Some cats are fighters by nature, whether they're alpha-males, ferocious females, or simply defensive of their territory. Whatever the cause of your cat's combat, though, you need to know if they've sustained any serious damage. Here's how to handle this hairy and often harrowing experience:

Observe Your Feline From Afar 

Whether your pet is typically a combat kitty or not, never directly approach them following an altercation. They'll be excited, at the very least, but if injured, they could lash out at you. Even felines that are typically loving and affectionate with their humans can suddenly behave differently and in a manner that can be harmful to anyone around them after a fight.

If you have other pets, make sure they keep their distance from the cat in question too. 

Keep Your Flustered Feline Under Observation

Signs of trauma may not be immediately observed; however, it's still important to monitor your fazed furball until you are able to completely rule out injury. Beyond external bleeding that won't subside after a few minutes of applied pressure, limping, and other obvious indicators, the animal should be kept under observation for the following:

  • Not eating or drinking (once the animal has calmed down)
  • Not defecating or urinating
  • Agitation, aggression, or self-isolation (especially if the cat is hiding, such as in a closet or under a bed) 
  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Over-grooming any particular area
  • Pacing and darting around constantly 
  • Sleeping more and/or more deeply
  • Making odd or unusual sounds

Don't leave your cat alone following an altercation with another animal, until you're certain everything is okay. If you have to go out, have someone come over to cat-sit or call an emergency veterinarian for advice. While most catfights don't usually result in serious injuries, leaving your pet unattended would likely worsen any wound that was sustained. 

Note anything out of the ordinary in your pet and keep them indoors for a day or so, even if they seem fine. Going out into the world before fully recovering could put your cat at a disadvantage with predators. Also, felines don't typically announce when they're sick or injured; thus, your cat may be hurt, but instead of hunkering down at home, looks for familiar outdoor grounds in which to hide and heal.

If You're Feeling Unsettled, Call A Veterinarian

Even if you don't see anything that tells you your favorite feline is hurt, if you're still not feeling that everything is normal, contact a vet. You know your cat better than anyone, and it's better to err on the side of caution, especially since cats work hard to conceal any weakness that makes them look vulnerable. Call an emergency pet clinic or your regular veterinarian, depending on the day and time your cat needs to be seen, then carefully coax the cat into the carrier and let a medical professional make the final call.

Hopefully, no harm was done in the fight, but since there could be an internal injury causing even slight behavioral or physical changes, an examination is in order.

Kitty combat is no fun to deal with, but cats will be cats. If yours is constantly engaging in battle, have a routine in place and an emergency first-aid kit, as well as a 24-hour emergency pet clinic on speed dial. Don't forget about deep breathing techniques for yourself too, as being the pet-parent of a fighting feline is no easy task.