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Mixing Kittens...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello Everybody!

First time kitten owner here. First time poster at this great site, too

I recently adopted two kittens, from separate litters. There is an age span between the two kittens though, and it has me concerned. One kitten is 12 weeks old, and the other is about 7 weeks old. For the first few days together they hissed at each other a fair amount and took a few swipes here and there. Fast forward to now, four days later, and the 12 week old is just clobering the 7 week old. The poor little 7 week old tries to defend itself or get away, but the 12 week old is just too strong.

Strangely, the hissing has ended from both sides. The little one moans a bit when the 12 week old is on top of him, but sometimes I even see him go after the older one.

I am not sure what to think, except that I get the feeling that the younger baby needs a break. But I could be wrong?

Otherwise, these two characters are interesting. They use the litterbox at the same time, and they will eat peacefully together. What should I do?
post #2 of 11
Hello, welcome and congradulation on your furbabies.

The below info. will explain their behavior.

Hierarchy in Cats
Dominance is a key part to life in a multiple cat home. Cats in multiple cat homes will quickly establish a dominance hierarchy amongst
themselves. This is a commonly accepted order status in the cat world and should not be interfered with by owners. In such a hierarchy one cat will take the top dominant position. This cat will then be known as the 'alpha-wolf' so to speak. The lowest cat on the totem pole is known as the pariah. This set up is normal and should not be interfered with.

Such a system is usually set up through several encounters of 'play fights' between the various cats in the home, quickly the hierarchy will
be set up. This hierarchy can be seen throughout your cat's daily lives. You will notice your dominant cat being the first to eat, first to play, the first to want and get your attention etc. The dominant cat will perch at the highest spot in a room (height equals respect in the cat world), while the other cats will then position themselves in descending heights. Many shelters now-a-days actually have plenty of cat towers and various objects of various heights such that the cats can display their dominance while in the shelter.

Also remember that cats are creatures of habit. They like routines and low-stress environments. To them this established hierarchy is part of
their routine and habit, and part of what makes their living situation acceptable. If they are not allowed to do such they will get stressed and
anxious. You should not try to go against this system. Your dominant cat isn't being mean or bossy, just following his instinctual laws.
Although it may be difficult at times, follow the hierarchy your cats have set up. Treat the dominant cat as the dominant cat, make sure to give treats or feed that cat first. When the dominant cat expresses his dominance try not to punish or yell at that cat, even though he may
seem to be acting mean or unfair. This is a common mistake among owners. Although we might like our cats to live in a world where everyone is created equal, this is not the case in the feline social
structure. Going against the system will generally cause the dominant cat to become more aggressive in an attempt to regain his role.

Good luck and pleanty of XOXOXOXOXO to your babies. Oh by the way, what are their names?
post #3 of 11
This is common interaction between the two as they try to figure out which one will be Alpha leader. And it may not always be the strongest one that wins the battle. If they are not drawing blood and locking together, then just keep an eye on them. Once the youngest kitty catches the growth spurt, he may well whip the tar out of the other one and take over as leader.

I have over a dozen cats and my leader is the smallest of them all and a female. The other cats at feeding time if she approaches the tray, they back off till she has eaten and then they eat. It is about intimidation and control and part of their way to survive.

You can also stop some of the assault by acknowledging that the older cat is now Alpha and feed him first and away from the other one and then set the other's food down some distance away. I am talking about maybe a 5 minute time span before the second bowl is set down. You can also start playing one-on-one with the stronger cat acknowledging to him that he is special, and play with the other one out of the eyesight of the stronger kitten. Also you can get a tube of nutrical from your vet or feed store and start feeding the younger kitten some to help him get more nutrients and beef up. Good luck!
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wow, I feel a little better now. The littlest kitty seems so defenseless at times.

The 12 week old is Steven and the 7 week old is Moses.

Here are some pictures

This is Moses. He is so sweet. He runs to me for protection from Steven. It breaks my heart


This is Steven. He is mostly fearless until I come into the room. Then he runs for cover. He is interesting in that when I carry him around like his momcat, he purrs like crazy.
post #5 of 11
OMG how precious - enjoy their kittenhood, that time goes by way too fast.

PS: Always remember: "No blood, No Foul!"
post #6 of 11
We rescued two ferals (from the same litter), but one was a week before the other one (and we're totally new to cats). We thought Lazlo was trying to kill Shelly. I posted a thread, and got great advice just like you did. We fed Laz first, picked him up first, played with him first - in whatever form the attention was coming, we gave it to him first. And within just a day or two they were still battling it out. But Shelly was batting back and initiating some of the fights, I guess because it had become play. The whole tone had changed (even though it still looked so rough!). Now they often sleep together, and sometimes clean each other. Now we enjoy watching them go at it. Have Fun! We're enjoying while it lasts, because they're growing so fast!:tounge2:
post #7 of 11

They are tooo cute! Give them a few days. I bet they'll be friends in no time. If the younger one is thin, you can always supplement his diet with some canned food. He'll beef up in no time! Good luck and look forward to some sleepless nights!
post #8 of 11
Snip: What wonderful little boys you have there! I just love the picture of Moses sitting almost inside his dish to eat! They are truly beautiful!

Welcome to our kitty family here. I hope that you will post often and let us be in on their growing up!
post #9 of 11
They are so CUTE!!!
post #10 of 11
Seven weeks old is actually way too young for a kitten to be separated from it's mother, but perhaps there was no choice. Ideally kittens should stay with their mothers and siblings for twelve weeks. They learn a lot of cat social behavior from their mother during that time and also still need the emotional nurturing.

Being an infant still, you do want to "give him a break" from the older kitten at times if it seems too rough or too prolonged. Seven/eight week old kittens are not yet interested in dominance battles, not even having all their body systems fully developed and ordinarily just getting weaned if they were still with their mothers, though they do like to playfight(getting ready for when they are old enough to care about such things). The older kitten might be too strong and rambunctious at times for the 7 week old, so it would be good to let the little one get some rest, which he needs a lot of at that young age. It is after 12 weeks old where you don't want to intervene too much, which is that age where cats start having feelings of battling for dominance, but certainly you want to shelter and protect a 7 week old infant kitten from too much roughness, as his natural mother would. If you feel at times that it is too rough and "breaking your heart", intervene and shelter the 7 week old. He won't be a baby for long, but sure does need his babying now.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yesterday we gave the kittens their first baths. They did really well. And Aller-Rx shampoo does indeed work. I was snuggling with them all evening long with no allergy symptoms.

Moses sat in my girlfriends lap for a good two hours. He's such a sweet baby. Meanwhile, Steven rampaged around the house. He is enjoying exploring. He cried a little when after discovering most of the house, he found an off limits room. Namely my bedroom. Cats hate doors ahahahaha

A little on their background. . . Steven did come from an entact litter that was fostered locally. The policy of the KCHS (Kenosha County Humane Society) is to release the kittens whenever possible at 12 weeks, like Steven. But Moses was a different story. Apparently he showed up at somebody's door as a six week old solo. No momcat or siblings anywhere to be found. But when we found him, we decided we'd be his family. And we are so glad we did.

I am looking forward to when he is able to battle back Steven, though I don't want to lose out too much on this innocent time in Moses life. He is so sweet and gentle, and mainly fearless. He loves to jump up on me and just sit with me. Last night played I video game for an hour and he just sat on my lap, content and quiet. So darling
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