Fighting Or Playing?

misty8723

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Okay, I've read all sorts of stuff on how to tell one from the other. Most of the articles say that if there is no noise, it's play. In this case, Cricket is making noises like she is being hurt by Austin. He is making no noise whatever. So I break it up and separate them. I do not know if it's play or real fighting. Austin will often sniff her and then throw his front leg over her and bite. I stop him from doing that when I see it. I know he's trying to be dominant. But I'm not sure how to put a stop to it and get them to just get along. Most of the time they are fine, although not good buddies or anything, and he gets upset if she is anywhere he doesn't think she should be (like a cat tree, our new ottoman, our bed). He can be very sweet kitty, but not liking that side of him.
 

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Hi. I only have one cat, so I really have nothing personally to share. But, I wanted to see if there is anything in this TCS article that would help.

Are My Cats Fighting Or Playing?

Other members will come along soon with their first hand experiences. Be patient, sometimes it takes a bit to hear from them. So, check back often!
 
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misty8723

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FeebysOwner FeebysOwner Thanks, I have read that article. Its just the noises she is making that's throwing me. I should try to get a video, but it's not all that frequent and usually I'm just intent on breaking it up. I think I wouldn't be able to break it up so easily if it was a real fight, but I just don't want her getting hurt.
 

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If he isn't making noises, doesn't have a puffy tail, isn't pulling out hair, then its probably play, but its even easier to look at it from her perspective. If she only protests in the middle of a session, and if she doesn't generally avoid, hiss or hide from the other cat, then she is telling you its not a big deal. Its like if a little brother calls for mom when play gets a little out of hand...its no big deal if he is asking big bro to play 5 minutes later.
 

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Hi misty8723 misty8723

I live with two little mate sister kitties, Pila and Saf. They do their fur-flying "girls fight" few times a week. Pila is alpha, she is quiet. No sound. Just make her meanest face and silently approach Saf. Saf, on the other hand, is very loud. Hissing, growing, screaming LOUD! But they don't hurt each other, and they are really good sisters. And yes, Pila did not allow Saf to go on top of cat tower and only time Saf was up there was when Pila is in the other room sleeping, but that seemed changed lately, Pila is more relaxed.

I think as long as they are not hurting each other, and not fighting all the time, it is alright ... ?!
 

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Hi misty8723 misty8723

I live with two little mate sister kitties, Pila and Saf. They do their fur-flying "girls fight" few times a week. Pila is alpha, she is quiet. No sound. Just make her meanest face and silently approach Saf. Saf, on the other hand, is very loud. Hissing, growing, screaming LOUD! But they don't hurt each other, and they are really good sisters. And yes, Pila did not allow Saf to go on top of cat tower and only time Saf was up there was when Pila is in the other room sleeping, but that seemed changed lately, Pila is more relaxed.

I think as long as they are not hurting each other, and not fighting all the time, it is alright ... ?!
Typo, "litter mate" :oops:
 
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misty8723

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Thank you for the input. Perhaps I should let it go and see what happens?
 
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misty8723

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Maybe I'm a little too overprotective of Cricket? She is my baby girl and I worry we messed up bring Austin in here. Just wanted a friend for her.
 

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Thank you for the input. Perhaps I should let it go and see what happens?
Yes. She will tell you if its a big deal, I promise you. She will hiss before, she will avoid, she will not act like nothing happened. In other words, she will hold a grudge. If she only protests/runs/hides *during* play itself, and there is no grudge, its fine, let it be.

Its super common that one cat likes play more than another, because one is bigger or more aggressive. If the little one protests a bit, but gets over it when play is done, best to just let them be.
 

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Haha Suru I absolutely love watching them play like that. It's so entertaining.

To misty8723 yeah they are probably just playing. Even if they hiss and growl it's ok. This is just how they communicate and the hissing and growling is their equivalent of "hey cut it out!" Or "back off a bit" or even "leave me alone!" And if you stop or discourage this communication they wont have learned boundaries and you will end up with neurotic cats. They are tough creatures. They are little, furry, rough playing, stalking/hunting, beasts and are fine.
 

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Rockey is really noisy in play too. It took me a long time to figure out the difference between her playing and her legitimately being upset. I too had a lot of those "should I stops them?" moments. The biggest sign that she is annoyed is that she actively moves to get away. If she is staying, she is fine.

Since play usually involves some chasing it can be tricky. Rocket usually will get this really pissed off look, keep her ears and body low and only hiss. If Link also looks confused because she's not playing back then I know that she isn't playing. It's really a complex combination on some cats. Online guides are great but they aren't perfect, the trick is learning what signs your cats gives.
 
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misty8723

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Yes. She will tell you if its a big deal, I promise you. She will hiss before, she will avoid, she will not act like nothing happened. In other words, she will hold a grudge. If she only protests/runs/hides *during* play itself, and there is no grudge, its fine, let it be.

