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Why do my cats lick each other then fight?

As a cat owner, have you ever observed your feline friends licking each other only to end up in a brawl? It’s a puzzling behaviour that might seem contradictory, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Many people assume that cats lick each other as an act of love or affection. While that may be true sometimes, it’s not always the case. Grooming is an essential part of a cat’s socialisation process as they rely heavily on their sense of smell to identify and exchange scents. Additionally, grooming helps keep their fur clean and healthy.

However, grooming sessions can quickly turn sour due to cats’ territorial tendencies. One cat might feel like their personal space is being invaded, resulting in agitation and annoyance. Without proper intervention, this could escalate into a full-blown fight.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the reasons why cats lick each other and then fight, the significance of grooming for felines, and how to manage aggressive behaviour between cats. So buckle up and join us on this exciting journey into the world of feline behaviour.

What is Allogrooming?

This behavior is called allogrooming, and it’s an essential part of their social behavior. During allogrooming, one cat will lick, nibble, or groom another cat to clean its fur and exchange scents.

Allogrooming is a common behavior among cats that live together, and it’s a sign of affection and bonding. It helps establish their social hierarchy and build trust between them. However, if one cat is not interested in being groomed by another cat, it may lead to aggression or a fight.

As a cat owner, it’s vital to monitor your cats’ interactions to ensure that they don’t escalate into fights or injuries. You should also make sure that both cats are comfortable with the grooming behavior and that it doesn’t cause stress or anxiety. It’s important to remember that cats are individuals and have different preferences and personalities.

Moreover, allogrooming can also be a way for cats to show dominance over each other. In some cases, if one cat feels threatened or challenged during grooming behavior, it may result in aggression or fighting.

If you notice any unusual behavior between your cats, it’s crucial to seek veterinary advice to rule out any underlying medical issues. Cats tend to hide their pain, and if one cat is experiencing discomfort or pain while being groomed, they may lash out at the other cat.

Reasons Why Cats Lick Each Other Then Fight

When it comes to cats, licking is a common behavior that serves a variety of purposes. One of these purposes is grooming, as cats use their tongues to clean themselves and other cats. However, sometimes licking can lead to fighting, leaving cat owners wondering why this behavior occurs.

One reason why cats may lick each other before fighting is due to the scent. Cats have scent glands all over their bodies, and licking is a way for them to spread their scent onto the other cat. This can help establish dominance or territory, which can ultimately lead to aggressive behavior.

Additionally, cats may lick each other as a way of showing affection or bonding. However, if one cat becomes overwhelmed or uncomfortable with the amount of attention they are receiving, they may lash out and start a fight. As a cat owner, it’s important to recognize your cats’ boundaries and intervene if necessary to prevent any potential fights.

Another reason for licking followed by fighting may be due to the social hierarchy within the cat group. In multi-cat households, there is often a dominant cat who may not appreciate excessive grooming from a subordinate cat. The dominant cat may tolerate some grooming but will then signal that it’s enough through body language or vocalizations, resulting in a fight. Providing each cat with their own space and resources can help reduce tension and prevent fights from escalating.

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It’s also important to note that sometimes licking can be a precursor to play-fighting rather than actual aggression. Cats use play-fighting as a way to practice hunting skills and establish boundaries with their feline companions. However, as a cat owner, it’s essential to monitor their behavior and intervene if necessary to prevent any serious injuries.

Lastly, cats may lick each other then fight due to overstimulation. When one cat licks another for too long, it can become uncomfortable and irritating, leading the licked cat to become agitated and potentially aggressive. This is especially common in cats who have a history of sensitivity or aggression. As a cat owner, it’s important to recognize when your cats have had enough grooming and redirect their attention to something else.

Personal Preferences

This behavior can be perplexing, but it is important to comprehend that personal preferences play an influential role in their interactions.

Just like humans, cats have distinct personalities and preferences. Some cats enjoy grooming each other as a way of bonding, whereas others may not appreciate it at all. If one cat persists in grooming or licking the other cat, it can lead to conflicts and aggression, which can be dangerous for both felines.

