new kitten being bullied

by Jessica
(Madison, WI, USA)

I recently got a new 6-8 month old male kitten. We already have a 10 month old male kitten who likes to play and nip our heals. We thought he might like a playmate, but after taking all the precautions (separation, feeding on either side of the door, petting each cat with a towel with the other cat's scent) for 2 weeks our first cat still charges the new cat immediately, bites his neck, straddles him and holds him down. The new kitty is scared. I feel like neither of the kitties are getting the attention they deserve. Will this pass? What else can I do?

Answer by Kate
Well lets start by saying that as cats are not natural pack animals like dogs it is not always guaranteed that they will get along with other cats. Some do, some don't. So you may just have a cat that is a loner.

However due to their age it is more likely that this is play, now I know it looks fierce but it is rarely so. As it is not in a cats interest to sustain serious injury as in the wild this could mean death. So it is more likely play and learning cat skills like hunting, pouncing etc. this is normal and usually happens in the first three months of a kittens life with the litter and the mother cat dishing out the rules etc.

It is also possible that the other kitten is asserting his authority and making sure that the younger kitten knows his place. this is normal and should settle down once positions are sorted.

there is not much you can do apart from giving your kittens lots of different types of toys and distractions in the house that will also allow them to develop their natural cat instincts, like hunting, pouncing, jumping and climbing etc.

Please see my pages about cat aggression and also cat play and toys etc for information. here are the pages

best wishes Kate

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