Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Cats > Will Cats Fight to the Death? Causes of Fights & How to Prevent Them

Will Cats Fight to the Death? Causes of Fights & How to Prevent Them

cats fighting on the bed

If you love cats, it’s difficult to imagine life with only one in the home. While having multiple cats can lead to hours of pleasure for you, and playtime for them, this scenario is also the perfect setup for the occasional catfight. Yes, catfights happen and when they do, they can get pretty bad. But the big question on the mind of cat owners everywhere is, will cats fight to the death? Thankfully, the answer to that question is usually no, death isn’t the ultimate outcome.

While things can get rough during a scuffle between cats and injuries can be had, cats usually stop short of death. Luckily, cats are intelligent enough to know that major injuries can affect their chance at survival so they walk away before things get too bad. Let’s take a look at catfights, why they happen, and how you can lower the chances around your home.


The Main Causes of Cat Fights

Cats aren’t big on going blow for blow, although it does happen. Lots of times, kitties around the house prefer to vocalize and posture at one another instead. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll never physically fight. When this does happen, there are usually reasons behind it. Let’s take a look!

Cats Are Territorial

Cats are naturally solitary creatures. They are also very territorial. Cats will identify or mark their territory using pheromones. When more than one cat is in the home, these territories are bound to overlap. When this happens, or unmarked territories come into play, disputes are going to happen. At times, these disputes can result in catfights.

two cats fighting
Image Credit; Vshivkova, Shutterstock

Some Cats Are Aggressive

As with any animal, and in the human world, some cats are naturally more aggressive than others. Cats with this attitude may provoke more fights than the average house cat. You’ll also notice that male cats who haven’t been neutered are more prone to fighting and aggression if female cats are in the vicinity.


Play fighting is a fun way for cats to get exercise and hone their skills. Normally, when this is taking place, cats don’t extend their claws and don’t intend on inflicting injury. However, there are times when play fighting can escalate to real fighting.

cat fight
Image Credit: rihaij, Pixabay

Motherly Instincts

Momma cats will be protective of their kittens. If you have a mother cat in your home, and other cats try to approach the kittens, she will instinctively hiss and growl to make the other cat stay away. If this doesn’t work, the mother cat may become aggressive which can result in a catfight.

What Is a Catfight?

Most people perceive a catfight as coming to physical blows. However, that isn’t always the case. When cats are hissing, slapping but not making contact, and even posturing aggressively toward one another, this can be seen as a catfight. If the less dominant cat doesn’t succumb and step away during this escalation, physical altercations begin. This is when the claws will come out and blows will be shared.

While this can be frightening for you and others in the house, there is normally no need to panic. Cats are engineered to survive. This means they don’t want to suffer major injuries that may result in the inability to care for themselves. To avoid this, cats will walk away from one another before things get too out of control.

two cats fighting
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Should I Be Concerned If My Cats Fight?

While most fights rectify themselves, your cat may become injured during the altercation. Sadly, these kinds of altercations can lead to death in some cases as a cat’s claws and mouth contain bacteria that can cause infections and serious problems. If your cat has been in a fight with another cat in your home, or a cat in the neighborhood, cleaning and proper treatment are required.

Watch for these signs in your cat that they need attention after a fight:

  • Puncture marks
  • Open wounds
  • Swelling
  • Hot spots
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

How to Stop or Prevent Catfights Around the House

While it may not happen often, having cats that fight around the house can be dangerous. Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure your kitties aren’t injured and help squash the aggression between them.

Break It Up

Taking the approach of letting your cats work things out on their own isn’t the best thing to do. Instead, as a responsible pet owner, you need to intervene. While we don’t promote physically getting involved, making loud noises or introducing treats to catch your cat’s attention may be the answer.

cats fighting at the field
Image By: rihaij, Pixabay

Make Sure Their Needs Are Met

Having multiple cats around the house means you need more resources for them to access. As we mentioned, cats are territorial and like having their own things. According to the number of kitties in the house, you should have multiple litter boxes. It’s also best to provide your kitties with separate feeding and watering stations.

Get Your Cats Spayed and Neutered

Spaying and neutering your cats can lower the chances of cat fights happening around the house. This is especially true if you have male cats at home. When your cat is at the appropriate age, reach out to your veterinarian to discuss this option.

neutered cat sleeping
Image By: ozanuysal, Shutterstock

Reward Your Kitties When They Behave Accordingly

Cats love food. When you see them being nice to one another or de-escalating situations on their own, offer them a reward. Treats and praise are ideal ways to do this and promote good behavior.

Enrichment Helps

Providing your cats with cat trees, perches, their own beds, and lots of toys can make things easier at home. If cats are well stimulated, they will fight less, and it’s better for their health.

Reach Out for Help

If you’ve tried everything you can think of and your cats are still fighting, you may need to speak to a cat behaviorist. They will give you advice, or even come by your home to work with your cats and try to ease the tensions.

stray cat with infections ear discharge and wound
Image By: RJ22, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

While cats don’t normally fight to the death, injuries can be a result. Luckily, catfights, although they may look bad, aren’t typically that bad. If you have cats at home and want to avoid unnecessary confrontations, try implementing a few of the suggestions we’ve shared here. Your kitties may never be best friends, but perhaps they can co-exist happily in the same home.

Featured Image Credit: Samarskiy, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets