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Is My Cat Being Too Rough With My Kitten? (3 Signs)

If you have witnessed your cat playing with your kitten but fear it’s getting too rough you may be wondering how you know if it’s going too far or not…

Is my cat being too rough with my kitten?

Your cat may be being too rough with your kitten if you can see your kitten in physical pain, your cat is hissing or drawing blood. However, sometimes cats will naturally play fight so you need to look out for these signals to check.

So, now you know when it is getting too rough. But, how can you break it up if it’s getting too rough? Will your older cat really hurt your kitten? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more…

How should you break up rough play with your kitten?

Is my cat being too rough with my kitten?

A sad-looking kitten.

If you fear that the play is getting too rough then it is logical that you will want to know how to break it up without putting yourself in danger. Here are some tips:

01. Clapping

If you clap yu hands together quite loud it will grab both cat’s attention and make them stop what they are doing. This will allow you to retrieve your kitten and shoo away your older cat.

02. Loud sound

Failing that you can make a loud sound, This can be simply by shouting out, using a whistle, or another method to catch their attention.

This works because it will shock your cat and give you a chance to retrieve your kitten from danger.

03. Misdirection

Another, more subtle technique, is misdirection. In particular, using another toy (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) or activity to move their attention away from the play fighting.

Will my big cat hurt my kitten?

Your older cat could hurt your kitten. This could be by accident because your kitten is small and your older cat may underestimate their strength. Or, in some cases deliberate as a form of jealousy.

The former, by accident, is more likely, but either can happen.

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

To check if your cats are just playing or if it is a serious fight you need to read the body language. This means, are they taking turns to push and shove? Is your kitten looking happy? Is your older cat hissing aggressively?

These are all tell-tale signs that need to be looked out for to be sure. If in doubt it’s best to break them up to keep your kitten safe.

Why is my cat so rough with my new kitten?

This rough behavior is natural to cats and is often referred to as “mock aggression”. It is part of their development as kittens but is retained as they grow to adults.

Unfortunately, some adults get too aggressive and this is what you need to look out fr and protect your kitten from.

Why Might Your NOT Cat Like the new Kitten?

Adorable and cute cats come with various mood swings and tantrums as well. Cats are moody creatures indeed with very sensitive emotions, they seldom fancy changes particularly if this change has targeted their established territory.

Just like a jealous little human child who is often not so happy about the arrival of a new baby in the family. Your loyal beloved cat will become a green-eyed monster as soon as you bring a new kitten into your house (Click here to see how to kitten proof the railings in your home).

They consider the newcomer as a threat to their cozy and affection filled lifestyle. As a result, your old cat will become out of sorts considering the new kitten as a snatcher of their due affection and care.

This guide is perfect for you if your loyal old possessive cat is not getting along with the new innocent little kitten (Click here to see why your kitten is crying at night) you recently brought in.

The complex personalities of cats & kittens

With mood swings, jealousy, and sensitive emotions cats seem to have quite complex personalities, they have even been known to attack or bite their owners.

Usually, the cute little snowballs are anxious to get along with the older cats in your house, but the old moody residents of this pet family simply don’t want to do anything with them.

We will not suggest you bring in the newbies and old cats together and expect them to fall in love. Old cats think the new kittens will modify their daily routines since cats are very routine-oriented pets. So, they consider the instability of routine as a big reason to worry.

This is the time where jealousy springs up in your old cats, and jealousy is caused if they feel a lack of love. By nature cats demand a lot of attention and care, if they feel they are not receiving that usual lion’s share of affection after the arrival of new cats, they will dislike the newcomer.

Do most cats dislike other cats?

Usually, cats are social animals and they love to socialize when they are living in the wild. These felines live in social groups where they help other members of the group.

But when it comes to domestic cats we keep as pets, they become quite moody. Due to complex personalities, it becomes very hard for us to predict a cat’s behavior after the introduction of other pets in the house.

The challenges of introducing cats and kittens

We do not ask you to throw up the old and new cats at a commonplace and then expect them to suddenly start living with love and peace.

Cats dislike other cats when they are both not compatible. Your single cat would not be happy to share its place with newcomers. We suggest you not rush into things that need time to grow.

