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I'm the human of two female young cats, one is 7mo the other around 5mo, they're wonderful and behave very well, very affectionate, they like it around us and feel confident around the house. They also play with each other with no aggression or nasty behaviour.

The elder is very playful with her feather toys, we got things like these: enter image description here enter image description here And she loves them despite she's really picky with her toys. The younger will play with anything.

But here's the thing, and I can't find anything about it online. If I play with both of them at the same time, the elder will absolutely refuse to play if the younger is playing. As soon as I pick the little one or remove her from the room, she will get into hunt mode immediately. If the younger is involved, she will remove herself from the situation and just look at how the other cat plays... No aggressiveness, no complains, just switches to passive mode.

It's not major but I'm a bit sad because whenever I play with them I need to separate them otherwise just one of them plays.

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  • Maybe the older one means to support the younger one, because it needs more exercise to get as good as the experienced old cat ;) Feb 10 at 19:04
  • Even if they're a bit older only?
    – pcambra
    Feb 12 at 13:19
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The older cat might just let the younger play alone since essentially, playing is hunting practice for cats, and it might think the younger one needs the practice more.

We are currently observing something similar with our two older ones, they will mostly let the younger one play and observe, and only occasionally spring into action. If they do, they do not play like they normally do when we play with them alone, instead it is what I'd describe as "instant kill move", almost as if they were demonstrating how prey is to be ambushed effectively.

We also occasionally have mice in the basement, among the older ones there was usually sort of a competition about who saw the prey first and gets to hunt it, but since the younger is with us, both older ones tend to take a backseat and let the young one make her attempts, again occasionally jumping in, and only after the young one had her time with the prey, they go in for the kill.

Interesting side note here, our older male is more passive and observing, while our older female takes more of an active teaching role.


Apart from the teaching aspect, observing others playing and hunting can also serve to learn new techniques that the others may have developed, and improve the own hunting prowess that way.

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  • Thanks, this is one of the things I was thinking, maybe she wants to let the younger practice, but it is a bit odd as the older just stops playing as soon as she sees the younger one and looks a bit defeated, but that's maybe me projecting.
    – pcambra
    Feb 12 at 13:20
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My two do the same, though they will take turns playing with a toy. It started within a few days of introducing them; they both went for the same toy and ended up fighting over it. And when my boys fight, they don’t want or need a toy distracting them!

Now, when I bring a toy out, they look at each other to see who moves first, and that cat “owns” the toy until they lie down to rest and the other gets their turn. And it’s usually the younger one that moves first.

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  • Thanks for your comment but that's not what mine do, they don't fight over a toy or own any toy...
    – pcambra
    Feb 12 at 13:21
  • As I understand Stephen, the first cat plays until it needs a rest, and then the second cat plays while the first looks. @pcambra What will your older one do, when the younger "finished" playing? Will it play too and let the younger have a look "how ro do it"? Feb 12 at 14:45
  • Well, the young one doesn't really stop playing very easily :D, but even if she doesn't want to play, the older won't play either. For example, the older likes ping pong balls because she can jump a lot, we do this in the hallway and as soon as the young one shows ups, even if she doesn't care for the balls, the older stops playing
    – pcambra
    Feb 12 at 17:10

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