2 yo cat sometimes chases kitten (12 weeks)

kater_strophe

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Hello,

i have a male cat (Timo, BSH, 2 years old and neutered) who is very social. We got him when he was 6 months old, before that he lived with a lot of cats (mom, litter mates other female cats) in a big and clean house, with people and children and so on. When we moved in our new apartment the people, that lived there before us, just left their cat there. We live on ground floor, so we fed him until we found a new home for him. He was not very friendly to my cat but Timo was very excited when he came in. He was rolling on the floor and purring, even though that other cat would hiss and growl and steal his stuff. This was even before he was neutered, so I don’t think he is very territorial.

we wanted to get Timo a companion, so that he wouldn’t be so lonely when we would have to return to the office after Corona. Yesterday we brought home little Chucky (BLH, 12 weeks, male). After spending a few hours in his base camp he really wanted to get out so we opened the door and the two met. Timo wasn’t showing aggressive behavior at all, just coming near and sniffing. When Chucky growled and hissed, Timo backed off. Then Timo „cornered“ Chucky in the Bathroom, by doing his little breakdance rolling on the floor thing. We kept them separated over night.

Today we had some good moments, but I am also worried. For example, they both were on the bed with me and nobody was upset. They even groomed themselves and dozed off for a few minutes - with some safe distance. But - when Chucky is exploring the Apartment Timo hides somewhere and watches, then jumps out and runs towards the little one trying to sniff and touch him with his paws. Or whatever he tries to do. Chucky doesn‘t like that and runs away, hissing and growling. Timo then chases after him and little one hides. Sometimes Timo lets him alone, it’s just that sometimes it takes some time of Chucky hiding, before Timo loses interest and plays with something else. Usually it’s enough for Chucky to growl for Timo to back off, like when he is not chasing him.

So I am a Little confused, if this is normal play or if he sees him as prey.

For the last hours the door to the safe room was open. Timo came in once and just looked out of the window and then, after watching Chucky for a bit, proceeded to do his thing in the other areas. Chucky was chilling on the bed.

What do you think? Am I overreacting or could Timo see Chucky as some sort of prey?
If you want to see some videos you could find some on Instagram: kater_strophe

thank you so much for your advice
 

Mamanyt1953

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This is absolutely normal play. The only problem is that Timo is big enough to bowl Chucky over, and that isn't appreciated. I promise you, IF Timo saw Chucky as prey, serious damage would have been done before you could stop it. Just make sure that Chucky has good escape routes until their sizes equal out a bit more!
 
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kater_strophe

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Yeah, something 4 times you running towards you super fast is pretty scary. Yesterday Chucky went on top of the cat tree, Timo tried to beat him from underneath. So Timo wouldn‘t let Chucky out of his eyes for one second and try to bite him, if he thought this was prey? Just trying to understand what red flags to look out for, in case the behavior changed.
 

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Usually cats meow loudly if the play is too rough and the other cat should take the cue and back off.
With your two, if there is no backing off when the kitten requests it, I would temporarily separate or distract with a wand toy for example.
If the kitten sounds in pain or there is hissing and growling I would break up before it escalates.
 
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kater_strophe

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Usually cats meow loudly if the play is too rough and the other cat should take the cue and back off.
With your two, if there is no backing off when the kitten requests it, I would temporarily separate or distract with a wand toy for example.
If the kitten sounds in pain or there is hissing and growling I would break up before it escalates.
But isn’t hissing and growling totally normal in the beginning? 😅

Today Chucky tried to climb up the cat tree and when Timo saw that, his eyes became huge again and he ran to the tree, climbed it very fast and started to beat Chucky with his paws. There was no hissing or growling, but I had to „Safe“ the little one so that he would not fall down. The tree is pretty big. 10 minutes before that these 2 ate treats (voluntarily) less than 5 cm apart. The problem is when Chucky runs around. So we have a lot of Good Moments, but also a few moments I am not sure what to make of. I won’t let these two alone in the coming days for sure.
 

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Kflowers

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Hissing and growling are also part of play. They are practicing for if they have to fight strangers. Okay, it's a lot like human kids playing and play fighting which usually involves swear words if the adults aren't around.

