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Why Is My Cat Meowing At My New Kitten?

If your cat is meowing at your new kitten you may be wondering why it’s happening, and what you can do about it…

Why is my cat meowing at my new kitten?

This is completely normal behavior. Your cat is ‘assessing’ this tiny, new addition to the family and they are also going to be letting the newcomer know exactly who is ‘boss’ in the home. Don’t be surprised if there is also a bit of hissing and the occasional quick, sharp bite.

As long as it’s not breaking the skin, it’s all part of the process.

Your older cat is establishing the house hierarchy and letting the new kitten know about the rules, so as long as a quick, occasional examination of the kitten shows you that the bites aren’t breaking the skin then you should leave them alone – this will sort out quickly and they’ll adjust to each other.

Should I try to prevent my cat from meowing at my new kitten?

A ginger cat meowing.

A ginger cat meowing.

No, you don’t want to intervene unless your cat is becoming openly hostile. Signs of actual hostility will include hissing, screeching, a twitching tail, and the older cat laying its ears back. If you see this, then you will need to separate them and slowly reintroduce them with the kitten safely in a crate.

If you just have a little hissing, swatting, and even the occasional bite that looks scary but isn’t breaking the skin then it’s best to allow it. Your older cat is just ‘laying out the rules’ and should calm down once they’ve familiarized themselves with each other.

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

The surest sign is going to be grooming, which the older cat might even force on the kitten, and despite the kitten’s mewls of protest, this is a very good thing and you don’t want to interfere with it. Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee your older cat will be comfortable with more than simply ‘tolerating’ the kitten, though.

That said, if they aren’t openly hostile, and seem to be spending a lot of time together then this is a very good sign that they are on their way to coexisting peacefully or even possibly becoming friends.

What can I do to help my cat & kitten get along?

The best thing that you can do is to play with both, but give the older cat a little more attention. Make sure that you give out some treats during this process to get your older cat to associate happy memories with you, them, and the new kitten

Once your cat is familiar with the new kitten and doesn’t see them as a challenge to treat or attention to, then you’ll notice a change in their attitude.

How long does it take a cat to get used to a new kitten?

It could be an instant thing, a matter of days, or even a matter of months. There’s not even a guarantee that your older cat will like the new kitten, though they should learn to at least ‘tolerate’ them.

The best thing that you can do is to be patient with the process and ensure that all time together is supervised. During this time, play with both the older cat and the kitten, and make sure that plenty of treats are involved.

Make sure that the older cat has some places they can get away so that they don’t feel ‘forced’ to interact with the kitten, and separate food bowls are also a good idea during this time – the easiest trick is to put your older cat’s food up high where the kitten can’t get it.

After that, be patient – your older cat will come around and with luck, they’ll soon be fast friends.

Will my cat hurt my new kitten?

It is possible, so it’s best to introduce them first for limited sessions with your kitten in the crate so that they can get used to each other’s scents. Watch your older cat’s behavior closely during this time. If you hear hissing or screeching, then keep that kitten in the crate.

Even laid-back ears are a bad sign, so watch for this, too. If you get just an initial hiss or two or a bit of meowing then don’t worry, this is normal. You can try supervised visits without the crate if there is no overt hostility, but you still need to keep a close eye on both of them.

Don’t be surprised during these crate-free sessions if your cat swats the little one or even gives them a quick bite or two. As long they aren’t piercing the flesh, then this is normal – your cat is just asserting dominance.

Once you see your cat grooming the kitten, then you are officially out of the woods, but for the next few weeks and possibly months – depending on your cat’s attitude – you should supervise all of their interactions.

How do you know when two cats are ready to meet?

An adult taabby cat playing with a grey kitten.

An adult tabby cat playing with a grey kitten.

The best way to do this is to swap their bedding first so that your cat and kitten can get each other’s scents before they even meet. Keep your kitten in another room and swap their bedding out for the day and on the next day, introduce them with the kitten in a crate for their safety.

This will let them meet and smell each other’s scents again and if you don’t see any signs of overt hostility, then you can start letting them interact while you supervise.  Play with them both and give your older cat some extra attention and with a little luck, they’ll soon start playing and becoming the best of friends.

Just keep in mind that there are no guarantees – your older cat may, at best, simply tolerate the new kitten. Just be sure to supervise them for all visits until you are sure that things are not going to get hostile.

Should I let my cat hiss at my kitten?

A little hissing is fine and normal, as it’s all part of your older cat’s process of teaching the ‘rules’ to the new kitten. Quick bites are also part of this but don’t worry – check the skin and you should see that it hasn’t been broken. If this is the case, let it happen, as this is normal behavior.

If the older cat is harming the kitten, however, then you will need to separate them and introduce them again slowly, with the kitten in the crate and with you there to ply the older cats with play and treats with the kitten close. This helps your older cat to associate happy times with the new kitten and you.

How do you tell if your cat will accept a kitten?

Acceptance can take weeks or months. If you are lucky, it can even be instantaneous, but more often you will need to supervise all interactions and it’s best if you play with both animals during this time and give out lots of treats so that everyone has a happy time.

Giving extra attention to your older cat will go a long way and during this time, don’t panic if there is a little hissing, swatting, or even some quick nipping-bites from the adult to the kitten. This is all part of establishing dominance and it’s a good thing.

Your cat should eventually accept the kitten, though they aren’t guaranteed to become friends. Just watch both of them until you can tell that they’ve settled into a routine together and as long as there’s no lingering hostility, then the signs are good that they’ve accepted the new kitten.

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

Wrestling is normal, and sometimes it looks rough, but a close examination of the kitten should be able to tell you if it’s TOO rough or potentially dangerous. As long as the skin is not being broken, nor is any fur getting pulled out, then it’s best to leave it alone.

Cats do this to establish dominance and later, when they are used to each other, the older cat will often do this to teach the younger one useful feline skills that they’ll need when they’re older. Just keep a close watch and as long as there is no fur-tearing or bleeding then it should be okay.

Lindsey Browlingdon