It’s that time of year again. The sun has come out, spring is underway, blossom trees are blossoming… and the cats have started fighting!
So why do cat fights pick up this time of year? And what can we do about it? Some cat fights are relatively harmless scraps, whereas others can be hugely violent and result in serious injuries.
Sources of Conflict
Territory can be a major source of conflict. And now that it’s getting warmer and brighter, more cats are heading back outside to explore, play and stake their claim on ‘their’ land! It is common for cats to fear losing their territory (both indoors and outside), and that fear can turn into aggression.
The bigger your cat’s territory is, the more likely it is that it will end up in a spat. Cat fights about territory can also be influenced by the number of cats in the area - if you live on a street with cats-a-plenty, the odds of some of them not getting on increases! Or if a new challenger moves into the neighbourhood, this can also upset the balance.
Breed and personality can also play a part in the likelihood of fights. Some breeds are more tolerant than others. Breeds with a reputation for tolerance include Ragdolls, whereas a Siamese for example, might be more inclined to fight.
Unneutered males are more likely to become territorial and aggressive, especially if they discover a female in heat. Female cats who haven’t been spayed can also get more aggressive and vocal around other female cats and unwanted gentlemen callers!
Top Tips To Prevent Cat Fights
Consider getting your cat neutered or spayed. If you have any concerns, we are more than happy to talk you through this process. Neutering and spaying can have lots of other measurable health benefits for our furry friends, but can also help with aggression.
Let your cat choose when it wants to go outside. If there is a troublesome cat in the neighbourhood, chances are they will both quickly learn the others routine and want to avoid each other. If your feline friend doesn’t want to go outside, there may well have a reason for it and it’s best not to force it.
Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can get your paws on an intelligent cat flap that recognises your cat’s microchip and refuses entry to all other neighbourhood moggies! This way, your cat can always run for the safety of home.
How To Stop A Cat Fight
First off, never launch yourself in! You will not be successful breaking up a cat fight with one pair of human hands and you may get bitten for your troubles.
Water is a great way to stop cats fighting - a garden hose, a water bottle, a watering can. Even if you have to go back indoors to get some water, it’ll almost certainly be worth it. It acts as a distraction, and as a nuisance without harming the cats, and you can do it from a distance to stay safe.
Keep a clear head. Cats do not react well to negative or punishing behaviours, or our stress. Cat fights can look and sound awful, so it’s natural to feel freaked out but it won’t help the situation. Try and use your voice lightly and playfully in addition to using water.
Once the situation is over, and your cat has had some food or started grooming, they are calm enough for you to approach them and check them over for any injuries that may need some TLC.
If your cat has been bitten, it is typical for them to be a little quiet on the day of the fight, recover, then a few days later get very sick as an abscess forms. Bite wounds in joints can be very serious so be sure to get things checked ASAP at the vet.
Remember for some cats, this is all perfectly normal behaviour and it may well be more upsetting for the cat’s humans!