My 2 kittens are fighting. Please help!

Zara12345

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Hi! I recently adopted a rescue kitten that's about 6 weeks old (his name is Percy). I brought him home, reserved my bedroom for him, put his necessities in there and he's adjusting well. Right on the second day he started showing signs of wanting the explore the rest of the house so we let him. We installed a pet gate (its 4 feet tall) and let my 4 and half month old kitten (Ollie) meet him through the gate. They seemed completely fine with each other; there was a tad bit of growling from Percy in the beginning but that was about it. They ate next to each other on either side of the gate. The gate was there for 2 days and then I opened it slightly and let them play with eachothers hands. And because they were kittens I thought that they could meet each other so I let them play with a string and let Ollie in. It was fine at first but Ollie started to get rough with Percy (which I thought was normal so I continued to keep them together under supervision of course) and the fighting continued. And then I realised that they needed to be separated again and installed the pet gate but Ollie started jumping the gate and Percy started jumping over too.

Now Percy is in my room and runs out every chance he gets, Ollie gets way too interested in him and sort of starts chasing and bullying him/mounting him and Percy chases back but Ollie does tackle Percy to the ground and gets a grip on his neck. I have been doing some research and it says that the cats never should have seen each other without scent swapping but that's a mistake that I can't go back on now so please help.

So far there have been no signs of injuries, bite marks or scratches on either of the cats but at this point I am scared and I don't know where this will end. Also, I am lost and I need help on getting these cats to accept eachother and live harmoniously.
 

Krienze

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First, I believe you CAN go back and redo. Just start all over from step one.

Are you sure they are fighting though? A lot of the times cats look like they are, but they really aren't. Usually fighting will also have loud screeching/snarling sounds where as playfighting will LOOK like fighting but not be -loud- the way a real fight does.

6 weeks may be to young to play with the other cat though. We have a 7 week old kitten whom we have separated in a pen at the moment. He's out with the other cats, but he's so small part of me is worried they'll view him as prey right now.
 

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There is zero need for an introduction process with kittens this young. They are already friends. The older one is just playing roughly, which is what kittens do. The only reason we need to be a little careful here is that six weeks is crazy young. If the older one was a one year old that was acting like a play crazed kitten but with adult size - and many 1 yr olds do that - we might need to keep them apart for a few weeks until the kitten got some size. With a 4 1/2 month old, its probably ok.

The rough play will make the younger kitten a little uncomfortable at times, on the order of a head noogie if you know what that is. They may be some squealing, hissing and running away. You will know everything is fine when the younger kitten comes right back in a couple of minutes and acts like nothing happened, or even tries to initiate play. Let the youger kitten be your guide in this respect.
 

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Look at their body language. Are their battles episodic? Do their ears stay up, or do they flatten against their head? Is there any fur flying? Is the aggression give-and-take, or does one cat always do the biting?

Crying isn't a sign that things are going wrong. It's just a complaint on the part of the one that's getting the short end of the stick at the moment. I have two guys that you'd think WWII was still going on. They roll around and bump into walls and furniture, growl, cry and hiss, but they're a bonded set, getting along just fine. They do play rough, though.

I don't recall reading if they were both neutered. Things will be a little easier on you if they are (and there are some potential health advantages having them neutered as well). The mounting activity is probably dominance-related at their ages.
 
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Zara12345

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First, I believe you CAN go back and redo. Just start all over from step one.

Are you sure they are fighting though? A lot of the times cats look like they are, but they really aren't. Usually fighting will also have loud screeching/snarling sounds where as playfighting will LOOK like fighting but not be -loud- the way a real fight does.

6 weeks may be to young to play with the other cat though. We have a 7 week old kitten whom we have separated in a pen at the moment. He's out with the other cats, but he's so small part of me is worried they'll view him as prey right now.
I do believe that they are play fighting but my older kitten can get a little rough so I am scared that he might seriously injure the younger one. That's not to say that the younger one is calm. He's even more notorious if not more for his age and also initiates the play/fight sometimes.
And I am also having the same problem right now where I think Ollie might be perceiving Percy as prey because for a 4 month old he is 5 pounds.
 
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Zara12345

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There is zero need for an introduction process with kittens this young. They are already friends. The older one is just playing roughly, which is what kittens do. The only reason we need to be a little careful here is that six weeks is crazy young. If the older one was a one year old that was acting like a play crazed kitten but with adult size - and many 1 yr olds do that - we might need to keep them apart for a few weeks until the kitten got some size. With a 4 1/2 month old, its probably ok.

