Play Aggression Between 2 Cats

SwissMiss

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I have 2 cats & live in a 600 foot square apartment. They are both fixed and are indoors only. They get along just fine when eating and sleeping on my bed with me. They even groom each other now and then. Miles is 18 pounds. He is big like a Maine Coon. He is 4 years old. Jasmine is 10 pounds and she is 2 years old. The problem is when Miles gets that amped up cat energy he chases after Jasmine and it's no longer fun for her. She hisses and tries to hide. I contacted the local humane society and the behaviorist said it sounds like play aggression. She recommended having play sessions with them which I've been doing with Da Bird feather wand. She also recommended using the Feliway multicat plug in which is a pheromone diffuser. I've used the Feliway original spray since the original plug in left my wall very oily when I used it many years ago with another cat. I've had Miles & Jasmine for 2 years. I'm afraid that Miles may injure Jasmine. He just went after her during our play session. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
 

ArtNJ

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This is totally normal. It happens anytime you have playful cats and a size difference. The smaller cat is telling you that its not serious by her attitude towards the big cat when they aren't playing. If this was a serious problem, you would find wounds, see fur ripped out, and, the easiest cue to spot, see her avoiding the big cat at all times. This is more akin to a little brother calling for mom when big brother gets a bit rough, but wanting to play with big brother again in 5 minutes. There is nothing you can or need to do about it. Many people try to intervene when it gets excessive, but its hard to teach active cats to play a certain way. You'll either teach the big cat not to play when your around or not to play with the small cat at all, or, even more likely, you'll have no effect at all except on the particular play session you interrupt.

One thing you can do that might help a little bit is buy a big cat tree. Cats feel more comfortable & safer in elevated spaces. Even when my older cat Rocky basically hated the active newcomer Clyde, she would play with him a bit when she was elevated and he was trying to attack from below. If you watch that show "My Cat from Hell" he is very big on elevated spaces, and ends up having people build these elevated cat superhighways and such. I think he is borderline nuts about it, ordinary folks can't generally go to the crazy lengths folks on the show do, but there is no denying that cats like elevated spaces.
 
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FeebysOwner

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A cat tree is not a bad idea! But, you could also try to devise a place or two in your home that has a very small opening that even Jasmine would barely be able to squeeze into - somewhere she could learn that she has a hiding spot away from Miles when she wants. You could direct her to it/them a couple of times when Miles is bugging her, and perhaps she would like the idea and run to it/them when needed! You could even add an area like that to a cat tree, if you can't find one with a little cubby hole already built in.
 
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SwissMiss

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Thank you for your replies about play aggression between Miles & Jasmine. I do watch Jackson Galaxy's show My Cat From Hell. I did buy a cat tree several months ago. I put it next to my armoire in the living room. So now the cats have more vertical space. They can jump on the cat tree and from there jump on the top of the armoire. Jasmine has found a few places to retreat that Miles struggles to access when he gets amped up. Thanks again for both of your replies.
 

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I think your best course of action is to get some cat furniture - or install some shelves around your home at different heights that the cats can access - usually if one is feeling fed up with the other, they will seek a higher perch - having higher perches that they can go to is important.

Otherwise that type of play does not sound too worrying - as others have said, the fact they hang out together indicates that there are no hard feelings, and it is just dominance play. If there were real aggression going on, the victim would likely have decided to live 24/7 under the bed, not get up and curl up with the aggressor and indulge in mutual grooming regularly :D Keep everyones claws trimmed just in case, but it doesn't sound too abnormal imo.

(Edit to add - 2 of my cats are really close, which means they spend a lot of time curled up together, and sometimes have an argument - there is no real harm done to either cat when they argue - you can tell the difference between a real cat fight - screaming and blood and clumps of fur - and a half-hearted sibling/best buddies type slapping match - the latter tends to be all mouth and no trousers, and certainly no claws or injuries).
 
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