Kitten behavior

by Pier

Paprika after a nice warm bath

Paprika after a nice warm bath

Hello, I recently brought home a male tabby kitten (Pepper) that was abandoned along with her sister, I found a home for the sister and I kept him as a playmate for my older female calico (Paprika). Of course, Paprika did not accept him at first, but after a week or two of controlled introduction, Paprika has come to like him and now even naps with him, eats with him and grooms him.

Pepper is very energetic and likes to run around and wrestle with my hands and sometimes even play with Paprika's tail, she is quite gentle whilst playing with him also and they like rolling around in the front yard together. Their relationship seemed like it could only get better.

Lately Pepper's playing has gotten rough and it worries me because he decides to bite and scratch Paprika while she tries to groom him or sleep... only provoking her to tackle him, bite his throat while growling and hiss at him afterwards... she walks away after that... I've separated them so far, and scruffed him when he gets too rough, but Pepper doesn't seem to understand that he's not supposed to do that and keeps provoking Paprika. He also turns his ears back and cries loudly in her face after she bites or punches his ear.

My questions are the following:
-I know Pepper's behavior is normal only by what I've read, he's supposed to be playing... but I don't know for sure if he is... or if it's something else. How would I know?

Answer - cats will rarely fight unless they have to. It is not in their interest to risk injury. So yes I would definitely say this is play. the trouble is he may still be unsure of the boundaries of play. What normally happens is they learn the rules from an early age from their siblings and their mother cat. if they have not had this time then he may get too rough when playing. In which case what will happen is that he will learn the rules eventually from your other cat who will put him in his place. this is normal behavior and we should let them sort out there own issues like this.

-Can Paprika stop liking him, maybe even not tolerate him anymore? No this is not likely, she will just make sure that he knows when he is being too rough.

-Would Paprika eventually seriously hurt him?

Answer - No not seriously, she will just be tough enough to make sure he stops and gets the message.

-If she doesn't, will Pepper (once older) hurt her intentionally?
Answer - There is always a risk that he will hurt unintentionally but there is nothing we can do and you shouldn't worry. Cats are wise and if there is an accident i'm sure it will only be minor.

Oh, also, he's not neutered yet, and she's fixed... in case it has to do with anything.

Answer -
yes this make him more aggressive and you should consider having him neutered as soon as the vet will allow. i don't know how old he is but the vets will normally consider neutering after 4 months old.

Thanks in advance.

Hope I have been able to help

best wishes Kate

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