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Foster cat too rough with her kittens

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by KathyM, Jun 16, 2010.


  1. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    I'm fostering a cat and her two kittens for a local rescue. The kittens are 4 weeks old and I'm assuming big for their age (going on other threads on here), probably down to litter size.

    Over the last couple of days they have really found their feet, and since then Molly (mum) has been starting to play with them. However, on the last few occasions she has had to be stopped from doing this as she started quite heftily biting and "bunny kicking" them.

    We have reason to suspect that Molly might have some mild brain damage - I have had a brain damaged cat in the past so am probably looking at things that aren't there and certainly don't want to "label" her if I'm wrong, but I suspect she is very mildly affected (perhaps very mild CH from the way she acts). It's just as possible that she is just a daft and very clumsy cat though and until she gets her next check I don't want to presume anything as her previous owner didn't and neither did the rescue. Perhaps I'm worrying over nothing, but at the very least she is gorgeously, adorably, odd.

    However, this new behaviour ties in with her "dippy" behaviour, and I'm not entirely sure what to do. I know mum cats start to play with their kids, and have fostered litters before so know this goes a bit beyond normal messing about or discipline, if you get me. She gets really very over-stimulated and takes it to the level of very rough play, as if playing rough with an adult cat. She hasn't managed to hurt them as yet but that's more through luck and her being stopped than her regulating how hard she plays with them, if you understand what I mean.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to manage this?
     
  2. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    Watching her closely today she has done this a lot more. I suspect it is started with good intent, that of teaching her kittens the necessaries, which I've seen before at this age and stage. However, it's like she takes it too far, to the point of kicking them about like ragdolls with her back feet and nearly breaking their necks in the process lol. She then leaps away from them and careers around the room with her ears back and her tail high and arched like a cat in full "mad half hour" mode. In more situations than just this, I think she doesn't know her limitations.

    She hasn't harmed them yet and we're allowing her to teach/play normally but distracting her from getting to that stage now. It's like she gets uber-stimulated by them, a bit like she gets with catnip (which incidentally is the strongest catnip response I have *ever* seen in my life, it's bizarre!). I suspect Molly is just more than a little bit "special" and I will keep a close eye on her. Luckily I am pretty laid up at the moment with serious back probs, so I'm spending a lot of time with this lot. I would hate for this to progress to more serious roughness, but there doesn't seem to be aggressive intent behind it, she is chirping and purring while she does it. :confused1:
     
  3. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    Any advice or am I worrying over nothing? :eek:
     
  4. Milly22

    Milly22 PetForums VIP

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    Poppies baby is almost five weeks and she is quite rough with him. She is in season just now and this seems to make her worse, also when they first found their feet she did not like it one bit! I would just keep an eye on her as you are doing. this little boy seems to be okay when I am leaving him with Mum overnight so perhaps what we think is rough, is just natural, possibly ?
     
  5. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    I have caught Rilly doing this with Cain (the only male in the litter) twice. The first time she did it before I knew what was happening it was over, and poor Cain went and hid for a bit. The second time I had my water squirter (one of the ones you buy from garden centres to spray plants with) handy, one squirt at Rilly and it stopped. She has attempted it once more but I coughed loudly and she looked at me holding the bottle and promptly stopped. She hasn't done it since. I don't know if I did the right thing, but she did stop, so I'm happy.


    It's the bunny kicking thing that looks the most awful doesn't it? :( I wonder if it is a thing with male kittens and mothers?
     
  6. KathyM

    KathyM PetForums Senior

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    Thanks both of you. It's normal for cats to go through the over-rough play stage with their kittens, it's apparently about teaching them to hunt and all that. I've seen it before with others, and it surprised me the first time how rough they can get. It's just with Molly it extends from that into over-the-top behaviour as if that rough play is over-stimulating to her and she goes a step too far. Molly is different to other cats, everything is exaggerated and she is quite clumsy too. I do wonder if she has mild CH. We'll continue with stopping her when she starts to get too giddy with it. It does't seem to be aggressive although I do wonder if it ties in with the boy kitten taking over the girl kitten for feeds and the likes now too - the little girl is more adventurous and quicker on her feet, but nowhere near as fat. The little boy is like a tick on his mum and has a lot of squidgey fat on his belly. :scared:
     
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