Aggressive behavior that commonly occurs between cats is often based on territorial reasons rather than matters of hierarchy. With back arched, tail bristling, dilated pupils, and much spitting and hissing, the sight of an aroused cat can be quite a daunting one.
Under normal circumstances, cats are usually fairly tolerant of one another; any disputes are often mild and quickly resolved without too much fuss. However, when two large, intact toms, equally matched, have a spat concerning territorial behavior, the fighting can be fierce and destructive for both parties. The fighting may also occur over mating rights with any available Queen (female cat).
For Queens, maternal aggression may occur when the mother cat defends her young against another too inquisitive cat. This style of defensive behavior seems entirely appropriate and healthy in order to assure the safety and well-being of the kittens.
In multi-cat households, aggression at feeding time can be a common problem. A cat may lash out at and intimidate another cat if it thinks that it may be missing out on its share of sustenance. A pattern of attack can often be observed where one animal picks on the same victim each time.
Aggressive behavior between kittens from the same litter sometimes occurs yet some of it is play fighting or mock aggression where each one attempts to assert its independence. At 14 weeks of age the fighting often becomes more serious and the bonds of kitten-hood are soon broken; serious injury is comparatively rare however.
Because of their razor-sharp teeth and claws as well as lightning quick reflexes, aggressive behavior between cats can result in injuries, yet cats from the same household will still attack another member from time to time. The introduction of a new cat into the house can be a trigger for upsets and fights. The aggression displayed is often fear-based and may seem out-of-character for some normally placid felines.
Although it may not be pleasant to witness, a good old-fashioned cat fight is bound to happen from time to time so be prepared!
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