Introduction advice : resident mature cat & new kitten

dexaldec

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Hi there,
First time poster, long time lurker. I've read though all of the related threads, and watched all of the videos - so firstly thank you to everyone for sharing that information!

Myself and my partner are having some challenges with introducing a new kitten to an existing resident cat. The existing cat, Sherlock, is a 6 year old male neutered shorthaired tabby (he's about 12lbs / 5.5kg). He is an indoor/outdoor cat (goes out frequently during the day, naps in the house and stays in at night). In terms of personality, he would be wary of strangers and other cats, people say he is 'aloof', he is very calm with us in the house and likes to be around us, but not necessarily on our laps. He sometimes plays but prefers for us to go out into the garden with him to play (he'll wait in the garden for us to come out), but otherwise he is a fairly regular and independent cat. He has always been the only cat in the house, and was found as an abandoned kitten by the recue from where we adopted him.

The new kitten we adopted from a local rescue is Ripley. She is a 5 1/2 month old female black and white shorthaired kitten (due to be spayed next month). She is wonderful and has settled in brilliantly - very affectionate and very playful. Purrs all of the time, especially when she's looking for rubs or is eating her food. We have had her for about 2 months now.

So far we have followed the introduction steps mentioned on here (she has her own room where she is most of the time, we've done the closed door, open door with screen, feeding opposite sides of screen, feeding together, short supervised time together), and it seems to have gone ok so far. Sherlock (resident) hasn't shown much interest in her during the stages, apart from attempting to sniff once or twice. We are at the stage now where they can eat with their bowls quite close together in the same room. We arrange play with them at opposite sides of the room either before or after eating, but this is where we're not sure if we're doing the right thing.

It usually goes like this:
  • We put their food down, about 1 feet apart facing each other, with Sherlock in the room. He starts to eat away
  • We lead Ripley into the room, and she heads straight for her bowl. Sherlock glances up but doesn't seem to bothered.
  • Sherlock usually eats about 75% of his food, then wanders off a few steps to have a quick bath
  • Ripley sees this and wanders off after him to play.
  • Sherlock sits back and bats a little in the air as Ripley bats at him. If this happens we give each of them a treat.
  • Ripley comes closer, and Sherlock goes to bite her under the neck. Ripley either falls on her side or else he wrestles her to the ground.
  • There's a meow from both and they both stop and sit there for a second. Ripley then goes to play again, and Sherlock again tries to swipe or bite at her.
  • Ripley gets the message and backs away a little, Sherlock follows and sometimes tries to bite at her or swipe her, and Ripley hides behind the leg of a chair or in one of the cat trees.
  • At this stage, either when the wrestle happens with biting/aggressive swatting, or when Sherlock corners Ripley, we come in and break it up with a cushion and lead one of the them out of the room. This whole thing usually lasts only about 15mins.
During this there is no hissing, screeching or puffy tails - Sherlock barely makes a sound at her unless she comes over to him or tries to paw at him - as soon as she comes near him he seems to get bothered. It happens so fast it's difficult to judge the body language, but his ears don't seem to be pulled all the way back, but they are to the side when he goes for her. Both cats seem ok afterwards. He has been behaving as usual other than not wanting to be in the same room as her, or even go near her room when the door is closed. No fur flying or blood, but we think she has two small dots on her face where he may have tried to bite on her.

My main question is: does it sound like he is being aggressive, are we right to break it up when we do? As someone who has not had cats before, it's been quite stressful and distressing to see him "attack" her, when she isn't really doing anything wrong. We've tried to let it go on for a bit, but the maximum we've been able too is about 15 mins before we think that he's being too aggressive towards her.

I know it's very difficult to give advice when you can't see them in action (I'll try and film next time, but for now here are some photos) but any advice would be really helpful at this stage.
 

