two cats play fighting

Why Do Cats Lick Each Other Then Fight?

Last Updated on July 30, 2023 by admin

Cats often groom each other as a sign of affection and to show their bond. When cats groom each other, they are also loosening knots and dirt from the fur. Sometimes, this gentle process can lead to a playful fight as cats let out pent-up aggression and have fun. Cat anxiety can also be a factor in cats licking each other excessively, which can lead to a fight. It is important to remember that this type of fight is not a sign of dominance, mating behavior, or acting territorial.


Territorial Behavior

Cats groom each other for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common reasons is territorial behavior. Cats living in multi-cat households often display this behavior, especially when they first meet and are still getting used to each other. In addition to establishing their turf, they also use grooming to show their affection towards each other. By licking each other, cats can bond and develop a strong relationship with one another. However, it is not uncommon for cats to also fight after grooming each other. This is simply a result of cats letting out pent-up aggression and having fun with one another. The fighting does not necessarily mean that the cats are asserting dominance or mating, but it can sometimes be a sign of anxiety if one cat is constantly being targeted by the other. Nonetheless, cats typically receive more grooming from cats who are aggressive towards them.

Should I Let My Cats Lick Each Other?

Yes, you should generally allow your cats to lick each other. Cats grooming each other is a natural behavior that serves as a means of social bonding and maintaining cleanliness. Mutual grooming is a sign of trust and affection, and it helps to strengthen the bond between cats living together. Cats have rough tongues that act as natural brushes, removing dirt, debris, and loose hair from each other’s fur. This grooming process also helps to distribute natural oils, keeping their fur clean and healthy. Moreover, mutual grooming can help reduce stress and anxiety in cats. As long as the licking is not aggressive or causing harm, it is generally safe for cats to engage in this behavior. However, it is important to monitor excessive licking or grooming, as it could be a sign of underlying health issues. Additionally, ensuring that your cats are up to date on vaccinations and parasite prevention is crucial to prevent the spread of diseases through grooming. If one cat appears uncomfortable with being licked by another, it is important to intervene and provide separate spaces or distractions to prevent any potential conflicts.

Why Do Cats Sometimes Lick Each Other?

Cats sometimes lick each other as a form of social bonding and grooming. This behavior helps to strengthen the bond between cats and promotes a sense of belonging within their social group. Additionally, grooming each other allows for the distribution of natural oils throughout their fur, keeping it clean and healthy. Licking can also be a sign of affection, as cats use it to show care and comfort to one another. It can also serve as a way for cats to establish hierarchy within their group, with dominant cats often initiating grooming sessions. Furthermore, licking can help cats alleviate stress or anxiety, as it releases endorphins and provides a calming effect. However, excessive licking or grooming may indicate underlying health issues or behavioral problems and should be monitored.

Do Cats Lick Each Other for Dominance?

No, cats do not lick each other for dominance. While cats may engage in allogrooming, which is a social behavior where they lick each other, it is not primarily for establishing dominance. Allogrooming serves as a means of socialization and stress reduction among cats. In a multi-cat household, the dominant cat may lick the less dominant cat as a way to maintain peace and reduce tension. However, it is important to note that cats do not have a strict social hierarchy, so licking each other does not necessarily indicate dominance. It is possible for cats to engage in allogrooming and then engage in fights due to various factors, such as territorial disputes or redirected aggression. Therefore, it is more accurate to view allogrooming as a social behavior aimed at building relationships and reducing stress rather than establishing dominance.

Why Does My Cat Lick My Other Cat Before Fighting?

Cats may lick each other before fighting as a form of communication or to establish dominance. This behavior allows them to exchange scents and gather information about each other, helping them assess their opponent’s strength and readiness. Additionally, cats engage in social grooming, which includes licking, as a way to maintain social bonds within a group. However, it is important to note that licking before fighting does not necessarily indicate a friendly or enjoyable relationship between the cats. Rather, it serves as a means of communication and preparation for the impending fight.

What Does It Mean When Cat Licks Another Cats Head?

When a cat licks another cat’s head, it is engaging in a behavior known as “allogrooming.” This behavior is a sign of affection, trust, and bonding between cats. It is a way for cats to strengthen their social bonds and establish a sense of camaraderie within their group. The cat receiving the grooming behavior is usually cooperative and will tilt or rotate its head to grant access to the groomer. Allogrooming is not limited to cats and is observed in all “social” animals, including primates. Overall, when a cat licks another cat’s head, it signifies a positive social interaction and a sense of closeness between the two cats.

