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How do Cats Play with Each Other?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
This is probably a silly question... but please give me a hand, those of you who have multiple kitties!

We've recently added a second cat to our household (via the wonderful methods on this site... thank yooou!), so now we have a 4. 5 year old spayed female and a 16 week old not-yet-spayed female. Tak, the older one, has always been highly aloof, and Pixel, the baby, is fantastically cuddly and sweet.

As I'm writing this, they are engaging in a behaviour which I'm not quite sure falls into "playing"... and may cross the line to "fighting". I desperately want them both to be happy here and not stress each other out.

I'm going to try to video them later so I can show you what I'm talking about, but here it is in a nut shell...

Tak will be lounging on the carpet. Pixel will be playing all over the place (typical kitten). Pixel will pounce on Tak. Tak hisses and swats her (why I think this is more like fighting). Then Pixel runs away (she's never hurt, and thinks it's a fun game). BUT then Tak will wiggle her bum and pounce on Pixel. The fact that Tak tries to initiate some more contact in a playful way makes me think that they are playing...

And also I just watched Tak roll over and submit to Pixel... I'm worried that there is a powerstruggle happening in our house! Pixel was SUPPOSED to be male (stupid vet), as everyone told me a male would be happier to let Tak maintain control of our house... but now I have two females and I'm scared they hate each other.

And I do already have a Feliway diffuser. Tak seems a lot calmer, but Pixel still jumps her and that drives her nuts.

Any thoughts on what I can do so that they will like each other and not antagonize one another? Or is it just playing and I don't understand that...?
post #2 of 18
I am going through this same thing with my cats! 2 girls as well. a 4 year old birman and a 5 month old stray! we still keep my kitten locked in a room during the day .. my older cat is quite powerful.. i've seen the fur flyin before so i know what she's capable of that's for sure! i am hoping that nova (kitten) will grow bigger soon so she can defend herself better.. it has been 2 months of this set up for me... and it's not fun ... i feel your pain! hopefully someone will have a miracle cure for us!
post #3 of 18
That doesnt sound too bad to me to be honest. Zoey does the exact same thing with Saki lol. She hisses and growls and will whap him on the head. But then she will decide to run after HIM and try to pounce him. The wiggling the butt thing is a sign of play. Zoey almost always flops down on her back in the submissive position when they are playing.

If there is no fur flying or open wounds you're doing ok
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Nope, no open wounds or flying fur! We keep both of their claws clipped so that they don't inadvertently injure each other... or us!

How can I tell if Tak is getting too stressed out with the kitteny play?
post #5 of 18
Um, it sounds like just playing to me. One will tell the other when they don't want to be bothered by hissing or swatting and that is what Tak is doing. Don't worry, they are fine. If they hated each other, they would be full of bites and scratches and have hair loss and have blood all over. If they hated each other you would know.

Just make sure you get your 16 week old kitten spayed asap. Better to do before she goes into heat. Attitudes and behaviors can change when a cat goes into heat, it may throw off the balance and the kitties could react differently towards each other. Plus it is healthier to do as early as possible anyway.

Oh and one more thing. Cats need to work out who is top cat in the house. You cannot have any effect on that whatsoever. They will figure it out eventually. Tak rolling over and being submissive to the kitten already shows who just might be boss cat in the house someday.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakaiii View Post
How can I tell if Tak is getting too stressed out with the kitteny play?
If Zoey is really pissed off she will just run away and go into the other room to get away from Saki. He usually leaves her alone when he knows she's had too much.

Its kind of funny, she was the head cat and then he came in as a kitten and now I guess he's the boss
post #7 of 18
Tak is teaching Pixel manners when she hisses at her. As far as flopping down on her back, I've seen the alpha cat do that more often than not, particularly with kittens. Laying down eggs the kitten on (think mom cat nursing their young), then the older cat can wrap it's arms around the kitten and control its movements better. I've also seen the alpha cat let out a screaming meowl as it does this, as if the louder it cries, the more dominance it has.

Personally, it sounds like they are adapting very well with each other.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
PHEW!

Thanks everyone for reassuring me. It was making me so sad to think that they were fighting! And Sicycat, I'm glad to hear that you are having a similar experience with a male cat, instead of it just being my two females at each other!

Thanks Jen for the advice about spaying. My vet said that they spay between 5-7 months. We went through one heat with Tak before getting her fixed (we didn't realize how early it was that it happened!), and I certainly don't want to go through that again! Do you think the vet will spay her this early if I ask them to? Or I should I just find a vet that will?

I'm really grateful to everyone for the anecdotes about their own pairs (or trios or more!) of cats and their behaviour. I've never had two cats that weren't related before, so this experience is a new one for me!

