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Should I Intervene If My Older Cat Is Playing Rough With My Kitten?

Both older cats and smaller kittens gain from play. In addition to allowing children to learn, refine, and practice key abilities, it helps them to expend energy and provides cerebral stimulation.

If you have two or more cats, allowing them to play together can help them bond while also entertaining them. Nonetheless, general play may become harsh, and you must be able to distinguish between positive play and physical play.

Determine whether your cats are playing too roughly and what you can do to stop it by continue reading "My Older Cat Is Playing Rough with My Kitten, Should I Intervene?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

First of All - Why Cats Play

Cats delight in both lonely and communal play. Cats engage in solitary play when they interact with objects and toys. This includes instances in which they discover objects about the home, throw and catch them, and attack their toy mice. They may engage in solo play to enhance their abilities, alleviate boredom, or expend energy.

Cats engage in social play when they interact with other cats, other household pets, or people. Although social play often begins when cats are young, it can develop and continue as they age. Social play might resemble a battle. It may consist of clawing, kicking, rolling around, and biting.

Signs That Playtime Got Too Rough

While fun is natural for cats of all ages and can involve numerous cats of all ages, there may come a moment when playtime devolves into combat. There are a number of indicators that suggest play has devolved into physical aggressiveness.

Cats cannot communicate, but their body language may reveal a great deal about their position and emotions. Focus your attention on your cat’s ears. If a cat’s ears are erect or pointed forward, it is usually playful and not hostile. If the ears are back, this may indicate a more intense conflict.

The tail is an additional useful signal. A tail that is waving or swishing does not necessarily signal that a conflict is intensifying. In contrast, a puffed-up tail indicates fear or hostility.

Additionally, observe how the cats interact with one another. In the majority of play situations, cats take turns being “the aggressor,” thus one of your cats will be on top before they switch places and the top cat becomes the bottom cat. If one cat continues to stay on top, this may be an indication of dominance.

How to Stop It

If your cats become aggressive, direct intervention is not the best answer. It can exacerbate tensions between the parties and lead to larger issues in the future. Do not intervene between two cats who are fighting, and do not pick up or pull away one of the cats.

Instead, you should attempt to divert their focus from the matter. Utilize a cat toy, such as a toy wand, to attract their interest. Encourage them to play with the toy instead of arguing, and allow the tension to dissipate as a result.

How to Encourage Positive Play

Several factors may contribute to rough play. Your cats may have a great deal of pent-up energy that results in hostility. Ensure that daily playtimes are plentiful and healthful.

Ideally, you should play with each cat for at least 20-30 minutes. If the cats are willing to play with you and each other, you can engage in three-way social play. Otherwise, allow each individual time to play with you.

If the situation has grown so terrible that the cats can no longer be in the same room for any length of time, you may need to separate them and reintroduce them using the same method you used when introducing the new cat.

Place them on opposite sides of a closed door so they may become accustomed to each other’s odor. When they are quietly aware of the other cat’s existence, you may introduce them gradually.

Ensure early encounters are supervised, and do not allow them to be in the same room unless you are certain they are comfortable with one another.


My Older Cat Is Playing Rough with My Kitten, Should I Intervene?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has shown that cats commonly engage in cooperative play, which, until it becomes violent, is not only normal but also healthy for the cats involved. However, such play may become serious and perhaps aggressive.

Consider the background and the interaction between the cats while they are not fighting, and observe their body language when they are.

This will allow you to tell if they are still playing and if they have begun to fight. Use a toy wand or similar item to divert their attention away from one another without directly intervening.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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