Feline fights are terrible things, all claws and teeth. The best way to break up a cat fight? Prevent it rather than trying to stop it after it’s started.
This article discusses surefire tactics for making this happen.
First, recognise the signs
There’s play fighting and there’s serious fighting. Knowing the difference can save you a lot of energy and allow your cat/s to develop the self-defence skills that will protect them when real fights happen.
“Try to recognise the body language and signs that happen between cats before an all-out war begins,” advises Catington Post. “If you hear growling, see ears pinned down, fur puffed up, and hissing… those are typical signs that a fight is about to happen.”
The best way to break up a cat fight is to prevent it entirely. This isn’t easy, as cats are highly independent, territorial, and tenacious, but you’ll kick yourself if you don’t try. Here are a few ways to (hopefully) mitigate the risk altogether.
Keep your cat in at dusk and dawn. This is a tough one, because these times are when cats instinctively seek the outdoors to hunt, prowl, prove their prowess and find a partner. But if there’s a testy relationship between your cat and another in the area, keeping them separated at this time (via a locked door!) will reduce the likelihood of altercations.
Separate cats’ access to each other. If your cat has an issue with a neighbour’s cat, find out if there’s a way to separate their territories. It might take a bit of collaboration with the neighbours. If it works, you’ll be purring. It might mean blocking off one cat’s access to your home or encouraging your own cat to start using the back way. Whatever you work out, make sure that cat’s new mandatory zones have shade, warmth, shelter, and fresh water.
Didn’t work? 3 steps to safely breaking up a cat fight
No doubt you’ll want to stay scratch and bite-free when you break up a cat fight. It IS possible! Read our tips below.
- Water. And lots of it. Spray with a hose pipe or toss a bucket of water over the brawlers to startle them. You can try clapping or shouting to make a big enough noise to startle them too, but the more serious the set-two, the less attention they’ll pay to outside stimulus. Remember, they’re trying to cause significant harm to each other.
- Toss a blanket or towel between them, not over them. Done right, this will separate them. Done wrong, it will make the situation much worse by trapping the frantic felines in darkness with tearing teeth and slicing claws. If you don’t have a blanket, try using a softish cardboard box, but don’t use any hard materials like wood.
- Get a mop or broom between them to try to separate them (a blanket could come in handy once they’re separated). That box could help keep them separated while you get them into completely different parts of your home, or your cat inside and away from the neighbour’s. You may not be able to separate them for long if they’re equally strong, but this approach can be helpful when there’s a clear leader in the fight because it can give the kitty less inclined to win a chance to get to safety.
NEVER put your body in the middle of a scuffle. You could lose an eye, never mind be cut into pieces.
Assess the damage
Examine your kitty carefully if you suspect they’ve had actual physical contact. Without looking closely you might not see a serious laceration from a claw that could lead to an infection or an abscess. An unknown or stray cat could carry contagious diseases that are transmitted in fights.
Either way, it’s best to get your cat checked out. The good news about this nasty situation is that PD Insurance pet insurance can help if there has been any serious damage. Check out our cat insurance plans here.