We have two kittens we adopted 3 months ago. The male cat is some variation of Russian Blue and is neutered; the female cat (2 months older but smaller) is orange and not spayed (yet).

Whenever we play with toys (rat on a string, springs), the male cat would always get (too?) aggressive. He would growl whenever he gets his toy, but then escalates to hissing and swatting at the female cat when she comes closer.

From the linked post, it seems like growling is normal behavior, but when it gets to hissing, should I intervene?

One time, the week when they just got adopted, we found her nose bloodied. A few weeks later, we found a wound on his feet. But they seem to be best buddies with each other. So should I just leave them be (even if they physically hurt each other sometimes)?

  • Are they affectionate (cuddling or grooming each other) when not fighting?
    – StephenS
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 15:25
  • Yes, they are like best friends. The female grooms the male more than the male grooms the female or himself. They play fight a lot too. But the male never growl or hiss unless he has a toy in his mouth, then it's like he's a completely different cat.
    – dayuloli
    Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 5:31
  • I will try different suggestions in the answers below and will accept the one that worked for me. So far, I've left them alone, the female cat has learnt to stay away when he hisses. I guess this means she won't get injured, but I still want to try to discourage the behavior. Perhaps I will try, as another answer suggests, to get them less possessive over the toy by taking it away when he hisses.
    – dayuloli
    Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 2:04
  • Most of the below answers are good and I agree with, but I would like to add that cat's USUALLY do not make any noise when playing. I've learned by watching other behaviors of my one cat that sometimes noise is to be expected, but I always intervene when I hear hissing/growling cause that means at least one of the cat isn't having fun anymore. But if its over toys, then that just sounds like one cat is very possessive and isn't a cause for real concern as long as the other cat realizes to back off when they hear these warning sounds (some cats don't)
    – user25771
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 19:40

4 Answers 4


It sounds like the cats mostly get along, though there may be some possessiveness over their toys which possibly is causing a little bit of aggression. Rather than waiting until the point where you're afraid you have to intervene, preemptively remove the root cause of the problem by making them feel less possessive over their toys. There's a number of things you can try to accomplish this:

  • Get more toys.
  • If there is some toy they refuse to share no matter what, take it away.
  • During human play sessions, have a person to each cat, so that they don't end up fighting over who gets to play with the human.
  • Try to get their energy out with other activities, such as leash training.

Rough play is part of kittens learning how to socialize with each other.

Kittens do not instinctively understand how sharp their teeth and claws are. They are driven to practice their hunting skills in the form of play, and as a result they will occasionally give each other minor injuries. When a kitten gets hurt, it will either hurt the other kitten back or refuse to keep playing, and such feedback teaches them what is acceptable during playtime and what isn’t.

As long as the kittens cuddle and groom each other when playtime is over, everything is fine.


This behavior is sounds normal as long as he is still affectionate towards his companion, most kittens play-fight which is perfectly natural. He sounds like he's being protective over the toy as cats often view their toys as prey. It is recommended to give them something to get their energy out, to prevent fighting such as simulating exercises and puzzles. If they are both fighting over a toy you can take it away from them both, make sure they both have a toy or the same toy so they don't start fighting over each others toy instead.


I had twins from the same litter, and a much older cat. Their Papa Shadow only intervened once by sticking himself between them by batting both boys, they never fought again. You could try to become the "mamma/papa cat. Another method I have found always worked ( I tend to have 2 cats at a time as it keeps my fur babies happy [shadow's partner Kestrel died from cancer at 5 which is why he was alone]) Give them each a special toy that is theirs alone, place it in their personal sleep area and make it one that will defintly be something that they will like, I found rabbit covered fur toys tends to work best.

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