To avoid such conflicts and strengthen the bond between your cats, understanding their personalities and preferences is crucial. Here are some sub-topics to consider:

  • Observe their behavior: Keeping an eye on your cats’ behavior towards each other is essential. If one cat is frequently grooming the other, which leads to conflicts, try separating them for a while and see if their behavior changes.
  • Provide separate resources: To avoid competition and potential conflict, provide each cat with their own space and resources such as food bowls, litter boxes, and beds.
  • Respect their boundaries: Cats have their own boundaries, and it is important to respect them. If one cat doesn’t like being groomed or licked by the other, respect their wishes and intervene if necessary to prevent serious injuries.
  • Bonding activities: Engage your cats in activities that they both enjoy, such as playing with toys or cuddling together. This can enhance their bond and prevent conflicts.

Underlying Medical Issues

As a feline aficionado, I’ve come to realize that cats are complex creatures with unique personalities and preferences. However, sometimes these differences can lead to conflicts and aggression, especially when it comes to licking each other and fighting. But did you know that underlying medical issues could be contributing to this behavior? Let’s explore the potential causes.

Skin conditions such as allergies or fleas can cause discomfort and itchiness, leading to excessive grooming and licking between cats. A cat suffering from a skin condition may become agitated and lash out at their feline friend if they continue to be licked. Dental problems can also contribute to this behavior, as a cat with tooth decay or gum disease may experience pain and irritation when their companion licks them with their rough tongue.

Hormonal imbalances can also play a significant role in cats licking each other and then fighting. For example, when a female cat is in heat, she may become overly affectionate towards other cats and lick them excessively. However, if the other cat is not interested in mating with her, he may become irritated and aggressive towards her advances.

It’s crucial to consider these underlying medical issues if you notice your cats licking each other and fighting. Consulting with a veterinarian can help rule out any potential health concerns and provide necessary treatment. In addition, providing separate resources such as litter boxes, food bowls, and beds can help minimize tension between your feline friends.

Respecting their boundaries and engaging them in bonding activities such as playing with toys or cuddling can also help alleviate any aggression or tension between them.


Even the sweetest cats can turn into hissing, scratching machines if they feel their territory is being threatened. But why is this behavior so common in cats? Well, it all comes down to their instinctive nature.

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Cats are territorial creatures, marking their space with scent and physical markers to establish ownership over their belongings and surroundings. This can include anything from your lap to their food bowl. So, when another cat or even a human enters their personal space or threatens their possessions, it triggers their territorial instincts and can lead to aggressive behavior.

One of the most common signs of territorial aggression is when cats groom each other, only for it to quickly turn into a fight. Grooming is a sign of affection and bonding between cats. However, when one cat feels like their territory or personal space is being invaded, the grooming can quickly escalate into a fight.

So, what can you do to prevent these fights from happening? The key is to provide each cat with enough space and resources so that they don’t feel the need to compete with each other. This means separate food bowls, litter boxes, and sleeping areas for each cat. By eliminating any competition over resources, you remove triggers for territorial aggression.

Another way to reduce territorial aggression is to slowly introduce new cats into the household. This process should be done gradually and carefully to allow each cat to become familiar with the new addition without feeling threatened or anxious. It’s also important to monitor the cats’ behavior during this time and intervene if any signs of aggression occur.

Social Hierarchy Issues

Unfortunately, social hierarchy issues can pose a significant problem for felines living in multi-cat households. As an expert in this area, I have some valuable insights to share with you.

Cats are territorial creatures that prefer to have their own space and control over it. This means that when two cats live together, they may establish a hierarchy to determine who is in charge. The dominant cat will have priority access to resources like food, water, toys, and sleeping spots. However, this can cause tension and conflict between cats as they compete for resources and try to establish their position in the household.