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rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. I've never introduced cats myself, however, generally if there's no fur flying, blood, and that neither cat appears to be stressed or afraid, things are probably going ok. Older cats will sometimes "discipline" kittens to teach them manners. It's hard to know from your description if that's what's happening. Except for the part where Ripley hides behind the leg of the chair, it seems fine. Does Ripley ever seem scared or frightened of Sherlock? Does she ever instigate play with him?

Not sure if you've seen this or not, but here's the TCS article on Are My Cats Fighting Or Playing? that might be helpful.

Also one on Stress in Cats – The Ultimate Guide – Cat Articles
 

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It sounds like normal playing that you don't need to interfere with, but the description doesn't leave me entirely sure what is happening. A video would resolve any doubt.
 
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dexaldec

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Thank you for the warm welcome and responses :)

Ripley doesn't seem that scared or frightened, which is good and she always instigates play - never the other way around. But she does run away from him and hides when he tries to bite her, but she will after a short while (a few seconds) come back out of wherever she is hi

OK, so I've managed to record a few minutes of their interaction. This is fairly typical, and I think this was probably one of the better interactions we've had - at the end Sherlock keeps trying to bite Ripley even though she's running away from him. We split them up and then fed them both their dinner, although Sherlock wasn't too interested and just wanted to get out of the room so we closed off the partition door between the two rooms and led Ripley back upstairs to her room.

To us, Sherlock seems to be acting a little bit too aggressive, ears slightly back and persistent in chasing her, but we're not sure if this is normal and if we should let it run its course no matter how uncomfortable it seems to us? If we let it go on, when should we stop it, if at all?

Apologies in advance for the talking and noise on the video. That's mostly me shuffling around on the wooden floor trying to get a good photo and keep her occupied.

 

rubysmama

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In my totally inexperienced opinion, I'd say that was all play. There's no hissing, no growling or meowing. I'd say all fun.

Just to get another opinion, I'm got to tag Kieka Kieka to post her videos of her 2 cats playing.
 

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She is instigating play, he is joining in. She is a bit skittish about it because he is bigger, but it is play and quite normal. There is no reason I see to interfere. Since she is smaller he may get the best of her and she may squawk about it but she is still having fun.
 

Kieka

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Here are two videos of different types of play.

https://thecatsite.com/media/20170902_210227.420658/

https://thecatsite.com/media/vid_70290101_083332_894.421929/

I'd say it looks like fairly normal play. Just let them play and don't worry too much. No fur, no blood, no problems is a very general rule of thumb. I don't interfere unless I see fur, blood or I can tell someone isn't letting up (someone actively runs behind me and hides usually, the "Mom! He's picking on me reaction"). Cats usually will take turns being the aggressor and do a lot of testing/tapping each other in normal play.

You can also see at one point the little one lured the bigger one to a chair so it would have an advantage to sneak attack. The little one kept ducking under and around things to create barriers and level the playing field so to say because of size differences. All totally normal and healthy. I only step in if my guys get super loud or someone hisses more then once. One hiss is a warning and if the others listen to the warning everything is good and they learn each others boundaries. Two hisses means someone isnt listening and mom needs to step in. Just let them figure out how to interact. It helps if you like of them like preschoolers on a playground, someone might scrape a knee or fight over the truck when they are getting a feel for each other but once the tears are dried or knee kissed they will become fast friends.
 
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Yep, they are friends, let them play, it will keep them young and active for longer.

Remember, cats are predators, and like all predators, they play by simulating hunting and fighting behaviors. So of course it is going to look a bit rough. We have many first time owners (or first time owners of two at once) that have these same questions. But if no one appears afraid of the other outside play, if they keep engaging with each other voluntarily, then that tells you all is well.

As noted previously, if one runs a bit during play, that if fine. Play isn't always equal, with size and activity differences. But if no grudges appear held when play is over, all is good.
 

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I agree with the others, that it is very normal Play.
I simply adore your video of Sherlock and Ripley playing.:blush:
It's such a joy to watch.

If you notice, at the 0:21 mark, ...it's actually Ripley who takes a swipe at big Sherlock.
She is playful and feisty.

