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5-month-old kittens play-fighting, is it too rough?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I posted an earlier variation of this question in a previous post. But now, I am concerned about my kittens: Buttercup and Sandy 's play-fighting. I've learned that a certain amount of play-fighting is okay as long as they're not really hurt. This is my first time with more than one cat, so maybe I'm a bit nervouse.

At times, when the sisters are play-fighting, I am afraid that they're being too rough. They bite or "play-bite" each other on the neck and the belly. I am afraid they're not going to know their own strength and really hurt each other by biting in the neck or belly (they were spayed several weeks ago, and they're almost completely healed). Am I being too worried? The neck is such a delicate area. Sandy is the one that seems to play rougher, even though she is the littler one. It always looks like she's biting so hard! Sometimes Buttercup will meow a bit, is she in pain? What should I do?

One last thing, Buttercup seems to be the dominant one, so, at times she'll come try to "play" with me. Biting or clawing. I don't know what I should do except for say "no," blow in her face, and not pull away (so she doesn't think I am playing). Will this work with time?

Thanks in advance for your help!
post #2 of 8
How old are they? i may have missed that in your post. If they were with they mother until the appropriate age, they have pretty much learned how rough is too rough and they should know what is acceptable when it comes to biting each other. and the meowing could be out of pain, if they have not learned how to play with each other with out really hurting. or it could just be out of excitement. when monster plays with the stuffed animal he has and just loves, he does this long drawn meow its sooo cute.
post #3 of 8
They will let each other know when it's getting too rough. As for them transferring their rough play to you, you are doing the right thing by letting them know it's too rough.

They are five months old. At this point, they can't control their energy and tend to expend it all at once, get caught up in the moment and don't think, and are just little bundles of reflexes most of the time.

Nothing a five month old does should make you worry about their behavior being set in stone, any more than our surly teenager will never grow up into a polite adult. They usually do, in both cases.
post #4 of 8
You can get a clue about how upset cats are by watching their body language.
Here is some basic info.

Here is link to some photos of my cats boxing each other.

Sometimes, I break my cats up because Dexter is so much larger than Sadie and he can be rather aggressive at times.

You are on the right track...
When I say NO! loudly, my cats now understand that it's time to cool it.
Keep an eye on them and soon you will know their moods.

I am sure that other members will have more ideas that will help you.
post #5 of 8
Great advice (and URL'S!) from xocats (who btw has the CUTEST icon in the world, even though it's not up now!) Kittens will be little ruffians, won't they? Wow, xocats, those are some amazing pix you captured of Sadie and Dexter rumbling! Thanks for sharing 'em with us -- and let's hope they all know when to "say when"!
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the advice and input!

XOCats, My cats don't look like yours in the picture. My girls are more like wrestling: grabbing on to each other, holding on, batting at each other, and biting. At times they will stop, pull back, and look at each other. Their ears will flatten, but I am not sure to which degree (referencing your link). Sometimes one will run away and the other will follow. The one that runs will hide under the bed or something. I don't think the hiding is showing that they're scared, but I could be wrong.

Let me restate that the biting is what scares me most... b/c at times it's in the neck or belly (sensitive areas).

Sometimes Buttercup seems to attack Sandy out of being territorial or something. Like if Sandy is sitting with me or Buttercup is also sitting with me and Sandy wants to sit with me too. Other times, either one will initiate the play-fighting, sometimes straight out of a nap together which seems strange to me.

I should mention that they also sleep together, play with toys together, sit with me together (sometimes... see above) and lick each other. So, I am not worried about them getting along, just about their playing going too far.

Thanks again!
post #7 of 8
The neck biting thing is pretty normal play/dominance behaviour, don't worry too much, cats have loose skin especially on their neck and abdomen for just this reason so that the one being held can wriggle out of the grip without his/her neck or stomach being injured. Keep their claws trimmed to avoid any accidental scratch injuries. If you feel it's gone too far clap your hands to get their attention and throw a toy to distract them. My 2 do this sort of thing a lot, they're a bit older than yours but holding the neck and pinning down is just dominance behaviour and is not intended to cause injury to the other cat.
post #8 of 8
Just a thought....
I don't remember if you mentioned this...
have Buttercup and Sandy been spayed yet?

I don't know if that would affect a female cat's behavior.
I do know that it tends to calm male cat's aggression.
Around 5 months their reproduction hormones are kicking in.
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