One way that dominant cats show their superiority is by grooming subordinate cats. Grooming is generally a sign of respect and submission. However, this behavior can escalate into aggression if the submissive cat feels threatened or uncomfortable with the grooming behavior. This is why it’s essential to monitor your cats’ behavior and intervene if necessary when you notice any signs of aggression or tension between them.

Furthermore, any change in the living situation, such as introducing a new cat or moving to a new home, can disrupt the established hierarchy. This can cause tension and conflict between cats as they try to establish their new position in the household. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide each cat with its resources like food bowls, litter boxes, and sleeping areas to help reduce conflict and establish harmony in multi-cat households.

Observing Your Cats Closely and Seeking Veterinary Advice

One scenario that can leave you puzzled is when your cats start licking each other only to end up in a fight. But fear not, as an expert in feline behavior, I’m here to help you understand this issue.

To begin with, observing your cats closely is key to understanding their behavior. Pay attention to their body language and vocalizations when they’re interacting with each other. If you notice that your cats are frequently fighting after licking each other, it could be a sign of an underlying issue.

Licking is a common behavior among cats and can serve various purposes. It can be a way for cats to show affection or establish dominance, but it can also be a sign of stress or anxiety. If your cats are fighting after licking each other, it’s crucial to seek veterinary advice. A veterinarian can examine your cats and rule out any medical conditions that may be causing the behavior. They may also be able to provide behavioral advice or recommend a cat behaviorist.

Apart from seeking veterinary advice, it’s important to provide your cats with a comfortable and stress-free environment. This includes offering them plenty of toys, hiding spots, and scratching posts. Separating your cats if their interactions become too aggressive can also be helpful.

To summarize, observing your cats closely and seeking veterinary advice are essential steps in understanding why your cats lick each other then fight. By addressing any underlying medical or behavioral issues and providing a comfortable environment for your cats, you can help reduce the likelihood of aggressive behavior between them.

How to Prevent Fighting Between Cats?

Cats can be territorial creatures and may engage in fighting from time to time. To prevent this behavior, cat owners should take certain measures to ensure their cats are happy and comfortable in their environment.

The first step in preventing fighting between cats is to provide them with their own space and resources. This includes food and water bowls, litter boxes, and sleeping areas. By having separate resources, cats can avoid competition and potential territorial disputes. Additionally, cat owners should ensure there are enough resources for all the cats in the household.

Gradual introduction of new cats into the household is another effective way to prevent fighting. It is crucial to keep the new cat in a separate room for a few days before introducing them to the other cats. During the introduction process, it is important to supervise their interactions and separate them if any signs of aggression are displayed.

To keep cats mentally and physically stimulated, providing plenty of toys and playtime for each cat can also help prevent fighting. Interactive toys such as feather wands or laser pointers can be used to stimulate play and redirect any potential aggression towards an appropriate target. Additionally, providing scratching posts and other outlets for natural feline behaviors can help redirect any potential aggression.

It is important for cat owners to remain calm and avoid punishing their cats if they do fight. Punishment can escalate the situation and cause more tension between the cats. Instead, owners should focus on positive reinforcement techniques such as rewarding good behavior with treats or praise.

If all preventive measures fail, it may be necessary to seek professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist. They can provide further guidance on managing aggressive behavior between cats and develop a personalized plan for your specific situation.

Signs that One Cat is Uncomfortable with Grooming

When it comes to grooming, some cats may be less than thrilled about the idea. It’s essential to understand when your cat is uncomfortable with grooming, as it can help prevent potential conflicts or problems down the line.

The most obvious sign that your cat is uncomfortable with grooming is hissing or growling in response to your attempts to brush them. This behavior indicates that they feel threatened or stressed by the situation. Similarly, if your cat swats at you or bites when you try to groom them, it’s a clear indication that they’re not enjoying the experience.

Another sign that your cat is uncomfortable with grooming is if they become excessively fidgety or try to escape from your grasp. If your cat seems particularly agitated during grooming sessions, it may be a sign that they need a break or that you need to adjust your approach.