I'm kind of amazed at how restrained and respectful Sherlock is.
Also amazed how you get both cats to listen to you when you say, "you, over there.".... and "you here"....
That is very impressive. It shows how they listen to you, and how you can easily Distract them.:thumbsup:

(My 5 year old sibling cats hear me, but ignore me, mostly.)
To us, Sherlock seems to be acting a little bit too aggressive, ears slightly back and persistent in chasing her, but we're not sure if this is normal and if we should let it run its course no matter how uncomfortable it seems to us? If we let it go on, when should we stop it, if at all?
The ears back during Play is also very common and normal during Play, because the cat is just protecting the floppy ears from being scratched. Sherlock does not hold this position, for long, and does not have any body language to suggest that he is angry.
He often stops, showing that he does respect Ripley's non-verbal and verbal cues.

Even when he chases her, as Kieka mentioned, Ripley will run back, or lure him out to Play.
That is highly fun to watch. :)

I only ever stop play-fighting if it gets to looking like one cat has had enough, very loud vocalizations that go on for long, or a cat is constantly being cornered, or bullied.

In your case, you are doing everything right.
You are using Distraction, to momentarily halt play, and teaching them to respond to your Voice.
Using toys to Distract, giving treats after good interactions, and for distraction.

I would let them Play on for more time, ...to allow Ripley to build her Confidence.
If you interfere, too much, then it breaks the flow of the Play, and the cats get confused, and don't learn the 'cues' from each other.

(Also, it's like you'd be 'the third man in' in a hockey game, and would be ejected or sent to the penalty box.)
It really looks like your cats are enjoying their play-time, without their humans stopping them.
Try to let them Play for longer, and only step in after it looks like Ripley gets too tired.
Though, I think she will rather run off, and not return if she is too tired to Play.

I really hope you post more videos of these awesome two, at play. :cloud9:
 
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dexaldec

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Thanks everyone for your replies. It's very reassuring. I still think Sherlock is not so enthusiastic about the new arrival and not as interested in play, but we'll let it go on for a bit longer today and see how it goes.

Those videos are both really useful, so thanks for posting. In the second video, I would have thought that to be quite rough, but if that's considered acceptable then I think we're doing ok..

You can also see at one point the little one lured the bigger one to a chair so it would have an advantage to sneak attack. The little one kept ducking under and around things to create barriers and level the playing field so to say because of size differences. All totally normal and healthy.
She definitely wants to keep playing with him. I interpreted his behavior as if he was trying to tell her to stay away. I don't quite get why he goes to bite her bum, side or neck when she's moving away from him - but looking at the videos you shared it seems this is quite normal.
 
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dexaldec

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I agree with the others, that it is very normal Play.
I simply adore your video of Sherlock and Ripley playing.:blush:
It's such a joy to watch.

If you notice, at the 0:21 mark, ...it's actually Ripley who takes a swipe at big Sherlock.
She is playful and feisty.

I'm kind of amazed at how restrained and respectful Sherlock is.
Also amazed how you get both cats to listen to you when you say, "you, over there.".... and "you here"....
That is very impressive. It shows how they listen to you, and how you can easily Distract them.:thumbsup:
Thanks, that's very kind of you to say 😊 She is very feisty and playful, and has zero fear, quite the opposite to Sherlock, so we were expecting him to find her energy a bit annoying. Despite his actions, she still comes back with a little swipe. I think she was socialised much more as a kitten than he, which helps explain their personalities a little.

Treats have always been key for us in distracting and "training" cats. Sherlock sits for us now if we wants a treat and doesn't jump up on anything that he's not allowed to (in the past putting small bowls of orange/lemon peel or sheets of aluminum foil in places we'd rather they don't go has worked for us). When we say "out" he knows we want him to leave the room. She is a bit of a different matter, but she's still young. She's getting more and more energetic these past few weeks so there's been plenty of misbehavior but we're getting there.

