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Cat Tips

Cats can't "work out" problems, because they're territorial animals. Stop fights between house cats by blowing a whistle, squirting a bit of water or by tossing a soft object, like a pillow, near them.

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Expert Q&A

I have two kittens. They sometimes bite each other’s neck. Is that a normal thing for kittens to do?

It is absolutely normal for kittens to play in such a manner by biting each other in the neck region. Here’s why. Playtime is actually quite serious, especially for developing kittens like yours. It’s when animals, including humans, learn critical survival and social behaviors under relatively safe circumstances. Kittens and other animals often communicate with each other about the safety of faux “attacks.” This is done through body signaling, eye contact, release of odors and other cues. Such signals can prevent the playtime from getting out of hand. When cats in the wild kill prey, they often go for the neck area, hoping to make a quick kill that will expend less of their energy. They will also stalk, pounce and claw, which are again behaviors often seen during play. During a kitten’s first 12 weeks of life, it absorbs a tremendous amount of information about its environment, companion cats, you and many additional things. Learning about bite inhibition and other appropriate feline manners usually emerges from experience, such as what you are observing with the roughhousing. Young cats often test their dominance when they are around 6 months old, which is when a lot of feline owners report having their ankles nipped and otherwise observe misbehavior in their pets. Sometimes individual cats can be overly aggressive, which is a partly inherited trait or can be linked to illness. Unless one of your kittens is hurt during the playtime, they both should be fine.

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