Help with kittens, may it be an atack? (video)

MarinaPG

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Hi everyone, and thanks in advance for reading.

Doro and Tiana (male and female) are the two kittens living at home, they both are three and a half months old.

He was picked up from the street when he was around 7 weeks, he is growing healthy and full of energy.
We thought that feline company would be good for him, so we adopted Tiana from a shelter, but her arrival was delayed because she's been sick. She is better now, but has light apetite and still needs to gain some weight.

When she got home last week we made a progressive introduction. When they first saw each other, there was some hissing and he chased her. We kept them in separated rooms, but the following encounters, which also went progressively, were no better.

At the beginning they smell and observe each other, but he quickly starts chasing the female, repeteadly holding her from the back, biting her neck, with signs of dominance (or even mating?). It all starts like a game but turns into something unpleasant for her, with cornering, biting, screaming... The extra problem is their sizes, despite being the same age, his weight is almost twice hers.

When they are at the same room he is 100% focused at her and hardly gets distracted by playing or food. We do not know if he has an agressive intention or he's just playful, but she ends up seeming scared.

Here is a short video of one of their encounters. They are still in separated rooms and we are worried about the situation, because we don't know wether to restart the introduction slowing it down, or to let them figure out things their way.


Would really appreciate any advice.

Thanks again and regards from Barcelona

Marina
 

susanm9006

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It isn’t an attack. The black and white cat just wants to play. The grey cat is a little less interested especially since she is the smaller of the two and she complains. It is all within the range of normal behavior. I would not interrupt since they are figuring out how to play with one another. If it gets too noisy then use a wand toy to distract one or both.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I presume they are not yet neutered/spayed? If that is the case, get that done and then re-start the introductions. If that is already taken care of, then separate them and start over with short sessions of interaction, and stop Doro him when Tiana starts to show signs of aggravation or fear. In that video, Tiana's ears are back which means she wants no part of the 'play' being instigated by Doro. It also could be something that will resolve itself once she has a chance to grow some more in size. Right now it looks as if she feels intimidated.
 

ArtNJ

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Its super common that the littler one doesn't enjoy play as much and squeals a bit at times. He isn't being hurt though. I would bet anything that he comes right back when play is done and acts like nothing happened. Maybe he even initiates play sometimes. If not he will. The discomfort he is squealing about is akin to big brother giving him head noogies -- i.e. no actual injury and the little one still gets a benefit from big bro overall.

Thing is, the size gap should narrow as they are both gaining a pound a month now. That is a huge deal now, but the math is in your favor. Soon the littler one won't be 40% lighter, that will narrow to 25% then narrow further. So play should become more equal fairly quickly.

I think its a nice thing to distract the larger kitten when the little one seems miserable, but it isn't necessary. This is normal and they will get through it. Personally, I would not separate them or do further introductions. Kittens this young always become friends and never actually hurt each other.

Conclusion: this looks like normal play, except that the little one is not enjoying it much due to the size different. That is normal and ok, he won't be hurt, and play will get more equal with time.
 
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Caspers Human

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I also think that they are just rasslin’. It’s a bit rough but still play.

Don’t forget that you are the human and you set the rules of the house. Even though it is best to let cats play you can still set limits. If one cat continually beats up on the other it is up to you to decide when enough is enough.

You should decide on a limit and, when the cats’ play goes too far, you can say, “Play nice!”
If they don’t listen you can separate them and send them each to a different room for a fifteen minute “time out” just the same way you would do with two year old children.

If you do this I suggest you be pretty liberal with the limit and only step in when it’s a last resort.

I agree with what others say. The best strategy is to distract them with toys. You can pair the command, “Play nice!” with the distraction to make it more fun to play nice and save the separation foe when the fur actually flies.

If there is repeat bullying or if distracting them doesn’t work, then you can step in and separate them.

I also agree that when they grow up and there is less of a size difference, the formerly small cat won’t stand for the other’s guff anymore. When she has had enough rough housing she’ll turn around and give him a swat across the nose and he’ll learn what’s what.

For now, I think it’s best to just stand by and watch unless they go over the limit.

Besides, your “Kitty Olympics” could tun out to be YouTube gold! ;)
 

She's a witch

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How long have you had Tiana? She just doesn’t look too confident so my guess is that not for super long. How about you let her roam in your place when your boy is away so that she feels better in the territory? Plus, your Doro hasn’t been around other kittens for a while, he sort of forgot how to play with them and is super excited that he finally has a playmate. But I wouldn’t worry about this at all, in time it will all even out, although one of them may still play rougher than the other and that’s ok. Tiana will get better at letting know what she doesn’t want him to do and he will get better at respecting her boundaries. I wouldn’t intervene at all other than trying to redirect the attention of the overexcited boy. They will learn from each other better than from any human ever imo. That is not an attack by no means.
 
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MarinaPG

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Thank you all for your answers. We've been following your advice, and I can tell things are slowly improving day by day.
We did a lot of room-switch, let them play with a net in between, and allowed supervised time together. We finally have also permanently let the little one's door open.
He still gets often obsessed with her repeteadly chasing, biting, jumping on her, and pissing her off, and when doing so he is still hard to distract, but she doesn't seem specially scared with him around.
We wish she keeps gaining weight and confidence, just check their size diference (being born both the same week).


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Thanks again for your time, if everything goes well I may upload a video of the whole process.
 

susanm9006

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That sounds great. Please be assured that even though she is smaller she still has teeth and claws and If she gets annoyed enough is capable of giving him a claws out paw to the nose that he would remember.
 

ArtNJ

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Oh wow thats a big size difference for the same age kitten alright! Going by size, I thought one was a month older when I mentioned age narrowing the weight gap! It doesn't really change the advice, but I do feel a bit bad for her, since its hard to be the little sibling and she will probably stay smaller. Still, weight doesn't usually matter too much in the long run. I have an 11.5 pounder that plays wonderfully with a 7 pounder at the moment. Your two will get there. In the meantime, you can continue to distract if she seems especially miserable and give a break now and then for some closed door petting, if it seems needed.
 

Caspers Human

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Years ago, I had two cats named “Spike” and “Jerry.”

SpIke was a big Van cat that weighed a good, twenty pounds and Jerry was the little, gray kitten that weighed a third of that, soaking wet. Jerry was the young, whipper-snapper while Spike was the older cat.

Jerry would try to pull off fly-by attacks on Spike and they would wrestle for several minutes. They would separate for a while then Jerry would come in for another attack. After a few wrestling matches, Spike would finally get tired of Jerry’s shenanigans.

The next time Jerry attacked, Spike would just get Jerry down and sit on him!

That put an end to the “Cat Olympics” for the day!

The point is that cats have a way of setting boundaries and dishing out consequences when boundaries get pushed too far.

I’m sure that your cats will establish the own rules and consequences, too, if you just give them enough space to work out the rules among themselves. :)
 

Krienze

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When I was getting Mia and Jasper used to each other, I played with them separately but where the other could see. I had read something about how watching them play helps to teach them how the others body moves, so they are less inclined to aggressively play
 
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