The ears back during Play is also very common and normal during Play, because the cat is just protecting the floppy ears from being scratched. Sherlock does not hold this position, for long, and does not have any body language to suggest that he is angry.
He often stops, showing that he does respect Ripley's non-verbal and verbal cues.

Even when he chases her, as Kieka mentioned, Ripley will run back, or lure him out to Play.
That is highly fun to watch. :)
Phew - I wasn't sure if the ears were a sign of getting a bit annoyed with her. I have a feeling that she's going to be full of mischief as she gets older. I want to make sure that he feels secure and not threatened as the resident, but that she remains confident and does not get bullied by him.

I really hope you post more videos of these awesome two, at play. :cloud9:
I'll definitely try and film some more videos! Looking back at the video was actually really helpful for us, because often everything happens so fast it's almost hard to remember who did what to whom 😺💨😼
 

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As long as she comes back fro more, it is normal play. If she starts hiding when he appears and doesn't come out, it is aggression. there will be the occasional fight, if it seems to get out of hand, step in and stop it, giving them a time out. she is a kitten, his pinning her, slapping her, and hisses are teaching her limits and how to play nice, it is his job. Kittens playing together sound like they are killing each other, all normal teaching experience.
 

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Thanks, that's very kind of you to say 😊 She is very feisty and playful, and has zero fear, quite the opposite to Sherlock, so we were expecting him to find her energy a bit annoying. Despite his actions, she still comes back with a little swipe. I think she was socialised much more as a kitten than he, which helps explain their personalities a little.
There is a part in the video, at about the 1:18 mark where Ripley 'beelines' it for Sherlock, and either is looking for more treats or treats that he dropped, ...or she just likes to get right up into his face. I thought for sure that he would swipe at her, but he only seems to move, and sit up. There may have been a quiet meow, not sure.

Sherlock is showing so much restraint for his kitten that just pushes her way into his space. haha. :cool2:
(I mean if it was myself eating dessert and someone did that to me, they'd get slapped or pushed back.)
Sherlock has a lot of patience. :)
Treats have always been key for us in distracting and "training" cats. Sherlock sits for us now if we wants a treat and doesn't jump up on anything that he's not allowed to (in the past putting small bowls of orange/lemon peel or sheets of aluminum foil in places we'd rather they don't go has worked for us). When we say "out" he knows we want him to leave the room. She is a bit of a different matter, but she's still young. She's getting more and more energetic these past few weeks so there's been plenty of misbehavior but we're getting there.
That is fantastic about the treats for training, and associating all good things with them.
Using the lemon/orange peels in bowls and aluminum foil as deterrents, ...are great methods, too. :bluepaw:
I just like the way you or your partner can use your Voices and the cats stop and listen.

If you notice at around the 1:59 mark, that Ripley is either: A) looking for a book to read and chew on; B) wanting to jump up on the book case, and then changes her mind; C) wanting to knock things off the bookcase, or D) all of the above with various other kitten explorations. lol. :blush: :evilgrin:

Not sure, but you might have to go through the place and thoroughly kitten-proof anything that you don't want knocked down, chewed on or destroyed. (I don't know how many treats you'd have to barter with to get Ripley to obey...err...'train' in this situation. good luck.)
:goodluck::hangin::goldstar:

(My sister had a few small glass angel figurines, which one of the cats loved to knock off her dresser. Oh, well. At least it taught us to not keep any breakables out, the 'non-importance of stuff', and how certain cats favour certain things. Now it's the marie kondo method of getting rid of stuff, and only having ping pong balls to throw for the cats when playing.)
I have a feeling that she's going to be full of mischief as she gets older. I want to make sure that he feels secure and not threatened as the resident, but that she remains confident and does not get bullied by him.
Yes, I think "mischief" might become her middle name. :lol:

The way she does that 'corkscrew spin roll' at the 2:12 mark and again at the 3:49 mark, tells me that she has some awesome 'matrix movie' action stunt moves,...and does indeed know how to 'go to ground and bunny kick' Sherlock.
She is very smart. The going to ground, and using all four paws, plus teeth is kind of hard to attack. It's a great defensive Play move.

