Is it a joke or is it serious? Scientists Discover Why Cats “Fight”

Is it a joke or is it serious?  Scientists Discover Why Cats "Fight"

If you have a sibling, you’ve probably heard that “playing hands never works out”. But what about playing… with paws? In a study published last Thursday (26) in the journal Scientific Reports, a team of researchers shared their findings after analyzing several videos of kittens hitting each other.

  • How do cats manage to get into such small spaces?
  • How long does a cat live?

In all, the team analyzed 105 videos of interactions between 210 cats, and based on that, created a list of specific behaviors present in these records, divided into six categories:

  • Inactivity: head and body immobile and in a specific position, e.g. squatting
  • Fighting: Cats in physical contact with fighting moves
  • Pursuit: a cat runs in pursuit or another cat runs away
  • Interaction: e.g. grooming, approaching
  • No Interaction: Activity directed at oneself or an inanimate object, e.g., licking oneself
  • Vocalization: growl, hiss, meow

Based on this, the researchers separated the videos into three categories of interactions: play, which included 40% of the cats in the videos, with the right to “little fights” without vocalization; agonistic, which contemplates social behaviors that include threat and aggression and submission (32% of the cats in the sample); and intermediate (28% of cats), in which they interacted for prolonged periods with pauses between them.

Is it a joke or is it a fight?

The Reviews allowed us to discover that: if your cats are fighting, they are probably playing. When there is friction between cats in a multi-cat household, they tend to avoid physical contact. Instead, they use offensive or defensive maneuvers that don’t involve prolonged direct contact, such as slaps.

However, if your cats are vocalizing and chasing each other between periods of inactivity (such as crouching), they are likely fighting. Chasing is fine if it’s mutual, but if only one cat is chasing or running away, it could be a sign to be on the lookout.

However, the group itself recognizes that cats can be quite subtle, using facial expressions and even pheromones to communicate. These subtle signals can be equally important in differentiating between a prank and a fight. Experts caution that tension between cats isn’t always obvious, but it can affect their physical and mental health. This indicates the need for further behavioral studies.

Source: Scientific Reports via Interesting Engineering