Our Cat's Place – Living With Cats thoughts, articles, & information on cats, their behavior, and their relationships with us.
  • How to Break Up a Cat Fight

    Filed under Training a Cat
    Jul 5

    Cats often fight with each other if they feel their territory is being invaded. This happens most often with outdoor cats, who may compete with neighboring cats or local feral cats. However, even indoor cats who share the same home can get into nasty, violent fights that are potentially dangerous to their health and life.

    If your cat gets involved in a fight, you will want to do everything you can to break it up right away. Your cat could risk injury or illness. Cuts, scratches, and torn ears can be very painful. Abscesses resulting from cat fights can pose serious health risks and are expensive to treat. A cat can become infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) when it is bitten – such as in a cat fight. FIV however, will be transmitted only if the biting animal is carrying the virus. If your cat is fighting with a feral cat they are especially at risk.

    Here are some ways to break things up.

    1. The quickest way to break up a cat fight is loud hissing, spitting, and a
    glass of water appropriately applied (aim for the face).

    2. Be sure you are not touching the cats or getting your hands anywhere near their
    mouths. Hitting could cause the fight to get much worse, and could even make the cats redirect their attack toward you.

    3. Use a hose to spray water on the attacking cat (or on both of them if you can’t tell who started it!) Again, this is most effective if you aim for the cats’ face.

    4. Force the cats apart by holding a stick or broom between them.

    5. Make lots of noise with something loud like a horn or whistle. Be ready to move away from the cats quickly, and protect yourself from any possible attack.

    6. If the cats are not yet fighting, but they are frozen in position starting at each other, here is something you can do to prevent the battle from starting. Put a magazine or a newspaper between the two cats to block their view of each other. This allows the frightened cat to run away (if it can) and you can pick up the dominant one if it is tame. It is very important to stop the cats from looking at each other before you try to pick one up. Without blocking the sight of the other cat, picking up or even touching the aggressive cat can make the attack start. Usually the frightened cat is cornered and can’t get away, so your only option may be to move the aggressor after blocking it’s view.

    Hope that helps,

    Beth

    P.S. I learned these tips and many others from Mary Matthews’ book Ultimate Cat Secrets. If you would like to enjoy a loving relationship with a perfectly well behaved cat, this is well worth a read!
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