How can I tell when my cats are playing or fighting?

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Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I have two female cats that like to stalk, chase and pounce one another. It seems like they are playing but as it goes on it seems to get rough. How can I tell if they are just having fun or if it is getting to be something more and I should intervene.

Penny Stoudt

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email Penny. You asked a very good question – basically – you have two cats that play and sometimes get rough. How can you tell when they are playing vs. fighting and what should you do?

This is very common. Cats often stalk, chase and pounce on one another. It is common that one cat gets a bit rough at times. Ensure that their only amusement is not each other and that you have plenty of environmental stimulation including toys, scratching posts, climbing trees, and window perches.

Most behaviorists suggest that you shouldn’t intervene and just allow them to play and work it out (providing they are not injuring each other with bite wounds or scratches.

Articles that might be helpful to you are How Cats Play and Play Aggression in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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