Reward your cats with praise and treats when they interact in a friendly manner. Approved. As a cat owner you might be wondering why does my cat bite me, which usually happens when you play or pet your cat. You can tell a lot by a cat's tail, and when it's moving in a wag, that generally means something or someone is being annoying. This tends to backfire, especially with older cats who are more versed in the ways of the world. Also, look to see if their ears are pointed backward and are flattened down on their head. 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. It’s easy to find a playmate when you’re surrounded by siblings, but adult cats don’t always want to make new friends. When this happens, the other cat will usually respond with a hiss as a warning to tone it down a bit. Make a fuss over the older cat, particularly if the kitten is around, to try and prevent jealousy in the older cat. If the situation is getting too intense, then it is best to remove the dog for a time-out session. If there’s a lot of vocalizing, it’s probably going to get ugly – that is, if it hasn’t already. Roughhousing or Roughed Up: How to Tell If Cats Are Playing or Fighting? For example, if one of the cats yelps out in pain and hisses or growls, then your cats may be engaged in a fight. Product data was last updated on 2020-11-23. Big cats and feral domestic cats can meet these needs at least partially through hunting and simply existing within a social hierarchy, but for the average housecat, play is the only outlet. When littermates are playing, they teach each other how to use their teeth gently, reigning in their bite. Grooming isn't only about keeping their coat clean and tidy. The differences in facial expressions can be subtle but telling, especially when determining whether a play session is about to go south. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. 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. to this article I found out they were just playing. They also do it to calm the situation when the play fighting is getting a little too rough. 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). Cats enjoy playing. Have lots of toys for your cat to play with, their very own scratch pole, or their own climbing tree to play in. Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She is likely just playing. From kittenhood to old age, all cats require a way to release pent-up energy, get exercise and fulfill the need for socializing. It’s important to understand how cats use body language to communicate their moods and desires. 10:55. I'm a publisher and editor at Cat Checkup. It’s an important rule of fighting across the animal kingdom to always keep an eye on your opponent, and cats are no exception. For more tips from our Veterinary reviewer, like how to break up a fight between 2 cats, read on! Whisper and Willow (2 kittens around 8 weeks old), playing and fighting. All it takes is one wrong move to get seriously injured; cats know this and protect themselves by reserving play for those closest to them. Sometimes roughhousing gets, well, rough, and claws may be inadvertently extended or mouthing may get too toothy. These types of games encourage out-of-control behavior, grabbing, lunging and competition with you. 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. (From Smallest to Biggest). As soon as kittens are able to open their eyes and stumble around, they begin to play with each other. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 207,280 times. This article was co-authored by Ryan Corrigan, LVT, VTS-EVN. 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. When she sees that she's not going to get any attention from you for doing this, she should stop. They should both be chasing each other instead of one cat chasing the other the entire time. A kitten who isn't raised with littermates or playmates doesn't always develop this tit-for-tat retaliation sensitivity. 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. This is a natural communication among cats and it is part of the way they play together. Cats will often use their paws to bat each other when playing, but if their claws are out it’s likely a fight. For more tips from our Veterinary reviewer, like how to break up a fight between 2 cats, read on! It also teaches them how to communicate with other cats and, when their mother intervenes, how to tell where their boundaries should lie. Play is a very important and fun part of a kitten’s life. In many cats, their play becomes too aggressive because their human companions encouraged that behavior when they were kittens. 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. Playing with siblings is certainly fun, but it’s also critical to proper development. 11 votes, 10 comments. Playing is a healthy part of socialization for dogs and it is definitely something to be encouraged. Kissin’ Kittens: Do Cats Like to Be Kissed? ", "My cats were actually play fighting not fighting, so I am not worried anymore! They may also crouch or lie down rather than stand, sometimes even rolling over onto their sides or backs. While some play fighting can get a bit too rough, there is still a stark difference between the two types of behavior. Stopping to groom is a diversionary tactic. So how can you tell if cats are simply having a play date or if they’re actually fighting? Last Updated: March 29, 2019 If the playing turns too rough then use distractions to break any chance of a fight developing. My adult cat tries to play with my older cat all the time. It's exactly as you say, and I'm happy that they're playing nice. In such cases, it is best to separate your cats if you can do so safely. Often, other signs of bonding (such as grooming and sleeping with each other) will be shown before play ever occurs. As a result, their behavior toward you may change even after the fight has ended. 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. Thanks, "I have two cats. Cats can not get along for a variety of reasons. Essentially, when kittens get too rough with each other, they learn about the art of fighting restraint. Animals play rough because they’re taught to. ", or fighting. We got our first cat, R (don't want to use real names,sorry), as a kitten little over a year ago. An adult cat play fighting is generally different from kittens play fighting. 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. Once kittens grow up and head off into the world, they still like to play even if they don’t need to. Playing cats seem to have a greater concept of fairness. Unlike a dog, a wagging cat tail does not mean they are happy to see you. 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. It also teaches them how to communicate with other cats and, when their mother intervenes, how to … wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. Never play tug-of-war or wrestling games with your puppy if you’re having a nipping problem. Though they may push their ears back slightly here and there they won’t hold them in that position for extended periods of time. Rough-housing with bare hands is almost irresistible when kittens are small. However, rest assured that most adults will not seriously attack a kitten. Without this knowledge, discerning play from fight may not be possible. I'd like to invite you to check out our. 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. Examining the Nature of the Fight Look for reciprocity. In this case, 89% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. Intervening from a distance is the safest way to break up a cat fight. It may seem mean to refuse a request for play, but to the recipient it’s a matter of safety. Is that a sign of playing or her hating me? Early treatment is the best means or prevention. Cat play is silent. She is also a Member of the Academy of Equine Veterinary Nursing Technicians since 2011. It is always helpful to have a baby gate handy to separate your cats. 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. 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. The tail will also become very fluffy, like a bottle brush, and flick back and forth with great intensity.