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Background: I got a male Bengal kitten at 3 months. When he was 7 months, I added a male Savannah who was 12 months. I isolated them for about a week, then did controlled meetings for a few days, and they've both been out together 24x7 since. I also have Feliway Multicat diffusers all over the house.

They're now comfortable enough with each other to sleep as close as a foot apart and can peacefully pass even closer when just walking around, but any touching (by either cat) inevitably turns into a fight/chase for a few minutes until they both get tired and lay down. Neither cat hides or makes noise or shows other signs of actual fear, and there are never injuries, so I'm reasonably sure they're just playing even though one or both will flatten their ears at times.

However, since they're both the aggressor in these fights and there is no clear victor, I can't figure out which of them is the alpha. Is it possible they haven't figured it out yet either? If so, how long could it take, and will they calm down a bit when they do, or is this how things will always be between them?

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Cats don't really have pack hierarchy like dogs. One cat might be really confident or aggressive, and the other timid, such that the one cat takes over everything, but that's just a natural result of their personalities, rather than a pack hierarchy thing.

If this is truly just playing, then the goal isn't to assert dominance or something like that. It's just for fun. If it isn't playing, but actual fighting, it's still not too likely to stop unless something changes - - either the cats become more used to each other, or the source of the contention goes away.

It wouldn't be surprising to me if this is just play. Both of your cats are very young, and both are pretty energetic breeds. Cats will sometimes flatten their ears during play. One pretty good indicator of the difference is the eyes. A fearful cat's eyes dilate. A cat about to pounce will also dilate its eyes, but generally you can tell when the cat is about to pounce, and so it's pretty easy to not confuse the two.

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  • When I've had pairs of cats in the past, one was always clearly the boss: pinning the other down and biting their neck, pushing them out of the way to get food or attention, etc., and the other didn't ever fight back. But those cases were always littermates, so they grew up like that. I assumed the same dynamic would evolve for strangers too. No? – StephenS Dec 7 '19 at 4:10
  • It can if the cats' personalities are that way, but it's not always like that. – Kai Dec 7 '19 at 17:13

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