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dominating kitten

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I just adopted two kittens about 8 weeks old from a farm. They both have a few health problems, the brother has got the worse of it. He is half of his sisters size and wieght. The problem is that she is queen around the house. If he tries to eat beside her she growls and slaps him hard, Under normal circumstances I would understand and accept this behavior. Unfortunately the male, Bogey is sick and unable to defend himself. Bogey has worms, mites, and an upper respiratory infection (all under the treatment of a vet). Betty is so much quicker than he is. She also acts this way about toys, Bogey has his own but Betty steals them. When there are no toys and food involved she plays nicely and even gently with Bogey. She cuddles him and comes running if he lets out a meow, she even plays right next to Bogey when he is asleep (he sleeps alot more than Betty).
The thing that makes this such a problem is now Betty has twice growled and swatted me. The first time was at the vet when I was playing with her to keep her occupied. The next time was when I was trying to give her a treat, I did nothing to provoke her attack. I was shocked that such a cute young kitten could be so very viscious.
if anyone has advice on how to handle this wierd situation please let me know!
post #2 of 5
There is nothing you should or need to do to influence the two cats' relationship. It sounds normal. Don't interfere. They're brother and sister. They probably already had it worked out before they ever arrived in your house. If you're concerned about him getting enough to eat, then feed them in separate rooms with the doors closed.

You do need to discourage her aggression toward you. When you say there's nothing that provokes it, I suspect there is but you just haven't discovered it yet. Be observant and watch her for signs of overstimulation or impending aggression: twitching back, swishing tail, a hard stare, tense posture. If you observe such, immediately back off and disengage. If your cat gets aggressive toward you anyway, immediately say "No!!" in a stern voice and disengage interaction. She needs to learn that you won't tolerate that, and that if she does it, she'll not get what she wants.
post #3 of 5
I agree with Coaster. Your kittens are exhibiting normal kitten behavior. If the female is growling and swatting brother at feeding time, then simply spread their dishes to opposite sides of the room.

You said that you were playing with the female to keep her occupied at the vets. Can I ask how were you playing with her? She might of interpreted your play as an opportunity for some rough play. Or she may of been agitated from the vet visit and reached her "limit."

Some kittens just look "vicious" but are playing. There ears go back and they get a wild, crazy look in their eyes LOL If she gets out of hand, Coasters tips will work great. I've personally found that kittens that are taken away from mom too young often play too rough. I think it is because mom has had time to teach them valuable social skills. This is when we need to step in and be fair and diplomatic and teach out little monsters what is acceptable LOL
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
At the vets I was rolling a crumpled piece of paper to Betty, normally when she wants to be done with something she becks up and arches her back, When she attacked me she gave a very throaty growl and the fur on her back stood up. How do I figure out what her triggers are? I don't want to cause her undue stress and the being at the vet was very stressful on both of my kittens.
post #5 of 5
You'll need to be observant. Pay attention to what's going on in the vicinity, and what you're doing, and what her reactions are. When you see her react the same way several times to the same things, then you know that they're triggers.
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