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Several questions have addressed how to get cats to get along together.

Each of these situations has the potential to create a fight between the cats. While the fight is happening, what is the best way for me to react? Should I stop the fight (if so, how) or let it go on, and how can I tell the difference?

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Should I Stop The Fight?

Sometimes cats play fight, and a little squabbling is normal to establish territorial dominance. Signs of a serious cat fight that should be interrupted:

  • Blood on one/both of the cats
  • Growling (aggression), hissing (fear/aggression), or yowling (pain/fear)
  • Puffed out fur (especially on the tail) indicates that the cat is trying to make himself appear bigger and is a sign of serious aggression or fear
  • Ears laid back against the skull (if the ears are upright and pointed the cat is relaxed and happy)

How Do I Stop The Fight?

The most important thing is to not go near a pair of fighting cats. You risk injury to yourself, the cats, and the cats may associate you with the fight and loose their trust in you.

The best way to stop a cat fight is to distract them and interrupt the fight. From a hidden position (you don't want them to associate the distraction with you), create a loud noise (like bang some pots or clap your hands). Often this noise will startle the cats for a few seconds, allowing the victim cat to flee.

Occasionally you'll need to interrupt the aggressor cat's sight of the victim cat in order to allow the victim cat time to get to a safe location. This should be done with a towel, pillowcase, or piece of cardboard so that you remain safe and somewhat removed from the situation.

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  • Worth noting - puffed out fur occurs also in the plays (I call it "side tail"). One should always check the ears position. – Ister Jun 11 '18 at 7:54
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I've had issues off and on with cat aggression. I've never had truly serious fights with the cats I've owned (they aren't drawing blood) -but- typically one cat is taking things too seriously.

In one case a cat of mine (Maggie) would try to intimidate the other cats, I could tell she didn't actually want to fight she just wanted to frighten off the other cats without doing any combat. Most of my cats figured out she was a "paper tiger" and started asserting their rights (which caused her to stop pushing on them).

Another of my cats (Mufah) is very playful and naturally finds the cat who is frightened of her to be a fun plaything to chase. In both cases the real problem is one of my cats (Pounce de Leon) took the other cat too seriously and was vulnerable and frightened.

While these aren't "serious" fights I don't like seeing any of my cats distressed and I do inject myself when things get out of hand. These days I'll yell or clap my hands to stop things in the early phase, if that doesn't work I will pull the aggressor away and possibly tap them on the nose (they don't like it but it does no damage) with my finger. It does reduce the enthusiasm of the bully. I try to make Pounce more confident so she won't be a target, I've been giving her chew treats that are supposed to reduce anxiety, and trying to encourage her a lot.

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  • Injecting yourself too often won't make the trick. The cats will go back to the behaviour while you're not in sight. On the other hand we're poor at recognising cats' emotions unless we really train ourselves. We might consider something a deadly fight while it's a normal play or a hierarchy setting that is also required and should go undisturbed (even though sometimes seems harsh and some fur remain in the air afterwards). As for the "paper tiger" - cats really tend to avoid physical conflicts. They'll try to scare the opponent and often give up if that fails. This way they avoid wounds ;-) – Ister Jun 11 '18 at 7:51

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