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Doctor 4 Cats
Doctor 4 Cats, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7034
Experience:  Board certified feline specialist. 30 years specializing in the medical needs of cats.
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More of a behavioural thing - I have 2 ragdoll kitten boys

Customer Question

More of a behavioural thing - I have 2 ragdoll kitten boys with quite a big difference in size. 1 is 3 months, the other is 9 months.
I got the smaller kitten just a couple of days ago and I'm trying to do cat introductions but the larger one keeps pouncing on him. Maybe it's play, I don't know, he doesn't growl or hiss. The smaller isnt enjoying it and be honest, it does look pretty scary as the other kitten is massive in comparison and despite the hisses from the younger, the older doesnt listen and keeps pouncing and scaring him. I have them separated at the moment but its only a short term solution. Not sure how to proceed...
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Doctor 4 Cats replied 16 days ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Cynthia. Thank you for contacting us. I am credentialed as a cat specialist, but I do all animals. Dogs, cats, horses, and farm animals. I have over 30 years clinical experience with a degree in animal nutrition also. I will try to help with your concerns on here.

Please understand that this is a consulting site only. Without a proper physical examination we cannot by law issue a prescription for medication or make a definitive diagnosis for your pet. Based on the information that you provide we can evaluate your situation and advise you on home care and treatment or determine if it would be best to see your local veterinarian.

Thank you for the information that you have provided. Please give me just a minute to review that information I may have more questions. I will be helping multiple customers so please be patient between replies.

Expert:  Doctor 4 Cats replied 16 days ago.

I am very sorry that you are is having this problem. I understand your concern.

What you describe is fairly normal cat interaction.  Most often you can let the cats work out how they will interact with each other, especially with two young males as you described.  The older male will learn that he gets very little if any play or interaction if he is too rough and he will moderate his play to help that.

This has to occur so the more you intervene the longer it will take.   It would be extremely rare for the older cat to hurt the younger.  

Expert:  Doctor 4 Cats replied 16 days ago.

I would allow them to be together most of the time.

I hope this has helped. We try to answer your questions and concerns as best we can on this site without the benefit of a proper physical examination. Please appreciate that it is always advisable to seek local veterinary care if possible.

Let me know if there is anything further I can help you with, or if you need clarification on anything. I want to be sure that I have answered your question to your satisfaction.

Expert:  Doctor 4 Cats replied 16 days ago.

Since I have not heard back, I will mark the question complete.

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Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** read
Expert:  Doctor 4 Cats replied 16 days ago.

You are very welcome.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Hi there.
I did reintroduce them yesterday however the older pounces and wrestles in such a sustained way that the younger cannot escape. It doesnt seem to matter that the younger doesnt want to play, the older one forces it and now the younger one is starting to show signs of aggression to the older. I did take into account what you said about the older moderating his play if he gets little reciprocity...thing is, the older doesnt care. One more observation I had...the noise that the older makes is like a marge simpson disapproval noise. He doesn't hiss like a normal cat unless in severe pain. I wonder if this noise is a sign of aggression? I tried to speak firmly to the older when he was wrestling to break it up but he doesnt listen. I had to physically lift the older kitten to separate them.
I'm currently at the end of my tether having to confine the younger to a makeshift nursery in the bathroom only letting him out to have meals either side of the pet gate with the older and twice-daily play sessions (20 mins each). The younger understandably cries because I have to isolate him for his own safety.
Its very hard to get the older to play (I bought new cat teasers - not very interested and would rather chillax on the sofa) so I'm wondering if pent up energy is a contributing factor; he treats the younger like a prey toy.
I'm not confident that letting them "work it out" will be safe. The younger is getting more and more frightened. Is there any more advice? Is there anything else that I can do?
Expert:  Doctor 4 Cats replied 15 days ago.

Thank you for the update.  I know it is difficult but the perceived aggression that the younger cat is showing is to be expected and part of this.  If you want to continue as you are doing trying to control how this goes it is just going to take longer, the younger kitten will get bigger, and the interaction will likely be more intense.

Others may suggest pheromones to calm the cats.  In my experience it does nothing.  Others may suggest what you are doing with isolation, introduction under the doors, etc.  Again in my experience it just delays what needs to happen.

It is not natural for your older cat to hurt a kitten even if you perceive that is what is happening.    The vocalizing, the submission, is all part of the two establishing boundaries.

You can always have your older cat examined and discuss calming medication with your veterinarian.  That may help.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Ok yes I saw a lot of gradual introduction on you tube and my breeder just said to put them together. It's a big conflict of advice. I'll try again this evening.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I'll take my older cat to the vet for calming medicine. I have a feliway plugged in already
Expert:  Doctor 4 Cats replied 15 days ago.

That sounds good.  I am sorry this has become so difficult for all involved.  It is the nature of cats.