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Question about kitten play...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I did some searching, but I didn't really see anyone who encountered this when their kittens were playing.

Just some quick back ground. I adopted Dakota and Montana back in November from a local shelter, however, I was only able to bring Dakota home then and she was by herself until I brought Montana home at the beginning of the year.

They adjusted to each other quickly. Really only took a couple hours for them to get used to each other. Some intial growling and hissing and that was it.

Now, for the question...

I've noticed when they play, Montana is the instigator. She will go up to Dakota and start licking her head, then start nipping. Then she'll lick, then nip. Once they get into all out wrestle mode, Dakota sometimes will give out that "I'm annoyed" meow, almost a growl.

At this point, is it wise to separate them? In the past, for the most part, I just let it go. It doesn't look like these are all out, "Rumble in the Jungle" type fights. Though sometimes Dakota will go for the eyes with her hind legs. I'm probably over-reacting, but better safe then sorry I always say.

Thanks gang!
post #2 of 12
This is something i'll be interested to hear about because my two do the same!.

They can groom each other then both fall asleep or like you say start grooming then nip the other one, then they normally start wrestling and chasing each other up and down stairs until they get tired.

Sophies terrible for it because only last week she straddled Rosie and bit her in the neck so hard that she let out a cry

She may only be 11 month but compared to Rosie she's a feisty one!!

They normally get a "Hey thats enough!" from me if i think it gets to rough.
post #3 of 12
All my three raggies do this too- I had the boys together as kittens and they've always wrestled, and Jake gets too rough for Mitz who then growls, but no one's ever been hurt or annoyed, and usually if Jake stops, Mitz goes after him and jumps him to get him to carry on. I really stopped worrying when Jazzie came as she and Jake wrestle- with Jake four times her size and weight- and she loves it, there's a little meowing and growling on both sides, but it seems no different to kids play wrestling. If someone does yelp I usually call out to them, but mostly no one listens!
post #4 of 12
My boy kitties do this, but it seems like they do it when they want the spot one of others is sitting or laying in then they stop when the other cat finally moves.
post #5 of 12
You know, my two do this and I've been wondering myself... granted Max isn't a kitten, but still...

I've been assuming it's play unless I hear a growl or hiss. The other day I separated the two for a few hours because they were not only irritating each other with that, they were also bugging me (I was trying to nap)...
post #6 of 12
(I apologixe for the LOONNNnnng Post in advance...and thankyou initial poster for posting this first )

Oh wow... I was just going to post on this. Meiko (the younger neutered kitty) will go up to Mao ( the slightly older spayed kitty) and will lick her and annoy her and tease her until a fight erupts and about 80% of the time , Mao starts hissing and tries to run away from Meiko but then Meiko just starts chasing her and harrasing her. He will also chase her off her favourite chair or away from a toy if he wants it. I try to seperate them if i think Meiko is starting to annoy her, but I go to school a lot of the times and dont want Meiko bugging Mao too much. Its actually funny because Meiko is the shy one when it comes to human interaction and will only go up to a certain person (me ) to get his scritches and stuff. Mao on the other hand is more confident with humans and doesnt mind going up to strangers if she wants a good back scratch. I do play with both of them, lately more with Meiko because I figured if i tired him out with play then he would be too tired to pick on Mao. I dont think Mao dislikes Meiko in anyway but she does get annoyed quickly and I feel bad for her because she cant exactly drive Meiko away if he is annoying and picking on her. (even tho she is the bigger cat)
I have been thinking of fostering younger cats or kittens for the local humane society so Meiko will have somone to play with. I woud LOVE to have a third kitty but I am not sure that I can make the long term commitment and also am really paranoid about 3 cats getting sick and incurring vet bills that I cant pay. I worry about my two babies already getting sick and me not being able to pay....I dont know why, I mean I have a part time job ( I am a student) but....I keep thinking it would be harder to pay for 3 as opposed to 2.

Please cat gurus....help

THanx A TON in advance.
post #7 of 12
I am currently reading "What Cats Want" by Claire Bessant, (Barrons, 2002) discussing feline behaviour and how to know what you cat wants when it does whatever:-).

