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Cats play fighting - is this normal?

(19 Posts)
Sunshine49 Tue 30-Jan-18 17:18:15

Hello everyone! Another day another cat question! smile

Although my two young rescue cats are still very timid around me, they're getting more confident by the day in terms of exploring the room and playing with their toys. However, something they've just started to do in the last couple of days, which has slightly worried me, is play fighting!

As a novice cat owner, at first I was frightened they were having an actual spat, but having googled this, apparently you'd know if they were really angry with each other (there'd be claws out, hissing, growling etc).

It seems that these two are just engaging in some pretty boisterous wrestles, batting each other with their paws, rolling over each other and then what looks like biting (although I'm pretty sure they're not actually sinking their teeth into each other, from the receiving cat's reaction!)

On one occasion the female cat was lying on the floor by the kitchen in the hope of food and the male cat came up and batted her. They had a quick play fight then she walked off and he more-or-less took her spot, which worried me a bit.

This morning she chased him out of the crate, then later today, they were grooming each other and seemed to get more and more vigorous. After a minute or two she appeared to bite and paw him and another play fight ensued, which again saw her jump up and walk off a few feet.

They're a brother and sister, one years old and were together in a small cage for five months in the rescue centre before we adopted them 11 days ago. The centre said they had to be rehomed as a pair.

They're mostly pretty affectionate with each other - when he can't find her he will often chirrup to see where she is, they sleep next to each other and groom each other on occasion.

I suppose I'm just worried that the brother is trying to dominate - I have stroked and made a fuss of him a few times because he's let me, but the girl cat is too timid to be touched and would shy away if I tried to stroke her.

Do I have anything to be concerned about here?

OP’s posts: |
dementedpixie Tue 30-Jan-18 17:41:27

My two boys play fight too and sometimes it looks awful and vicious but they don't draw blood and have not harmed each other. They then lick each other and will sleep together too

Allergictoironing Tue 30-Jan-18 18:21:07

I wouldn't worry unless one of them starts to show distress. Mine (brother & sister) play fight most nights, he's a fair bit bigger than her but I've noticed that she tends to egg him on & is more likely to start things.

I can look pretty alarming the first few times you see it, but as you said no cuts or bite marks, no hissing, yowling or crying. Mine have taken to standing in their back legs boxing like hares, before taking turns chasing each other round the house yelling gleefully grin

Scribblegirl Tue 30-Jan-18 18:24:37

I think it's less of a drama if they're littermates - our two used to scrap all the time. Sadly one passed away over the summer and I miss their playfights - partly because I loved how brotherly they were but mostly because it used up a heck of excess energy in the house without us having to entertain them!

I think you get used to what's normal and what's making one or both distressed but it doesn't sound from your OP like it's 'bad' fighting.

If you think they're still unsettled it could be worth using Feliway for a bit, though smile

BluebellTheDonkey Tue 30-Jan-18 18:26:14

I asked this very same question here when I first got my two! Having only ever had one cat at a time before, it came as a bit of a shock when they started having a mad 10 minutes chasing each other round and having a bit of rough and tumble. I was reassured that it was completely normal, and that I would know if they weren't having fun. Occasionally I do step in if big boy cat is being too boisterous (girl cat is small but feisty!) but mostly I just leave them to itsmile

Sunshine49 Tue 30-Jan-18 18:31:59

Thanks everyone! Scribblegirl - I bought a Feliway plug-in just after they arrived to help them relax. When they got here they were just cowering and withdrawn in their crate, so they've definitely become a lot bolder over the past 11 days (although I'm not sure if that's down to the Feliway, time or both!)

They didn't make any sounds when they were play fighting and are not injured. They were sleeping next to each other half an hour later, then brushing past each other and intertwining their tails (!) when they knew their food was on its way!

OP’s posts: |
Greensleeves Tue 30-Jan-18 18:34:19

My nine week old boys playfight all the time, they roll over each other, bat and mouth each other, wrestle, bomb all over the room chasing each other...right now they are playing a very robust game of peekaboo using dh's legs as a prop grin

They also sleep curled around each other (on one of us, usually) and lick and stroke each other when sleepy. Kitten 1 licks Kitten 2's eyes a lot as well, which is interesting because he's got mild conjunctivitis which we're treating him for.

