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Many people wonder if cats will fight to the death and it is usually because they realize cats have claws and very sharp teeth and that cats can sometimes show aggressive behavior. I have done the research to form my opinion on the answer to this question.
No, research shows that it is unlikely that cats will fight to the death, however, the injuries received by cats that have been fighting can be profoundly serious and result in bad infections.
The circumstances around situations where cats will fight to the death are serious. So are the reasons around why cats fight, especially if you are a cat owner with two cats that attack each other. Read on and hear what my research into the subject says!
If you are wondering what the best products are for your cat, check out this article that will break down all my recommendations for you: Things To Buy For A Cat Right Now!
Will Cats Fight to the Death?
When I set out to conduct the research on this article, I expected to find stories about cats fighting to the death, but that just did not happen. Instead I discovered how terrible and lingering the injuries from cat fights can be unless cats get proper treatment as soon as possible.
Cats generally do not want to fight each other and will take action to prevent fighting, which makes it all the more significant when they do fight.
International Cat Care says that “As a self-reliant species and solitary hunter, the cat avoids physical conflict as a threat to survival, as any overt fighting could cause injury, inability to hunt and consequently death.” So, it is important to look at what happens when cats do end up fighting.
When two cats fight it might look like they are fighting to an imminent death, but the truth is that they will likely injure one another and if they go untreated, possibly succumb to infections in those wounds. VCA says that “when a cat bites, its sharp canine teeth easily puncture the skin, leaving small, but deep, wounds in the skin.”
This sounds very painful and can certainly create wounds on the cats, but VCA goes on to talk about the dangers of this by saying “These punctures rapidly seal over, trapping bacteria from the cat’s mouth under the skin of the victim, where they can readily multiply.” Additionally, it’s possible a “pocket of pus” an develop.
This sounds pretty gross and if your cat is in a cat fight it makes a lot of sense to get him or her to a veterinarian quickly.
Vets Now gives some tips on how to treat the wounds on a cat, but I will be honest – rather than post that information here I think it is much smarter for you to take your cat to an animal hospital immediately. Vets Now does state that “cat fight injury wounds often end up septic. This can make cats quite ill, and if the wounds are left untreated, can pose a danger to their health.”
This is all the more reason to take your cat to a professional (Veterinarian or animal hospital) so that they are taken care of properly. Our cats are members of our family and it is important to keep the best interest to their health in mind.
In addition to this information on the shorter term implications of cat bites, Aztec Animal Clinic shared some information about longer-term issues with cat bites.
Aztec Animal Clinic states that “Bite wounds are one of the main routes of transmitting the feline leukemia virus and the feline immunodeficiency virus between cats. Because these viruses are found in large amounts in the saliva of infected cats, bite wounds from these cats are literally injections of virus.”
If you want to give your cat some outside experiences, but want your cat to be safer from the threat of other prowling cats, I recommend taking a hard look at this Catio (Amazon affiliate link): Click Here to See This Awesome Catio on Amazon.
If you intend to keep your cat safe from other cats looking for a fight by keeping your cat indoors, I strongly recommend you look at enriching your cat’s life with a Cat Condo / Cat Tree. Check out the Cat Condo / Cat Tree on Amazon (affiliate link) that I recommend: Click Here to See This Excellent Cat Condo / Cat Tree On Amazon.
Why Do Cats Fight?
Cats fight for interesting reasons. International Cat Care mentions many of the reasons cats fight:
- Defending home range
- Extending territory
- Strange cats invading the home through cat flaps
- Volume of cats in a neighborhood sharing territory
- Tensions around breeding female cats
The one that shocks me the most on here is the bullet around strange cats invading the home through cat flaps. Finding that another cat has come into the house through a cat flap and is wreaking havoc. That sounds shocking! And, hard to deal with. I don’t envy anyone having to deal with this situation.
Bringing a second cat home can also create cat aggression and fights.
The Humane Society of the United States states that “Many people adopt a second cat thinking that the resident cat will be appreciate the companionship. This is a risky move. The fact that your cat is sweet and loving with you doesn’t mean they’re going to be sweet to another cat. Because your cat is territorial, it’s not uncommon for the addition of a new cat to the household to create some strife.”
This is bound to upset some people since adopting cats is always considered to be a good thing, and I’m not saying it’s not…but, we as cat owners obviously need to consider how our current cat or cats will react to a new cat being adopted and brought into the house (their territory).
Indeed, our fur babies may not appreciate a new cat living in their house and this should definitely be considered if you are thinking of bringing home another cat.
Purina says that some cats may just be playing, but they play rough. Purina goes on to say “Cats are rough when they play – this may look like aggression and fighting, but it is not. Still, such play could escalate into a fight or cause harm to both or one of the cats. In such cases, it is best to separate your cats if you can do so safely.”
So, it might initially be challenging in figuring out if your cat just plays rough or if it is a full-scale fight, but when it is a fight there could be harm.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Attacking Another Cat?
So what do you do to prevent your cat from fighting? Northgate Veterinary Surgery says to do the following:
- Keep your cat indoors
- If you must let your cat outdoors, keeping your cat indoors at night
- Desexing (Neuter / Spay)
There are clearly some common items there. Desexing is pretty standard, especially if you are adopting a cat from what I’ve seen. I know when I adopted Charlotte from The Humane Society, she had already been spayed.
