4 month old kitten is suddenly playing too rough with siblings

Elomo64

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Hi everyone!

So a few months ago I adopted a litter of 3 kittens, with their mother, and they all learned to play rough but within limits. Out of the 3 kittens (2 male, 1 female), one was a bit of a runt (male), and would usually get bullied by the other two larger siblings, but momma cat would come and put a stop to it. As the weeks went on, they learned to play rough but without hurting each other, and the runty cat reached the other two in size and strength.

Mom was sent back to her original home when the kittens were 12 weeks old, and they've played nicely with each other ever since. Except for the runt, the past few days he's been playing much more aggressively where his two other siblings will yelp loudly and he will not back down, until the victim manages to escape and run out of the room.

This is very sudden, and it's been going on for the past 3-4 days. They still groom each other, and are generally very close, but when it comes to play time, he just takes it too far.

I am taking them to be neutered/spayed this week, but I'm wondering, could this sudden behavior be related to hormones? Or what can I do to make him not hurt his siblings and return to playing as they used to? He's also started biting my ankles a bit hard out of nowhere. There's no other behavior changes that would indicate him being stressed out.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Elomo64

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I forgot to specify, it's been a month since mom left, so I don't think it could be related since a long time has passed.
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. :wave2: Your home must be pretty exciting with 3 kittens! :cutecat::kneading::lovecat3:

About the one kitten's aggressive play, I'm not sure what could be causing it, but it might just be rough play, and as long as there's no fur flying or bloodshed, it's probably fine.

When he bites your ankles, say "owwwww" in a high pitched tone. That's how (you might actually see this since you have 3 kittens) another cat would let him know he's hurting them.

Here's a couple TCS articles that might have some more info:

How To Stop Playtime Aggression In Cats – TheCatSite Articles
Are My Cats Fighting Or Playing? – TheCatSite Articles
 

Mamanyt1953

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And, at four months, it is JUST possible that this little former runt is starting to feel his hormones. Neutering may solve the issue, but will take a few weeks to fully resolve, if that is the case.
 
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Elomo64

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Thank you for your replies!

It has indeed been exciting and chaotic with 3 kittens, but so far, so good. Post-op update: While still under their anesthesia stupor, the largest male started to mount the aggressive guy, and that dominance move might have helped calm things down, as he's been much nicer with his siblings these past days.

Hopefully in the next weeks the hormones will have gone out of their systems and such problems won't arise again.
 

ArtNJ

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A little yelping is nothing honestly. Just imagine your babysitting 5 year old human boys. There are going to be some noises, but they won't actually hurt each other.
 
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Elomo64

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I'm aware, they would squeal and yelp all the time, but these times they were very loud and you'd see them get upset, and try to get away and eventually hide. It was just getting too rough for them. But so far, it's stopped.
 

ArtNJ

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I'm aware, they would squeal and yelp all the time, but these times they were very loud and you'd see them get upset, and try to get away and eventually hide. It was just getting too rough for them. But so far, it's stopped.
Well, maybe your onto something with the runt-related theory. Maybe he didn't understand when to stop, because he hadn't been large enough to have good position before. So its something he had to learn. Glad it worked out. And in fact, when one cat is playing a little too vigorously, letting them work it out is generally the answer.
 
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