Introducing a new kitten

Leximo

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Hi everyone,

I’m new here and looking for some experience cat lovers to provide me with some advice.

I got my first kitten, Beau, 7 months ago and up until recently she has been an only cat. She is very playful, affectionate and loving, follows me and my partner everywhere and loves a good snuggle in bed. She is a British blue x Bengal.

4 days ago, we brought a new bundle of fluff home, Bailey, who is a Norwegian Forest x Ragdoll and is just older than 8 weeks. We have a separate room for him with his bedding, food, litter tray and plenty of toys. The first two days we done scent swapping with blankets and letting each cat smell the others from our hands. The second day they were playing with toys under the door. There was plenty of hissing and growling from the resident cat, Beau, but no physical aggression. We have been taking it slowly with them seeing each other, playing with each with toys and then separating them for a break. Up until recently, Beau has stayed away from Bailey with hissing, growling and swiping if he gets too close. Last night, they started smelling each other more and getting a bit closer but still with growling and hissing from Beau.

Yesterday we got feliway friends, just to give it a try and see if it would help. Well today, we seem to have done a complete 360 and they are now, what looks like, playing. They will eat next to each other, play with toys and will chase each other around the living room. They both seem very interested in each other. However, beau now seems to be jumping on Bailey and visa versa and like biting his neck. Bailey let’s put a few squeals (not in pain) probably just uncomfortable because Beau is a lot heavier than him. There is no aggression being shown by either cat and no hissing or growling at all..they are tumbling over each other, jumping up at each other etc. It looks too harsh but I’m not sure.

we have never introduce cats before and unsure if this is normal behaviour? We move Beau out the way if it looks too rough but she doesn’t seem to be giving up. Can I get some advice please?
 

BellaGooch

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ArtNJ

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Yeah, we get people coming here ALL the time asking about this. Adult cats under about a year and a half are super enthusiastic about playing, and it looks optically scary the way they play with the kittens. The kittens might squeal, or run away during play. Here is the thing though: the kitten will not be hurt. Think head noogie, or indian sunburn (if you aren't US based google em). It might be uncomfortable, but the kitten still likes playing overall and will typically come right back for more in a few minutes. The kitten coming back for more, as opposed to generally acting afraid even when play is done, is your best message that all is well. It would be nice if one could teach the older kitten to play nicely, but its a symptom of the age. It is what it is. The kitten will not be hurt and gets a benefit overall. You can distract if the kitten seems particularly miserable, but it isn't strictly necessary.
 
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Leximo

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Thank you so much for your reply, it has reassured me massively. I was just so unsure because it does look rough but there’s no aggression from either of them. Just a few squeals from Bailey when Beau has got him in a head noggie. 😂 I’m not from the US so had to google it lol
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ArtNJ

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Lol, we have people from all over, I knew sooner or later someone wouldn't know what a head noogie was. But young kids, especially boys, are jerks the world over, I'm sure every country and culture has their own phrases for the nonsense they do to each other lol. Sorry to make you look it up, but I don't know how else to explain it, just some random jerky thing that kids do to each other that is uncomfortable but not dangerous. And at least I didn't suggest you google an atomic wedgie :)
 

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I literally posted a similar thread on Monday re my cats Leo (5 years) and Pepper (12 weeks). They are doing exactly the same thing as you describe.. particularly chasing each other. It always goes a bit too far and I end up stopping it when Pepper squeals. She is never hurt and she follows Leo everywhere. When I shut her in her room for a sleep or to keep them apart Leo will meow at her door.. its cute.. I think they are figuring each other out.. I'm 4 weeks in now. Someone recommended a water spray which I keep to hand and then when play gets too rough I give a quick squirt and they stop immediately so a good trick to try.
 

ArtNJ

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I literally posted a similar thread on Monday re my cats Leo (5 years) and Pepper (12 weeks). They are doing exactly the same thing as you describe.. particularly chasing each other. It always goes a bit too far and I end up stopping it when Pepper squeals. She is never hurt and she follows Leo everywhere. When I shut her in her room for a sleep or to keep them apart Leo will meow at her door.. its cute.. I think they are figuring each other out.. I'm 4 weeks in now. Someone recommended a water spray which I keep to hand and then when play gets too rough I give a quick squirt and they stop immediately so a good trick to try.
Playing roughly is a totally natural thing. There is no way they will understand the play-differently message. Therefore, squirting will have no permanent effect if your lucky, or discourage all play if your not. Its fine to distract or gently separate if the kitten seems truly miserable, but in general its best to let them be.
 

miccoops

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Playing roughly is a totally natural thing. There is no way they will understand the play-differently message. Therefore, squirting will have no permanent effect if your lucky, or discourage all play if your not. Its fine to distract or gently separate if the kitten seems truly miserable, but in general its best to let them be.
Ah ok that's really helpful thank you. The last thing I want to do is discourage play as its nice to see them bonding. Leo has very playful body language with Pepper but when it gets too rough Pepper will growl or hiss and I feel right it split them up. The water was helping as I don't want to get caught in the cross fire.. and they usually end up under a sofa or the Christmas tree! Any other ways that could work for splitting them up? I do think Leo is starting to realise when Pepper has had enough and back off a bit whereas he used to keep going even when she was clearly getting annoyed.
 

ArtNJ

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Ah ok that's really helpful thank you. The last thing I want to do is discourage play as its nice to see them bonding. Leo has very playful body language with Pepper but when it gets too rough Pepper will growl or hiss and I feel right it split them up. The water was helping as I don't want to get caught in the cross fire.. and they usually end up under a sofa or the Christmas tree! Any other ways that could work for splitting them up? I do think Leo is starting to realise when Pepper has had enough and back off a bit whereas he used to keep going even when she was clearly getting annoyed.
Your 100% that getting the middle of a real cat fight is risky, and even touching a very stressed cat is risky. Here though, the older one is purely playing, not stressed, so there should be no danger of redirected aggression from that cat. At worst, he would get confused and try a play swat or play bite on you and those don't really do much damage (although a light scratch is certainly possible). But you may not need to touch him. Most people just grab a favorite toy, shake the treat bag, call for them or something like that. Doesn't always work.

Hissing or growling from the smaller one is really just communication though. Stop that, I don't like it, I'm uncomfortable and want to stop. When something gets quite uncomfortable you will almost certainly get squealing from the little one, and they are more than capable of screaming if something crosses the line into hurting a bit. Many are drama queens and will scream for no good reason. Anyway, if you merely have some hissing/growling and the little one seeking to disengage, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Just as long as the little one holds no permanent grudge, comes right back a few minutes later and initiates play sometimes. That tells you all is well. Drama queens or not, I'd intervene if there is a lot of squealing, and certainly if there is screaming. It may do no real harm, but if the little one is that unhappy about things, may as well help out
 
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