6 month old kitten very rough with adult cat

Catbutt

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Hi everyone, first post here!

Little bit of background:
About 10 weeks ago I got a then 4ish month old male kitten. At the time I already had a 1.5 year old male cat who was very friendly with the neighborhood cats. Unfortunately, 2 weeks after I got the kitten, my adult cat got hit by a car and broke both his hind legs. He received surgery on both legs and had to be crated for at least 6 weeks. 2 Weeks ago his left leg started deteriorating and the vet recommended it be best to amputate his leg and another 2 weeks of crate rest. Over the last 2 months both cats were able to see, hear and smell each other. I've let the kitten carefully meet him in the crate a few times. Kitten already did the neck grab once during those meeting sessions and after that I decided it be best to wait with physical contact after crate rest. Last Monday was the last day of crate rest, after his stitches were removed. He has already adapted quite well to life on 3 legs, although he's still wobbly, gets tired very quick and can't really jump yet. Not really surprising for sitting in a crate for 8 weeks.

Now that the adult cat is wobbling around, the kitten does the neck grab body slam move all the time. He usually walks up to him from the front and then locks his paws around adult cat's neck. Adult cat doesn't cry/hiss/growl when he does it and actually wrestles back until he's had enough. However, with him being so immobile still I really don't like all the body slamming and especially the very rough wrestling (mainly biting in the neck). Although the adult cat can still bite and swat just fine, he can't easily/quickly stand up or get away if he's had enough. Kitten is also BIG, he's almost the same size as my other cat.

I have to keep an eye on them at all times and break them up when it's getting too rough, or I simply turn the kitten the other way when he's preparing to jump on him. I have to this a few times until he gets the idea and chills out. Because I don't trust them together unsupervised, I have to keep them separated when I'm away from home and at night. At night I keep the adult cat in his crate, which he doesn't seem to mind. I keep him in the bedroom (with all the necessities) while I'm away from home. He absolutely loves sleeping on the bed, so that's no problem at all. When I'm home I let him roam around until he's had enough. When he gets tired from wobbling around he goes back to the bedroom and I close the door, just so the kitten won't bother him there.

Fortunately though, they seem to be doing better every day. There's been a few occasions where they sat on the bed together. Usually the older cat starts grooming hem during these moments. Whenever kitten prepares to jump on him, I pick him up and turn him the other way. After a few times he gets the idea. I do let him do his thing every now and then, because I understand he wants to play and adult cat actually instigates sometimes as well. However, when I feel things are getting too rough I separate them.

Has anyone dealt with something like this before? I'd like to get some tips on what I should and shouldn't do. It feels like what I do is the right way, but this is all new for me, so I'm a bit unsure.
 

di and bob

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I think you are doing everything just right. When you turn the kitten the other way, (I admire your patience) you might hiss or say NO loudly to let him know you are not approving of his behavior. Get a couple of 'Kickeroos' on Amazon or a pet site, they are absolutely wonderful to distract a kitten and let them get rid of their energy by bunny licking. I say two because I keep one in a plastic bag with catnip and interchange them to keep them refreshed. Throw it towards him when he looks like he is too intent on your cat. Is the kitten neutered? If not, now may be a good time to get rid of some of his hormones. Otherwise, I know how much energy kittens have, so I wish a speedy recovery for your older cat so he can handle that little one. PS PLEASE keep your cats inside from now on, they adapt well. You are so lucky your cat survived getting hit by a car, so many of my outdoor strays didn't.........
 
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Catbutt

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I think you are doing everything just right. When you turn the kitten the other way, (I admire your patience) you might hiss or say NO loudly to let him know you are not approving of his behavior. Get a couple of 'Kickeroos' on Amazon or a pet site, they are absolutely wonderful to distract a kitten and let them get rid of their energy by bunny licking. I say two because I keep one in a plastic bag with catnip and interchange them to keep them refreshed. Throw it towards him when he looks like he is too intent on your cat. Is the kitten neutered? If not, now may be a good time to get rid of some of his hormones. Otherwise, I know how much energy kittens have, so I wish a speedy recovery for your older cat so he can handle that little one. PS PLEASE keep your cats inside from now on, they adapt well. You are so lucky your cat survived getting hit by a car, so many of my outdoor strays didn't.........
Thanks for the quick reply! When I turn the kitten around, or whenever I have to separate them, I usually let out a loud ''HEY'' or clap my hands once. That usually does the trick already. Those toys are filled with catnip right? I think my local pet store has something similar, I'll have a look! The kitten is getting neutered next Monday, hopefully it'll calm him down a little :)

