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growling kitten

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have a 9-10 week female kitten and yesterday I brought home a new 7 week male kitten. When I play with them with toys the boy gets very protective and growls over the toys. When I try to take it from him he growls at me and won't let go and my girl kitten won't play with the toys with him around. She play fights with him all the time though and always wins as she is a bit bigger. I have seen plenty of dogs growling and tugging over toys but never cats. Is this normal and should I be doing anything to discourage it? Will this lead to aggression?

Also, my female cat usually purrs up a storm all I have to do is talk to her and she'd start purring but she has hardly purred since the new arrival. They seem to be getting along, they play, eat, and sleep together no problems. Is she mad at me for bringing home a new friend? Is there another reason she has stopped purring?
post #2 of 27
7 weeks is kind of young to be away from his Mom. Usually they stay with the Mom cat until at least 8 weeks, and preferably 10-12 weeks. Then when the kittens pull that stealing a toy and growling act, the Mom chastises it.

I think they will work it out. A certain amount of growling between siblings is to be expected. If he growls at you, you can firmly tell him "No". Remember he is just a tiny baby, although he is acting very fierce. You never want to physically punish with a swat or spank. Simply use a firm voice, or pick him up and remove him to another area.

Don't try to be sure she is top cat. Regardless of size, they will work that out. You just want him to understand he is not primary over you! LOL! (Although he will be eventually, anyhow!)
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
I know 7 weeks is young, the lady giving the kittens away wanted them gone though so I took him. At least he has my other kitten to continue learning from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
You never want to physically punish with a swat or spank. Simply use a firm voice, or pick him up and remove him to another area.
I would NEVER swat him, my finger is bigger than his leg! I read that mother cats push the kittens head down (gently) as a form of punishment, should I do this while saying NO?

Good news: my older kitten has started purring again! I guess the change threw her off but she's back to normal, only took her 2 days
post #4 of 27
Sophie still growls at some of her toys she's playing with and she's 2 years old now, but i don't take it off her, i just let her play with it until she's had enough.

But if Rosie has a catnip filled toy that she's playing with and Sophie goes over to have a look Rosie growls at her because she obviously doesn't want Sophie to play with it so she then backs off.
post #5 of 27
I got my boy Guinness at 6 weeks and he was very growly over toys. He would growl and hiss at me and the other cat with a toy in his mouth. What I did is put him in the bathroom when he was like that and after a couple of minutes the toy would be forgotten and he woud be crying to be out with us. He is now 10 months old and doesn't do it anymore! I got him so young because his mother had severe mastitis and had been hand-raised by the vet.
post #6 of 27
Regardless of what age he was, Hobbes has always growled while having certain toys in his mouth. We just make sure not to allow him to play with them, because it really hurts his sister's feelings (their litter siblings). Hobbes isn't given foil balls, toy mice, or anything with natural animal anything on it, like feathers. There are times where he growls or hisses when he has a catnip-filled ball, but it passes. Whereas, the others listed above, he doesn't stop. I just keep those certain toys away from him.

Yes, seven weeks is young, but I understand about just bringing him home. We had to bring our babies home at just over four weeks because their mama's human was going to get rid of them and wasn't taking care of the litter properly. Their mama wouldn't nurse them, and though he would occassionally hold her down so they could nurse, it wasn't enough, so the other female in the house that had recently had kittens came around and nursed them. He also gave them solid (kibble) food at about three weeks. I saw the situation, and that he was going to just give them to a shelter, and brought the two of them home. I figured I would do the weaning (though they were mostly done, by matter of circumstance), and help them learn how to be a cat.

Now, I'm not AT ALL saying four weeks is a good age, and that it's safe in ANY way, but I'm just saying that I know how you feel and sympathize with your circumstance in having to bring the poor babe home so young.

