How Do I Get My Cat To Like A New Kitten?

How do I get my cat to like a new kitten Question and Answer.

Question by miss

Hi, I thank you in advance for your help in answering my question! 

I have a one and half year old male cat that is neutered and an indoor cat. Recently (4 days ago) I brought home a thirteen week old female kitten. We got the kitten with a view for her to be a playmate and companion for my older cat when we are at work or out of the house. 

Having researched on the internet and taking advice from the breeder, I set up a separate room for the new kitten with everything she needs litter box food bowls beds etc, and let my other cat have the run of the rest of the house as usual.

Second day I began exchanging both cats scents i.e. rubbed cloth on each cats faces and presented it to the other cat with food to help them associate good things with the other cats smell. There was no reaction from the kitten, my other cat sniffed intensely then simply ate his food, no hissing or anything just cautious which I thought was a good sign.

Next day I let them see each other through a crack in the door with my close supervision both cats sniffed and pawed each other, again no hissing or growling. Next day I put my cat in kitchen with food and let the kitten out to explore the rest of the house. Then returned her to her own room and let my cat back out to roam the house freely. He did not react much just walked around sniffing cautiously. 

After 3 days of separation I let them meet face to face, I did this and tried to make it positive by providing both cats with some wet food they both love in separate bowls side by side, both ate the food, which again was great but the older cat was very wearing.

The kitten finished first then began eating the older cat’s food and he sat by and let her which I thought was amazing! Then the older cat began following and chasing the new kitten and biting her a little, I closely watched ready to intervene if needed as I knew I must protect the new kitten as she is tiny compared to my cat and unable to defend herself. 

The older cat kept following the kitten and a few times jumped on her back pinning her to the floor and biting her she let out a little cry so I separated them again. I was sure to provide lots of love and attention to both throughout this whole process and more to my older cat. Reassuring him and playing with him. I tried again few hours later but same thing happened, my older cat jumped on kitten with her ending up on her back letting out a cry. So once again they are separated.

I am back and forth both of them spending time with each but when I'm with the kitten in her room my older cat sits outside crying. This is very upsetting as I feel I have hopefully done everything right as I should have and it is draining going back and forth the two of them. I feel guilty leaving the kitten in her room alone then feel guilty when spending time with her leaving my older cat outside.

I understand this can take a long time for the cat to adjust and don’t expect it to happen overnight but have I done anything wrong? And what would you suggest I do now? I have taken a week off work to help them settle and really want this to work out and for them both to be happy, and for the kitten not to get hurt of course!

Any help and advice would be so much appreciated as I am rather upset by the whole thing. Both cats are pedigree and cost a lot of money not that that really matters as I love them both so getting rid of one is not an option I just want what’s best for them and for them to get along. Thank you again.

For steps on how to Introduce cats to each other safely, see my page here. 


Well first of all let me say, Wow. You really have put a lot of time and effort into this cat introduction and as far as I can see you have done everything right. So don’t feel worried about that, my goodness not many people would take a week of work and put in all the time and effort you have, well done.

The only thing that you may have done wrong is assuming that your cat needed a companion while he was alone in the house. This is a common mistake made by cat owners, thinking that cats need other cats to be happy. This simply is not the case in the feline world. Unlike dogs that are pack animals, cats are solitary by nature.

This of course does not mean that cats cannot get along and live happily with other cats and animals but these cats have usually been brought up from day one with other cats and animals around.

The first 7 weeks of a cat’s life is called the sensitive period. During this time a kitten learns many of their social skills and need to be exposed to many different people and animals to ensure that they grow up happy to be with people and other animals. Many cats do not have this and as in the case of your cat who is now 1 and a half and who is used to be the only cat in the home etc may find that the presence of another cat or kitten as a threat to his territory. So his behaviour could be an indication of this.

Having said all that what mainly happens in situations like this is after a period of time things calm down and the two cats end up tolerating each other. With one cat usually becoming boss and making sure the other cat knows it. This is normal and so hissing and growling are usually used just as a warning to the other cat that will learn when to walk away.

Your cats current behaviour although looks rough is probably not as rough in reality. He is part playing with the kitten and also part asserting his authority. This behaviour should calm down and in a way should be allowed to happen so that the equilibrium can be sorted out. I.e. kitten knows who’s boss etc.

Also don’t forget that within a month or so you will have to think about having your kitten spayed. This will prevent her giving off scents which could be seen by your cat as threatening or just plain confusing. Even neutered toms can still react to these scents.

Stick with it, try to relax around the cats, they will sense your worry and concern. I’m sure things will settle down soon.

Best wishes Kate

Comments For How Do I Get My Cat To Like A New Kitten?

