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Mr_M's avatar

How can I tell if my 5 year old cat is bothered by my 3 month old kitten chasing him or if he is playing WITH her?

Asked by Mr_M (7621points) August 14th, 2008

I’ve a 5 year old male cat. Saturday, we brought a 3 month old female kitten in the apartment. She’s in awe of her “older brother”. She chases after him whenever she can. He’s running out of places to jump to that she can’t get to (i.e., the windowsill worked for one day, then she was able to get to it. Now his only place is on top of the treadmill. It won’t be long before she makes that too). Physically, she’s no match for him. He’s three or four times her size and all muscle. They’ve gone nose to nose many times with no problem. Funny, but she’s real cautious of my 15 year old female cat and wouldn’t THINK of chasing her.

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12 Answers

Hobbes's avatar

If there was really a problem, he’d be hissing and spitting, and his fur would be raising every time he saw her. It sounds like they’re just playing.

McBean's avatar

The answer is that he is annoyed most of the time but still finds her kind of novel and fun. Last year, when we brought home a new kitten, my 10 year old male (mature adult females are not real kitten-friendly) was not so thrilled. He put up with the pouncing and shadowing fairly well, but hid whenever he could. My little one would do horrible kitten things like jumping out of nowhere and landing astride on his back as he was still running. It was the funniest site, but he felt humiliated by it.

When he finally had enough, he (the big guy is Memnoch) would slam Midnight (the little guy) to the ground in a Hulk Hogan wrestling move and pretty much just lie on top of him, and sometimes gnaw on him a bit. Midnight took it as just more fun, but Mem was relieved to put him in his place. As time progressed, they wrestled a bit more, but also began playing together (rarely).

Now they are buddies. Mem is in charge and Midnight is still a pest, but I think either would be broken hearted if anything happened to the other guy. I also think that Mem has taught Midnight a few things. It’s a good scene around here. Your house hierarchy will eventually sort itself out. Sounds like your female has already established herself as the “hands-off” alpha and it’s up to your male cat to raise your kitten. It should be a fun experience, though. Good luck!

Mr_M's avatar

This morning the kitten hid in the litter box, ready to pounce on her older brother when he went to the bathroom!

Mr_M's avatar

So you both don’t feel I need to intervene and stop the chase?

McBean's avatar

Damn! Kittens are the funniest things ever. You can intervene when it gets to be too annoying for you. Or if either of your adult cats gets a little too enthusiastic about showing their annoyance. But it will regulate itself. They’ll be fine. Take a lot of pics to show them when they’re both older. ;-p

McBean's avatar

Oh, Mr_M, I have to mention that you should play with your kitten as much as possible to provide some relief for your older cats. Get feather toys on a string, balls, feather boas, etc. (you probably already have them). Your kitten is likely to have more energy than any one or two life forms in your household can handle alone.

marissa's avatar

Mr M, we have the exact same thing going on in our household. If there was really a problem the older cat would be really mean and aggressive towards the kitten, at least that has been my experience. The kitten is showing affection and interest in the older cat and the older cat is letting the kitten know, it is sort of okay, but still establishing boundaries. Cats have a way of communicating to let each other know what is what. That is probably why the kitten isn’t messing with the 15 yr old, that cat probably made it perfectly clear to the kitten that it would not tolerate such behavour. As long as the older cat can get away from the kitten when it wants, all should be fine without intervention, unless the older cats attack the kitten viciously. May I also suggest that you might want to consider getting at least a second litter box, if you don’t already have one. This can help prevent territorial issues. I have introduced new cats and/or kittens to established felines several times over the years and as long as a cat isn’t tearing another one apart or cornering it so it doesn’t have an escape route, I have never intervened and it has always worked out. Good luck with your kitties!!

Mr_M's avatar

My kitten has (and loves) her many toys, even a remote control mouse, but nothing is more fun for her than chasing after her older “sibling”. She noticed him the minute she saw him on day one. We keep her in a cat carrier at night (so that she doesn’t get into trouble while no one’s around) with a mini-litterbox inside. But she uses the other two the adult cats use. And eats their dry food even though she has kitten dry food.

tinyfaery's avatar

It sounds like your older cat is just feeling the little guy out. Cats are very good and setting their own boundaries. Your guy knows that the newbie is a baby, and he(?) will act accordingly, but when your new cat begins to reach maturity your older cat will begin to assert more boundaries. Look out for aggression. Watch your older cat, and give him extra love and attention; if he seems like he’s reacting anxiously with her, then you might want to change your tactics.

Have fun. Kittens are one of the best things in all of existence.

marinelife's avatar

Do be careful though. Toms have been known to kill kittens. I might keep them separated when you are out of the house.

If torture by the kitten goes on a while, I would also offer the adult cat a spot in a bedroom with a closed door for some respite.

Enjoy your baby!

syz's avatar

If the older cat is not knocking the kitten “ass over teakettle”, then it will work out. I wouldn’t interfere. You might, however, consider giving the older guy a break once in a while when he seems to have had enough or is getting stressed. Put the kitten in another room behind a closed door and spend some time with your older guy. Pet him or snuggle him or play with him – whatever your favorite “together” thing is. That way he gets a little time to wind down and he knows that there is no threat of his being “replaced” by the kitten. The more relaxed and secure you can keep him, the more quickly he’ll be able to adapt to the new cat in his territory.

marissa's avatar

I forgot to mention that I use a product called Feliway whenever there is a potentially stressful situation, like having a new kitten in the house. It works for my cats. I get it through my vet. I use the plug in unit (like an airfreshner plug in) and put a fan near the unit, so the ‘scent’ is spread through the house. I don’t leave it plugged in all the time, just for a few hours a few times a day.

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