Skip to Content

Do Female Cats Fight With Male Cats?

Do Female Cats Fight With Male Cats?

Sometimes you might see your furry friend fighting with other cats. 

This isn’t such an unusual behavior, especially among male cats. Intact males are the ones that are most expected to fight with other males to get their mate.

But, what about females? Do female cats fight with male cats?

This is something important to learn, in the case you want to adopt a female, and you already have a male in your home, or, perhaps, in the case your female cat is allowed to go outside.

So, let’s find out more about females cats’ tendency to show aggression toward males.

Can You Expect A Female Cat To Fight With Male?

You can expect a male cat to run away from home, look for females to mate with, and, consequently, get into fights with other males.

Can you expect the same from a female cat?

Well, it’s definitely possible for a female cat to fight with males, and there are 5 common reasons for this. Let’s check them out.

1. A Mother Cat Protecting Her Litter

two cats are fighting in the garden

Mother cats and their protection is crucial for young kittens, especially in their early weeks. A newborn kitten survival rate is significantly lower without a mother.

After giving birth, maternal hormones drive a mother cat’s actions, making her highly protective and even willing to display aggression if necessary.

This is a situation where a female cat might get into a fight with a male cat if she senses him as a threat to her litter.

Arrival of a new cat to her territory will be seen as a danger for a mother cat, since she needs to establish a secure zone for her kittens. You might even notice your cat being hostile towards a male cat that she used to like. 

This kind of mother protective aggressiveness usually lasts for eight to ten weeks after kittens are born.

In this period, you should keep your female cat isolated, and reduce her interaction with other cats as much as possible. Make sure she has her food, drinks, and litter box in a separate room where she can have all the privacy she needs.

2. Mating-related Aggression

Your female cat might attack a male cat after mating, and this happens due to the following reasons:

• Male cats have small keratinized spines on their penis, which makes mating painful for females, therefore, females might attack a male after mating due to discomfort and pain they’ve suffered

• Females in heat can mate with multiple males, so, they might attack their mate because they want him to go, and to get prepared for another one

• A cat might simply dislike the male and will attack him to show that she isn’t interested in mating with him

The only way to be sure your female cat won’t show mating-related aggression is by spaying her. 

Although standard spay and neuter procedures are usually performed when a cat is around five to six months old, it’s never too late to sterilize a cat, as Kay Animal Hospitals explains, just as long as she’s in good health.

3. Redirected Aggression

a cat lies on the couch and attacks another cat

A female attacking a male cat might be a form of redirected aggression.

This means that your cat might be stressed over something in her surroundings, and she could redirect her stress and anxiety onto a male cat in her surroundings.

Tony Buffington  and Melissa Bain [1] explain how there are many stress triggers for felines, such as veterinary visits, new environments, lack of stimulation, illness or injury, and so on.

To help your female cat undercome this problem, and to prevent her from redirecting her negative emotions toward male cats, you need to figure out the exact cause of stress in her.

If possible, you should eliminate it from her surroundings. If you are unable to do this on your own, you should consult a veterinarian.

4. Play Aggression

Occasionally, a female cat might appear as though she’s engaged in a fight with a male cat, but it could actually be their way of playing.

Playing is advisable and desirable for cats, since this is a great way for them to tire out and to have physical exercise. Additionally, it serves as a valuable tool for them to learn about social interactions.

If you notice your female cat playing with a male like this, you shouldn’t stop it, but you should definitely observe it as it doesn’t’ go too far.

According to San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, some warning signs that playing has grown into real aggression are a cat’s dilated pupils, crouching, and hiding around corners.

If you notice this, you should clap your hands to make cats stop fighting, and redirect their attention to toys.

To avoid this, it’s necessary to ensure a cat has enough physical and mental stimulation every day. This means you should spend a lot of time with her, as well as provide her with interactive toys, cat trees, and scratching posts.

5. Territorial Aggression

the cat shows aggressive behavior towards another cat

Although male cats are more known for being territorial, females can show this trait, too. While male might defend larger territories and claim them as their own, don’t be surprised if your female cat also shows territorial aggression.

Therefore, your female cat might spray and hiss at males, and even get into a fight with them to protect the area she sees as her territory.

If you have both female and male cats in your home, you should make sure they don’t share a litter box, or food and water bowls, as to decrease the chance of them fighting over this.

Having your female cat spayed can also greatly decrease her territorial aggression.


So, do female cats fight with male cats?

Yes, this might happen. Despite many people believing how males are aggressive, female cats might also get into fights with males for different reasons, such as territorial aggression, protecting their kittens, or due to stress.

Sometimes, this might be a form of play for a female and male cat. Cats that are allowed to go outside are also more likely to get into fights, regardless of their gender.

In any case, aggressive behavior shouldn’t be permitted, therefore, you need to find the exact cause of this behavior in your female cat.

If you can’t solve the problem on your own, the best would be to consult a veterinarian.

[1] Buffington CAT, Bain M. Stress and Feline Health. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2020 Jul;50(4):653-662. DOI, Retrieved August 30, 2023.

Read Next: Can Male Cats Recognize Their Own Kittens?