I assumed it was normal, I haven't seen any injuries, there's never hissing or spitting and they seem very happy

Sunshine49 Tue 30-Jan-18 18:35:18

Thanks Bluebell - yes, it's definitely a bit of a shock when you're not used to it, isn't it? grin

OP’s posts: |
Sunshine49 Tue 30-Jan-18 18:40:44

Thanks Greensleeves - glad to hear this is entirely normal behaviour! Your two sound adorable! smile

OP’s posts: |
Greensleeves Tue 30-Jan-18 18:41:46

Thank you, they are scrumptious grin

exWifebeginsat40 Tue 30-Jan-18 18:48:43

our rescue boy has been here 6 months now. he has learned that play-fighting is NOT happening with our grumpy old lady.

apart from that, he wrestles with our tiny tortie ( who is nails) and the ginger fatty. fatty can get a bit rough, and I think nips quite hard. they’re not actual fighting tho, and a tiny Nerf gun usually stops them in their tracks.

DISCLAIMER: no cats are harmed in the deployment of the Nerf gun. The little spongy things are never aimed at them - they just hate the ‘poomf’ noise.

feellikeanalien Tue 30-Jan-18 19:07:48

Ours do it all the time. It usually starts with our boy licking our girl. This gets progressively more vigorous until she whacks him, grabs him round the neck and then they roll about for a bit. He usually wanders off eventually.

A couple of times it has got a bit nasty with him chasing her round the garden, into the house and up the stairs. She then growls and hisses and puts her ears back.

They are not related. She is 10 and he is 5 and a lot bigger. In his defence she hates all other cats and always hisses at the neighbours cats even though we have lived next door for over 3 years!

However when they are cuddled up on the bed together all that seems to be forgotten!

Sunshine49 Wed 31-Jan-18 09:03:32

Feellikeanalien - that sounds exactly like my two! Although my pair are brother and sister.

ExWifebeginsat40 - I have a tiny tortie (girl) and a ginger fatty (boy) too! grin

OP’s posts: |
Megabeth Wed 31-Jan-18 09:13:04

We adopted rescue kittens 2 months ago. They are male siblings, i'd never had 2 cats before but OH has.
I was alarmed at first especially as one seemed to instigate the fights but now the other holds his own.

I don't like it when they push their back legs off each other's heads but they never go too far.

I sometimes play this in the background when they battlegrin

youtu.be/Ml4wAnvfM4M

LucheroTena Wed 31-Jan-18 20:31:48

They’re playing and practising how to stalk prey, it’s normal. Mine are 4 this year and play fight every day. Sometimes it’s just a swipe and chase, sometimes one pins down the other and grabs him with jaw around the jugular until he submits, followed by mutual grooming. Sometimes we get the odd hiss and rolling around kangaroo kicking. One will make noise if the other oversteps the boundaries. Occasionally a bit of fur will fly. They do it when we’re home, I don’t think they scrap at all when we’re not there (no evidence of fur / destruction). I don’t worry as most of the time they mutually groom, sleep cuddling each other, hang outside together, look for the other when 1 is out and 1 in. They are very closely bonded. Real cat fights are pretty horrific, you’d know if it was that. And there would be a lot of posturing and noise/wailing.

MazB Thu 01-Feb-18 23:56:45

Long-time lurker but I completely agree with iheartNiles - our 2.5yr olds are bonded but will 'fight' as Niles described - they will let you know if past their boundaries...

EachandEveryone Fri 02-Feb-18 00:19:36

Omg so many questions and still no pictures!!

Yes mine play fight all the time. I love watching it tbh. Except when I’m trying to sleep and they are fighting on top of me.

Thursdaydreaming Fri 02-Feb-18 00:34:33

Completely normal! Cats only know two games - hunt prey/toys and fighting other cats. My cats play all the time, usually leaving a lovely scattering of fur on the carpet overnight for me to vacuum in the morning. Like pp said, they start the game by grooming each other, then the wrestling begins.

Thursdaydreaming Fri 02-Feb-18 00:36:29

Btw I hate it when they kick each other in the head and bite each other's faces! But that's their hobby they enjoy so who am I to judge grin

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