If your cats are already fighting what can you do?
Catster has some good advice with “Never reach in and try to separate fighting cats yourself. Instead, squirt the cats with a squirt gun or toss water on them from a distance (so that they’re not aware that you’re the source of the water). It’s good to keep loaded squirt guns throughout the house for this purpose. Alternatively, loud noises (an air gun, a can full of pennies or banging a pan) can be effective.”
People can get injured if they reach into a cat fight and try to break it up with their own hands. These suggestions from Catster sound pretty solid to me, especially the squirt gun.
Will Cats Fight Raccoons?
Cats will either fight a raccoon or run away from a raccoon. Raccoons are typically larger than cats, and, in some cases, raccoons may be much larger. This presents problems for a cat if they decide to fight with a raccoon.
Believe it or not, but humans are often the cause of cat and raccoon interactions. First, cats will usually come into contact with raccoons in the evening, so if you keep your cat outdoors, you are putting your cat at risk.
Second, if humans feed a cat outside, that will attract raccoons. Raccoons love to steal food from an outdoor cat’s food bowl. Also, if you leave this bowl out overnight, raccoons are going to notice. Picture this, you feed your outdoor cat, and then raccoons surround the cat, and the cat runs off, leaving the food for the raccoons – this is a likely scenario. If the cat sticks around, there may be a fight.
I did a google search, and it seems like raccoons are much more likely to kill a cat in a fight than the other way around. However, it is probably much more likely that they skirmish, get some wounds, and run off. Of course, with injuries from fighting may come infection, which can also lead to death. My advice is to keep your cat indoors unless you are specifically using a cat backpack, cat stroller, catio, or cat harness and leash to take your cat outside.
To learn more about whether cats fight raccoons, check out my article on if cats and raccoons get along: Click Here.
Will Cats Fight Kittens?
Cats usually will not fight kittens; however, cat infanticide can happen when a male cat is trying to pull a lactating mother cat back into fertility. When cat infanticide happens, it will probably happen with stray or feral cats since they are usually the ones that are not neutered or spayed or closely watched over by humans.
If you’d like to learn more about stray cats and if they kill kittens, check out my article on the subject: Click Here.
Suppose you wonder if an adult cat will fight with a new kitten that you are introducing in your house; that is a different story. Socializing new cats with each other the right way is essential to try and minimize any fighting between an adult cat and a kitten being introduced to it.
I would consult a veterinarian for advice if you need to introduce a new cat, even if it is a new kitten, to a cat you already have. From what I’ve learned over the last year, I would probably do the following:
- Put the kitten in a separate room with the door closed for a few weeks not only to get used to its new home but also to separate the kitten from your existing cat.
- Your existing cat and the kitten will undoubtedly become curious and may try interacting a little on different sides of the closed door.
- Put the kitten in a pet crate and while the kitten is in the crate, let the two cats interact with each other. They may not interact the whole time, which is just fine because they get time in each other’s presence. I would probably do this a few times.
- Once it has been a few weeks and you feel comfortable, you might let the cats interact normally. You need to be incredibly watchful and ensure they don’t fight. Beware, though, because sometimes regular cat play looks like fighting.
In conclusion, I definitely learned some things about whether cats like to fight, the dangers of fighting, and aggressive behavior. I hope you learned some things also. If you are a beginner to cats, this should be good reference material for you and obviously if you have any big questions you should ask your veterinarian.
If you enjoyed this article, check out a couple of other great articles:
- The Humane Society of the United States. “Aggression Between Cats”
- Purina. “Why Do Cats Fight?”
- International Cat Care. “Aggression Between Cats.”
- Aztec Animal Clinic. “Cat Fight Wound Infections”
- VCA. “Fight Wound Infections in Cats.”
- Catster. “How to Stop a Cat Fight and Why They Happen.”
- Northgate Veterinary Surgery. “Cat Fights.”
- Vets Now. “My cat has been injured in a fight, what should I do?”
Here are some of my favorite cat products
In addition to checking out some other More Meows articles, I hope you’ll check out some of my favorite cat products as well. These are affiliate links, so if you end up using them, I’ll get a commission at no extra cost to you. These are the products I really do find most helpful.
Litter Box: I started out with normal, traditional litter boxes for my cat. Then, I tried this automatic litter box on Amazon (affiliate link), which helped reduce the litter upkeep. Finally, I am now a believer in the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on Amazon (affiliate link). This robotic litter box is not for everyone based on the price tag, but for me the benefits (very little upkeep, works efficiently, clean, mobile app) far outweighed the cost.
Cat Tree: I have purchased a couple of this Amazon Basics Cat Tree on Amazon (affiliate link). My cat spends a lot of time on and around this cat tree, which I position near my sofa. She uses the scratching posts on this cat tree multiple times a day, which means she is not scratching the sofa instead.
Cat Water Fountain: I love this cat water fountain on Amazon (affiliate link). There are three main benefits to having a water fountain like this for your cat. The first benefit is that it keeps water running so that my cat doesn’t need to drink still water. The second benefit is that it filters the water. The third benefit is that my cat uses it – keeping my cat hydrated is important.