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How Long Will An Older Cat Hiss At a Kitten?

If you have noticed that your older cat is hissing at your kitten, you may be wondering, why, how long this will last, and what you should do…

How long will an older cat hiss at a kitten?

It depends on your cat. When you introduce a new kitten, your new cat might hiss at it one day and then be friendly the next. Typically, the process takes 2 to 3 days or up to as many as 2 weeks, but there are no guarantees.

Some cats will NEVER like the new kitten and may simply learn just to tolerate them, but the good news is that most cats will adjust and may even learn to like the little one. You can help things along by making sure that all of their visits are supervised by you and that treats playtime, and petting is always involved.

The more happy memories your cat has with you and the kitten nearby, the better, as these positive associations go a long way towards convincing your cat that the new kitten might not be so bad after all.

Why does my older cat hiss at my kitten?

An orange and white cat outdoors with it's mouth wide open.

A ginger and white cat outdoors with its mouth wide open.

Your older cat doesn’t see it so much as a kitten, but rather as an unknown cat invading its territory. This is why you must always supervise encounters, as otherwise your older cat might even be tempted to attack.

Give your older cat lots of extra attention and treats during this time and it’s a good idea to clear an area so that they can get away from the kitten. A baby gate in the door of one room works fine and ensures that if there is a place your cat can go where the curious kitten cannot follow and pester them.

Once your cat realizes that the kitten is not a threat, then they should calm down, and with a little luck then they might even become the best of friends. That said, there are no guarantees, and only time will tell if they are going to get along or simply tolerate each other.

Do older cats get jealous of new kittens?

Cats are often stressed by the presence of new kittens and if you ignore your older cat, instead lavishing attention on the kitten, then this may make your cat a bit resentful. It’s not so jealousyously, however, as it is an extreme change in their daily routine.

Your cat is used to having you at their beck and call and before that kitten came, the entire house smelled like them. This is because your cat has scent glands in places like sir face, paws, and tail, and by rubbing up against items or cuddling up in different areas, their scents tend to be all over the place.

When a new scent like a kitten or a puppy enters the home, then this makes your cat feel uneasy and stressed. It makes sense – as a predator when your home smells like an animal that you don’t know, that generally means it’s either ‘prey’ or ‘danger’.

The best thing that you can do is to comfort your older cat and give them lots of attention so that they feel safe and loved. They’ll begin to associate this feeling with the kitten also nearby and this will help them to gradually accept the furry newcomer.

What should I do when I see my older cat hissing at my kitten?

Actually, you shouldn’t do anything. Some hissing and even swattinareis are to be expected and as long as your cat is not breaking the kitten’s skin with those swats, then it’s perfectly okay. Cats are territorial and a little bit of bullying helps to establish that the older cat is dominant.

Provided that you supervise all visits and the kitten is not actually being harmed, then it should be fine. Within a day or two things will usually calm and you’ll see a noticeable difference.

How can I prevent my older cat hissing at my kitten?

You can’t keep your cat from form hissing at the kitten – although if you introduce them carefully, you can certainly minimize the amount of time that it takes your cat to adjust. For introductions, you’ll want to get a place carrier pier, so that when you introduce them you can let your older cat safely sniff the kitten.

Even better, if you can wait a day to introduce them, you can keep the cat in another room and switch out their bedding so that they can smell each other before safely meeting with the crate. Beyond this, it’s a matter of supervising them and providing treats, play, and affection and giving a little extra to the older cat.

It can take a little time, but your older cat will relax and accept the kitten, and with a little luck, they might even decide to be friends.

Will my cat eventually like my kitten?

A white kitten peeking from a wall.

A white kitten peeking from a wall.

While there are no guarantees, most cats will eventually warm up to a new kitten, it’s mostly just a matter of time and your cat’s personality. The best way to help things along is to reduce the number of ways that the kitten might accidentally irritate the older cat.

Examples of this include putting your older cat’s food up on a high counter, to keep the kitten out, or putting a ‘baby gate’ in the doorway of one room to give your cat a private place to go. A little extra attention given to the kitten will also help your cat to relax, and this can go a long way.

Be patient and try to make it as easy on the older cat as possible – the odds are in your favor that your kitty will come around.

Will my cat hurt my kitten?

It’s very rare, but it can happen – so you must always supervise visits until you know that they will get along. Also, hissing and swattinareis normal, as long as it is not breaking the skin. Keep an eye and let the hissing and swatting occur and it will typically calm down within 2 days to 2 weeks (most often 2-3 days).

Once you see them playing together without the hissing or especially if you see the older cat grooming the kitten, then everything should be fine.

What do I do if my cat doesn’t like my new kitten?

The best thing to do is to minimize the kitten’s impact on your cat’s daily routine. This means separate food bowls, preferably with the adult cat’s bowl being somewhere high that the kitten cannot reach, and separate sleeping areas and litter boxes are also a good idea.

You can also use a little science trick in the form of pheromone sprays. Groomers use these sometimes, and pheromone sprays produce hormones that relax cats and can help to improve the general mood. Just keep in mind that there is no guarantee that your cat will ever like the new kitten.

That said, if you help out by making it easier for your cat’s daily routine to be performed uninterrupted, then they might just relax a bit and start interacting more with the kitten.

How do you get an older cat to like a kitten?

Mostly it’s a matter of creating experiences that your older cat enjoys, where the kitten just happens to be nearby. Cats tend to build up an internal database of happy associations and bad associations. That’s why when your cat sees a towel, they immediately fled because they associate it with a bath.

If you supervise all meetings and spoil your older cat with the kitten around, then eventually they’ll associate these good times with both you and the new kitten in the house. Just be persistent and patient and see what happens. While there are no guarantees, most cats can and will adjust.

How do you calm a hissing cat?

The best thing to do is to give your cat some space. If you are introducing a new kitten, don’t force it, and keep in mind that hissing and swatting will be normal as a part of introductions.

Your cat feels that the home is theirs, and they will want to establish h dominance over the new kitten, and they are quite normal. As long as they aren’t actually hurting each other, just keep an eye on things and try to break the tedium with some tossed treats or toys in-between hisses.

Be patient and let them get to know each other and with a little luck, your cat will start to relax and become more open to the new kitty.

Lindsey Browlingdon