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Behavior Mod.

Safely Break Up a Cat Fight

If you share your home with multiple cats, you’re probably all too familiar with the awful sounds of two of them fighting. Typically, they’re just wrestling and play fighting, but as a responsible pet parent, you should be able to distinguish between a mock battle and a real brawl. When a real cat fight happens, you should intervene, to avoid one of your fighting felines getting seriously injured. However, take special precautions when breaking up a cat fight or you, too, could get injured.

First, try to recognize the body language and signs that happen between your cats before an all out war begins. If you hear growling, see ears pinned down, fur puffed up, and hissing…those are typical signs that a fight is about to happen. This is the very best time for you to step in. Distract them and separate them until they’ve had time to calm down.

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But what if you find your cats already in the heat of battle? First of all, never get in between two fighting cats or try to grab them with your bare hands. You will most likely get scratched or bitten. You might trust your feline friend to never bite you, but if he’s in the midst of a fight, he could lash out at whatever is in his way.

Here are some tricks you can use to safely break up two fighting cats, and avoid getting injured in the process:

  • Toss a blanket or towel on them. This will surprise them and turn their attention away from each other and on to getting out from under the towel.
  • Clap your hands loudly. Sometimes this is all it takes for some less hostile kitties to stop fighting.
  • Try spraying your cat with a squirt gun or water bottle (water only, of course!)
  • Use a broom. Obviously, do not hit or strike your cat with the broom, just use it to push and steer one cat away from the other, preferably into another room.

After you’ve safely broken up a catfight, separate your cats until they’re both calm. Also, check over each cat carefully to look for serious injuries. Pay careful attention to puncture wounds over the next few days, as abscesses can form that will require veterinary care.

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If your cats are fighting constantly, consider adding more vertical space in your home – like cat trees or cat shelves. Also, you might have luck with pheromone diffusers like Feliway. If the fighting is out of control, you may need to keep them separated and reintroduce them slowly.

Do you have any more tips for safely breaking up a cat fight? Share them with us!

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Lisa Baca

    Jan 2, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Like to watch cute or funny cats

  2. Pingback: Cat Introductions 101: It's All About Patience! – Feline Behavior Solutions - Cat Behaviorist

  3. Melanie Bourdon

    Jun 10, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Cats are animals with innate behavior and should be treated thus. Play fighting between cats begins as soon as they are born and continues throughout their life. Adult cats will fight for a variety of reasons but rarely with severe injury, if they are housemates. My advice is let them get out their frustration. If you really feel it is out of hand use your voice to deter them or separate them physically using a broom or your own feet, if properly shod. The point is you have to show them that you are the alpha cat and that you will decide when enough is enough. Having the human as the alpha cat reduces friction between the animals because they don’t have to vie for a position that is already taken. I particularly disagree with spaying cats with water during a fight. It will stop them but they will still feel hostile and will probably go shear your curtains. My advice is to let your cats know that you are the leader of the pack, afterward unwanted behavior is easily stopped by raising you voice. Think like a cat, and remember they are animals not children.

    • Debbie Shamatt

      Dec 7, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Thank-You~I will try this.At at the point I’m thinking about giving one of the cats away,which I don’t want to go.

  4. Alix

    Dec 8, 2016 at 2:29 am

    My cats do not fight very often, but Once I heard a fight going on behind my couch, so I grabbed what was in front of me, which was a new can of air freshener, and I sprayed it over the couch. The unfamiliar smell had one running away and one coming out to investigate! Do not spray the air freshener 9or perfume or what have you) ON the cats, but near them so that the scent will be strong. It has worked for me twice now!

  5. Deborah Cooper-Hoeller

    Dec 13, 2016 at 10:52 am

    I often yell out: “Alright! I’m gonna kick somebody’s a**!” Not very original, but they usually separate!

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