Sherlock does bite her there, but probably just to get her back for kicking him in the face, earlier.
Plus she is so, so fast, so he has to try and slow her down somehow.
They are both learning each others play methods, and tolerances, so occasional hard bites and squeeks are bound to happen.
As long as Ripley does not hold a grudge for too long, then it should be okay.

What you are doing with the pillows is really good. :biggrin:
It also helps both cats know that too much roughness or loud squeeking that causes pain won't be allowed.
It's going to happen anyways, but at least both cats know that their humans will intervene when it gets far too out of hand.
'll definitely try and film some more videos! Looking back at the video was actually really helpful for us, because often everything happens so fast it's almost hard to remember who did what to whom 😺💨😼
It's so true that looking back at he videos helps.
It really does happen at lightning quick speeds, that we humans miss so much, and like you said....don't "remember who did what to whom"....haha. :dunno: :clover: :lol:

If you play the videos back at slow speed at 0.5 speed...it's even better to notice things...when there is fast action between the cats.
Ripley does hit and swipe at Sherlock's face quite a lot. Poor guy has to always close his eyes.

I have to take back what I said about the 'humans being involved' in the 'play action', and interrupting the flow of play.
I actually think that having the humans involved makes the Play action better. :thumbsup:

Sure, the cats might think their humans are too slow, big and noisy....but it's too fun to watch a human getting down and playing, or refereeing ...plus it gets the humans to exercise more, and be more involved with the shenanigans of their cats.
It keeps the humans in good shape. :blush:

I'm not sure of a sport where the referee is allowed to participate in the action, ...but it is way more fun to watch how the cats react to each other, and to their humans, too. :catrub: :greenpaw::bluepaw::caticon: :blackcat: :catlove:
 
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dexaldec

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There is a part in the video, at about the 1:18 mark where Ripley 'beelines' it for Sherlock, and either is looking for more treats or treats that he dropped, ...or she just likes to get right up into his face. I thought for sure that he would swipe at her, but he only seems to move, and sit up. There may have been a quiet meow, not sure.

Sherlock is showing so much restraint for his kitten that just pushes her way into his space. haha. :cool2:
(I mean if it was myself eating dessert and someone did that to me, they'd get slapped or pushed back.)
Sherlock has a lot of patience. :)
I didn't quite think about it like that, but now I can sympathize with Sherlock more!

If you notice at around the 1:59 mark, that Ripley is either: A) looking for a book to read and chew on; B) wanting to jump up on the book case, and then changes her mind; C) wanting to knock things off the bookcase, or D) all of the above with various other kitten explorations. lol. :blush: :evilgrin:
Probably all of the above! She is a definite handful and is growing in confidence every day. She seems to constantly be finding new spots to climb onto just to give us another heart-attack so kitten proofing is a daily activity! 😼

The way she does that 'corkscrew spin roll' at the 2:12 mark and again at the 3:49 mark, tells me that she has some awesome 'matrix movie' action stunt moves,...and does indeed know how to 'go to ground and bunny kick' Sherlock.
Sherlock does bite her there, but probably just to get her back for kicking him in the face, earlier.
Plus she is so, so fast, so he has to try and slow her down somehow.
They are both learning each others play methods, and tolerances, so occasional hard bites and squeeks are bound to happen.
As long as Ripley does not hold a grudge for too long, then it should be okay.
😎😁 She definitely has an action heroine inside her and takes no prisoners. I'm just glad that she still remains confident and continuous to make small swipes, even when she's being told to back off by Sherlock. My only worry is that he is so much bigger than she is, when he runs to her he topples her very easily and I can see it would be quite easy for her to get hurt.

We've let them play a little bit more and with less interruptions or interference (fighting the instinct to jump in to stop them multiple times) thanks to the confidence everyone all these replies have given us, but we are still supervising them closely and keeping them short. The plan is to build up over time just so we don't risk going too fast too soon.