P.S. Boy, let me tell ya...it was TOUGH teaching these babes kitty social graces!! Let us know if you need any help!
post #7 of 27
I think its normal for cats to growl at some of their toys. My reilly is 6 months old and he has the toy da bird with the feathers . And when he has that he growls and won't let any of my other four cats near it! Heeven hisses if they get too close to him when he has the feathers in his mouth. Other then that he never growls. He gets along great with all the other cats. It suprised me when he did it at first. There not getting his Da Bird Toy thats for sure!
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the advice everyone. So far I have been pushing his head down while gently pinching the skin on his neck, like a mom would have done, while saying NOOOOO. It does not hurt him at all but seems to calm him and he has been growling a lot less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maherwoman
Yes, seven weeks is young, but I understand about just bringing him home. We had to bring our babies home at just over four weeks because their mama's human was going to get rid of them and wasn't taking care of the litter properly. Their mama wouldn't nurse them, and though he would occassionally hold her down so they could nurse, it wasn't enough, so the other female in the house that had recently had kittens came around and nursed them. He also gave them solid (kibble) food at about three weeks. I saw the situation, and that he was going to just give them to a shelter, and brought the two of them home. I figured I would do the weaning (though they were mostly done, by matter of circumstance), and help them learn how to be a cat.

Ya sometimes circumstances are just less than perfect. The people I got him from was an older couple who had just taken in three female barn cats and brought them home where they already had a male cat, all fertile. They were going to get the females fixed but the man developed an aneurysm in his leg and had to get it amputated so they were in Toronto for a few months while their son took care of the cats. When they returned two females were pregnant (how the third wasn't I'll never know!) They ended up with 11 kittens they weren't planning. They were all being given away free. 7 weeks is young but with their recent tragedy I don't really blame them for needing to get their life back in order. The second litter is 5 weeks now and at least they weren't letting anyone take them just yet. Oh and they said they refused to give any away to any local farmers where they would become short-lived barn cats, so I have to respect that about them.

Apart from the growling and not covering up his poo properly he seems to be settling in very nicely though, I'm just glad he has my older kitten to learn from!
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maherwoman
P.S. Boy, let me tell ya...it was TOUGH teaching these babes kitty social graces!! Let us know if you need any help!
What type of stuff did they have to learn? I'm a new kitty owner so I'm not too sure what behavior problems I might be dealing with here. Please share your story!
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kat_krazy
Thanks so much for the advice everyone. So far I have been pushing his head down while gently pinching the skin on his neck, like a mom would have done, while saying NOOOOO. It does not hurt him at all but seems to calm him and he has been growling a lot less.

Ya sometimes circumstances are just less than perfect. The people I got him from was an older couple who had just taken in three female barn cats and brought them home where they already had a male cat, all fertile. They were going to get the females fixed but the man developed an aneurysm in his leg and had to get it amputated so they were in Toronto for a few months while their son took care of the cats. When they returned two females were pregnant (how the third wasn't I'll never know!) They ended up with 11 kittens they weren't planning. They were all being given away free. 7 weeks is young but with their recent tragedy I don't really blame them for needing to get their life back in order. The second litter is 5 weeks now and at least they weren't letting anyone take them just yet. Oh and they said they refused to give any away to any local farmers where they would become short-lived barn cats, so I have to respect that about them.

Apart from the growling and not covering up his poo properly he seems to be settling in very nicely though, I'm just glad he has my older kitten to learn from!
True, gotta respect them for not giving them away to farmers. I agree.

As far as him not covering his poo...he'll do it eventually. Cats are normally rather maticulous with the litterbox and covering, so he'll probably catch on soon. Does he dig before he goes??
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kat_krazy
What type of stuff did they have to learn? I'm a new kitty owner so I'm not too sure what behavior problems I might be dealing with here. Please share your story!
Hobbes (brother) would be way too rough with his sister, Sunny, so he had to learn when to listen to her asking him to stop. They weren't too great about using or covering their stuff in the litterbox. Sunny wouldn't eat when we first brought her home, so we had to handle that.

Not huge things, but I have a feeling it would have been much more affective for their mama to teach them the things we had to teach them. I'm sure they would have been MUCH less stubborn with Mama biting their neck! Lol...
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kat_krazy
I know 7 weeks is young, the lady giving the kittens away wanted them gone though so I took him. At least he has my other kitten to continue learning from.



