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Is My Cat Playing Or Fighting With Me

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Do Cats Like Being Chased

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Playing Or Fighting With You

Some cats like being chased, but this all comes down to your pets personality and temperament. How bonded you are with each other is also a factor.

Cats that enjoy being chased invite their owners to play by making eye contact and then quickly darting away. It may also develop the zoomies, which is where it runs around the house at high speed. If your cat does this to you, you can chase after it as long as you keep a safe distance to prevent injuries.

However, some cats are intimidated by the chase and become fearful as soon as you start running. Scared or nervous cats are unlikely to respond well to a chase and hide under the bed or somewhere you cant reach them. If you keep chasing your cat when its uncomfortable with this type of play, it may become reluctant to engage with you at all.

Pay attention to your cats body language and demeanor. If it appears agitated or scared during a chase, stop immediately and find other ways to play with your cat. Toys and games are better options.

Playtime Mistakes That Cat Owners Make

Playtime with your cat may seem like a no-brainer but there are actually a few mistakes you can make that can be counter-productive to your cats enjoyment of the game. Some mistakes in your playtime technique can even contribute to behavior problems. That may be surprising to learn but when you think about the technique cats use to hunt and the frantic counter-intuitive way we ask them to play , its very likely that our methods create more negative reactions than positive. Here are some common mistakes I see people make:

Playful Biting And Scratching

There is a type of “aggression” between cats and people that is often misinterpreted by cat owners. Younger cats and kittens can have a tendency to bite when playing with their owners, or during a grooming and cuddling session. There a few reasons for this.

  • For some cats who missed out on early socialization with their littermates, they do not learn to moderate their bite during play and can hurt a person, or cat, without intending to.
  • Kittens who also are taught to play inappropriately by their owners, often unwittingly, can end up learning to bite during play because of their early rough housing with humans. Again, these are cats who are not intending to hurt you and have simply learning bad play skills.
  • Finally, some cats will bite during play or cuddling sessions because they simply become overstimulated and will nip or scratch as a way of saying “enough!”

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Fighting Or Playing How Can You Tell

Posted on: August 12th, 2013 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein

The following post was originally written by fellow cat veterinarian Dr. Colleen Currigan of Cat Hospital of Chicago. How about in your household? Are your cats fighting or 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?

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. These are actually play sessions.

Few people would confuse the middle-of-the-night growling and screaming of two cats outdoors as being involved in a major cat fight. 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. Or they may rush toward one another in attack-like mode. One of the kittens will pounce, and then the two of them become a rolling ball of fur. But what about everything in between kitten play and a major cat fight?

Cats Playing Or Fighting With Humans

Are My Cats Fighting or Playing?

The same types of behavior cues for two cats or kittens fighting or playing can also be used when it’s a human and a cat in the equation. If your cat has loose, relaxed body language with fur laying normally against his body and he is not hissing or growling, he is likely having a good time playing with you. On the other hand, if his body language is stiff, he is showing teeth and claws and growling and his fur is standing up along his back, this is a cat that is not happy with you and may become more aggressive if the situation is not addressed.

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Types And Causes Of Feline Aggression

If theres no medical reason for your cat acting aggressively, one of the following could be in play:

Fear aggression. Fear aggression may occur in situations that make your cat feel threatened or trapped. If your cat feels afraid, they may act in aggressive ways to defend themselves.

Maternal aggression. Maternal aggression may happen when an animal or person approaches a mother cat and her kittens. The mother cat may growl or hiss, swat at, chase, or even try to bite another cat who gets too close, even if they typically get along. Maternal aggression usually goes away after the kittens are weaned from nursing. If a female cat is maternally aggressive, consider spaying to prevent any more litters.

Play aggression. All feline play consists of mock aggression, so rough play is nothing out of the ordinary. Cats may stalk, chase, swipe, sneak, pounce, kick, ambush, and even scratch or bite each other during play. However, play can lead to overstimulation, which can escalate to aggression. This commonly happens between cats with a significant age difference.

Territorial aggression. All animals can be territorial, and cats are no exception. When cats perceive their territory is being encroached upon, they may hiss, swat, growl, and even stalk and/or chase the intruder whether thats another cat or a person.

What Not To Do When Cats Are Fighting

When youre trying to help your cats get along, its important to pay attention to whether theyre playing or really fighting. If the fight is real, you want to break it up and respond appropriately afterward.

