Writing Science (EFE).- House cats usually establish game interactions with the rest of the cats, compared to those guided by the fighting spirit. Knowing them can help the owners to distinguish between the game and a real fight.
In addition, there is an intermediate group, whose behavior is a mixture of the two previous ones, according to a study signed by Slovak and British researchers published by Science Advances.
The team coordinated by Noema Gajdoš-Kmecová, from the Kosice University of Veterinary Medicine (Slovakia), evaluated 105 videos of interactions between 210 cats obtained from YouTube and directly from owners.
The authors described more than half of the cats (56.2% or 118 cats) as playful in their interaction; 28.6% (60 cats) as agonists (fighting spirit) and 15.2% (32 cats) as intermediates.
From initial observations, the authors established six behavior categories such as fighting, chasing, and vocalizing, to group cats based on the frequency and duration of those factors.
Three groups of interactions between cats: playful, agonistic and intermediate
Four of the study signatories reviewed the data and devised three groups to define interactions between cats: “playful” (friendly interactions); «agonistic» (aggressive or fighting spirit interactions) and «intermediate» (mixture of playful and aggressive behaviors).
Comparing the cat behavior groups to the three interaction groups, the authors found that cat-fighting behavior was more closely associated with the playful group, while vocalization and chasing were more closely associated with the agonistic group.
The intermediate group, although found to exhibit characteristics of both, was more closely related to the playful group.
Cats in the intermediate group displayed prolonged exchanges of behaviors such as lying on their backs with their bellies up, pounced, stalked, and approached and groomed each other.
Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish rough play from true agonism, for example when one cat wants to finish the game, but the other tries to continue the interaction, which can lead to fighting behaviour.
The authors suggest that this combination of playful and aggressive behaviors can lead to a fully agonistic encounter, but it does not necessarily reflect a break in their social relationship, but rather a short-term disagreement in social priorities.
The authors suggest that identifying potential tension between cats can help owners manage the relationship to avoid escalation and the need for separation.
The entry Cats: playful or quarrelsome, science studies their behavior was first published in EFE Noticias.