In need of some advice

Amrak

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Hello!

I have a cat of about 1 year of age that I adopted quite a few months ago.

He's been driving me up the walls with his behaviors, but he's actually started to settle down recently.

The issue I have with him is that despite him being well acclimated to the home and getting along well with my older cat (about 8 years old) I still can't allow him out of the bathroom unsupervised and I feel like that's not a good way to live for him but I don't have much choice.

This young cat loves playing but doesn't seem to understand that his playing can cause pain. He's not trying to be aggressive (that I can tell) but sometimes when playing with my other boy, he bites so hard that the other cat starts screaming (for a lack of better word). My older boy has a very sweet disposition and doesn't correct him when he does this. I've attempted to correct the behavior by enforcing a "time out" whenever he does this but it's changed nothing so far.

Just now, I had to pry him away as he was biting my other boy's throat (and I don't mean the back of the neck, but the front)

I'm at a loss of what to do here. I want this cat to be allowed to roam the home even when I'm away, but I don't want to risk my other cat's safety.
 
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Amrak

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Yes, he was fixed by the shelter before I adopted him
 

Crabbysquatch

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I’ve had a similar situation. Two brothers that go after each other. The throat biting scares me too. One of them is bigger than the other so he is usually the one doing the biting. They are just over a year old now and it’s not near as bad as it was. But I did noticed the smaller one ( Puca ) was kind of a cry baby. But they would get to rolling around chomping on each other ( more when they we younger ) and it would end up with the throat biting like you described. Only you would know if it was a true attack or not but from what I’ve seen from cats actually attacking with intent there wouldn’t be a second time. I’ve seen them do it dozens of times and it bothers me each time but I think it’s more of a dominance type thing more than an actual intent to injure.
I guess my point is that my cats do the same thing and it bothers me when I see it but I’m sure it happens when I’m not there also. They play too hard sometimes and someone ends up crying but it’s less and less the older they get. So I would give you hope it’s a passing thing. I can’t give you actual advice except to say what I’ve observed with my own cats and nothing serious has happened. Honestly I think you are the best judge if your older cat is actually in danger or not.
 
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Amrak

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I'm complety certain it's play on the younger cat's part. It's just that he doesn't seem to control his strenght and plays too rough for my older cat.

I know it's play for the older one too. As I've said, he has a sweet disposition, but he there's this one feral cat in the neighborhood he can't stand for some reason (despite only ever seeing him through windows) and the body language there is completely different.

With the younger cat, he usually just flops over and half heartedly "fights back". His only reaction the the painful bites is vocal. When he's feeling playful too they'll take turns chasing each other.

I think my younger one just gets overly excited and doesn't control the strenght of his bites. He was found on the streets alone as a kitten, so I don't know if maybe he never got to be taught play manners by his mother or siblings.

My older cat, even when screaming, won't fight back or correct him. I'm just worried he'll take it too far accidentally one day
 

Crabbysquatch

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Does the younger one ever give you play bites ? That could give you an idea how hard the bites are maybe ? I’ve been amazed more than a few times the control cats have with their mouth.
 

VAMama

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A cat at one year is like a human teenager. They don't always settle down at that age.

I agree with Crabbysquatch Crabbysquatch that you'd know a malicious attack. Blood and fur would be everywhere. Sounds like new boy came from a feral mother and still has hunting in his blood. He's play-acting a mouse hunt. It's uncomfortable for old boy, but not necessarily harmful.

If there's some kind of outdoor space for him, you can let him play in the grass and try to hunt insects. Just because he's happy in your house doesn't mean he's lost all his instincts.
 
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Amrak

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I don't really have access to an outdoor space I could safely allow him to play at the moment and that probably won't change for a while.

I might be moving next month (depending on a job interview I have soon) but it's to a rural area with a lot of coyotes/lynxes and other predators so I have to say that I would probably be way too worried to let them outside even if I do end up having access to an outdoor area there.
 

Crabbysquatch

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Just an idea out of left field but a couple of my cats love carrying around kitten sized stuffed animals. Maybe get a couple animal shaped ones and the younger one might transfer some of his instinct biting to it ?
 
