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Cat Hitting Kitten On Head (Why? & What Now?)

If your cat is hitting your kitten on the head this may confuse you and lead you to wonder why it’s happening, and if it should be a concern… 

Why is my cat hitting my kitten on the head?

As long as the older cat is not biting to pierce the skin then you shouldn’t need to interfere. Your older cat is just showing the new kitten that they are in charge and things should calm down once they’ve established a ‘pecking order’ at home.

If your older cat is harming the kitten, however, then you will need to separate them and try slowly introducing them again. A crate will let you do this so that they can get used to each other scents while keeping the kitten safely behind the bars.

How do I know if my cats are playing or fighting?

A siamese cat and and an orange kitten playing.

A Siamese cat and an orange kitten playing.

With cats, it’s all about body language, so look for signs of aggression such as pushing their ears flat, dilated pupils, and flashing their tails back and forth. Cats will usually growl, as well, and there’s no sound quite like it – you’ll know that your cat is upset.

Beyond body language, just make sure to check the cats to ensure that no one is being bitten. Cats use biting to get attention but usually stop just short of breaking the skin. As long as no one is getting hurt then it’s best to let them adjust to each other at their own pace.

Would a cat hurt a kitten?

It is possible, yes, and there’s no guarantee that your cat will like the new kitten at all. When you are introducing them, you should do so with the assistance of a crate so that the older cat can’t harm the kitten and all visits must be supervised for the kitten’s safety.

This will let them adjust to each other’s scents and even if they don’t become best friends, in time they’ll learn to tolerate each other.

Should I stop my cat from hitting my kitten on the head?

It’s best to leave them alone, provided that the biting is not piercing the skin. Cats hit other cats on the head sometimes to initiate play, but more often than not it’s about showing the other cat’s who’s boss.

Don’t worry – this phase should only last about a week or two, but you’ll need to supervise all visits until you are certain that the kitten will be safe.

How do I know if my cat is too rough with a kitten?

Check the kitten to make sure that bites are not piercing their skin. If they aren’t, then don’t worry. Cats play rough sometimes and until they’ve decided who’s dominant, it’s best not to interfere.

Watch for signs of aggression, such as hissing, waving their tail back and forth, or laying their ears back. If you see these, then your cat means business and you’ll need to separate them and reintroduce them in a slow and supervised manner.

How long will it take for my cat to accept a new kitten?

That depends on your cat. Some cats will take to a new kitten right away, but for other cats, this process can take weeks or even months, and even then they might simply ‘tolerate’ the new kitten.

During this time, you can supervise visits with the kitten and your older cat and a crate is a good idea. This will allow them to become familiar with each other’s scents and if you play with your older cat while introducing them then your cat will associate pleasant memories with the new kitten as well.

How do I know if my cat likes my new kitten?

If you see your cats grooming each other then this is a sure sign that they are getting along. Cats don’t trust just anyone, after all, so if they are allowing the other cat to groom them then it’s a good sign.

Sometimes with kittens, however, it’s a one-way street and the older cat will hold them down to groom them (whether they like it or not), but this is normal behavior with cats and it’s just a case of your older cat showing the kitten who the boss is.

How long will the older cat hiss at the kitten?

A white cat hiding and observing in suspicion.

A white cat hiding and observing in suspicion.

It could take weeks or even months for your cat to start getting along with the new kitten. From your cat’s point of view, the kitten is an unwelcome intruder, and they might even be just a wee bit jealous of the attention that it’s getting.

The best thing to do is to supervise their visits together and give your older cat a little extra attention so that they don’t feel ‘second best’.

While there is no guarantee that your older cat will ever like the kitten, usually within a week or two they’ll settle down and learn to tolerate each other, even if they don’t become best friends.

Why do cats put their paws on other cats’ heads?

When a cat does this they are telling the other cat that they are the dominant one and it’s not behavior that you want to encourage. If you see your cat doing this, it is best to separate them so as not to encourage this kind of aggressive behavior.

After initially separating them, you can reintroduce them to each other slowly, but keep some treats handy so that you can distract your cat if they start becoming aggressive again.

Once they’ve known each other for a week or two, these behaviors will generally go away, but until then you’ll need to keep a close eye on both cats to make sure that they’re going to get along.  

What happens if you introduce cats too quickly?

Introducing cats too quickly is a definite no-no. Cats are creatures of habit and having a new animal in their territory is quite stressful for them already, so it’s best if you introduce them slowly.

The safest way to do this is to use a crate so that they can become familiar with each other’s scents and after a day or two you can open the crate for a supervised visit to see how they’ll get along.

Lindsey Browlingdon