  • Dont let them fight it out. If its a real fight, never let your cats fight it out. Cats dont solve disagreements with aggressiveness. You dont want to get in the middle of two fighting cats, so try to distract them instead, with a loud noise or sudden movement to break their concentration on their fight.
  • Dont punish your cat. Never punish your cat for aggressive behavior toward another cat. Punishment can make fearful or aggressive behaviors worse.
  • Dont reassure them. In that same vein, dont try to calm or soothe your aggressive cat. Instead, give them space.


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Why Are My Cats Fighting

Your cats might fight for a few different reasons. For example, if one cat has just come from a stay at somewhere like the vet, which may have a distinctive smell, they will smell unfamiliar and possibly a bit scary to your other cats. Cats communicate predominantly using their sense of smell, and groups of cats create a familiar communal scent that helps to bond them. If one cat comes back smelling unfamiliar this can unsettle other cats in the house. To try and avoid this kind of fighting, it can be a good idea to keep the returning cat in a separate room for a few hours, or overnight when you bring them home to allow them to groom and re-establish the familiar scent.

Sometimes aggressive behaviour can be nothing to do with your other cat. The instinct to fight could be triggered by something completely separate, like seeing another cat through the window, at which point one of your cats might mistakenly attack the closest cat to them.

This can damage the relationship between cats who live together, so if separating them for a period of 24-48 hours doesnt solve things its a good idea to ask your vet for advice and potentially look to work with a cat behaviourist.

Do Cats Grow Out Of Play Aggression

Cat Fight or Cat Play?

Play aggression in felines is a behavior issue that can be understood, improved, and lived with as long as adopters understand the behavior and are willing to utilize suggested techniques consistently to ensure a happy home for both person and kitty. Remember that playtime is like a hunting game for your cat.

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How Can I Entertain My Cats

Here are some tools and tricks you can use to keep your cats entertained and avoid unfriendly encounters.

These can be used whether you are inside or outside your households while your cats are home alone.

  • Paper bags and spare paper
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Cat furniture, such as cat trees and scratching benches.
  • Cat TV

Whats The Difference Between Play And Aggression In Cats

Sometimes cats get too rough when they play. While there are apparent differences with play vs. aggression in cats, the two can seem similar. Paying attention to your cats body language can help you determine which ones which.

Play-motivated aggressive behaviors more commonly occur in active cats that are less than two years old. They also tend to live in one-cat households. Because they dont have other cats to teach them that theyre being too rough when they bite and scratch, they accidentally hurt their owners, who misinterpret this behavior as aggression. Its just that the cat doesnt realize its strength. According to VCA Hospitals, causes of aggression in cats include:

  • Under-stimulation
  • Too much unused energy
  • Lack of opportunities for play

One of the main signs of play aggression is when your cat grabs your ankle and bites or scratches it. Play aggression is also commonly directed at hands, particularly if you use them to play with your cat.

This is why you must exercise caution when playing with your pet. Many humans unknowingly encourage rough play by rough-housing their cats with their bare hands. While this may be fun while the animals a small kitten, this behavior teaches cats to be threatened by bare hands or to play with them too roughly. This soon becomes a larger problem when the cat gets older and bigger.

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Supervise Observe And Be Alert:

This is usually the safest method, better safe than sorry.

Make sure you keep an eye on your cats, especially if you have been noticing some strange and unfriendly behavior from them. Seeing any weird interactions between the two will help you predict if a fight is about to occur. Therefore, you can interfere before it happens, and break them and send them in a different direction of your house.

How Do I Get My Kitten To Stop Playing Aggression

Cats Play Fighting

Providing ample opportunities for self-play, interactive play with owners, and social play with other cats may aid greatly in reducing or eliminating inappropriate play with owners. Successful interactive toys include wiggling ropes, wands, dangling toys, and items that are thrown or rolled for the cat to chase.

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Rough Play In A Kitten Or Adult Cat

Kittens and cats need to play. Play is normal behavior that provides young animals with opportunities to develop their physical coordination and problem-solving skills. It allows them to engage in species specific behaviors like hunting and stalking. If theres another cat in the home, it also gives them a chance to hone their social skills with members of their own species. Its very common for kittens and young cats to engage in rough, active play because feline play can consist of mock aggression. Many cats retain this kitten-like behavior well into adulthood. Cats stalk, chase, pounce, swat, kick, scratch and bite each otherall in good fun. However, people often misinterpret this kind of behavior as aggression when its directed toward them.

Cats display two different types of play behavior: solitary play and social play. They direct solitary play toward objects, like toys, skeins of yarn, paper bags, boxes and rolled-up paper. Social play is directed toward fellow cats, people or other animals. Unfortunately, problems can sometimes arise when feline play is directed toward people. Despite the playful intentions of a cat, he can cause injury to his human playmates. Cat scratches and bites are painful and can easily become infected.

