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When is play fighting too much?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My kittens are litter-mates, and they love to wrestle and play and chase eachother around. It's quite cute. But is there a point where it becomes more then just playing or a dominance dance? They have been "fighting" more and more, and they are "meowing" from pain here and there, and my kittens ONLY meow when something bothers them.

With my guinea pigs, I know that as long noone draws blood, leave them alone to sort it out. But How goes it for kittens?

Also, they shared their bowls/litter box/etc at the shelter and have been doing that here for the two weeks I have had them. Do they perhaps grow "apart" as they get older?

Thank you
post #2 of 11
I would say that as long as they aren't drawing blood you don't have to worry really. They let each other know when they have had enough by meowing or growling or whatever. But if you have a male and a female and they are over 4-5 months, you are going to get into the problem of them mating with each other so make sure there the male isn't jumping on the back of the female, etc mating behavior... if they are in fact male and female...
post #3 of 11
As they arent bleeding I wouldnt worry. My foster kittens are always sounding like they are killing each other but they are just playing.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
They are both altered... great, I dont have to worry
post #5 of 11
The play does seem to be a little rougher as they grow in size/strength. Are the kittens spayed/neutered yet? If not, they should be done ASAP (especially if M/F) - kittens can get pregnant as young as 4 months old.

Be sure to clip all nails and I'm sure it sounds a lot worse then it really is
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Ortal View Post
They are both altered... great, I dont have to worry
^^ That : - )
post #7 of 11
I have three cats - an almost 4 year old (altered) male - and two litter mates almost 2, a male and a female (altered). The kittens arrived when the older one was almost 2 years old (they were 6 weeks), and he quickly became the "parent" cat to the two kittens. When the kittens were old enough - about 5 months - I slowly began letting the older one have more contact without as much supervision.

KiKi - the older one - rather enjoyed playing with the little girl - she seems to fascinate him, especially if she's busy playing.

Phoebe is very vocal about her "play" - she growls and hisses - but he is undaunted about the growling and keeps "attacking" her. She's found places to get into where he cannot get to her. She "fights" differently than the little boy, which I think makes her more vulnerable for KiKi to "pen" her. Sometimes she's a little stinker to KiKi - so she deserves what she gets.

Simon holds his own with KiKi, and I don't watch their play as much.
But, when Phoebe and KiKi get into "it", I pay attention. When things start getting rough, I break them up. If they persist, I put one - usually KiKi - into a room for a few minutes "time out", that usually does it.

Two nights ago, after I had gotten into bed, they started playing - loudly - I didn't have any patience to just let them "go at it", and listen to the growling, knowing that KiKi had her penned somewhere, so, I got up, went to where they were, KiKi knew he was in trouble and immediately ran off. I picked up Phoebe and took her into the bedroom with me and closed the door. It wasn't until I got up later, in the middle of night, for a "bathroom break" that I opened the door - by then KiKi's interest of play was gone - so the remainder of the night was quiet.

My point, I guess, is - I don't let them actually fight - I can't take it. . Some play is good, but when I think things are beginning to get serious, I break it up.

I don't like seeing children hitting each other, and I don't like the Furbabies hurting each other - so, I try to keep things more peaceful around the house. Oh, by-th'-way - sure saves the house from getting all wrecked.
post #8 of 11
When it escalates to too much yelping/squawking, I usually separate them with a clap or just say "ok, enough!" in a regular voice.

They seem to get it.
post #9 of 11
I usually separate my girls (spayed littermates) when one of them cries out. They will usually try to go for another round after that, though.
post #10 of 11
I think it is best to separate when it sounds or looks carried away, before it comes to injury or blood. Sometimes aggression can build up and you don't want them to develop defensive aggression towards one another as they get older.
post #11 of 11
It helps if you teach them a "knock it off" command. Not really formally teach; only more of a "get their attention" thing; so that they get used to stopping what they're doing when you say it. My version is, "Be nice; back off". I say it in a rather warning tone of voice, different from my usual, so they generally get it. It's probably the tone of voice they get more than the words, actually. But it works. Initially it was just a matter of, "hey, she's acting weird; what's she doing?" and then the association to stopping fights was built...

Anyway, it's a great thing. I use that method whenever Tiny gets too rough with Baby--he's half again her weight, and if he gets too rough he can really get carried away and ruin her day.
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