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My indoor cats tussle daily--should we stop this behavior?

Discussion in 'Cats - all breeds / types' started by catsky, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. catsky

    catsky New Member

    I have a nearly 6 year old female, long-hair Calico and a 10 month old, male, long-hair, gray striped tabby. Both are indoor cats. The tabby was introduced to the household when he was about 3 months old and came from a large litter. He was very accustomed to being around other cats and was very friendly with strangers. Our female calico also came from a large litter on a farm; we brought her home when she was 9 weeks old and she lived alone until we introduced the male tabby.

    Personalities: The female has always been a bit wary or edgy while the male has always been extremely loving and not afraid of anything. The female will run and hide from some strangers while she'll stay put with other strangers (we can't figure this one out). She runs and hides when the vacuum is turned on and jumps out of her skin at every loud noise. The male, on the other hand, chases the vacuum and is not otherwise scared of loud noises.

    Introduction: We followed all the guidelines for introducing the new kitten, i.e. keeping him in a separate, closed room for 3 days, letting him roam one-half of the house with the other half closed off, etc. The resident female sniffed at the doors as expected and was obviously curious about the new presence. Once they met face to face, the female hissed and moaned when around the kitten and simply avoided him for a couple of months. After about 2-3 months, the two cats were hardly separate. Whereever one was lounging, the other was within 3-4 feet, seeming to live comfortably with one another.

    The Fighting. However, in the last 3 months, they have begun to engage in what looks like playful tussling that leads to hissing and possibly biting (although it's hard to tell if there is ever penetration of teeth; the female will sometimes make a loud yell and run off but there never appears to be any injuries). Both cats have been an aggressor at times. The pattern of fighting is often as follows: The female Calico will begin the tussle by rolling on her backside with her paws spread open and up. (She looks very submissive.) She'll gently swat the male in the face (no front claws), while the male sits over her and looks on for a few seconds before he gently swats her back (also no front claws). Then they will get into a hugging position with one another and go after the other one's neck with their jaws wide open. Finally, they usually end the tussle by chasing each other (usually the male is chasing the female) through the house until the male gives up the chase. There never appears to be a "winner".

    Friends Again. Within an hour or so, they're back together, comfortably lounging around within 3-4 feet of each other. The last couple of weeks, we've even observed the male tabby actually "cleaning" the female while the female lays patiently for a minute or so before running off. We viewed the tussling, at first, as providing them exercise. However, we're concerning that as the male kitten continues to grow (he is now bigger than the older female), he will not understand his strength and eventually hurt the female. They "tussle" daily.

    I read information about cat fighting in both perfectpaws.com and petplace.com, and the information there indicates that all fighting is aggression that should be stopped. Anyone with any advice on how to deal with our cats' behavior is greatly appreciated.
  2. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    I once read that when cats are actually playing they are silent...if you observe a little of kittens playing they don't make any noise - it's when the noise starts that the play has gone from play to fighting.

    My male cat, Zeus, is 2x the size of my bluepoint Tilly - also he has claws she doesn't (her former owner had her declawed) Tilly beats the snot out of Zeus on a daily basis. I've started using a water bottle on her and it has helped (some). But I have to wait and see if they go from playing to Zeus screaming - and she nailed him so badly last week he actually peed himself...so those 2 have definitely gone beyond playing.

    Are both your cats fixed? I'm assuming so since you don't mention it - if not that is the first thing I would do.

    I personally don't like using the water bottle cause I think the cat associates it with the person doing the squirting...but I'm beginnning to find that when I catch Tilly stalking Zeus (and I always know she's in her "gonna kill him" mode rather than play cause her entire demeanor changes) all I have to do now is shake the water bottle and she changes directions.

    I would keep the water bottle close by (I have mine set on mist) and if the two cats get out of hand with their playing (I wouldn't interrupt them if they are just playing and getting along fine) give them a quick spray.
  3. Chessmind

    Chessmind New Member

    Hi. Welcome to Auspet.

    I agree with what Mary_NH said the noise. It does seem that your cats like each other though. They hang out together, they groom each other (or at least one grooms the other) and they are playing together. I also agree about them being fixed (if they are not already). I'd like to see some pics of them if you have any. If you think it may be more than play, you can check out this site. It's very helpful.

    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Poin ... avior.html
  4. catsky

    catsky New Member


    Thanks for the replies. Both cats are fixed, thank goodness. I'm not good at picture posting on the web (inadequate skills, equipment and experience I think). However, I must say both cats are beautiful animals. I had not seen any long hair Calicos before getting mine -- she has black eyeliner around one eye and a very pretty face. Nor had I seen a long-hair tabby the color of ours (altho I have seen yellow ones). Our grey/black tabby has white hair under his chin and the biggest bushiest tail I've ever seen (even our veternarian commented on the thickness of his tail). My guess is that he is going to be a quite large cat (his paws seemed huge when we got him at 3 months old). If I ever figure out how to post pics on the web, I will. Thanks again.
  5. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    When my 2 youngest cats (1 1/2 & 2 1/2) play they always sound and act like they're killing eachother but they're really not hurting eachother.

  6. Chessmind

    Chessmind New Member

    Do you have a digital camera? If so maybe a family member or friend could help you post a picture. There is info in the general forum on how to post pics into posts (avatars are pics below your member name, that's another post). Your kitties sound very beautiful.
  7. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    if you have photos downloaded on your computer feel free to email them to me and I'll post them for you - I'd lost to see your cats

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