HomeCat BehaviorplayHow do I know if my cats are playing or fighting?


How do I know if my cats are playing or fighting? — 3 Comments

  1. My playful 2-year old female cat Kitfo has been getting used to her new buddy, 10-week old Kimchi, also a female (and incidentally her biological sister from the same feral mom, not that it should make that much of a difference).

    They have been together for 2 weeks, and have been play-wrestling regularly for 1 week now. It looks pretty harmless, except that as she gets into it, Kitfo usually ends up growling, and then pulls away hissing, looking a little pissed off. But then, after a 30-second break, she usually goes right back in.

    Outside of the wrestling bouts, the older sister seems to accept her little sister quite well, seemingly not caring about personal space, and taking the constant rubbing and teasing in stride.

    In a more quiet moment today, I even saw the older cat giving the kitten a tongue bath instead of wrestling with her, but strangely enough, she still ended up growling at the kid while licking her.

  2. Thanks so much for this article, Michael. I’d been concerned that my newer two cats, 8-month-old brothers, were getting too rough with their play fighting. They lay together at the top of a cat tree slapping and mouthing each other like you describe. I think I was responding to their increased growling and would put a stop to it. But now, I think I will back off a bit and let them have at it. They are not stalking or trapping each other. When they lay together, they even clamp on to each other and ‘nurse.’ My other two cats chase and gently wrestle each other but do not growl. The kittens strangely growl over their food and toys. Your thoughts above are good advice.

    • Thanks for commenting. I hope the two 8-month-old brothers remain as they are. I think they are playing as you suggest. The only issue that I have, as mentioned in the article, is that as they become more adult that play/fighting may develop into something a bit more serious because they will be adults and their attitude and mentality will change to one of being independent and having their own “home range”. This may result in conflict but I wouldn’t presume that that will happen. I suppose the best way to proceed is to watch and wait.

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