She writes (pp 32-33) about 'allogrooming' which is when cats groom each other. We usually take it to be a sign of affection but apparently researchers have found that it may also be an act of dominance. More assertive cats will groom less assertive cats and it oftens ends up in some form of aggression with the groomer starting to bite the other, or the other starts trying to groom the first cat and the two of them end up tussling about it. That is what often happens when my male cats groom each other. I have one who is an absolute suck about it - he loves getting groomed and will put up with it until the other one starts to bite in which case he returns the favour. I have also noticed he and his brother including mutual licking or washing while they are play wrestling. Generally, I leave them to sort it out but if it looks like it is getting out of hand or if one of them is seriously disadvantaged or obviously wants it to stop, then usually a sharp "Hey" directed to them will cause them to stop, and if necessary, I will intercept one of them by playing with him or picking him up and quick cuddling him if the one doesn't want to stop. Usually I will pick up the one who is the aggressor, and it seems to put an effective stop to things without causing long term consequences.

post #8 of 12
Very interesting Kathryn, that sounds like exactly what my two do. And I tend to treat it exactly like you do. Okay I feel better!
post #9 of 12
My 9 month old does the whole "I'm so sweet so let me clean you and then I'm gonna BITE YOU!" thing to Merlin (who is 2 years). Then they run through the house with lots of yelling, and an occasional "back off" hiss from Merlin.

If I'm the only one home (or awake), I just leave them be. I took cues from Hans (our 14 year old), as to when the cries went from playful to "HELP!". He used to go running whenever they had a problem and would break up the fight. So now I know the tone they use that means there's a problem. For as rough as they are and as for as violent as they sound, I've only had to break them up 5 times (all when the kitten was around 6 months). And as soon as I did, they did the make-up grooming ritual (in which they take turns cleaning each other head to tail).

Ashz, if you foster, you shouldn't mix the fosters with your own cats. They can pass things to each other, and it can cause a real problem. (I accidently brought home a kitten to foster that had distemper. Thank heavens all my boys were vaccinated!) And not only can fosters get your cats sick, your cats can pass things along to cats who haven't had a full set of shots. (It takes about a month before they're ready to encounter other cats at the shelter- hence the need for foster parents.) So by the time it's safe to do introductions, the shelter will probably call for the kittens to come back. I'm not saying don't foster! It's a wonderful feeling. Just take into consideration the risk to your cats. Most of the foster parents at my shelter have a separate "foster kitty room" set up permanantly. (A spare bedroom is the perfect size. One foster parent even had half her basement remodeled into a cat heaven. She fosters more than 60 cats and kittens per year, though. I could never imagine doing something like that!)

And being conscious of vet bills is wonderful! I had all three of mine get sick at the same time. (Along with the cost of the kitten with distemper. I took her to my vet just to make sure everything that could be done was done.) I have a wonderful family who lent me money, I had just recieved two credit cards the month before, and I got nothing but cash for X-mas presents, so I was able to take care of them. Three cats are wonderful, but you should always have a financial back-up plan in case the worst happens. (I learned that the hard way.)
post #10 of 12
My two Ragdolls do this also either one will lay down and stretch out and the other will come up and start washing the others neck and no sooner then you can get out "OOOHHHHH they love each other" one will bite the other on the neck and the chase is on. My male is so laid back that sometimes I know he regrets doing this as my female will romp his big butt! She just keeps on once he gets her going. He will never learn!
post #11 of 12
My 2 boys tussle all the time. They are litter mates so they were never seperated. Frantic will start the Dominance grooming, then Pip will take offense to it and chase him up and down the stairs. Sometimes Pip will walk by Frantic and just take a NIP out of his shoulder!

I break it up whenever growls start. Frantic will hiss at Pipsqueek if he's just in the way.
post #12 of 12
My parents have two girls, both older now, who still play rough-and-tumble. It doesn't start with grooming though. It's actually really funny how it goes (my mother calls it "the floor show"). The younger (that being a relative term, because she's 12) will go up to the older (15) and just STAND in front of her nose. And wave her tail around . . . oh, so casually flipping it in her elder "sister's" face . . . looking totally nonchalant. If she could whistle innocently, she would. Until the elder cat can't take it any longer and gets up. The younger INSTANTLY rolls onto her back, all four paws sticking straight up with the claws out. The elder paces around, looking fierce, trying to pass the claw barrier. It usually ends in a chase through the house. They can get rough, kicking at each other and making the "fur fly", but they've never actually injured each other and are quite peaceful after it's done. They usually go cuddle up, in fact. So, unless one is injuring the other, or causing nervous and upset behavior in the other, I wouldn't worry.
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