I would NEVER swat him, my finger is bigger than his leg! I read that mother cats push the kittens head down (gently) as a form of punishment, should I do this while saying NO?

Good news: my older kitten has started purring again! I guess the change threw her off but she's back to normal, only took her 2 days
Sounds like they got in a little over their heads! Nice of them to be doing their best by these cats and kittens.

I haven't heard of pushing a cats head down as punishment, but I am a firm believer in setting some limits with the kitties, so they don't grow up to be monsters! And anything that works, and doesn't hurt them is a great idea. Boys often need a firmer hand than girls, I think. I know my Garfield is so headstrong!

Certainly the fact that you have two babies together is good for them. My Gar and Fest were together since kittenhood, and are still very close.
post #13 of 27
My cat growls sometimes when people pull into our driveway when she doesn't recognize the sound of their cars. Don't know why. I know that really doesn't answer your question, but I just wanted to mention it.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taurus77
My cat growls sometimes when people pull into our driveway when she doesn't recognize the sound of their cars. Don't know why. I know that really doesn't answer your question, but I just wanted to mention it.
Sounds like you've got a guard cat. Cute!!

Our Hobbes will run to the door and look all tough...but then promptly run under the sofa the SECOND that door opens! Lol...it's hilarious!!
post #15 of 27
I have head of the technique of pushing the head down gently while firmly saying no, or some other verbal admonishment. And yes, from what I read, it is supposed to simulate what the mother would do. The trick to it is to do it when they do the thing you want them to stop doing, and to do it firmly but gently and slowly, and not with anger or panic.

What was also suggested was that you then immediately return to a positive, loving stance, and try to redirect the behavior by giving the kitten or cat what it needed when the negative behavior began.

If that makes no sense (because half the time I usually don't lol) here's an example

I kinow about this because I discovered it while trying to teach Deja Vu (already an adult) to not bite my hands or attack and bite my ankes.

Said to try and not pull my hand quickly away when she bit me, but to pull it away fairly slowly, then take her by the scruff, push her down gently, saying no! Then it said to let go and act ilke nothing happened, and to actually grab a toy and start to play with her because the biting behavior is usually an indication of pent-up energy or a desire to play. That helps redirct it to a more acceptable behavior.

For what it's worth, she stopped biting and attacking my ankles in only 3 days. So I'm a believer. For a while she would start to do it, but would always stop and look at me first. All I'd have to do is shake my finger and say "uh uh uh" (and I always said it smiling) and she always stopped, but I continued with the practice of starting to play with her to redirect the energy.

With the growling, perhaps you can get 2 of each toy, then do this when he growls, then give them each a toy so he gets used to sharing.

Although it seems that growling, especially at that young age, isn't really a "bad" behavior. It's verbal communication, a dominance thing they have to work out between them. Personally, I'd only worry if they started really attacking.

Also, since he was taken from Mom a little early, he really isn't going to get all the teaching he needs from the older kitten. Sad that it had to happen that way. But you may find he ends up with some cute quirks because of it. Ya never know Good luck!
post #16 of 27
LOL, ALL of my cats will growl if they have a toy and others try to come near, including any of us humans. It's sort of comical, to be honest. It never turns into a fight (and they never attack us or the other cats), they just run away with their 'kill' (the toy). I do not think this really has anything to do with the age of the kitten or the fact that he wasn't with his mother long enough.

Heck, my kittens are 8 months old and still with their mother and this behavior is very common with them.

It is an ownership thing, IMO. I guess my question is, why are you trying to take the kittens toy away from him? Unless my cats are playing with something they are not allowed to have, I give them full reign over their own things. And having 6 cats, there has never been a problem because they have tons of toys to amuse themselves with. I have noticed that the growling is more common with the toys that are made with fur or feathers. I think they think it is their 'kill'. Maybe get some more toys so that there is no rivalry over a specific toy?

