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Cats Playing with Cats: A Look into Feline Social Behavior


Cats Playing with Cats: A Look into Feline Social Behavior



Cats are often portrayed as solitary creatures who like their independence. I know this well, having one solitary cat and raising him since he was a kitten. But cats, especially those related or raised together, are pretty social, and most enjoy playing with other cats. I know this well, too, having had two other cats together. This post is all about cats playing with cats.

Feline play involves mock hunting, chasing, wrestling, and more. Here is an in-depth look at the different types of play cats engage in together and why this social activity is important.

Common Types of Social Cats Playing with Cats

Feline companions participate in various forms of play when interacting with each other. Some of the most frequent social play behaviors include:

Chasing Games

One of the most universal types of interactive cat play is chasing each other. Cats seem to take great delight in rapid back-and-forth chasing or frenzied circling around a room or yard. One cat may pursue the other, then they will rapidly reverse roles. Chasing allows them to engage in mock hunting behavior and use up pent-up energy.

Stalking and Pouncing

A common cat game involves stealthily stalking up on another cat, staying low to the ground and creeping slowly forward. Then, the stalking cat will pounce forward to tag or gently capture the other cat, who may roll over in submission at being “caught.” Cats repeat these roles, honing their sneaking and pouncing skills.

Wrestling Matches

It’s very common to see two cats play-fight by wrestling together. They will paw at each other with sheathed claws, bunny kick with their hind legs, pin their playmate to the ground, and gently bite at their scruff. It rarely results in injuries and teaches them how to grapple using appropriate force.


Energetic funny kittens and young cute cats may perform all kinds of wild acrobatic moves during play, like twisting mid-air when pouncing or jumping from furniture in dramatic flips. This reckless abandon helps them test their coordination and athletic abilities.

Games of Tag

Cats seem to enjoy feline versions of tag where one cat taps another cat with a paw then runs off, signaling the other cat to give chase until they tag them back. The cats will switch roles being the chase and the chaser. This game allows them to take turns and cooperate.

Object Play

Cats may play together using toys like balls, strings, catnip mice, or laser pointers. They will pass toys back and forth, dangle strings for each other to grab, and jointly chase light dots. Playing together with objects strengthens social bonds.


In the midst of vigorous play in cats will make a range of squeaks, chirps, meows, growls and other odd noises. This interactive vocalizing seems to be part of the social excitement and communication between cats while playing.

Why Cats Play Together


Play between cats serves a number of developmental and social functions. Reasons cats seem to enjoy playtime with other felines include:

Learning Hunting Skills

Much of cat play mimics the motions they would use in hunting. When kittens chase and pounce on each other they are practicing vital coordination and timing skills needed to successfully hunt prey as adults. Catching “prey” toys during object play also prepares them.

Social Development

Kitten plays especially allows healthy social development with other cats. They learn how to read body language, take turns, and cooperate using appropriate force. This prevents problem behaviors like aggression later and builds bonds.

Physical Exercise

Vigorous play gives cats important exercise to keep their bodies fit.

All the running, jumping, climbing, twisting helps maintain cardiovascular endurance, muscle tone, joint health, and coordination. This athletic activity prevents obesity and associated issues.

Expending Excess Energy

Play gives highly energetic young cats an outlet for burning up their abundant excess energy in a positive way. If kittens and cats don’t play enough, they may become destructive. Playtime tires them out so they are better behaved when resting. So, play helps cat’s to expending excess amount of energy.

Strengthening Bonds

The most social benefit of cat playtime is relationship-building. As cats play together cooperatively, they form friendships. The pleasure of play releases feel-good hormones that make cats bond more deeply with playmates. In this way cat treat with each other in good manners and it allows to build social relationship and animal behavior. 

Stress Relief

For both cute kittens and adult funny cats, play can provide an oasis of entertainment to distract from stresses and worries. Batting toys around chases away boredom or anxiety. Laughter has health benefits for cats too!

Signs of Healthy Play Between Cats

Some clear connections emerged. Quietly wrestling, for instance, suggested playtime, whereas chasing and vocalizations, like growling, hissing or gurgling, implied aggressive encounters. –Science News

While cats do sometimes fight violently, more often their play consists of harmless fun. Signs that play is friendly include:

• Relaxed ears and body language, not tense or aggressive

• Taking turns chasing each other, not one cat dominating

• Quiet meows or squeaks, not real fighting growls

• Gentle biting and grappling, not using full force or claws

• Frequently switching roles from dominant to submissive

• Voluntarily returning to continue playing together

• Playfully sneaking up on the other cat, not ambushing in a furious attack

• Play sessions naturally ending when one cat becomes tired

• The absence of injured or frightened cats

Cats use play behavior to build lasting social bonds. As long as play remains gentle without real aggression or intimidation, it offers great benefits for feline friends. Watching cats chase each other or play fighting can be highly entertaining!

