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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Help with messed up introduction

Hi! My 2 kittens have been sharing my small apartment for a couple of days now. Unfortunately I don't really have the space to separate them for longer periods of time. They avoid each other most of the time, but every now and then they get in this wild mood and start chasing each other around, which usually ends with the bigger one hitting the other one on the head, both hissing and growling at each other and me clapping my hands and shouting "NO". Neither of them really seems to be afraid of the other, they just go straight back to their own business after I tell them off, and a few minutes later the same thing happens again, until they get bored. I'm sure this is not a good thing I would appreciate any advice you could give me! Thanks
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 06:18 PM
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Well, the chasing is not a problem, nor is the hitting on the head...but the hissing and growling is not good and suggests they're not simply playing. If they're both very young (only a few months old) and the hissing/growling doesn't happen too often, then I'd say let them be for a little while longer and see how things go. Try actively playing with them as often as you can, so that their focus is on you and not each other.

If they're older kittens and/or the hissing and growling is happening quite frequently, then I'd find some way to separate them for at least a few days and do a slower introduction. I take it you live in a bachelor apartment, with no separate bedroom...but perhaps you have a bathroom that one could be confined to for a while. You could switch them out every so often (exchange rooms).
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 06:28 PM
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Mary NH brings up a good point...if the kittens haven't yet been spayed/neutered, then I would see to that as soon as you can.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 07:08 PM
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I agree with Susan and Mary NH, being spayed or neutered at certain ages if very important. If they are old enough to reach sexual maturity then this procedure not being done will cause tension.

I would also like to know old your kittens are. I found with the real young, like 6 or 7 weeks old, that they are marveling at all the ways that they can communicate. They puff up for no reason, growl cause it's fun, and other crazy fun behavior. It doesn't sound like that is the case here, but I thought I would ask.

One thing to remember about kittens is that they are still learning a lot. They don't know proper etiquette when dealing with other cats and are learning how rough is too rough and how hard is too hard of a bite. They mess up, frequently, and inevitably someone is upset. I get the impression that this is the case with your little duo. Are they arguing at any other time or just when they start getting excited and goofing off? It sounds like they are running around, having fun, and someone is going too far and then they are yelling at each other. If this is the case then don't worry, this is normal. They are learning boundaries. Little kids go through similiar processes, they don't come already knowing proper social behaviors.

When they do this calmly separate them. They need to learn that if they can't play nicely then they go on a time out so to speak. One thing you can do to create bonding and keep them from crossing the line is playing games with them that force them to work together for a common goal. For example, chasing a feather toy around. They will have to hunt together and this will bring them happiness I look forward to hearing more about your situation and hopefully it's improvement!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Both are female and haven't been spayed. One is 4 months old and I'm not sure about the other, the previous owner said that she is 15 weeks old, but she's way too big.. I will know more after I have been to the vet with them later today.

I have a really good feeling about them at the moment. There's still some occasional hissing and growling, but not as much as before. To me it looks like both of them are very curious about each other and wouldn't mind playing and being friends, but neither of them knows how to make the first step

some pictures I took this morning


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 08:15 AM
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What a great looking pair! They are super cute. The moments in these pictures are a very good sign! I have no doubt that they will become friends in time
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 08:50 AM
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If they're sleeping (or at least relaxing) that close to each other, especially with their backs to one another, then I don't think you have too much to worry about. I suspect the hissing will subside over time. Try to keep a coin can or something similar handy to use to break things up when (if) things seem to be getting out of hand. I suspect they'll be good friends very soon.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
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So the newest thing they are doing is grabbing each other and wrestling on the floor very roughly, there's a lot of biting and kicking and I have no idea what to do about it. It's usually Mellon (the smaller one) who starts. She keeps on teasing, attacking and chasing Collie. But as soon as Collie responds and grabs her, Mellon doesn't have a chance and starts with the growling and hissing again, until I separate them. You would think Mellon should be freaked out by what just happened, but as soon as I let go of her she jumps right back on Collie. I think Collie is just playing, she's a really laid back kitten and it takes some time before she gets annoyed by Mellon's teasing. But Mellon looks like a little psychopath when she does this. They've been living together for a week now, but as far as I know the "wrestling" only started yesterday. The weird thing is that whenever they are not fighting, they couldn't care less about each other, as you can see in the photos above. I keep on locking Mellon in the bathroom until she has calmed down, but every time I open the door she goes looking for trouble again.

What's going on? Are they playing, or should I be worried when I go back to work tomorrow? I wouldn't want to lock either of them in the bathroom for 9 hours.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 06:54 AM
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"One thing to remember about kittens is that they are still learning a lot. They don't know proper etiquette when dealing with other cats and are learning how rough is too rough and how hard is too hard of a bite. They mess up, frequently, and inevitably someone is upset. I get the impression that this is the case with your little duo. It sounds like they are running around, having fun, and someone is going too far and then they are yelling at each other. If this is the case then don't worry, this is normal. They are learning boundaries. Little kids go through similar processes, they don't come already knowing proper social behaviors."

To me it sounds like typical kitten behavior and figuring out boundaries. Just continue keeping an eye on them and making sure it doesn't go from rough housing to true annoyance. I've raised a lot of litters, and the number one favorite game is wrestling with litter mates! Biting, kicking, grabbing each other and flopping about, this is all part of it. Kittens often times use their growls and hisses liberally. I still think you should make them take a little break when this happens, but with kittens it's not anything to get too worked up over. This is evident by Mellon's reaction when you make them take a break and her eagerness to get back to playing. She's just saying 'hey you're being too rough' she is not saying 'I'm gonna rip you to shreds if you don't back off'. You'll know it if it was a true fight about to happen! Wrestling is what litter mates do, this is another sign that your kittens are in fact bonding!

You're doing a good job, just relax and enjoy these days with them as kittens
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 09:14 AM
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I have limited practical experience which i try to compensate with a ton of reading.

From the pics and from your descriptions it sounds to me that you have actually no problem at all.

Look at the way they r resting. They are also comfortable enough to eat next to each other.

A bit of rough and tumble as well as chasing each other is simply normal.

hissing? take it this way, they are likely to be teaching each other the limits that they do not like to be crossed as well as they are telling each other "this hurts", "that I do not like" and so on.

also keep in mind that they are establishing hierarchies as well as their own private territories.

We experienced the same the first time we introduced a new cat to our resident cat, the guest cat staied with us for a week or so and even when they were best buddies after the first few days they wold still have the occasional hiss.

since 2 weeks we have introduced a new kitten (4 months old) to our older cat (2 years old) and only now the older cat seems to start "tollerating" the new comer.

So no worries for you, u r doing great and fast. I have heard of cats who tool up to 6 months before actually tolerating each other.

Just keep doing what u r doing as it seems to me to be working fine for your 2 new jewels.

Ciao


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