting fights, protecting your cat, increasing resources, desexing, and using cat-calming pheromones.