3 month old kitten rough with 3 week old kitten. by: Anonymous 

We have a 3 month old domestic tabby(kitty sanchez) and recently rescued a 3 week old kitten(g.w) from a good will store. The baby kitten has to be weened still so we are bottle feeding him. So far he is doing really well and is getting stronger everyday. He is starting to play and explore more and now my older kitten is being kinda rough with him. So far ive just been watching to make sure the little one doesnt get hurt but im worried that because my older kittin is still a kitten that she may not know better. So far nothing bad has happend but i am watching closely.

new kitten with older cat by: Anonymous 

Thank you all for the good advice, I feel a lot better, this is my second attempt with a new kitten introduced to the house hold. My kitten is very well natured and isn't hissing or scared at all she is happy and purring. My elder cat, age 7 hisses and growls but she hasn't done anything to harm the kitten, day one and they are sleeping on the same bed (older cat tolerating the kitten.) Is this a good sign? I am going to keep them separated in rooms and switch their scents day to day but I think so far so good?

Let them sort it out... by: Anonymous 

We had a similar situation when we first introduced out kitten to our 1 year old cat. We felt the older one wasn't really very friendly or affectionate and had been told that when they are on their own for so long during the day they lack social skills. There was lots of hissing and growling at first and I was scared to put them together as every time was a lot of swatting growling and hissing.

At first I tried to separate them after each time it got rough but then 3 days had passed and I was starting to think It wasn't going to work. I rang the get and they advised me to watch them but let them sort out their pecking order and they will learn to tolerate ech other.

Within about 3 hours they were sleeping together, playing together and the older cat would clean the new little kitten like she had adopted her even though this cat had been both spayed from and early age and had never had kittens. Even now the older one treats the younger one just like a kitten and cleans her and let's her eat her food. When they play though the older one asserts her dominance and shows who's the boss.

Interesting story! by: Anonymous 

Hi there, 

When I read your story, I actually went through the same thing. I have a 3 year old cat (Frederick in Cat Gallery Two) and we wanted to get a companion for him while we were away at work. So we bought a non-registered Pure Bred Female Bengal and named her Cheshie (Cat Gallery six). When we introduced them, Cheshie was very vibrant and curious and did not want to stay separated. We had a difficult time because she wanted to explore and be let out but we were afraid of what Frederick would do. I had to have my sister come over and watch them for a day so my older one wouldn't attack her. 

In a few days with a bit of Frederick's hissing, he was able to tolerate her being around. Now they act like they are best friends. Cheshie being the younger one seems to accept him no problem. She usually is the one to come around him and sometimes tries to sleep beside him. If he's in "the mood" he allows her to sleep beside her!. He hisses at her when he doesn't want her to be near and I hear and see them chasing each other at least twice a day. It is normal cat behaviour! She sometimes comes up to him and licks his head and he has no issues. There are even times they rub noses together! Then there are some days he wants to be left alone. 

I used to panic at first when they started playing rough but Cheshie (younger one) usually gives up easily and begins meowing in a non threatening way. She is just trying to say "Hey, enough already, stop big brother!!" Now, it's pure fun when I see them trying to jump on one another and chase each other around the house. Yet, it doesn't happen all the time. They are definitely entertaining to watch! 

I was also worried about my older cat Frederick because we suspected that he was mishandled when he was a young kitten by my younger cousins. He is a very jumpy cat and does not like a lot of people in the house. He will hiss and become aggressive if you constantly try to tease or bother him. He has trust issues with new people but now he seems more relaxed and calm around them. Maybe because he is getting older and more mature? We don't know for sure but I think introducing him to Cheshie (who has a fantastic perky personality) has really lightened his attitude! 

I hope you can share how your cats are doing now and I suspect they've grown closer and perhaps are good friends. 

Good luck and thanks for sharing! (I still can't believe how similar our stories are!) Pictures please!

How do i get my cat to like my kitten by: Anonymous 

Thank you for answering my question, it has made me feel a little more at ease that I have done everything right. perhaps i need to relax a little. I just dont want little one to get hurt. I am continuing to keep the cat and kitten separate, spending time with both giving play, love and attention and then having periods with them together.

The older cat does seem to be relaxing a little each time they meet, but is still pouncing on the little one and biting her :( I am trying not to step in but when she cries out in pain i have to separate them. I just hope him continually stalking her doesn't make her a frightened, shy cat in future as she is such a loving friendly and outgoing little one she really is a delight.

So is my older cat, usually! Anyways i will continue to do my best and hope that in future they will at least tolerate each other and at best play together from time to time. Very stressful but hopefully all my effort will be worth it. :) I got this kitten to make my cat happier and i still hope that soon he will except her and will be happier.

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