Your cats will get along with other cats if you know how to foster their better relations with a proper and friendly introduction.

There are ways you can develop familiarity and friendly terms in your pets. Their relationships will smoothly progress if you give them the due attention and time.

What is “stranger danger” when introducing cats together?

Bringing a new kitten or a new cat into your home can be a challenging and enjoyable experience at the same time. But when we are dealing with domestic cats, the older cats might feel neglected as if their place has been taken by the new one.

The existing cats treat the newcomer kitten as a stranger or alien outside their usual family. Hating the new cat is natural for them. But this might not be true.

What appears to you as dislike and hate, could be the “fear” of your older cats for the new ones. The cats don’t appreciate changes especially if the change is about their territory and territorial rights. They might get scared of this strange new cat.

This behavior is known as “stranger danger”. If you don’t want your old beloved cat to go through this stranger danger phase, we suggest you follow some tips and old tricks for introducing new cats to old ones. Such as, The towel method, supervised meetings and synchronized play routines are just a few of them.

Does age or gender make a difference?

Domestic cats behave in quite unpredictable ways when new cats or new kittens are brought into the same space. If you are bringing in a new kitten that is younger and belongs to an opposite gender as your previous cat, it will be an ideal matchup.

New kittens are adorable and as well as they make great pets. Since they can adjust with older cats. However, if you are considering bringing in a female cat while you are already housing a female cat, it can go any way.

Either they will pair up or they can become aggressive due to similar instincts. So, age and gender can be a factor which can affect the ways your old and new cats are going to get along.

However male cats have more tolerance and acceptance for other cats as compared to female moody cats who come with extra tantrums.

What are territorial rights?

Cats are social pets by nature and they believe in territories. They are known for establishing their territories. They are known for establishing certain areas as their sleeping, eating, and playing territories.

Cats usually claim their territory by scratching, rubbing to leave marks, or by leaving feces deposits at that place. Pet cats are very much touchy about their territorial rights. If you bring in the new cats or kittens, the older ones will never welcome them to share their sleeping and eating territories.

So, we suggest you initially respect the territorial rights of your older cats while introducing newcomers. Keep them in separate places and supervise their meet and greet session.

This will help them gradually to get along while having a sense of secured territorial rights.

Final Words on Why Your Old Cat May Not Like the New Kitten

This guide is meant to help you understand why your old cat is not showing your new kitten with the love you would expect.

En​ough about why it’s happening, let’s see how to make it better…

How to introduce a kitten to an older cat?

Ok, so you understand why it’s happening, let’s look at some solutions.

This is a process that should be done really slowly and very carefully. There’s no doubt that a cat is a strange creature.

Most of them are usually solitary by nature. Older cats will occasionally accept new kittens right away, however, you’ll need to give them a little time to adjust to the new situation.

Sometimes you can even find they never really took the new kitten in, they may have just learned to coexist.

Usually, when this happens you’ll notice them always keeping away from the new cats in the house. Whatever the case, always try to ensure you maintain the peace, giving them the best chance of being friends. When the new kitten comes home, while still in your arms or carrier, allow for the older cat to sniff the new kitten a little.

Once you’ve done this place the new kitten in its designated area and allow it to explore its new home. Don’t let the older cat have access to the new kitten without supervision.

Keep it this way for about seven days. After the week is done you can start letting them explore the house together. However, all this depends on how their relationship is so far.

Preparing For The New Kitten

If you want your older cat and the new kitten to have a successful introduction the key here will be proper preparation, nothing more nothing less. Preparation simply entails making the new situation seem less drastic.

This will help your older cat adapt to its new roommate much faster. Pheromones are very effective when it comes to calming a cat’s environment. Make use of them a few weeks before the new kitten’s arrival. This will help encourage a peaceful first meeting between the cats.

If you suspect that your older cat might get anxious, stressed, and agitated by the introduction of the new kitten (could it strike out at it? click here), consider introducing your older cat to nutritional supplements designed to calm cats. These will only help keep your older cat relaxed and calm and will not drug it if that’s something you’re worried about.

If you want them to work very well then you might want to give them to your cat a few weeks before the anticipated stressful situation. You can also continue to use them on the older cat even after the new kitten has arrived if necessary.

