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Are They Playing or Fighting? What's the difference?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi! We have a 7yo tabby for over 2 years now and 2 weeks ago we adopted cat #2, also a male. We followed the very slow intro process (separate room, exchange of scent, etc.). When we started to introduce old cat to new yesterday, it was very peaceful. Both cats laid on the bed, walked around room, etc. Until after a few minutes when old cat ran after the new. New cat hid under the table, a hissing and swatting from new cat, but nothing damaging. So I returned new cat to his room. Are they playing? How do cats play anyway? Or is it more of an aggression towards each other? My feelings were our old cat was just excited to have someone to play with. He doesnt hiss at all, just run after the new cat.

Please advise because if they are indeed playing, I dont want to be a party-pooper.
post #2 of 17
I've always heard that if you have to ask, they're playing. Fighting is scary! The hissing is probably just some self-protective reflex, since they aren't used to each other yet. It really sounds like they're doing pretty well.

post #3 of 17
he sounds like he is showing a healthy interest in the new cat. it is really important that they sort out the 'pecking' order and that i would say is what is happening. as long as they have room to get away from each other if necessary, i would let them get on with it.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Is being run after by my old cat going to mess up the new cat's behavior? Will he have long-term emotional damage because of this? Terribly sorry for being naive, never had 2 cats before and i want to do the right thing...from you all experts' advice of course!!
post #5 of 17
i wouldn't think so. most of my cats have done the opposite when a newbie has come in but i have always introduced them on day 1. possibly as you have taken it slow, your older cat is just curious to put a face to the smell.

don't worry about any emotional damage, sounds like 2 very normal cats reacting to meeting each other. i wouldn't separate them though, in my experience they get used to each other much sooner if you leave them to it.
post #6 of 17
I'm thinking the same thing as everyone else. I think it's sort of a territorial thing, too, and once that's sorted out, they'll be fine.

The more time spent together now, the better, I'm thinking.
post #7 of 17
well, in my house our cats are completely beloved, but us humans are the boss. Yes they need to establish who's higher than who but if you dont think the chasing and swatting behaviour is acceptable to can stop it with a little hiss and a light tap on the side of the neck.

Our cats are 12 and 13. Sophie, the tiny female is higher than our huge sumo male. Theyve been fine for ages but when a new cat comes to the neighbourhood and our cats have seen them off the pecking order stuff comes up again. But if there's fighting type behaviour or staring with intent we hiss (pss) and tap either on the neck. they either scamper off or stop it. It works for us.

I guess you could know for sure if new cat is intimidated if he hides whn old cat comes into a room. Or of old cat stares with intent at new cat if new cat is on your lap.

try tying a screwed up bit of newspaper onto string and drag in front of both cats. they can play together, sharing the fun. Or one then the other equally. Stay calm when theyre swatting so if you need to step in you can.

If it comes down to a fight, grab the perpetrator by the scruff of the neck (I hated seeing this the first time, it looks so rough, but mama cat does it, its natural) and get him outa there. Then allow duffed up cat to approach the other. This will restore equilibrium. So an expert I once knew said. And its worked for us so far!
post #8 of 17
They are not really fighting - its more of testing each other to find out their "status" with each other. Expect hissing, growling and a little physical wrestling matches early on.

Charlie and Ling STILL get into those matches. Hopefully when we get his brother, the 2 Oci's will play more with each other in chasing, etc. Ling doesn't want to play with him.
post #9 of 17
Even as long as we've had our second cat (well over a year), the two of them occasionally look like they're fighting. But it's just playing; the roll and tussle around, and you never know which one will instigate it next time. They have certain times of the day that they like to tear from one end of the house after each other.

A true cat fight is a terrifying thing, and almost always does some damage to one of the combatants.
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by nanner View Post
I'm thinking the same thing as everyone else. I think it's sort of a territorial thing, too, and once that's sorted out, they'll be fine.

The more time spent together now, the better, I'm thinking.
When we got our kitten Wesley and her did not like each other one bit and we were trying to keep them seperated but then we let them be with each other more. And yes, the more we let them be together the better because they just eventually got along. They had to sort it out themselves. It seemed as if Wesley made his point that he is boss and Sox just accepted it! So I think it is okay, they are getting to know each other!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
UPDATE: Ok this is very interesting. I let old cat in new cat's room again, VERY peaceful...until new cat decided to walk around the rest of the house, then comes old cat following, lots of running around, hissing, growling all from new cat. No biting or scratching at all. New cat hid under the table while old cat just guarded and stared him down. I let them be; I figured out of respect I should let old cat do what he's supposed to do which was get his point across that he's the alpha (cat) of the house. After a few minutes, old cat walked away and let new cat wander.

You're right, I need to give them time to be together or else this introduction process will take forever! Am I on the right track here? Is the growling ok? It's so funny because old cat didnt make a single sound...just follow and stare.

Oh and my hissing and swatting did not work...both were soooo focused on each other. I've been ignored! LOL!
post #12 of 17
I think you're on the right track. The new cat feels threatened because he knows he's invading the other cat's territory.
post #13 of 17
All sounds normal and I think you're absolutely on the right track.

When I introduced my second cat to my first (and the third to the first and second), it went pretty much as you're describing. And they all ended up great pals.
post #14 of 17
Sounds completely normal, you're doing well!! Before you know it, you'll find them curled up, grooming each other
post #15 of 17
Yes the growling is completely normal. I have 4 cats 3 are mine one is a foster. Tigger was the first cat then I took in a mom that I found in a parking lot she was pregnant and I kept her until she had her kittens and they were old enough to go to a new home. I found a home for the mom and 2 of the kittens and kept one kitten who I named Sadie. Tigger takes to new additions rather well but Sadie is very moody with them she hisses and growls for a couple of weeks. When we got Sam(who is our foster kitty) Sadie hated her and Tigger loved her. Sadie growled at her and hissed but never got near her it took several weeks before Sadie finally accepted that Sam was going to live with us for a while..Then we got Hemi...Tigger and Sam loved him and again Sadie hated him and it was the same process all over again!!! Now everyone gets along fine with the occasional mood swings from Sadie
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
UPDATE: Well this is day 2 of leaving new with old cat in the house. No signs of physical damage, sometimes old cat would sit within eye range of new, most of the time old cat leaves new cat to wander.

I noticed last night that they sniffed at each other's noses (good sign? what does this mean?). Last night I heard old cat running after new cat but absolutely no hissing or growling. Are they playing? I am so glad that I got another cat. Old cat seems to enjoy having to run after something besides a toy mouse. Oh and last night as new cat was eating, old cat was sniffing new's behind, then nipped new cat on the back. Like the kind of nip we get from them. Nothing to worry right? I guess because old cat was declawed (by previous owner) so maybe it's his way of communicating.

Another thing that's so cute, everytime new cat passes in front of old, the old cat would tap new cat on the head. Kinda like saying "go ahead kid. you're clear to pass."

I am so glad i posted my dilemma here. You guys have given me so much great advice and boosted my confidence to let them be...silly cats!
post #17 of 17
Everything sounds like it is good. It does not take cats long to adjust. If there has been no physical damage then I am sure they are going to be just fine!! My cats did not take long at all to be laying with each other!! I was shocked at how quick they accepted each other. I think it is wonderful that you said they don't hiss or growl. That is a great sign!! Keep us posted!!
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