Why does one of my cats jump on the others back and bite his neck?

Why does one of my cats jump on the others back and bite his neck?

1 cat jumping on another cat.1 cat jumping on another cat.
1 cat jumping on another cat.1 cat jumping on another cat.

Our question this week was:

This involves two-and-a-half-year-old male domestic short hair cat siblings. Occasionally, during play, one jumps on top of the other’s back, grabbing the nape of his brother’s neck with his teeth and holding him there for upwards of a minute. The one on the bottom is in total submission and doesn’t move. There is no growling, hissing, or otherwise negative aggressive behavior during this time. Since day one, they have never fought and have always gotten along great. Is this a way of the one showing his male dominance over the other and saying “don’t mess with me!”? The one that is on top never does this to any of the other kitties in the house (there’s another brother the same age, his momma, a very loving big daddy that loves them to no end who is four, and an older male that is approximately ten. Please advise at your convenience.

Thanks!

Tina Hoffman

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that you have two cats that are 2 ½ years old and one of them “jumps on top of the other’s back, grabbing the nape of his brother’s neck with his teeth and holding him there for upwards of a minute.”

The action you describe mimics the breeding posture and behavior. This can be a pleasure thing or a dominance thing. Some cats will do this because they like to… and will do it to other cats, stuffed animals, dogs, etc.

If it doesn’t bother your other cat – then maybe it is not worth worrying about. Make sure the cat doing this behavior has plenty of playtime, toys, and stimulation. This may help.

An article that might be helpful to you is Breeding Behavior of Cats. Another article on Sexual Aggression may also be useful.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!

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