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Growling Kitten

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I adopted a 3 month old kitten about 3 weeks ago--His name is Teddy! He has a 2 year old female sister too, Jinxy! I have dry kitten food available for him all the time & I also feed him wet food 2 times daily. Anytime I remove him from his sister's big kitty food & re-direct him to his kitten food he growls! He's only 3 months old & weighs 3 lbs - I want to know how to stop his growling! He doesn't get aggressive but his growl is scary! Is this something I should be concerned about? I have never encountered a growling kitty before--I don't want it to turn into aggressive behavior toward me or his sis. Any suggestions??
post #2 of 7
He's growling because he doesn't like to be redirected while eating! I'm surprised he likes his sister's food better - it's usually that everybody like's the kitty food better, lol! There's three potential solutions here.

1) Purchase a really high-quality kitten food from a high-end pet store. It'll be really "smelly" (attractive) to the cats. To prevent Jinxy from eating it, purchase a large plastic storage container, turn it upside down, cut a hole in it large enough for Teddy to get in, but not large enough for Jinxy to get in. Make sure the container is large enough that Jinxy can't reach the bowl of food and spill it over - or swipe at Teddy while he's eating.

2) Stop free-feeding the cats. If you're home during the day, put food down for them in individual bowls not next to each other 3 - 4 times a day. They won't be happy about this arrangement at first, but it works. We had to do this for several months. Put Teddy's food down first in front of him.

3) If Jinxy doesn't have a weight problem, consider putting out only kitten food. Keep an eye on her weight.

One last thought - maybe try to locate a "smellier" kitten food, and put bowth bowls out, but not next to each other. Perhaps they'll both eat from both bowls, but it's better than Teddy not getting any higher-protein food while he's growing, just keep an eye on Jinxy's weight.
post #3 of 7
It also won't hurt the older one to have kitten food for awhile. Teddy is just showing typical food aggression. This is sometimes brought on by the kitten not getting enough food initially in his life, and becoming a bit fierce about the food before him. Feeding him a high quality food will help satisfy him. Even feeding him some kitten glop will help as well. You could also feed in separate rooms, and then let the cats out together afterward.
post #4 of 7
Just wanted to add - when it comes to redirecting a cat's behavior, whether it is Teddy biting at you (as kittens do), swiping at you (as kittens do), or growling at you, it's best for both of you in the long run if you learn to communicate with him what's OK and what isn't. When it comes to making sure he doesn't develop aggressive behavior,

1) Don't ever use your hands as toys. Ever.

2) If he's biting or nipping or growling, stop what you are doing immediately. Blow a short, sharp puff of air in his face.

You can try to retrain him to eat his food by blowing a short sharp puff of air in his face when he eats Jinxy's food, and pick up her bowl, leaving only his. This will startle him! I don't know if this will work for when you're not around to catch him, but he will learn and know that he's not supposed to eat her food!
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I am feeding Teddy IAMS wet & dry food--maybe not enough--he always has dry food & I feed him wet food 2x daily--about a tablespoon each time. I usually pick up Jinxy's food & put it out of Teddy's reach when she is done but he must watch her & as soon as she leaves her food he runs over to her bowl even if he still has food. I feed them across from each other--their backs are to each other so they can't see one another. He has a huge appetite too--he's a growing boy! He gained 1 pound in 2 weeks! Jinxy is a little chubby & gets dry IAMS weight control food & wet food--Friskies (I am going trying others though--she seems to have lost her appetite for Friskies--IAMS, she doesn't like either) Any suggestions for food that has weight control? She is a 2 yr old spayed female. Anyway, so I can't feed her kitten for now. I don't mind Teddy's growling I just don't want it to escalate. I adopted him from a shelter & everytime I went to see him at the shelter he had dry food--I guess he just loves the wet food!
post #6 of 7
Im laughing because Sophie growls as well now and again and i've never heard a kitten growl unlike Rosie when they first met!.

Sophie seems to do it when she's playing and gets frustrated with what she's playing with
post #7 of 7
Koko and Muddy both did that for a while when they were young. Both were orphaned at 10 days old and bottle feeding 4 kittens brought on food competition between them. Once they figured out that their food would be there when they wanted it, they quit growling - so basically they simply outgrew it. I did separate them for a while from the other cats when I fed them which helped.
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