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Body language

John Popp

Site Supporter
We currently have some things getting sorted out in our cats (and kitten) hierarchy. Getting a lot of mixed messages from the kittens body language where the ears suggest one thing and the tail position suggests another. His rump is never down so that hasn't played into any of it, just can't sort out what the ears and tail are doing because the two aren't congruous to stating his disposition at any moment.

So just wondering if the ears or tail trumps the other or it's typical for a kitten to send mixed messages because they are just trying to find their way.

No matter how you slice it, it's been a great success in our household having another kitten. Almost instantly it calmed down Chongo and removed some of the pressure we were feeling with his want to play 6-8 hours a day. Both the kitten and the still young Chongo have been an absolute joy and Chongo's interaction with the humans in our household have dramatically improved. Chongo's certainly a little reserved at the moment, and seemingly a little withdrawn when the kitten isn't around, but every day getting a little closer to his normal self.


Savannah Super Cat
Glad to hear that the kitten seems to bringing some balance and an outlet for Chongo. Little Ognohc seems to be a great fit. :)

Kittens are awkward with their body language, much in the way a toddler often is with their body language. It is like they are trying to say the right thing, but haven't quite gotten a handle on the phrasing.


Staff member
Hard to say without knowing exactly what he is doing with his ears and tail. Kittens will often lay their ears back flat against their head when playing - this is usually a very serious pose in an adult cat but in kittens it just means he is serious about his playing.


Savannah Super Cat
I agree with Brigitte that ears and eyes are the most important. I find when my cats are playing, the ears are straight back and flat against the heAd. If they mean business, the ears are flat and straight out to the sides.

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John Popp

Site Supporter
OK, well the kittens ears are often straight up and alert. At the same time his tail has a quick kink then pointed straight down and perhaps a little puffed up. He doesn't walk around like this but rather he struts and as soon as he's close enough to pounce on Chongo he doesn't hold back. It ends up being pretty aggressive play and generally comes to an end when Chongo starts exerting his size.

It's very much akin to when I would be chided into wrestling a bear at the local bars for a few bucks. The Bear basically thought you were playing with him and the rougher you would get the bear would elevate his game to continue with his advantage. It wasn't very lucrative as the girls just thought you were stupid for wrestling a bear, your guy friends would get you to buy them drinks with the money you took from them and you went home with some clothes that were probably never going to be worn again for a night out.


Savannah Super Cat
I am glad your little guy is fitting in! Kovu has the same issues as he learns his words. When he is being super naughty, Nyah puts him in his place quickly. I haven't intervened as he backs down and there hasn't been injuries! Frankly, I think he is going to overcome Nyah in size sooner than I thought he would, I am hoping he thinks of her as bigger or alpha when that happens, though who knows if that will be the case. Nyah has actually come even more out of her shell, and is more cuddly than before. Almost like she is making sure I don't forget she is irreplaceable. Not only that, Kovu wears her flat out. Here she is now being cuddly and sleepy as they have been climbing their wall all day. Kovu is out cold in his bed. This, of course, means they will be ready to go crazy right at our bedtime! image.jpg

John Popp

Site Supporter
Unfortunately I have had to intervene quite a few times. Once they both start getting a little worn, then things start getting out of hand. A bear hug from Chongo in which the little guy can't muster the strength to escape and then a few yelps from the little one to the referee tapping out. Sometimes the little one calls it quits, and other times he just needed to be upright to begin sparring again.

I'm totally amazed by two things, one that the little one so often wants to reopen the can of whoop ass and the other that as soon as you pick him up he is immediately becomes tranquil and starts purring. He's definitely a laugh riot and every day gets a step closer to being able to full roam without supervision.

John Popp

Site Supporter
Ummmm, I don't want to get too much into the indiscretions of my youth, but Ceasar (spelled incorrectly, but that was his name) the wrestling bear would frequent the local bar and club scene in Cleveland during the 80s and 90s. $500 for anyone that could pin the bear, a true suckers bet. The much safer bet was to get your buddies to fork over $20 each to get you to wrestle the bear, in which I did 4 or 5 times. I went winless on all occasions and once in somewhat humiliating fashion.

Ceasar was billed as a Grizzly bear, but he was actually a black bear. He weighed somewhat over 600lbs and seemed to enjoy his rough and tumble playtime. Certainly nothing I would condone today and in fact I would definitely be opposed to the activity. None the less, that's how it happened and the following days my head always hurt more than the rest of my body.