I recorded another video of them today under the dining room table. In this one you can hear some of meows and squeaks from both of them (and noises from my hand over the phone's mic) and how Sherlock goes in at her quite strongly at the 0.25 mark when she is trying to groom herself, but after it they both seem to be ok. We checked her for marks and she came away unscathed. I guess this type of interaction is normal, or is it a bit rough?

 

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I didn't quite think about it like that, but now I can sympathize with Sherlock more!
Yes, having watched the new video a few more times, I also have more sympathy for Sherlock, too.

Check out the part at the 0:04 mark, ...where both Ripley and Sherlock are looking towards the camera.
Sherlock has a look on his face like, "Seriously, is this my life now? I mean I don't think I signed up for this 'kitten-duty' thing, or having to train this kitten. I know she's cute and all, ...but seriously I don't remember being consulted or sitting in on that meeting." 😒 :blush:

And talking about action heroines, ...Ripley reminds me of batman/batwoman at the 0:04 mark, too.
I never noticed her mask, those ears and her chin which looks like it was dipped in paint or has a lower scarf on it.
She does look more grey and white to me, ...but I know you wrote black and white, ...so it must just be the lighting.
Probably all of the above! She is a definite handful and is growing in confidence every day. She seems to constantly be finding new spots to climb onto just to give us another heart-attack so kitten proofing is a daily activity! 😼
:crackup:Yeah. That's what kittens do.
Hopefully the 'heart-attacks' are just minor ones. :biggrin:

I liked how in the previous video, ...you actually did notice where Ripley was going, over by the bookcase, and kept filming her. :agree:
It looked like she was taking advantage of everyone looking the other way, and just innocently wandering away.
(Almost like those magic tricks where they get you to look one way, and not focus on the real action.)
You have a good attention to detail, in noticing where Ripley is at.
😎😁 She definitely has an action heroine inside her and takes no prisoners. I'm just glad that she still remains confident and continuous to make small swipes, even when she's being told to back off by Sherlock. My only worry is that he is so much bigger than she is, when he runs to her he topples her very easily and I can see it would be quite easy for her to get hurt.

We've let them play a little bit more and with less interruptions or interference (fighting the instinct to jump in to stop them multiple times) thanks to the confidence everyone all these replies have given us, but we are still supervising them closely and keeping them short. The plan is to build up over time just so we don't risk going too fast too soon.
I think your plan is great.
By supervising them, and keeping the interactions short and positive,...it will build more confidence in both cats, ...plus allow the cats extra time for adjustment and learning.
Then extending the time is a lot easier to do, ...when the previous interactions were good.

You will still get the usual bites, squeaks, step-ons, and rough play...but doing it your way...shows both cats what is allowed.

It is difficult when there is a size-difference, and your worry is quite valid...but if you do watch Sherlock in the videos...he actually tries to restrain himself, and holds back...and moves off her very quickly. When he bites her on the belly, he actually moves off right away.
As soon as she squeaks, he leaves her alone. He really respects her cues.
I recorded another video of them today under the dining room table. In this one you can hear some of meows and squeaks from both of them (and noises from my hand over the phone's mic) and how Sherlock goes in at her quite strongly at the 0.25 mark when she is trying to groom herself, but after it they both seem to be ok. We checked her for marks and she came away unscathed. I guess this type of interaction is normal, or is it a bit rough?
The video is fantastic. :)
The interaction is very normal.

At the 0:14 mark is when Ripley hits Sherlock on his back left leg, and then she also swipes him in the face at the 0:17 mark.
I think that Sherlock is just getting Ripley back for these two shots, and they are both Play fighting... as kittens would normally do when small.
For some older cats, the way a kitten moves in unpredictable, ...and can be quite a challenge to deal with. :updown:
Sherlock is still learning how Ripley moves. :bluepaw:

When he goes to bite her at the 0.25 mark, it might be because Sherlock still has to assert that it is his territory, she is the newcomer, and he won't be totally submissive to her, yet. It's like he's the 'lion king' for now, but that will probably change with time.
I think as she grows, and gets bigger and stronger, he will let her be the queen of the domain.
As long as you both show equal love and attention to them both, they'll be okay.

