May 2010 Issue

What To Do About Cat Fights

Experts discuss why they happen — and when you should try to stop them. Learn ways to keep the peace.

While fighting among cats is not typical behavior, it certainly does happen in the multicat household. Read on to learn some reasons why cats pick fights with each other — and what you can do about it. All kittens play, practicing to defend themselves by arching their backs, jumping on each other, chasing each other and maybe exchanging a few nips on the ears. "The difference between playing and fighting," says Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, emeritus professor of animal behavior at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, "is that when playing, cats take turns chasing each other. There isn’t one dominant aggressor or one main victim. Nobody hides."

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