Do you think it's necessary to "break them up" sometimes from their wrestling, or should I just trust them to remove themselves from the fray when they're fed up?
post #9 of 18
Sometimes when I see them getting a little too rough I'll say "hey!" in a loud voice and clap my hands and they usually scram in two different directions lol.
post #10 of 18
We went through the same thing last fall, when we brought a foster kitten home -- and then decided we couldn't give him back. St. John came in all fluff and fury, fearlessly pouncing and tussling with the four older kitties, never seeming to notice that any one of them could take him out with a single swat.

Our two girls would have nothing to do with St. John at first, but our boys were very parental with him! They patiently taught him what an upraised paw means ("No, I don't want to play right now, thanks"), how to get a door opened for him ("Sit right in front of it, give the humans a wide-eyed innocent look, and mew as pitifully as possible"), and how to both submit to and administer a proper tongue-bath. This last was hilarious -- St. John would always try to turn the bath into a battle, suddenly going for the big kitty's neck... but eventually, Clyde and Dylan managed to break him of that habit. (Well, mostly. He still tricks 'em now and then!)

Anyway, the point is -- never once have our big kitties hurt the little fella. We're so proud of them! And it sounds like Tak is acting much the same way toward Pixel. I think you may have a good match there!
post #11 of 18
My cats haven't seen each other as the oldest one lives next door with my mum. We do have 2 dogs as well & Blossom & the younger dog Sooty play together all the time. Blossom gives them heaps, April my 14 y/o border collie tolerates it then leaves when she's had enough. Sooty has gone for Blossom a few times when there's food around but the worst thing that's happened is Blossom's fur gets wet. They chase each other around the house & Blossom grabs Sooty's tail or leg & bites & kicks her back legs & Sooty lets her. I think it all sounds fine in your household.
post #12 of 18
Biscotte is always pouncing on the others and ambushing them. Wellington and Persil love it and they wrestle and fight and chase each other all over the place, Ellie sometimes joins in sometimes not, and Dushka makes it quite clear she wants nothing to do with such behaviour, by biting at any legs that go near her. There is a clear difference, and I am sure yours are playing. One good way to tell is if they chase each other, and first one chases and one runs, then they switch roles. That is definitely playing, even if there is some hissing and swiping.
post #13 of 18
Definitely playing! They sound cute! My babies act the same way. Wait until you catch them snuggling together, then all your fears will go away. Penelope is 4 1/2 and Maverick is 1 1/2. When we got him he was 5 months old. Penelope at first despised his playfulness. But then you'd see her wiggling that butt and pouncing on him, that's when I knew she found it fun.
post #14 of 18
My cats unfortunately aren't playing i don't think.. my kitten sometimes instigates and i think her intent is to play but aiko literally almost attacks her.. i've seen fur flying.. but aiko (adult) isn't really the hisser.. Nova will flop down on her back as soon as she feels threatened and then seh hisses her little heart out at aiko.. maybe just trying to say "i know.. i know you're boss.. leave me alone!!!??"

i sure hope it will get better.. i have no luck with kitties.. starting to wonder if it's me!!!
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiko View Post
My cats unfortunately aren't playing i don't think.. my kitten sometimes instigates and i think her intent is to play but aiko literally almost attacks her.. i've seen fur flying.. but aiko (adult) isn't really the hisser.. Nova will flop down on her back as soon as she feels threatened and then seh hisses her little heart out at aiko.. maybe just trying to say "i know.. i know you're boss.. leave me alone!!!??"

i sure hope it will get better.. i have no luck with kitties.. starting to wonder if it's me!!!
Have you tried Feliway? I would...

And to the OP, try to find a vet that does
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you again everyone!

I've been keeping a close eye on their play sessions to make sure no one is getting hurt. I imagine one of them would cry out if she were being injured. There is still a large amount of hissing, but I guess that's not a warning sign?

They were amusing me earlier by playing together in the box we brought back from the store.

I will talk to my vet on Friday when I take Pixel in for her booster and see what the earliest is that I can get her spayed! I definitely don't want to deal with her having a heat cycle... it's not fun for anyone involved. Plus we are going out of the country in April, so I want her to be all healed before we leave them with our cat sitter!
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Pixel will be spayed on March 28th (the earliest I could get her in cuz they book up so fast!). Hopefully that's soon enough. She'll be 19 weeks old at that point. Thanks for encouraging me to book it so soon! I didn't realize how fast time was going by.

Since I just brought Pixel back from the vet, I gave both the cats a vanilla rub-down so they'd smell the same. They actually seemed happy to see each other! Tak came running when I came in the door (she doesn't usually greet me) and Pixel went right up to her.

Plus my house smells like cake now... mmm...
post #18 of 18
i have been looking at the stuff.. it is expensive, but i'd be willing to try it.. i have a two storey home.. should i be getting the defusers that you plug in ? i see all kinds of different stuff made by them. what would you suggest?
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