In addition to these overt signs of discomfort, there are also more subtle signals that your cat may give off. For instance, they may start licking their lips nervously or flatten their ears against their head. They may also show signs of tension in their body language, such as hunching their shoulders or tensing their muscles.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to take a break and give your kitty some space and time to relax. You may also want to try a different approach – for example, using a different type of brush or comb that your cat finds less abrasive. Remember – grooming should be a positive experience for both you and your cat.

What to Do if Your Cats Start Fighting?

Cats can be unpredictable creatures, and as much as we love them, they can sometimes get into fights with each other. As a cat owner, it’s important to know how to handle these situations to prevent any injuries or long-term aggression between your cats. Here are five steps you can take if your cats start fighting:

Stay Calm

The first thing you should do when you see your cats fighting is to remain calm. It’s understandable to become worried, but loud noises or sudden movements can only escalate the situation and make the cats more aggressive. Approach the situation with a level head.

Separate Them

After staying calm, the next step is to separate the cats. You can use a broomstick, a blanket, or any object that can create some distance between them without getting hurt. Avoid using your hands to break up the fight as this may result in injury to both you and your cats.

Give Them Space

Once you’ve separated the cats, give them some space and time to calm down. It’s best to keep them in separate rooms for a few hours or until they have relaxed. This will help prevent any further aggression between them.

Identify the Cause

Understanding why your cats are fighting is crucial in preventing future fights. Cats may fight due to territorial aggression, redirected aggression, fear aggression, or play aggression. Identifying the cause of their aggression can help you find a solution.

Seek Veterinary Help

If your cats continue to fight even after separating them, it’s essential to seek veterinary help. Your veterinarian may prescribe medication or suggest behavior modification techniques to help ease their aggression. This can also help prevent future fights between your furry friends.

Preventing cat fights is also important. One way to prevent fights is by providing each cat with their own resources such as food bowls, litter boxes, and beds. This helps prevent competition between the cats and reduces the likelihood of fights occurring.

How to Encourage Positive Interactions between Cats?

Cats are amazing creatures, but they can be quite territorial and possessive. Introducing a new cat into your home can be challenging and requires patience, understanding, and proper techniques. The good news is that there are several ways to encourage positive interactions between cats.

Provide Enough Space and Resources

Cats love having their personal space and resources, including food, water, litter boxes, and toys. Make sure each cat has their own set of resources to prevent competition and reduce the likelihood of aggression. Having multiple litter boxes, feeding stations, and comfortable sleeping areas throughout your home can make your cats feel more comfortable.

Gradual Introductions

Introducing cats can be stressful for both you and your furry friends. Gradual introductions are key to encouraging positive interactions between cats. Start by introducing them through a closed door, allowing them to sniff each other under the door. Once they seem comfortable with each other’s scent, you can allow supervised face-to-face interactions. Keep these interactions short at first and gradually increase the amount of time they spend together.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is crucial in encouraging positive interactions between cats. Reward good behavior with treats or praise. Avoid punishing bad behavior as this can cause fear and anxiety in your cats. Instead, redirect their behavior to a more positive activity.

Discourage Aggressive Behavior

Cats may engage in play fighting, which is normal and healthy, but it’s important to intervene if things start to escalate into real fighting. This can include hissing, growling, or biting. In these situations, it’s best to separate the cats and give them a break from each other.

Provide Stimulation and Play Opportunities

Providing plenty of stimulation and play opportunities can help reduce tension between cats. Cats love toys that simulate prey, such as feather wands or laser pointers. Providing vertical space, such as cat trees or shelves, can also give cats a place to climb and play without getting in each other’s way.


After researching and analyzing cat behavior, it’s clear that licking and fighting are both natural instincts for felines.

Licking is a way for cats to bond and show affection, while fighting can be a result of territorial disputes or simply playfulness. It’s important to monitor your cats’ interactions and intervene if necessary to prevent any serious harm.

Additionally, providing enough resources such as food bowls, litter boxes, and sleeping areas can reduce competition between cats and minimize the likelihood of fights breaking out.