Different Types of Cat Playmates

Cats engage in play together in various types of feline relationships:

Kitten Littermates

Early play between littermate kittens allows healthy social development. They learn how hard to bite, take turns, and read body language. Games teach them coordination and hunting skills. This play lays the foundation for future cat relationships.

Juvenile Cats

Once kittens are weaned, young juvenile cats often seek out playmates their own age at about 7-18 months old. They have high energy perfect for wild playtime. Young cats may form a temporary “gang” to play in.

Parent Cats and Kittens

Adult cats, especially the mother, will interact with kittens in gentle play. They’ll let kittens pounce on them, chase their tails, and jump on them. This helps the kittens practice early hunting and social abilities.

Cat Siblings

If siblings are kept together into adulthood, they often become lifelong playmates. The bond formed through growing up playing together keeps them friends even as mature, older cats. Their familiarity leads to frequent play.

Owner Cats

Even unrelated adult cats that live together with the same owner will often play together. As housemates, they provide play companionship for each other. Familiarity builds cat friendships over time.

Cat Friends

Some adult cats form close friendships with certain other cats. They may sneak off to play together away from other cats, or always choose each other as playmates when given a choice. Cat friendships can last for years.

Dating Cats

Unneutered male and female cats that meet may engage in playful courtship. This involves mock hunting, chasing, wrestling, and other play behaviors as the prelude to mating. For these cats, play is a part of the mating dance.

Providing Play Opportunities for Cats

As owners, we can provide conditions that allow cats to engage in natural, healthy play together by:

• Adopting cats in pairs so they have a playmate

• Introducing cats slowly so they bond and become playmates

• Having toys available to focus play on rather than each other

• Giving them vertical spaces like cat trees to play on

• Allowing access to outdoor spaces for chasing games

• Making sure each cat gets individual playtime with you every day as well

• Providing interactive toys like feather wands they can play with together

• Breaking up play if it ever becomes too rough or aggressive

Final Verdict

Social play with other cats is a fundamental part of normal development and healthy bonding for our feline companions. With proper opportunities, most cats readily engage in playful behavior together. Watching them chase, wrestle, and sneak up on each other can provide owners with endless entertainment!

Watching cats enthusiastically interact and play together can be highly amusing. From kittens chasing their tails to mature cats batting around a toy mouse, cat play often brings smiles to our faces. While they may sometimes be solitary hunters, cats are also social animals that need companionship and play.

Providing cats with opportunities for healthy playtime together isn’t just fun for us to observe, it allows cats to build lasting relationships.

The next time you see your cats pouncing, wrestling, and dashing around, remember their play serves important developmental, exercise, bonding, and stress relief purposes. Enjoy the show as your felines strengthen their cat-to-cat friendships through energetic play!


Why do cats play rough with each other?

Rough play like wrestling, kicking, and gentle biting prepares cats for defense skills needed in the wild. It also allows them to expend energy and practice hunting tactics. As long as it does not escalate to real fighting, it’s normal feline behavior.

Should I be concerned if my cats in a multi-cat household play very roughly?

Some wrestling and chasing is normal, but consistently rough play that results in injuries may be a sign things have gone too far. Break up the play session and redirect their energy to appropriate toys. If it continues, consult your vet.

How can I encourage my cats to engage in more types of play together in my multi-cat household?

Provide interactive toys they can share, cat trees and perches for chasing games, and opportunities like outdoor enclosures to burn energy. Play with each cat individually too. Spending time together will help them bond.

What are signs that my cats are enjoying healthy types of play during their play sessions together in my multi-cat household?

A: Signs of healthy play include taking turns chasing each other, gentle grappling without injuries, relaxed body language, cooperative behavior, and voluntarily returning to play more. Happy vocalizations also indicate enjoyable play.

How often do felines like to engage in play sessions with different types of play with each other in a multi-cat household?

Frequency of play sessions depends on the age and energy levels of the cats. Kittens may play almost constantly. Adult cats play less often but still enjoy regular playtime together several times a day at minimum.

Why does my older cat hiss or swat at the kitten trying to play with her?

Funny cats and cute Kittens have very high energy that can overwhelm an older cat. Make sure your older cat has a safe space to retreat when needed. Gradually introduce them, distract the kitten with cat toys when required, and give your older cat lots of affection too.

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