Its super common that one cat likes play more than another, because one is bigger or more aggressive. If the little one protests a bit, but gets over it when play is done, best to just let them be.
First, Cricket is the bigger cat, and the older cat. He is about 1.5 she is maybe around 4. I'm pretty sure Austin starts it. She gets on her back, hisses, growls, yowls, ears back, warning him I think. He is silent but keeps going in looking for an opening, poking, etc. The more he does, the noisier she gets. He doesn't quit. Even if she gets up and walks/runs away, he'll go after her. Even if I get up and stand between them, he'll try to go around. He's that way with everything. I just tried to get a video of it, but I didn't have the movie feature going. I'm so mad at myself. Here is the best I got. I think they were fighting over that "stick" she is laying on, which is attached to feathers on the other end.

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misty8723

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When we first got Cricket, she was about Austin's age and our resident cat at the time, Swanie, was around 12 or 13. She tried to initiate wrestling a couple times but he didn't want to so she quit. There was none of the yowling growling hissing I see now. She doesn't hide, but she also doesn't do some of the things she did when it was her and Swanie. For example, Swanie would come up on our bed at night and she would come in the room and sleep in her little bed in the corner. She hasn't been in that little bed since we got Austin. They walk by each other, sniff noses, she even licked him once yesterday. The other day I laid down on the bed for a few minutes and she joined me and curled up on the blanket. Austin jumped up in a few minutes, walked past her, they sniffed, and he went a litter further away and also curled up. But a few minutes later he decided he would go over to her, sniff her up and down, throw his front leg over her and try to bite. I yelled and they both jumped down.

Austin is a butthead sometimes. He's taken to scratching the TV monitor. I say Austin NO! and take his paws away. We repeat that a few times until I pick him off the table and put him on the floor, or couch, or his tree. Back he goes, under the table until he thinks I'm not watching, then it's up and scratching. This will go on until we turn the tv off. That's how he is with her, he doesn't stop. It sounds to me like all kinds of warnings to him to back off and he won't.

After this last incident I gave him 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct in the bedroom, just so he would cool off. After I let him out, he started wanting to go after her again.

I guess I have to let them work it out, but they will need to do it when I'm not around because I really don't want it to escalate to the point where she is hiding or I have to take one of them to the e-vet.
 
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misty8723

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Rockey is really noisy in play too. It took me a long time to figure out the difference between her playing and her legitimately being upset. I too had a lot of those "should I stops them?" moments. The biggest sign that she is annoyed is that she actively moves to get away. If she is staying, she is fine.

Since play usually involves some chasing it can be tricky. Rocket usually will get this really pissed off look, keep her ears and body low and only hiss. If Link also looks confused because she's not playing back then I know that she isn't playing. It's really a complex combination on some cats. Online guides are great but they aren't perfect, the trick is learning what signs your cats gives.
I appreciate the video. This LOOKS like play to me, and it's cute. I've seen cats wrestle, I volunteer at a rescue and it goes on in the rooms all the times. Can tell the difference there if it's fight or real, but maybe not so much with mine because I'm too emotionally involved. It just doesn't feel like play to me.
 
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misty8723

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Haha Suru I absolutely love watching them play like that. It's so entertaining.

To misty8723 yeah they are probably just playing. Even if they hiss and growl it's ok. This is just how they communicate and the hissing and growling is their equivalent of "hey cut it out!" Or "back off a bit" or even "leave me alone!" And if you stop or discourage this communication they wont have learned boundaries and you will end up with neurotic cats. They are tough creatures. They are little, furry, rough playing, stalking/hunting, beasts and are fine.
Austin does not understand the concept of boundaries. I think his former family did not raise him well.
 

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The pictures look like play to me Misty. And it doesn't matter that she is bigger, less active cats quite often don't like play with smaller more active and dedicated players. Just walking by and sniffing noses without hissing or running off indicates she isn't holding a grudge. If she was being actually hurt she would hold a grudge, it is what cats do. I know your mad at him, but in reality, this isn't his fault -- there is a perfectly good cat in the house, not willing to play with him hardly at all! What youngster is just going to take no for an answer? Not many.

It is always possible for things to morph into something else; if someone's nail accidentally does some damage, for example. But it should be ok to let them do their thing unless she starts showing signs of stress towards him outside of play.

You mentioned yowling or screaming I think; when it crosses over to where it is basically screaming, I do consider that a warning sign. But if there are no other warning signs such as pulled out hair or avoidance out of sessions, it may not mean much in isolation.
 

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My girl is SUPER vocal during play. She'll also remove herself when she's had enough; her brother often gets overzealous, and he's a couple pounds heavier. But it's still play, and no one is getting hurt or hiding for extended periods/shaking in fear.
 

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This is my cat and his sister playing. His sister is very very vocal. It looks violent, but they’re really having a field day.

Oh Suru Suru , your kitties look just like mine!! (much younger though)

I don't have video to share, but Saf is much much more louder. Here are few pictures. As you see Saf (louder) always defeats.

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