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Question
Hi Kate,

Just a quick question about my two cats. I have a 6 month old desexed female
burmese whom we have had since she was about 10 weeks old. Recently we
adopted a 9 week old male burmese kitten as we were concerned about
leaving the older cat alone during the day.

My concern regards the 'fighting'/play behavior between the two. I am
attempting to keep the kitten quarantined for at least another week, however
the two cats have met on a couple of occasions. Sometimes the older kitten
will sit outside the closed door and slip in as soon as it is opened. She will
almost immediately pounce on the younger kitten and wrestle with it - there
is a lot of neck biting/ neck hugging and kicking involved. The younger kitten
will display submissive behaviour but still ends up being beaten. As there is
minimal growling or hissing I have tried to stay out of it - somewhat
unsuccessfully I have to add! I have been breaking up the fights when the
younger kitten begins to yowl or hiss and generally I try to limit the contact
the cats have with each other at least for now.

My first question is how much is too much? When should I break up the
fighting and when should the cats be left to their own devices? I sometimes
feel that the older kitten really doesn't understand when enough is enough
and will pursue the little one quite doggedly.

My other question is how best to break up the fighting when needs be. I don't
want to make the older cat feel like she has been maligned or her security
jeopardised but mostly I just end up pulling her out and taking her out of the
room.

Thanks again -  I will be interested to hear what you suggest.

Answer
Hi
It sounds as if you are being very sensible about the whole situation and realizing that the cats are doing what comes naturally and your older cat is asserting her authority on the home.
It may be an idea before you let the two cats be together full time that your go through the steps of introducing cats for the first time, it might help if the scent of both cats is spread around the home so that the cats get used to each others scent being  around. I have placed a link to my page about this at the end of this message.

Regarding how much is too much, well that is tricky as sometimes cat tussles like this can seem very aggressive, i would say that you are doing the right thing and as soon as the smaller kitten shows any signs of distress or possible injury that you separate them. This is best down quietly and calmly so as not to scare the cats which they might then associate to the other cat which can cause further problems. Once separated remove both cats from each other and put your older cat alone for a while, she will then associate the fighting behavior with being bored ie alone (its not a punishment it is how cats learn that by doing something a consequence is related to that this is how they learn naturally. She will not get upset, she will eventually wise up that if she doesn't want to be bored or left alone then by not fighting this happens.

Once the cats get used to each other I'm sure things will settle down, perhaps with just the odd little spat.
Hope this helps

Kate
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Kate Tilmouth

Expertise

I can answer most day to day cat problems encountered by owners. I have a good understanding of cat behaviour and problems which may arise from changes to their daily routine. I can advise on cat training including litter training and general day to day cat care issues. I am not a vet and therefore cannot answer medical questions.

Experience

I run my own cat website at http://www.our-happy-cat.com and have been a dedicated cat owner for over 20 years. I have encountered many different cat problems and situations and feel that i have a good understanding of cats and cat ownership.

Publications
I am a platinum member of Ezinearticles where i write mainly cat related articles.

Education/Credentials
Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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