The Dos and Don’ts of Breaking Up a Cat Fight
By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance
One evening last spring as I was leaving the house, my dog barked and scared my indoor cat Luisa outside where she came face-to-face with the neighbor’s cat. They both frizzed out and started yowling, and I knew I needed to stop the fight before it started.
I grabbed Luisa by the scruff with my right hand and planned to put her back into the house, but before I could, she turned her head and chomped down on my left hand. The next morning, I found myself in urgent care with a painfully swollen hand and a doctor who wanted me to go to the ER for intravenous antibiotics.
Most cat owners know the feeling: you find your cat face-to-face with a strange feline and the fur is about to fly. While having cat insurance can help alleviate vet bills if your cat is injured, in that crucial moment, you need to know what to do and what not to do in order to avoid a serious cat fight with potentially dire cat health implications.
DO remember that cats will make lots of noise before they’re actually fighting. All that caterwauling serves as a warning to get the other cat to back off before a physical fight starts. This phase will usually buy you some time to follow the tips below.
DO get all other pets and kids out of the area and prevent them from coming to see the action. If you have a dog, make sure it’s safely inside and close the doors so other pets can’t come out to investigate.
DON’T reach for the cats – not even your own. You absolutely will not be successful trying to swat them or break up a fight with your bare hands.
DO grab the nearest squirt bottle, water gun, watering can or hose. A good dose of water will separate most cats within a few seconds. Even if you have to run back into the house to get a pot of water, it’s probably the most surefire way to stop a cat fight.
DON’T hit the animals. Cat health can be seriously jeopardized with even the slightest whap of a stick or broom.
DON’T try to pick up your cat even when you think the fight is over – your cat will still be agitated and feeling defensive. If you absolutely must move her, grab a thick blanket, gently toss it over your cat and calmly carry her back into your house. The familiar scent and darkness created by the blanket will help calm her down.
DO check your cat carefully once she’s calmed down, and seek veterinary care if any contact was made between the two cats or if you see any injuries. Pet insurance for cats can help defray the costs of veterinary expenses due to cat fights.
DO consider spaying or neutering your cat if you haven’t already. Altered cats are less likely to be territorial and are less likely to roam and get into fights on other cats’ turf. Routine care coverage added to your pet insurance plan can often help pay for spaying and neutering.
Most cat fights only last a few seconds, yet can feel like an eternity when you’re standing there helpless. Keep these tips in mind and you could help avert disaster the next time your cat comes face-to-face with another.