I would suggest until the little one gets bigger, since he adores the cat tree, you might want to put throw pillows/cushions around the base of the tree. Kittens fall - land on the flat of their sides - and recover quickly. The cushions will help the landing, though mostly they are for your sanity.
 

Mamanyt1953

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The fact that Timo beats Chucky with his paws but Chucky isn't bleeding profusely is EXCELLENT. And face it, ALL cat play is practicing for hunting. That's why Timo looks as if he sees Chucky as prey. He does, but it's all pretend. The main issue here is the size difference between the two. Keep an eye on this, just in case Timo gets a bit too involved in the game, at least until Chucky is larger. At some point, Chucky will start growing up and filling out, and things won't look nearly so scary to you. But the pillows under the cat tree in the meantime is an excellent idea!
 

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Height is important to cats. It can play a role in reflecting social hierarchy.
Timo likely sees the highest part of the cat tree as a special place.
He might not want to share that, so he goes up to claim it and even force the other cat down.
It isn't surprising to find a smaller, yet more dominant cat at the top of the cat tree.
 
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kater_strophe

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Height is important to cats. It can play a role in reflecting social hierarchy.
Timo likely sees the highest part of the cat tree as a special place.
He might not want to share that, so he goes up to claim it and even force the other cat down.
It isn't surprising to find a smaller, yet more dominant cat at the top of the cat tree.
Thanks, That’s a great idea. the incident though happened in the down half, and the cat tree is HUGE. There are a minimum of 2 lying surfaces on every level and it has 3 big scratching posts. I think Timo is triggered when Chucky is running around. But I will keep in mind to have enough resources for everyone, so that no conflict will break out because of that.
 
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kater_strophe

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Update: Today I noticed, that Timo even tries to „bite“ Chucky. There was a moment when Timo chased him and the little guy hissed and dropped on his back. Timo did not hiss or growl. Then T was standing above him and tried to bite him. it was kinda slowmotion so it at least didn’t look like he tried to hurt him. Of course I broke it up.

Later we had some more chasing. Usually it stops after a few seconds and Timo then does something else. It only takes a little Moment for Chucky to come out of his hiding spot too. But I don’t like that Timo then refocuses on Chucky again as soon as he climbs or runs somewhere. Even when he is in the cat toilet. In some cases they boop each other’s noses or I can distract Timo with play, but on other occasions it won’t stop until Chucky is out of reach.

Sometimes Timo only leaves Chucky alone when he can’t reach him anymore. Then Chucky needs a while to come out again. most of the time he is not scared, he will groom himself or play even when Timo is right behind him. I can feed them a few centimeters apart.

So I am confused. Is this still normal? What do I do? Is it necessary to split them up and reintroduce them?
 

Hellenww

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the little guy hissed and dropped on his back.
This is an invitation to play. The fact that Chucky comes back out to play again shows that he's not hurt just needs a little break.

Yes, it's all normal. It look very frightening to you but it sounds like Timo is playing nice and thrilled to have a friend.

The litter box may or may not be an issue. Having a few boxes will help. If Timo is just looking and not chasing it could be ok. Some cats are private and some enjoy company. Keep an eye on it and have a few boxes. Mine are 14 & 15 yrs, they still accompany each other to the the boxes. Often one using each box. Twice in the last month both using the same box at the same time.
 
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kater_strophe

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Yeah that’s the thing he will
This is an invitation to play. The fact that Chucky comes back out to play again shows that he's not hurt just needs a little break.

Yes, it's all normal. It look very frightening to you but it sounds like Timo is playing nice and thrilled to have a friend.

The litter box may or may not be an issue. Having a few boxes will help. If Timo is just looking and not chasing it could be ok. Some cats are private and some enjoy company. Keep an eye on it and have a few boxes. Mine are 14 & 15 yrs, they still accompany each other to the the boxes. Often one using each box. Twice in the last month both using the same box at the same time.
Yeah, that’s the thing: sometimes he chases Chucky when he tries to do his business in the litter box. We have 2 different litter boxes right now, one in base camp and one in another room. What would you do in that case?
 

Mamanyt1953

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Try not to break things up too soon. As you said, Timo did not look as if he was trying to hurt Chucky, and I'm betting he was not, This sounds like a slo-mo play bite. Those need to be left alone, as they are learning where boundaries are. Had he been serious about that bite, he'd have been quick as a snake.
 
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