Should I Let My Cats Fight?

Should I Let My Cats Fight?

No, you should not let your cats fight it out especially if they are causing injuries to each other. If you let them fight, it could result in abscesses or even fatal injuries. Swatting, vocalization and strength demonstration are normal among two cats that are at odds but actual fighting goes too far and you should break them up especially if there is biting or if they are swatting with full claws in the face. 

Here are some measures you can take to manage fighting cats:

  1. Interrupt them by clapping your hands loudly or squirt a water gun at the aggressive cat. 
  2. Separate the fighting cats and confine them in different rooms along with their litter boxes and other resources like food and water bowls. Let them get used to each other and reintroduce them under supervision until they become more cordial with each other.
  3. Put up a baby gate or screen so they can still see and smell each other but are not able to start a fight.
  4. Provide food and water bowls, beds and litter boxes in various areas of your home to reduce competition. 
  5. Install cat perches and place hiding spots so the cats can have their own spots.
  6. If you give them treats or food you can try to do that when the cats are together so they will associate treats and good times with being together.
  7. Swap their rooms if the cats are still at odds after a week or two to familiarize them with each other’s smell. 
  8. Let them sleep on a towel or shirt for a few days and swap this to get them used to each other’s smell. Continue to provide positive attention and treats so they will eventually get along. 

Cat experts recommend neutering your cats to prevent aggressive behavior. Pheromones like Feliway may also help to reduce tension as it calms and relaxes the cats. Rubbing tuna juice on your cats can also dispel aggressive behavior as they tend to become engrossed grooming each other as they try to lick the juice off from each other’s fur.  Check out our article on introducing cats for more information. 

Reasons why cats fight 

Cats fight to defend their so-called territory which is often observed in multicat households. Aggression is another reason since especially unneutered male cats can be aggressive. Playing can also get rough and can escalate into a fight so if this happens always separate them. Competition can also cause cats to lash at each other so always provide separate feeding areas and water stations. Provide hiding areas so your cats can have their separate solitary retreats and “me time”. 

Is it okay for cats to fight?

No, it is not okay for cats to fight but it cannot be totally avoided especially if one of them is new to the house.  The key is to introduce them properly to avoid conflict and aggression. However, there are instances when cats may only be play fighting with each other. 

If cats start to fight aggressively, separate them so they will not harm each other. Distract them by clapping, making loud noises or with a water gun. Place them in separate rooms with their resources such as food and water bowl, bed and litter box. 

Will a cat kill another cat?

No, a cat will usually not kill another cat.  Although cats do fight they will rarely do so to the point of death. However, there is the risk of injuries and abscesses that are fatal and can cause death. 

Like most animals, cats avoid physical conflict.  Before any actual physical contact and fighting occur, there is often a lot of vocal and physical posturing. Cat experts note that this is to allow one of the fighters to back down and break off the conflict before anyone gets hurt. However, kittens, sick or injured cats and a senior or disabled cat are not always able to get away if embroiled in a fight. 

How do cats act after a fight?

Cats are not their usual selves after a fight especially if they are in a lot of pain. They will not allow their owners to touch them in the affected area. They may also become lame and may cry or growl incessantly. Felines that have been in a fight will also be reluctant to move, lose their appetite, become lethargic and may develop a fever. 

If they have been bitten, this can cause pain and swelling even if signs of the wound can be seen. The wounds may become infected and abscesses can develop. 

These are the possible complications that can happen due to cat bite wounds:

  • septic arthritis or joint infection
  • cellulitis or infection in the tissues
  • pyothorax or infection in the chest cavity 
  • osteomyelitis or infection of the bones 

What to do if your cat has been bitten after a fight?

If your cat has been bitten, keep her calm and warm inside a blanket but with her nose and mouth exposed to allow her to breathe easily.  Handle her carefully and bathe the wounds with dilute salt water which is made by combining one teaspoon of salt in a pint of cooled boiled water. Bathe the wound twice daily for a few days to avoid infection. 

Closely monitor your cat and check for small puncture wounds that are often difficult to spot. If your cat gets a fever and is in a lot of pain, contact the vet or bring her to an emergency vet care clinic. 


If you have a multicat household, conflict among your cats cannot be avoided.  If you notice your cats fighting, separate them especially if they have become aggressive and are biting each other. You should not let your cats fight as they may get hurt and even fatally wounded. Distract them by making loud noises or squirting a water gun to dispel the tension. 

Image: / Voren1