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Odd male behavior to new kitten

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I recently lost my cherished cat of 17 years to cancer, leaving me with an 8 year old neutered male longhair (Ivan) and a spayed female tortie (Tzeital) of unknown age.

After several weeks I decided to add a new cat - a 10 week Balinese kitten.

I introduced the cats slowly, using the methods described in your postings. I was especially concerned with Ivan who has had territorial issues (both spraying and aggression towards my female cat)in the past.

Much to my surprise, Ivan reacted the least to the newcomer (Frankie, as in 'ol blue eyes)and never hissed or swatted at the kitten. He had never seen a kitten before, and seemed more curious and intrigued by Frankie than anything else.

They now have progressed to "playing" - although I'm not sure that what Ivan is doing is playing. Ivan will lay down and call the kitten to him who readily accepts the invite by attacking his head, feet, tail, whatever. As the kitten approaches, most times Ivan will begin by trying to wash his face, which the kitten resists. This leads to wrestling, with Ivan growing more and more determined to restrain Frankie. Ivan will bite Frankie (he doesn't appear to be hurting him and if Frankie escapes he immediately attacks Ivan again)but his bites seem to grow more and more insistent. He also makes strange mews at the kitten - sort of like a stangled meow.

This is the part that is really puzzling me: often times, when Frankie escapes, Ivan pursues and bites Frankie at the back of the neck, like he is going to mount him. He assumes the same position as a pair of mating cats. I intervene because Frankie is trying to escape and Ivan isn't letting him. At this point, Ivan takes a few steps away, lays down again and invites the game all over again. Most times, Frankie freely attacks him again.

I know in dog behavior, male dogs will mount other dogs (of both sexes) to establish dominance. Do cats do this also? Ivan was neutered very young - this is certainly not a learned behavior on his part!

My other cat, a stray with kittens when I adopted her, clearly knew what kittens were and wanted no part of Frankie. However, when Ivan and Frankie start this behavior, and Ivan starts with the strange sounds, Tzeital comes running. On several occassions she has charged Ivan, clearly trying to protect the kitten, who, seems obvivious to any threat.

So, any thoughts on this? Is Ivan's behavior aggression rather than playing? Is it something I need to try and control now? Ivan is 12 pounds, the kitten is less than 2, so I worry that Ivan is going to get carried away with his efforts of restraint. And if it is aggression, what lies ahead, when Frankie is bigger and more of a threat?

Thanks for any insights you might offer...
post #2 of 6
I would do a couple of things. First I would start making them all smell the same by putting vanilla extract or even your scent (perfume) under their chins, between their shoulder and on the base of the tail.If you use your perfume, spray the air, stick your hands into the spray, rub your hands briskly then apply. If you are using the extract, just use a small dab in each location.

I would also supervise their time together, for Ivan is the stronger and could hurt the kitten.

I would also invest in a Feliway Comfort Zone room mister to see if that helps any.
post #3 of 6
He is trying to show that he is the alpha cat (like doggies do) My kittens all do this to each other trying to determine who is boss.
post #4 of 6
My alpha cat Stumpy has been known to mount the other males in the house to show his dominance. He will also grab kittens, hold them down and lick them rather assertively. When the kittens pounce on him, he is the one with the loudest cry, even though he is clearly winning the playfight. I have also seen this behavior in my oldest boy, Bogart, who very quietly and discretely shares the alpha role at times.

I separate Stumpy and Bogart when they mount the others - not that I want to diminish their dominance, but the other cats sometimes act out from being dominated and I don't feel it is fair to them.

Sounds like the pecking order is being established in your house. Keep a close eye on them as they work thru their rankings.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. Re: the vanilla extract. How often should it be applied. I used it yesterday and I did see a difference in Ivan - he left the kitten and went and took a nap. Typically, I have to remove Ivan or the kitten goes off and naps somewhere.

Anyway, he seemed better yesterday. This morning, however, he seems like his old, bullying self...
post #6 of 6
Try applying it at a least three times a day. Morning- noon -and night- aren't we humans tricky?
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