Can You Play With Your Cat Too Much

Most cats need daily stimulation. Because of how they live in the wild, theyre designed to enjoy short, energetic bouts of play. This is due to their hunting instincts, where they stalk and spring after prey. Unlike dogs, they dont have good endurance skills. As a result, youll want to play with your cat for around 15-30 minutes a few times each day instead of engaging in one long bout of repetitive play.

Cats can also become overstimulated by too much play. Its difficult to tell when your cats had too much, but cats spend most of the day sleeping and rebuilding their energy so that they can hunt at night. Too much playtime prevents your cat from getting enough sleep, making it tired, irritable, and potentially aggressive.

That being said, most cats are good at telling their owners when its time to stop. They may:

  • Touch you with their paw
  • Give you a gentle bite
  • Run away and hide
  • Hiss at you
  • Walk off to do something else

Pay attention to these behaviors, as youll likely experience a painful bite or scratch if you try to proceed with playtime against your cats wishes.

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How You Can Help Them Get Along

If you think your cats are fighting, don’t despairyou’re not powerless. First, try to redirect your cats’ attention with a feather wand when things start to get tense between them.

Plug in Comfort Zone Multi-Cat Diffusers throughout your house in the rooms where your cats like to hang out. These diffusers emit odorless, drug-free vapors that mimic a cat’s pheromones. They signal to your cat that everything is safe, secure, and calm. When there’s tension between two cats, these diffusers can help induce a more calming, happy atmosphere. You can also use the BreakAway Comfort Zone Calming Collar on every cat in the house to provide comforting vapors 24/7.

Cats that don’t have enough activities may take out their nervous energy on each other. Set up window perches, condos, and cat trees in multiple rooms to give them more spaces to claim as their own territory. Give them interactive toys and engage them in lots of playtime. You can also try clicker training to give them a mental workout.3 If you have a cat harness and leash, you could even take them on walks in your backyard.

Is My Cat Being Aggressive Or Playful

Are My Cats Playing Or Fighting?

Play-aggressive cats are usually young and very active however, even older cats can be playfully aggressive. These cats tend to be very high-energy cats that become easily bored and have a short attention span. They will usually find just about anything to play with and are very rough and intense in their play.

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My Cats Keep Biting Each Others Ears When Playing

Something its tricky on how to tell if cats are playing or fighting, many cats display some aggressive behavior when playing with each other, this behavior can be scratching or biting each other.

However, if your cat is biting the other cat, it does not always mean it is friendly. Observations have shown that in animals, the dominant specimen tend to bite the ear of the inferior ones, to establish and prove their dominance over them.

Always Work With Your Veterinarian

A medical workup is essential for all aggressive cats. Some cats behave aggressively because of a medical condition or complication. In addition to acute painful conditions, cats with orthopedic problems, thyroid abnormality, adrenal dysfunction, cognitive dysfunction, neurological disorders and sensory deficits can show increased irritability and aggression. Geriatric cats can suffer from confusion and insecurity, which could prompt aggressive behavior. Certain medications can alter mood and affect your cats susceptibility to aggression. Even diet has been implicated as a potential contributing factor. If a medical problem is detected, its crucial to work closely with your veterinarian to give your cat the best chance at improving.

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Dominant Behavior In Cats:

Cats can begin to display dominance at a young age. However, they will show absolute dominance once they are mature.

When your cat reaches maturity, and if you have more than one cat in your household, it is more likely that one of them will start showing dominance. Usually, your cat would display the following signs:

  • It will spray urine and mark its territory at first.
  • It will rub its face and share its scent on items it wants to possess.
  • It would claim some specific areas in your household as their napping and sleeping spots.
  • It might hoard toys that belong to your other cat and claim them as its own
  • It will try to establish its dominance over the cat by hissing, growling, and sometimes hitting them.
  • Spray urine in areas in which other cats use so they would mark more territory
  • The dominant cat would usually push the inferior cat away from the food bowl until it is done eating.
  • The dominant cat might also threaten the other cats to reassure their dominance.
  • Your dominant cat can sometimes be mean to other cats by taking out its anger on them.
  • It can target the sick cat before you notice any symptoms because cats can sense any changes in other cats before a human can.

These behaviors can also occur when you only have one cat in your household. Your cat can show dominance over other cats if you have more than one, but it can also display these behaviors by nature and due to its instinct, even if it is your one and only.

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