Sherlock does not seem to want to be dominant all the time. He seems to be more of a laid back type of cat.
When Ripley exposes her belly right at the 0.28 mark he does not bite her then, but waits till the 0.42 mark, and then does it very quickly. I think that Ripley does get another shot in towards his legs, since he hops, but not entirely sure.

At the 0.47 mark he attempts to sniff her, she swats him.
Then we notice he looks like he has a frown on his face.
He does swat her at the 0.58 mark on her rear, leg and tail and bites her again...but she totally gets him back with the swipes to the face. I think he wants to get her back, but then calms down, and when she proceeds to roll around...he figures, "oh, no, there she goes being all cute again, and doing her rolling on the floor moves." :hmmm: He walks away.

The hilarious part is that Ripley follows him, and touches his back leg again, at the 1.21 part, and Sherlock turns and seems to communicate, "I cannot believe you just did that". :eek2:
(In my mind, at this part I'm thinking, "oh, oh, this cannot end well.") :paranoid:
But it does. Sherlock just throws 'silent daggers with his eyes and posture' and Ripley smartly moves back.

Ripley then uses the chair legs as barriers, and all is well.
Whew. That part was tense. :sweat:
I'm so proud of Sherlock for laying down and not jumping on Ripley. :catrub:
I think he deserved major treats at that point.

You're going to notice a lot of interactions like this.
As long as the cats can Play, tumble, wrestle,...move apart and then get back together again...then all is well. :thumbsup:
 
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dexaldec

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An update: so it seems like things are progressing well. We've given the kitten, Ripley, a bit more freedom to wander and have had longer interactions between her and Sherlock, the resident cat. There's been some tumbling, chasing and biting and it mostly seems ok to us. They eat without any problem and it seems they are both getting a bit more relaxed around each other.

Most of the time, it seems as though she is a bit of an annoyance to Sherlock. He's an indoor/outdoor cat, so when he comes in for a nap or to eat, and she is there, he usually eats for a bit but doesn't want to stick around for too long. I'm hoping over time that he'll tolerate her a bit better.

I'm including two short clips. The first is typically what it looks like when they plays. There's some batting and chasing and it usually ends with Sherlock biting her on the neck or on the stomach and her squealing. She is far more gentle than him. I don't think he ever hurts her and from what posters have said he might be discipling her. If he does it for too long or repeats it, or it seems a bit rough, we tell them to break it up and they listen which is good.

The second clip is from today. We think Ripley might be in heat - she is due to be spayed in two weeks as she'll be 6 months. Sherlock is neutered. She has been crawling on the floor a lot and purring loudly and keeps going over to him and laying down next to him. He is not impressed, gives a sharp meow and usually jumps away or else fairly roughly bites her on the bum or back. We have seen him sometimes lick her ears before/after biting her. Is this all normal, or is he being a bit rough? I feel sorry for her because she is generally so gentle, loving and playful and he is the only one doing the biting.


Do you think there's anything we should be concerned about or look out for?
 

ArtNJ

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As far as the first video, the first noise was almost like an I'm not sure I want to play noise, back off, but then she seems to want to play a few seconds later. The additional noises didn't really seem like that kinda hurts noises, maybe more like general protest or even just excitement noises. So...sometimes the noises they make are hard to decipher and dont necessarily mean much. Maybe she wasn't entirely sure she wanted to play, but I don't interpret anything as pain or true upset. Looks fine.

As far as the second, its a little unusual for the kitten to just lay there for 9 seconds while being bit, but Ive seen it before and she isn't being hurt at all. Mother cats pick up kittens by that area, the scruff its called, and its extremely tough. I just saw a video the other day where an adult golden retriever would pick up its adult cat friend there and move the cat wherever, and the cat was fine with it. The big cat would have to be biting with actual intent to injure to do so; you can't get accidental injuries in that spot. So she isn't being hurt, and if she was she would squeal. She just isn't in the mood to play.