Unless the cats are seriously fighting over toys (not play fighting) and/or your kitten is physically attacking you, I wouldn't worry about it and I would not reprimand him for it. It is not misbehaving, it is just normal cat communication. This form of communication is important for them to live in harmony. Growling means 'stay away from me right now', to reprimand for something like that is like telling them to stop talking to each other. They have to communicate with each other, this is just a form of it. Unless it goes beyond 'talking', I cannot see a problem with it. JMHO
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Well I've been pushing his head down and it seems to be working quite well. He only growls when really excited now. I don't mind it so much he just seemed to be scaring my older kitten a bit and I didn't want it to lead to aggression or anything. I really don't know much about cat behavior so wasn't sure how concerned I should be, I'd never heard a kitten growl before! I'm relieved he's not the only one, and now that I know it's not a big deal I have to admit it is kinda funny
post #18 of 27
I really wouldn't push his head down either

Sophie my youngest tries to see how far she can push Rosie, and she soon gets a bop on the head from her when she tries to be too big for her boots.

And if he's growling with a toy just leave him with it, he's having fun!
post #19 of 27
Just wanted to clarify, although I agree and use the technique with someting like biting and attacking ankles, I did also say, and agree very much with those who say, that the growling is normal kitten behavior, and the two of them need to work out their own dominance and relationship.

The growling is not a bad thing, it's a cat thing, as others have said, and I agree.

It's sort of like punching a baby for giggling and shaking a rattle, and you wouldn't do that. Try to let it go for a while and see what happens.

There are cats that just use growling. I knew one a number of years ago that lived in an apt down the hall from me and his caretakers were vegetarians. He used to walk down the hall to my apt and meow until I let him in and fed him something with meat in it. All the time he was eating, he'd be growling his fool head off. Once he was finished he would come over to me for a pat on the head, then over to the door to be let out and back to his own home. Was really funny.

Geez...but when I needed a cup of sugar....LOL
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed654321
All the time he was eating, he'd be growling his fool head off. Once he was finished he would come over to me for a pat on the head, then over to the door to be let out and back to his own home. Was really funny.
Theres a couple of members here that i read their cats do that when eating and i thought it was so funny
post #21 of 27
They haven't been together very long. I think you are doing very well since the introductions were rather immediate. The normal course is to keep the newcomer separated for a few days and give both a chance to adjust to the new scents.

I would suggest spending some play time with your girl by herself. This will help her feel more secure and she will start purring again.

As to the growling, unless there is blood drawn, don't worry about it. Most of the time, cats are good at working out some sort of truce. There is a lot of noise but no action.
post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed654321
It's sort of like punching a baby for giggling and shaking a rattle, and you wouldn't do that. Try to let it go for a while and see what happens.
I think it is more like reprimanding a toddler for being grabby or not sharing, which is just part of teaching good manners IMO. It's not like pushing his head down scares, hurts, or stops him from playing. I'm never mad when I do it and am very gentle, it is more of a reminder that my NO is to him. My other kitty and him get along great now though, they are inseparable . She is back to purring when she lies still enough to get pets although she has decided her little brother is much more exciting and rarely gives me the time of day anymore
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kat_krazy
I think it is more like reprimanding a toddler for being grabby or not sharing, which is just part of teaching good manners IMO. It's not like pushing his head down scares, hurts, or stops him from playing. I'm never mad when I do it and am very gentle, it is more of a reminder that my NO is to him. My other kitty and him get along great now though, they are inseparable . She is back to purring when she lies still enough to get pets although she has decided her little brother is much more exciting and rarely gives me the time of day anymore

First, I need to apologize for that terrible typo. I meant to type punishing, not punching. I type very fast (120 wpm at last count) and I do 3 or 4 things at once and sometimes I make really bad typos.

Second, I apologize for the fact I did not clearly explain what I meant by that statement, and I realize by your response I was misunderstood.

Actually, I agree with the technique, and as I said, have used it myself. I understand completely that you are doing it in a gentle way, and are in no way hurting your baby.

What I meant was that punishing him for simply growling is like punishing a baby for shaking a rattle...it's a natural behaivor and not one that really needs to be punished or retrained.