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Amrak

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I do have a few of those, including a squirrel one that trashes around when touched, but he' shown minimal interest in them
 

Hellenww

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You have a few things going on.

Your Teen has a great deal of energy and being in a small room a great deal of the time is making him more desperate to release that energy. Can you make a safe room for your older boy so they can take turns in the open when you can't supervise.

Even though we are told cats are adults at 1yr, most of my adults haven't treated them as such until 18-20mts. I see some manner training at 1yr but the older cat usually let the younger win most tussles at that age.

Follow your adults lead. Does he go back to playing with the youngster as soon as they are toghether again? If so then it looks worse than it is. If he were being hurt, he'd hurt back or refuse to play.

Try distracting with string toys or a loud noise. Some coins in an empty sode can is loud and unual so might get his attention. Avoid putting him back in the bathroom as much as possible. The more they are toghether the calmer your youngster will become.
 
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Amrak

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He does go back to playing most of the time, but yesterday after the throat grab he seemed wary of him (flinching away when approached)

He does bite me and it's pretty hard sometimes but he hasn't broken skin, except once when he was much younger.

He's a BIG chewer so I also worry about him chewing on wires and such when unsupervised. I've been considering bitter spray to ensure he stays away from then.
 

IslandGirl242

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Hi there. As a life long cat lover, I'm inclined to say this is normal play/dominance testing behavior. I have a 12 y.o. male and a 7 y.o. female... the female is half the size but is usually the instigator/feisty one.
I can't help it sometimes.. it bothers me too. So when I can't ignore them, I clap my hands loudly and yell but even that doesn't usually work for very long. That's when I remind myself they're cats.
If you don't see blood, try to let them be! 😁
 
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Amrak

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I'll try and not intervene tonight then if they start fighting but I just know That's going to be nerve wracking.

I might be a little overprotective of my older boy. He's had a few health scares in the past and is asthmatic so I do tend to coddle him.

I'll try filming the encounter so I can have a visual for what happens.
 

Hellenww

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My Luna was very mouthy. She loved chewing almost everything, luckily not wires. She would love nibble with her front teeth. I had what looked like little hickies all over my arms. I did a long oowww when ever she tried. It took a few months for her to stop while I was awake and about 6 until she stopped while I slept. She is still a big time licker. I tried chew toys, folded up cardboard, cooked beef bone with a little meat still on, silvervine sticks, and other things I can't remember for chewing needs. The only thing she liked were the silvervine. They lose their scent quickly, so I stored them in a bag of catnip. I'd also wave it and gently tap her with it to get her to attack the stick.

Both boys will be more nervous if they sense you are. Take deep calming breath before intervening. Get a large piece of cardboard. When you want you're oldster to rest put it between them and distracting youngster should be easier than when he can't see oldster. All cat play is hunt immitaion/practice play. Human skin is more delicate than cats so more danger of accidental injury that can send you to the ER. Get a big (big enough that your hand is in back not aroud it) dog/infant safe stuffed animal. Tap him and shake it so he thinks it's alive.

They make protective wire covers. I've never used them so don't which work best. I had one cat that liked bitter apple. He'd lick the spray nozzle but that is very unusual.
 

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Our last one/current one was an only kitten, so about like yours. Only there wasn't a cat for her to bite, so she bit me... a lot. Finally, I hissed at her when she did it. At exactly the moment the bite started. She threw herself back from my foot and bit herself instead. Then she shrieked. I don't think she'd realized how much her bites hurt. She never bit me again, though there were several times when she started to lunge and grab, but caught herself and didn't.

The hiss is serious cat speak for 'stop that right now!" It's more serious than squeaks or yelps. Spraying with water probably won't work. I doubt he'll get the connection between the bite and the spray. After all you and the spray aren't right there in the action.

Edited to add - I was holding a glass of water once when ours bit me and dumped it on ours. She didn't notice. However, as a bottle baby she did have a lot of bathes growing up. That might have made water something that didn't impress her.

It's possible he doesn't know that it hurts if your other cat doesn't bite him back. If you hiss when he bites the other cat, you are establishing house rules by the Mom person with the can opener.
 
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