Collectively, maybe they show a little less enthusiasm from a kitten than I'd expect, but they certainly don't show a problem. From what you said in your post, its usually the older cat that gets a little annoyed with the play, and I'd more expect that, but even kittens aren't always interested, especially when the other cat is massively bigger.
 
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dexaldec

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I wonder if this recent behaviour is down to her possibly being in heat and he's picking up on it even though he's neutered?

Just now he again pinned her down biting her lower neck/upper back so she was almost flat to the ground. She didnt move and he barely moved but then she stared a very low long growl so we decided to break it up.

Checking her over she isn't hurt at all and the two of the cats seem fine.
 

pearl99

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I wonder if this recent behaviour is down to her possibly being in heat and he's picking up on it even though he's neutered?

Just now he again pinned her down biting her lower neck/upper back so she was almost flat to the ground. She didnt move and he barely moved but then she stared a very low long growl so we decided to break it up.

Checking her over she isn't hurt at all and the two of the cats seem fine.
That was my impression in the video. I think neutered males can still be triggered to respond in that way. I'm not an expert nor experienced with this combo of female in heat and neutered male, so I'm not sure of how to handle, but that's my thought.
I think they can also do the mounting thing for dominance, so maybe either one?
 

cat nap

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That was my impression in the video. I think neutered males can still be triggered to respond in that way. I'm not an expert nor experienced with this combo of female in heat and neutered male, so I'm not sure of how to handle, but that's my thought.
I think they can also do the mounting thing for dominance, so maybe either one?
I do agree with pearl99 pearl99 ...that Sherlock looks like he is being triggered and responding to the scents that Ripley is giving off.

The second video is what you'd see in the usual mounting position of a male cat on top of a female for mating.
What I would do ... is interrupt the actions before Sherlock even attempts to mount Ripley.

Use a stuffed toy, to direct Sherlock's actions on.
Since they already listen to you, use your Voice, clap your hands, or anything you can think of to distract Sherlock from biting Ripley on the back of the neck.

I used to do the 'hey, hey, hey'....'none of that' ....and would throw a towel onto both cats to break it up.
Even throwing a pillow in a different direction would cause them to run the other way.
(though in hindsight, I suppose this last method would scare them, too, ...so maybe not the best approach....but it did work to break them up.)

(I've never allowed my male cat to bite, or continue to hold and bite my female cat by the neck. My male is also neutered and he and his sister were both neutered and spayed at 5.5 months old. I know I was worried about him impregnating her, so I wanted to do it earlier, but most Vets around here also said to wait until 6 months, which is a bit odd, since I have read other threads on this Site, which mention earlier spaying.)
My male cat would do the 'neck biting' sporadically on top of the neck, ...even after he was neutered and well after he was a year old.
It might just come down to natural instincts being displayed.

I, too, don't know all the science behind it, but what is probably happening is Sherlock, even though neutered,.. is being riled up by the pheromones that Ripley is giving off.
In the first video, Sherlock seems to respond to Ripley, while she is 'cheek marking' and 'rolling around'.
It must be such a strong and attractive scent for cats.
Do you think there's anything we should be concerned about or look out for?
What you might have to do is separate them, and put her in her 'safe room' ...if you constantly see that Sherlock is trying to mount, or Ripley is displaying more 'in heat' behaviours like the ones you mentioned, plus louder vocalizing, more meowing, restlessness, propping her backside up, and swinging her tail to the side.

Probably asking the Vet, ...if there is anything else that may help...would get immediate tips, too.
(I hope you don't have to go through 2 weeks of heat, though. I'd be asking the Vet if there are any sooner cancellations, then.)

Also doing a "Search" in the upper right hand corner will lead you to other threads about 'neutered male cats and mounting' ...which are kind of interesting to read. (wow, tonnes of stuff there, from ovulation, dominance, etc.)
 
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