My cats definitely won't ever be able to wander outside again. We (my family) always had inside/outside cats and none of them were ever hit by a car, so I took a chance letting him outside. Definitely (hard) lesson learnt... I'm planning to fence in my ground floor balcony so they can still be outside without the risks.
 

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Yes, those toys are long and tube-like, filled with stuffing and catnip, and are a Godsend around here. I have a big bully who constantly picks on his brother, body-slamming him to the ground and pinning him. I always clap my hands and yell his name, that is usually enough now to break it up. Getting neutered will definitely help! An outside enclosure would be absolutely perfect. Make sure they can enter from the house, from experience I know it is hard to transport them to one. As your older cat gets stronger, things will get a lot smoother and he will have a brother!
 
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Catbutt

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Sounds good! Yep, the balcony is accessible from the bedroom, no need to transport them :)

I can't wait for him to become stronger and more mobile so they can properly interact with each other. They have very similar personalities, although the kitten isn't nearly as big a trouble maker my adult cat used to be (thank god!).
 

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I adopted my 6 year old when he was a kitten from a foster home with a tripod. While I was there, my future cat jumped on the tripod like 100 times, hanging on him, while he slowly hopped away. Its a normal thing for a kitten to be insensitive and ignore cues.

I know it seems like too much, but your tripod obviously *likes* the kitten, and I think you can trust him. Its not too much for him, emotionally. If you put them together 24/7, the kitten won't be so damn eager all the time, and they will have more chill times, and you'll get to the point where its not that interesting for the kitten to play with an uninterested older cat more quickly.

So in my mind the only real question is could the tripod be hurt? If the remaining front leg is normal and stable, I don't think so. I think you can let them do their thing as long as the tripod continues to be fond of the kitten. At most, wait a couple of weeks until the front leg is not shaky.

All of that said, I don't think what you are doing is bad or wrong -- I just don't think its the quickest way to a stable end point where all are comfortable. But again, I understand waiting if the front leg seems like it could be hurt due to the shakyness.
 
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Catbutt

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I adopted my 6 year old when he was a kitten from a foster home with a tripod. While I was there, my future cat jumped on the tripod like 100 times, hanging on him, while he slowly hopped away. Its a normal thing for a kitten to be insensitive and ignore cues.

I know it seems like too much, but your tripod obviously *likes* the kitten, and I think you can trust him. Its not too much for him, emotionally. If you put them together 24/7, the kitten won't be so damn eager all the time, and they will have more chill times, and you'll get to the point where its not that interesting for the kitten to play with an uninterested older cat more quickly.

So in my mind the only real question is could the tripod be hurt? If the remaining front leg is normal and stable, I don't think so. I think you can let them do their thing as long as the tripod continues to be fond of the kitten. At most, wait a couple of weeks until the front leg is not shaky.

All of that said, I don't think what you are doing is bad or wrong -- I just don't think its the quickest way to a stable end point where all are comfortable. But again, I understand waiting if the front leg seems like it could be hurt due to the shakyness.
He's missing a hind leg, his front legs are fine (so he can handle the kitten just as rough)! There's been a few occasions where he let out an agitated meow after a body slam or during the wrestling. I'm unsure if he does it because the kitten hurts him or because he just doesn't like him being so rough. Whenever I hear it I separate them, but most of the time my adult cat actually comes back for more. He gets pushed over easily due to the shaky leg.

I'm sure both are enjoying it and it does feel a bit weird separating them, even though adult cat seems to enjoy it and even starts the wrestling match himself sometimes. I'm just fearful he might get hurt because he's still so immobile and the kitten being quite large (adult cat is 11 lbs, kitten was almost 8 lbs a month ago).
 

