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When does playing become fighting?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

We have a 6 year old neutered male who is very affectionate. In the middle of August we addopted a kitten that was found in our garden next to the street, also a male who is now +/- 5 months.

In the beginning we did all the correct things for introducing two cats, seperation, brushing with the same brush, letting them see each other through the door etc. When we first introduced them George the 6 year old would growl and hiss and try to get out asap. SLOWLY this improved to where he would dare to walk past the kitten (Marcel). We would keep Marcel on a harness so he couldn't chase after George. George doesn't come in anywhere near as much as before, just to eat and then goes straight out again although I am hoping this will improve as the weather gets colder. It seems that he can't relax of sleep whilst Marcel is around, he's always on the look-out for him. Now it has got to the point where they are 'playing'. Marcel is always the instigator, if George is in he will not leave him alone, he is constantly grabbing his tail, jumping on him etc. This is making George VERY grumpy! There are times when George obviously wants to play as well but George is a large, nearly 5kg, cat and i'm really worried that one of them is going to get hurt. Sometimes they roll around bear hugging each other and what looks like biting each other in the neck.

I don't let them socialise alone at the moment. I have tried Feliway for a month but didn't really see any effects. Marcel is due to be neutered next week will this help? Is it still playing as long as neither of them squeek/cry (this hasn't happend yet)? Marcel is only young but he seems to have a lions' courage!

Be grateful for any advies you can offer!

Claire, George & Marcel from Belgium

ps where do you guys get these great cat signatures from? I've been looking all over the net but can't find anything
post #2 of 4
welcome to TCS!

Neutering will help alot, however in a cats head everything is about dominance and territory.

My basic rule is that when you start to hear growling or hissing, then it can be considered fighting. If they're rolling around on the ground, and not making a lot of noise, then its playing. Even if they're biting at each other (but not actually biting) then that's play too. Kittens will normally do this.

All I can tell you to keep patience and stay consistant in breaking them up when they begin to hiss or growl.

EDIT: Signatures can be found here: http://thecatsite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=47
They're internal to TCS and we have some wonderful creators!
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply!

Yeah there hasn't been any noise yet so I think it's just playing. They slept close to each other for the first time yay! George hasn't felt comfortable enough to sleep with Marcel in the house before. I guess the cold weather is good for something!

Thanks and licks!
Claire, George & Marcel
post #4 of 4
Even when there's growling and hissing, ONE of the cats might be playing; the cat that's doing the growling and hissing doesn't want to have any of it. Best to separate them when that happens. However, when you get to know your cats well, if you know that they're playing, then don't let the growling and hissing bother you too much. Mellie always growls and hisses; it's only when it goes up a couple octaves that I step in. I used to break it up right away all the time and then she'd look surprised, like "what did you do that for?" Rocket has a tendency to start on a play-fighting level but then sometimes escalate it and get too violent for her, so that's when I break it up.
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