Getting Used to Each Other

It can also be a sign of cats getting used to each other. If two cats are unfamiliar with each other, they may engage in social grooming as a way to get to know each other. This form of grooming is less aggressive than when cats are bonding or asserting dominance. It is usually a gentle and sweet display of affection, with cats licking and biting each other and cleaning the fur of the other cat. Social grooming serves as a way for cats to make friends and build trust. It can be an important step in getting two cats to become comfortable with one another.

Bonding Through Grooming

Cats also groom each other as a way of forming a bond between them. Cats that are bonded will often show displays of affection towards each other, such as licking and biting. This is especially true if two cats come from the same litter, as this tightens the bond between family members. Although there may be some biting involved in the grooming process, it doesn’t mean that the cats don’t like each other. It’s more likely that one cat is trying to remove debris from the other’s fur. Allogrooming stops when one of the cats moves away, fights, or flees, rather than a sign of dislike for each other. This is why cats that are bonded will often groom each other, as it is a sign of both affection and trust.

Letting out Aggression

Cats are complex creatures and it’s not uncommon for them to groom each other before getting into a fight. This seemingly aggressive play involves kicking, biting and slapping, but more often than not, it’s just cats letting out pent-up aggression and having some fun with each other. Though it can become aggressive behavior and lead to physical fights, cats engaging in this behavior are usually just trying to express themselves and have a good time.

Cat Anxiety

Cat anxiety is another reason felines can lick each other continuously. When done to excess, this may cause a fight. If your kitty is anxious, stressed or generally out of sorts, then they will lick themselves for comfort. The actions relax them and likely help to ease the anxious feelings they may be experiencing. When cats groom each other and then fight, it is not a sign of dominance, mating behavior, or acting territorial—and the “fighting” might actually be nothing more than an attempt to alleviate the tension that has built up out of anxiousness.

Asserting Dominance

When cats are asserting dominance, they may start to groom each other. This is a sign of dominance and it can also lead to fights. Cats who are more dominant than other cats will display some specific behaviors depending on the situation they are in. Dominance in cats can be expressed through body language, vocalizations, and even grooming. So, if your cats start to groom each other and then fight, it could be a sign that one of them is trying to assert their dominance.

Matriarchal Role

In addition to the role of communication and establishing trust, cats may also use grooming as a way to establish a matriarchal role. Studies show that female cats have higher levels of alloparental care, meaning they are more likely to groom and nurture their kittens than male cats. This is because, historically, female cats have been more nurturing and caring towards their offspring. Female cats have even been known to cuddle each other, which is another way they demonstrate affection and solidarity with one another. This behavior is often seen in the wild, with the females forming coalitions to protect themselves and their young. Ultimately, the matriarchal role that female cats tend to take on serves as an important part of the social hierarchy within a cat colony.

Nothing to Do with Gender

Despite what many people might think, the reason why cats lick each other then fight has nothing to do with gender. The “king/queen” of the cat colony will often bathe the other cats to show that they are in charge, and this is a sign of dominance. This is different from bonding through grooming, which is usually a sign of friendship. Some cats will also lick each other as a sign of mating or territorial behavior. Whatever the reason for it, it is important to remember that cats licking each other does not necessarily have to be a sign of aggression—it can also be just a way for cats to communicate with each other.

Communicating with Each Other

Cats use a variety of methods to communicate with each other, including body language and vocalizations. One of the most common ways cats communicate is through grooming. Cats groom each other to show their bond and comfort level with one another, as well as to release underlying aggression. This type of grooming is often seen in alpha cats who take on a matriarchal role, and it’s also seen in cats who are trying to assert their dominance or territory. In addition to demonstrating their bond, cats might groom each other to let out aggression or anxiety. In general, cats who groom each other are likely comfortable with each other and the behavior is nothing to do with gender or mating.

Sign of Dominance, Mating, or Territorial Behavior

Sometimes, the behavior of cats licking each other can be a sign of dominance, mating, or territorial behavior. Research has found that cats are very aware of their social order and are often trying to establish or maintain their position within the hierarchy. Cats may groom each other when they meet for the first time as a way to get comfortable with each other, but if one cat is higher-ranking, they may use grooming as a way to assert their dominance. Cats may also groom as a sign of mating behavior or as a way to mark their territory. Grooming is not only a way for cats to show affection and bond with each other but a way for them to communicate with each other.