The rough play will make the younger kitten a little uncomfortable at times, on the order of a head noogie if you know what that is. They may be some squealing, hissing and running away. You will know everything is fine when the younger kitten comes right back in a couple of minutes and acts like nothing happened, or even tries to initiate play. Let the youger kitten be your guide in this respect.
I am thinking about letting Percy grow for another 2 to 3 weeks so he can get some size on him but I just can't completely separate them because they know that the other exists and they just want to get to eachother.
Not sure what a head noogie is but what you mentioned is exactly what happens! Percy squeals a little when Ollie tackles him and things get too rough and then he runs away but then comes running back to Ollie for another round.
 
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Zara12345

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Look at their body language. Are their battles episodic? Do their ears stay up, or do they flatten against their head? Is there any fur flying? Is the aggression give-and-take, or does one cat always do the biting?

Crying isn't a sign that things are going wrong. It's just a complaint on the part of the one that's getting the short end of the stick at the moment. I have two guys that you'd think WWII was still going on. They roll around and bump into walls and furniture, growl, cry and hiss, but they're a bonded set, getting along just fine. They do play rough, though.

I don't recall reading if they were both neutered. Things will be a little easier on you if they are (and there are some potential health advantages having them neutered as well). The mounting activity is probably dominance-related at their ages.
Their ears stay up just as they normally are and there is no fur flying when they're at it but the moment Ollie spots percy, his focus is unwavering... like he tries sneaking up on him like he's hunting him.
As for the biting, its usually Ollie who does most of the biting and he goes for the neck most of the time.
Ollie hasn't been neutered yet; I was planning to wait until he's 6 months or so because he's still young and Percy is just 6 weeks so I'll have to wait a while before he gets neutered too.
 

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I am thinking about letting Percy grow for another 2 to 3 weeks so he can get some size on him but I just can't completely separate them because they know that the other exists and they just want to get to eachother.
Not sure what a head noogie is but what you mentioned is exactly what happens! Percy squeals a little when Ollie tackles him and things get too rough and then he runs away but then comes running back to Ollie for another round.
Separating for a few weeks is totally fine! Cant be wrong even if its unnecessary. I firmly believe you can let the kitten be your guide! If he was being hurt, he wouldn't be coming right back for another round. Nonetheless, 6 weeks is really really young!

A head noogie is when one say 8 year old big brother rubs his knuckles on the head of his 5 year old brother, just hard enough to hurt a bit, but not leave a wound. Little humans, especially boys, can be little jerks! That seems to be the level of discomfort that an other enthusiastic player causes -- you'll not find wounds.
 

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The fact that Percy "comes running back to Ollie for another round" is a good indicator that the behavior is just play. If Percy were really hurt, he'd go hide in a dark corner and not come out.

Kitten play is mostly training to be a predator. The kittens are trying to "play kill" the other, so it often looks worse than it is.
 
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Krienze

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Yeah, it sounds like it's just play but that the small one is just small. I'd keep separate for now, at least until he gets a lil weight on him. You can still let them interact through the doors/gate with supervision though I would think
 
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Zara12345

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So I managed to get a video of the two of them together but I can't upload it because it says that the file extention is not supported. Any idea how I can upload it?
 
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Zara12345

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So I am taking all your advices and separating them for 2 weeks. Percy has a good appetite and eats just as much as Ollie (who is a domestic short hair) and I believe he is a big breed because of his huge paws, long whiskers and his love for climbing (like the other day he had climbed over my rolled up carpet that I had kept upright against the wall and is over 8 feet tall!). So I am optimistic that he'll grow up soon enough and I won't have to separate them anymore.

Will keep you updated. Thank you all for help and support. Knowing that these two are just play fighting is a huge relief on its own.
 
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Zara12345

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Yeah, it sounds like it's just play but that the small one is just small. I'd keep separate for now, at least until he gets a lil weight on him. You can still let them interact through the doors/gate with supervision though I would think
Yes I am doing just that :)
 
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Zara12345

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Yeah, it sounds like it's just play but that the small one is just small. I'd keep separate for now, at least until he gets a lil weight on him. You can still let them interact through the doors/gate with supervision though I would think
The fact that Percy "comes running back to Ollie for another round" is a good indicator that the behavior is just play. If Percy were really hurt, he'd go hide in a dark corner and not come out.

Kitten play is mostly training to be a predator. The kittens are trying to "play kill" the other, so it often looks worse than it is.
I think it might be play too but I have decided to separate them for now just until Percy is slightly older and has gained some weight
 
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Zara12345

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*UPDATE*
Hello everyone! So just wanted to let you all know that my kittens are doing ok.