It was not meant to be a comment on the actual punishment, or how you were doing it, in any way. It was a comment only on the cat's behavior, and I apologize for the misunderstanding and for being so unclear.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed654321
First, I need to apologize for that terrible typo. I meant to type punishing, not punching. I type very fast (120 wpm at last count) and I do 3 or 4 things at once and sometimes I make really bad typos.

Second, I apologize for the fact I did not clearly explain what I meant by that statement, and I realize by your response I was misunderstood.

Actually, I agree with the technique, and as I said, have used it myself. I understand completely that you are doing it in a gentle way, and are in no way hurting your baby.

What I meant was that punishing him for simply growling is like punishing a baby for shaking a rattle...it's a natural behaivor and not one that really needs to be punished or retrained.

It was not meant to be a comment on the actual punishment, or how you were doing it, in any way. It was a comment only on the cat's behavior, and I apologize for the misunderstanding and for being so unclear.
I totally agree with you Charmed and I understand your point. The example I gave in my earlier post was 'it's like telling your cats not to talk'. Growling without attack (especially if they are not attacking unprovoked) is communication, pure and simple. They need to communicate to live in harmony. Trying to suppress their communication that will likely cause more friction between the cats than less.

I would let it go unless there is serious fighting going on. Give them a chance to determine their own pecking order. It's natural for them.
post #25 of 27
I wanted to add another thing. (a clarification)

In the cat world, the only reason a mother cat would 'reprimand' her kitten for growling is to insert her dominance, not to just get them to stop talking (growling). I do not think humans usually need to prove their dominance to cats, unless the cats have a bad habit of attacking them, unprovoked or in an non-playing manner.

So, IMO, reprimanding or re-training cats for growling is unneccesary for owners, in most cases.
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
I don't know he is a pretty dominant cat I think asserting my dominance wouldn't hurt in his case. For example when I am eating he jumps up on me and runs for my plate, I put him down on the floor, he jumps back up, I put him on the floor, he jumps back up, I put him on the floor.... you get the picture! He runs and jumps right on my plate before I know what's happened! Doesn't matter what I am eating he even goes for lettuce. He growled while doing this the first few times although now at least he doesn't do that. And this is right after he's eaten so he's not hungry ! This morning I was eating boiled eggs and since my method of putting him back on the floor wasn't workng I thought I would just show him how unpleasant my food was so when I was done I put some egg shell on the floor for him. Well... he ate it! He's just a little piggy with toys AND food so I don't want it getting out of hand. Have to admit he is good for a`laugh though, what a quirky personality he has!
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kat_krazy
I don't know he is a pretty dominant cat I think asserting my dominance wouldn't hurt in his case. For example when I am eating he jumps up on me and runs for my plate, I put him down on the floor, he jumps back up, I put him on the floor, he jumps back up, I put him on the floor.... you get the picture! He runs and jumps right on my plate before I know what's happened! Doesn't matter what I am eating he even goes for lettuce. He growled while doing this the first few times although now at least he doesn't do that. And this is right after he's eaten so he's not hungry ! This morning I was eating boiled eggs and since my method of putting him back on the floor wasn't workng I thought I would just show him how unpleasant my food was so when I was done I put some egg shell on the floor for him. Well... he ate it! He's just a little piggy with toys AND food so I don't want it getting out of hand. Have to admit he is good for a`laugh though, what a quirky personality he has!
Now, THIS is a perfect situation, I think, to use that technique, because this is unacceptable behavior that can be retrained.

Any time he jumps on the table and goes for my plate, I'd take him by the scruff of the neck saying "NO," while pushing gently down to the table. But you have to follow through with the 2nd part.

I'd then pick him up and bring him over to his dish, and put a few pounce treats or something like that in his dish, then pet him and give him positiove verbal encouragement.

That's what it said to do when I read about this technique. Not only to stop them from the unwanted behavior, but to try and understand what it is they are trying to do, and redirecting it to a more positive behavior.

A human trying to assert dominance over a cat. LOL
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