Why do cats slap each other?

May 3, 2022

While chickens work out a “pecking order,” many cats slap each other to establish a social rank. But that’s not the only reason. They may be playing, or fighting, or just communicating with each other. It’s hard to tell, because cats can be inscrutable, reports Animal Path.

To distinguish between the different reasons for slapping, you need to look at the context and your pets’ body language. 

Initiating playtime: Cats can initiate playtime by slapping each other. Think of slapping as an invitation to play. If you watch the body language of the cats involved, you will see that there are no signs of aggression. The claws are retracted and nobody is making hissing or screeching noises.

You might not notice it, but your cat also does the same thing when he wants to get your attention, whether to ask for something or to play.

In such a scenario, there is no pressing need to intervene. Allow your cats to slap each other, run around, and have a good time.

Reinforcing social rank: Many people think of cats as solitary creatures, much like some big cats. However, cats are social creatures that form bonds with their parents, siblings, or even non-relatives if they are introduced correctly.

If two cats have not yet bonded, they will not groom or play with one another.

In an ideal scenario, all of your cats share an equal rank within their group. But just like in a pack of dogs, some cats emerge as the dominant ones.

A cat can assert his dominance over another cat by slapping him. While this is nothing close to a real fight, it should be a cause for concern for you. Tolerating signs of dominance can lead to full-blown aggression which can be stressful to your cats and you.

Fighting: One time you see your cats getting along just fine and then you suddenly hear a commotion between the two—with both cats testing each other by attempting to slap the other one.

Real fighting is vastly different from play fighting. You will see that when two cats are locked in actual combat, the claws are unsheathed, ready and waiting for the opportunity to attack the other one. The ears are pulled flat to the back of the head while the two aggressively meow at one another.

Generally, cats try to avoid fights. But when backed into a corner, even a timid cat will not shy away from defending itself by getting into a fight with another feline.

 Illness: A cat may slap your other pet and show uncharacteristically aggressive behavior if he is suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition. When a feline is in pain, he may not be as receptive to invitations to play. He may also be irritable in the presence of other members of your household.

Slapping an object: Cats may play with objects by slapping them, especially toys. His action simply means that he is enjoying playing with you and his toys. However, take note that cats can get bored with their toys. This is why it is important to rotate your pet’s toys from time to time.

Should you worry if your cats slap each other? Should you be concerned if your two cats slap each other? There is no definitive answer to this question. You will need to consider how each cat behaves, watching for signs of aggression and ill intent. Allow your pets to play with each other but be ready to intervene if things begin to get out of hand

Research contact: @animalpathorg