After I separated Percy, I started taking things slow to try and reintroduce them to eachother but 3 days later Percy became very ill and he was on medication and recovering for about a week. Ollie recently lost his bottom 2 milk teeth and his adult teeth have started growing in and it just made me realise that he's growing real fast so I wanted so badly to introduce them to eachother and for them to be OK. Percy recovered and once he was better I let the two of them roam (I was supervising them the whole time) and there was an awful lot of fighting! It was definitely fighting coz there was fur flying and weird cat sounds coming from Percy as they were rolling about on the floor. I wanted to separate them again but Percy was relentless and kept going at it so I went with my instinct and let them be. I checked Percy for injuries and apart from a mild scratch on his tummy area, he was fine.

By night the fights had somewhat reduced but I couldn't keep them together so they slept in separate rooms. This was yesterday and today morning they started fighting again (or it was more like play fighting... not sure) but the tension between them has definitely decreased and now they're currently napping together in an arm chair.
Percy's kinda clingy; not sure what he expects from Ollie and Ollie tolerates him but usually after a few minutes he's had it and he either kicks him out of the seat or finds another one.

In the picture below this is the longest they've been together and I think this is good progress.
Also, I feed them in separate bowls, they have their own water, litter boxes and even kitty houses but they share it all. So I was just wondering... do I still have to keep 2 feeding bowls or maintain one?

Oh and Percy has just turned 8 weeks old (he weighs about 2.5 pounds) and Ollie is 19 weeks old (and weighs 5.5 pounds).
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Sounds totally fine to me. Percy being smaller and Ollie being both much bigger and young enough to be stupid over enthusiastic, sometimes Percy is going to feel uncomfortable and be made to yip or squeal. Hissing or growling when its too much sometimes happens, and some kittens will even scream (drama queens!) But you also described Percy being very enthusiastic about play too, so that means all is well.

It can take a few days for even kittens to get comfortable so you may have started with some real hissing and growling, which is no biggy. At these ages, they were always going to end up friends. Its inevitable. Rough is ok though -- I think I've only ever seen one video posted that scared the *&^! out of me, where a one year old was basically treating a 5 week old kitten like a toy mouse in every respect. Still, if you are nervous about things, post a video!
 

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Yes, kittens can sound like they are actually killing each other, with squeals, hisses, and lots of screaming. Once they are both neutered things will settle down a lot. Mounting behavior is a sign of dominance, as is pinning to the ground by the neck. As stated above let the behaviors guide you, as long a there are no deep bites with blood, and the kitten who is yelling the loudest doesn't completely avoid the other and hide, everything is fine. If they come back for more after a minute or two, everything is normal. Cats are programmed, instinct, to not kill young kittens, it does happen, but very, very rarely and usually by a grown Tom cat. If they are sleeping together, even better. They are absolutely adorable by the way!
 
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Zara12345

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Sounds totally fine to me. Percy being smaller and Ollie being both much bigger and young enough to be stupid over enthusiastic, sometimes Percy is going to feel uncomfortable and be made to yip or squeal. Hissing or growling when its too much sometimes happens, and some kittens will even scream (drama queens!) But you also described Percy being very enthusiastic about play too, so that means all is well.

It can take a few days for even kittens to get comfortable so you may have started with some real hissing and growling, which is no biggy. At these ages, they were always going to end up friends. Its inevitable. Rough is ok though -- I think I've only ever seen one video posted that scared the *&^! out of me, where a one year old was basically treating a 5 week old kitten like a toy mouse in every respect. Still, if you are nervous about things, post a video!
I tried posting a video a few weeks ago but something went wrong; even now it keeps saying 'unsupported format.' Anyway, they're both doing well. There is the occasional fight that breaks out but it's only the second day so I am hopeful about things:)
 
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Zara12345

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Yes, kittens can sound like they are actually killing each other, with squeals, hisses, and lots of screaming. Once they are both neutered things will settle down a lot. Mounting behavior is a sign of dominance, as is pinning to the ground by the neck. As stated above let the behaviors guide you, as long a there are no deep bites with blood, and the kitten who is yelling the loudest doesn't completely avoid the other and hide, everything is fine. If they come back for more after a minute or two, everything is normal. Cats are programmed, instinct, to not kill young kittens, it does happen, but very, very rarely and usually by a grown Tom cat. If they are sleeping together, even better. They are absolutely adorable by the way!
Thank you! Ollie will be getting neutered once he's 5 months old, as advised by the vet. Also, I am aware that neutering prevents a lot of health problems but will there be any changes in behaviour? Would appreciate if someone could give me some advice on this...
 
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