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Why Does My Older Cat Keep Biting My Kitten?

If your older cat keeps biting your kitten, you may be wondering why this is happening, and what you can do about it…

Why does my older cat keep biting my kitten?

Your older cat might bite or hiss at your kitten if it is a new addition to the household. This is because cats are naturally protective of their spaces and the people caring for them. They will treat any new pet as an intruder and show aggressive behavior to get rid of them. 

Another reason why your older cat is growling or biting your new kitten is that it wants to protect its personal space and resources such as food and toys from the newcomer. In your cat’s mind, more cats mean increased competition for food, water, space, treats, love and attention.

Does my older cat mean to hurt my kitten?

A cat outdoors growling.

A cat outdoors hissing.

No. Your older cat displays aggression towards the kitten to scare it away from its space as it thinks of it as an intruder. This aggression can take the form of growling, biting, hissing, and pouncing.

If the kitten could get potentially hurt it is important to remove it from the situation.

Give the cats time to get to know each other and introduce them slowly. A big factor that comes into play here is the personality of the cat. If your cat is docile and doesn’t usually show aggressive behavior, it is more likely to accept a new pet.

On the other hand, an energetic and aggressive cat, especially a male, is more likely to act hostile and hurt any new cat or kitten.

Should I prevent my older cat from biting my kitten?

Yes, If your older cat is biting or pouncing at the kitten you must prevent it from doing so or remove the kitten from the situation. Put the two cats in separate spaces and give them time to adjust to each other. Don’t force them to sleep or play together if the older cat is acting hostile.

To help them get familiar with each other, have supervised and limited interactions and immediately step in if the older cat starts acting violently. Although the cats need to get to know each other, you should ensure the kitten isn’t getting hurt.

How do I know if my older cat is playing or fighting with my kitten?

If the kitten shows signs of stress, fear, or pain while interacting with the older cat who is swatting or biting you know that it’s time to step in. Separate the cats and give them some alone time to calm down. Remember, play-fighting is common among dogs and cats but it is different from aggressive behavior.

How can I keep my older cat and kitten happy together?

There are many ways you can keep your older cat and kitten happy together. First, introduce them to each other slowly and let them interact under your supervision. Although things might be rocky at first since your older cat may view the kitten as an intruder or stranger, after some time they will become familiar with each other.

In the beginning, give them separate personal spaces since cats like having their privacy and are more likely to act aggressively if they feel their space is threatened. Give the kitten time to settle in its new home and make sure to shower both cats with love and affection equally so that neither feels neglected.

How do I get my cat to stop biting kitten?

A white kitten staring.

A white kitten staring.

First of all, as soon as your cat starts acting aggressively towards your kitten—biting, scratching, pouncing, kicking, growling—step in to protect the kitten or remove either cat from the situation.

Do not leave them alone together in the beginning, but there is no need to isolate them completely either. Simply give them limited and supervised time to interact with and get to know each other until the older cat stops acting hostile.

Remember, cats are protective of their space so don’t force the two cats to sleep or play together, especially in the beginning.

Will my older cat hurt my new kitten?

Your older cat can hurt your new kitten if it perceives it as an intruder or threat to its privacy or resources such as food, toys, etc. This also depends on the personality of your cat, which you know best, so be prepared for the situation accordingly.

Your cat is more likely to act aggressively and hurt your kitten if it feels that you are giving unequal attention or love to it. To prevent this from happening, divide your attention equally between the cats.

It is also a good idea to introduce the kitten gradually and let the older cat smell its belongings so that it becomes familiar with the kitten’s smell.

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

You’ll know your cat is too rough with the kitten if it starts kicking, biting, scratching it, or physically hurting it in any other way. Rough play is common among cats but no one must be hurt in the process. Separate the cats if they get too aggressive especially since the kitten is weaker and more likely to get hurt.

Should I let my cat and kitten fight?

No. But, if it’s active, consensual play-fighting, it is how cats interact with each other and hone their hunting and social skills but neither cat must get hurt. Kittens are usually more playful and active than older cats and might pounce, scratch, or bite at other cats.

Keeping this knowledge and your older cat’s disposition in mind, supervise the cats’ interaction carefully.

Do older cats get jealous of kittens?

Your older cat can get jealous of your new kitten if it feels you are giving it more attention or if it has to share food, toys, or personal space with it.

Do not make them share food/water bowls, toys, baskets, or cages in the beginning as cats are usually possessive of their belongings. You don’t want the older cat to feel that the newcomer is taking over its house and possessions. Over time, both cats will get accustomed to each other and develop a healthy bond.

Lindsey Browlingdon