Make sure you yourself are ready for the new kitten. If you’re unprepared and a little stressed out your older cat may pick up on this and that may impact negatively on the cat.

The new items such as beds, food bowls, kitten food, toys, and other supplies should be bought way in advance to avoid discovering that you’re completely unprepared at the last minute.

This won’t be a good thing for both you and the older cat because it’s most likely going to sense your feelings which, inevitably, negatively affects its thought process as well as general behavior.

Ensure that your older cat is in good health. Things will only get worse when you add stress to a cat that’s already unhealthy. You want your cat to not only be mentally ready but physically ready as well.

Taking your older cat to the vet for a checkup before the new kitten’s arrival is something you really might want to consider. If your older cat is in both a good physical and mental state then you have a high chance of achieving a successful introduction between the two.

Is a Vet Useful in This Scenario?

In case you have an aggressive cat then you’ll definitely need the assistance of a vet. Some may be acting this way because of a medical complication or condition they might be suffering from.

If you notice your cat getting insecure and regularly confused then it might be because your cat is geriatric. Bottom line is, the only way you’ll know for sure if your cat is suffering from any of these conditions is if you consult a vet.

Any one of these complications could have a very negative effect on the introduction between your older cat and the new kitten.

Aggression can be a very dangerous behavioral issue. It can not only be extremely tricky to treat but even harder to diagnose properly as well. Misapplying behavior modification techniques could have detrimental effects on your older cat.

Even those highly experienced veterinary professionals can get it wrong from time to time, especially when it concerns a cat diagnosis. Only qualified professionals will know how to take complete behavior histories, design customized treatment plans for your older cat, and coach you on how to implement the plan effectively.

The Importance of Scent

Cats use scent for communication. If you get your new kitten to smell a little bit like home, this could go a long way in ensuring your new kitten and older cat have a successful introduction.

You can begin this process way before you bring the new kitten into your home by interchanging the beddings of the two cats if you can. Don’t allow yourself to give in to the temptation of allowing them to roam free with each other immediately you’ve ​brought the new kitten home (Click here if it’s not eating properly), especially unsupervised.

This will usually not end well. You have to give your older cat adequate time to get used to the smell of the new kitten if you want him/her to accept their new roommate.

Could a kitten separated from its family too early be aggressive?

Yes. A kitten separated from its family too early is more likely to be aggressive. This is because they learn how to control their biting from their mother and during play with their littermates.

So, when they are separated from them too early this vital lesson is lost. Therefore, they have a higher chance of playing rough.

Obviously, this can be made worse if you encourage the kitten to play with your hands and feet, instead of toys.

Why is it important to play with your cat & kitten equally?

It is important that you play with your kitten and cat equally because they will bond more with you and learn boundaries. This will also help them to get along well.

Also, it’s worth understanding that your cat may be in charge now, but as the kitten grows it could become the stronger aggressor. But, if they bond well, it is more likely they will live well together.

Why is my older cat biting my kitten?

If your older cat is biting your kitten it could just be that it wants to carry or move the kitten. As this is their only way of doing it. However, tomcats could also be doing this as a show of dominance.

Female cats, on the other hand, may use this mainly as a means to carry the kitten around. Although it may seem alarming to see this, for kittens this does not hurt them.

How do you know if your cat likes your kitten?

If your cat likes your kitten it should be quite obvious. Little signs that you can look out for are them grooming each other, having an afternoon nap together, play-fighting (not aggressively), and generally spending time together.

If it’s the opposite, and they are not getting along, then this should also be obvious, look out for negative signs such as hissing, aggressive fighting, etc.

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

You should expect a cat to accept a kitten within 8 – 12 months. For some cats, it’s a lot earlier. However, this does not mean they will not get along before this, it just means it may take this long to form a full bond.

Little things like playing together with them will help them to bond together while making you also strengthen your bond.


All in all, once you notice your cat and kitten appear calm when close to each other, you can start to allow them to hang around each other, however, not in the places where the older cat spends most of its time or deems important.

These are usually the toilet and sleeping areas. Remember that this a process that may take some time so you’ll need to learn to practice patience and take your time because one thing’s for sure, it definitely won’t happen overnight.

Lindsey Browlingdon