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Immobile is fine. Kitten won't actually hurt the older cat by playbiting or whatever. A lot of times an older cat will just lie like a log and let a younger cat do their thing.

The only potential worry is the front leg, but I just don't understand how the leg will get hurt, bio-mechanically. Merely getting tackled won't cause any damage. A few protest noises are a normal thing, just communicating that the play is a little rough, uncomfortable and/or expressing displeasure.

Maybe ask your vet? Since they are friends, and being together 24/7 will see the kitten calm down faster, I think its worth a call.
 
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Catbutt

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Again, hind leg ;)
Honestly he'll probably be fine. I did ask my vet the day the stitches were removed and he wasn't worried about the kitten. He didn't even think it'd be necessary to temporarily remove the cat tree (which I did anyway as a precaution, it's not the most sturdy and very narrow). I just have this fear that his leg will break again, despite my vet telling me it healed great. Probably has to do with him still being wobbly and his leg hairs haven't grown all the way back yet, so it kinda looks like a delicate slightly hairy chicken leg.

I'll try to let them be around each other more, hopefully I can ease my mind a little lol.
 
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Alrighty, I decided to ease off a little this afternoon. I sat down with mister tripod on the bed while kitten was roaming around. Didn't jump on him once. Then had a biiiiiig play session with both of them (mostly with the kitten lol).

It ended in them wrestling again and it took A LOT of restraint for me to not break them up. Tripod had the upper hand and pinned him down, so eventually the kitten backed off. I did break them up twice after. Once because tripod tried wobbling away and kitten kept jumping on his back and once when tripod started protesting and hissing but kitten didn't back off. I guess he would've been fine if he REALLY had enough, but I couldn't help myself. Still getting used to cats interacting with each other, our family cats never played or fought with each other.

Anyways, seems like progression opposed to Monday. I'm not yet confident enough to let them roam together while I'm asleep or away, so I'll keep them separate at least tonight and tomorrow morning.

These are my handsome boys:
1637773634937.png
 

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Awe, I've always wanted a ginger cat! If the tripod was older, this likely wouldn't be going so well, but 1.5 years is young enough to be very adaptible and accepting of new cats. I'd mostly just listen for a totally different vocalisation, which could indicate actual pain -- for example, if the amputation site is still tender and the "kitten" puts his weight on it or play bites there. You can't really call this situation lucky of course . . . but nonetheless, their friendship is certainly a wonderful silver lining.

They say ginger cats are not a breed, and are thus more variable than actual cat breeds -- but then why do they always seem to end up big??? Part of it is that a very high % is males because of the genetics, but I've never seen a small ginger.
 
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Catbutt

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It's true, I've never seen a small (or even normal sized) ginger cat! Only monster size.

So again I let things go a little today, while also keeping a close eye on them. Adult cat seems to be in control of the situation all the time and is getting quite a bit rougher himself. I've seen him instigate the wrestling matches himself most of the time today. The kitten even eased off a few times when it got too rough for him. They've been wrestling under the couch for a good half hour without hissing or agitated noises. I'm thinking I might let them roam together 24/7 this weekend. Still a bit hesitant because the adult cat can't easily overpower him or walk away when he's really had enough.

All in all I'm happy with the quick progress. I didn't even dare to walk to the toilet last Tuesday, whereas now I let them do their thing in the bedroom while I'm in the other room. Kitten has become a lot more chill already and actually jumped on the bed with him to receive a good cleaning.
 
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Catbutt

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Alright, one more update. Over the last couple of days the kitten has barely instigated any body slams and they are a lot more chill around each other. They can sit or walk next to each other without the urge to start a wrestling match and they play so much more relaxed. Tripod usually just chills in the play tunnel and kitten jumps around.

I decided to not to interfere at all yesterday and it went fantastic. As A ArtNJ said, letting them roam together all the time has drastically reduced the interest in each other. So yesterday I was confident enough to not put tripod in his crate at night. Everything went great! Kitten has learned to respect the other cat after a few ear/cheek chomps.
 
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