The 8 Best Ways to Stop a Kitten Bullying an Older Cat

Some ways to help a cat and kitten get along include:

  1. The use of pheromones
  2. Site swapping where they explore each other’s terribor
  3. Slow introduction
  4. Positive interactions
  5. Kitten toys,so the kitten does not get bored
  6. Allow a hierarchy
  7. Use separate litter boxes so they are not fighting for resources
  8. Cat behaviorist

It was supposed to be a perfect situation. If you thought that a new kitten would have a positive impact on your household, you’re not alone. After all, there are many reasons to believe that a new feline friend could provide hours of entertainment and affection for your adult cat, you’re not allowed.

However, if you feel as if this plan has completely backfired, you’re also not alone.

There can be many reasons why your new young kitten appears to be bullying your older cat — and just as many things that you could do to alleviate the situation.

In this article, I explain how you can get your adult cat and new kitten on the same level by implementing simple changes into your cats’ lives.

Here is an overview of our favorite ways to put an end to kitty on older cat aggression. We know that your absolute last option is rehoming your pet — and the good news is that there are several steps you can take before it gets to this point.

While some changes are small and some are large, they are all feasible changes to make using just a bit of creativity and a lot of love for your cat.


1. Pheromones

If your older cat feels more at peace in their environment, they may be less reactive when it comes to your younger cat feeling a bit mischievous.

You may be familiar with pheromones through cat diffusers, which have become a tool much beloved by pet owners. Cats have a variety of non-verbal ways to communicate, and one of these ways is through scent, pheromones being one of them.

Fun fact: if you have spotted your cat rubbing its face around your house or rolling in strange places, they may have been distributing pheromones. Certain types of pheromones can result in a calm and comforting feeling for your cat.

If you have a cat that is prone to stress or anxiety, you may benefit from placing a pheromone dispenser or multiple pheromone dispensers in your house.


2. Site Swapping

Have you ever heard of site swapping? While this is understandably not a very feasible idea for those living in studio apartments, it can be a lifesaver for those who are lucky enough to possess one or more rooms.

In fact, the good old site swapping technique is a favorite of famous cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy. This theory relies on your cats, each having their own “base camp,” where they are fed and use the litter box.

As the name would imply, this technique relies on allowing both of your cats to take turns exploring one another’s territory.

Usually, one cat has a larger part of the house than the other, so site-swapping also gives each cat a chance to explore a larger area without one cat hogging the space.


3. Slowly Re Introduce Them

If you find that your older cat and your kitten got off on the wrong foot, it may be worthwhile to take it back to the beginning and reintroduce the two cats. However, this time, do it differently.

It may be tempting to bring your new, cute kitten into a room with your older cat right away. After all, it’s easy to get sucked into this idea of an adorable greeting that will result in head bumps and immediate friendship.

However, cats are not puppets and cannot read from a script. Chances are their territorial instincts may take over.

Instead, allow your cats to discover one another gradually. If you begin by letting your cats smell something with the other cat’s scent on it, such as a blanket or toy, this can go a long way. Another option is to allow your cat to sniff another through a door. If these small exercises yield positive results, you can feel more confident moving forward.


4. Encourage Positive Reactions

Imagine this — you are experiencing your first interaction with a new individual, and they do nothing but spit insults to you about you and your family? Chances are you would not want to continue exploring an acquaintance with one another. With cats, it’s not much different.

Cats can communicate with one another through a variety of ways, from hissing to purring to an array of postures.

At any given time, they are passing messages back and forth between one another that humans cannot even begin to understand. And given cat’s territorial and skittish nature, the chances are that many of these communications are not necessarily friendly.

In order to give your cats an opportunity to foster positive interactions with one another, try giving each cat treats when they are nearby something with the other cat’s scent on it. You can also feed each cat on opposite sides of a door.


5. Ensure That Your Kitten Has Ample Toys

There is one reason why your newest family may be bullying your cat — and it may seem too simple to be true. However, trust me when I say that this one is truly impactful.

Kittens are by nature, extremely playful creatures. Even at a young age, a cat’s prey drive is in full force, and that small toy mouse can sure look enticing. In order to ensure that your kitten has an environment that is stimulating, challenging, and fun, you should make sure that your it is provided with a revolving door of toys.

After all, if your kitten does not have anything keeping them occupied, they may turn their attention to your older cat. And many cats, especially senior cats, are not keen on being a baby kitten’s chew toy.

Give your kitten no reason to pick on your older cat by keeping them fascinated with other means.


6. Allow for a Hierarchy to Form

Many humans prefer an egalitarian approach to life, and it’s understandable why. Unnecessary hierarchical structures can lead to resentment and disagreement. However, cats aren’t humans, and cats benefit from a natural ladder of who’s most important.

In the wild, it is said that cat families naturally form a hierarchy of some sort. The reasons behind this are not completely understood, but who ends up on top can depend a lot on a cat’s individual personality (i.e., the more outgoing or confident cat may have an easier time reaching the top).

Some of the perks that a cat at the top of the pack benefits from are early access to the largest meals, and even access to the house’s best sunbathing spots.

Your adult cat has been around a lot longer than your kitten, and if they see themselves at the head honcho, let them. Your older cat may feel more comfortable this way.


7. Use Separate Litter Trays so They Are Not Fighting Over Them

The kitten might be bullying the older cat because it is fighting for resources. The most common of these is the litter tray.

The usual advice is that if there are two cats, have three separate litter trays. If there are three cats, have four litter trays, and so on.

Have them quite a long way away from each other, so each cat has their own space to pee and poop.

It may be more complicated than it appears. Cats are territorial, and so the older cat may not like that the kitten has come, and is now taking territory and resources that were previously its own. The older cat reacting to the kitten about this could be making things worse.

Also, look out for other resources the kitten may be wanting from the older cat. You may need to buy more to make sure there are enough, plus spare things as well, so the kitten never has to fight for something.

This includes playtime, attention, and so on.


8. Consider the Use of a Cat Behaviorist

cat psychology metaphor

If, despite your best efforts, your adult cat is still being bullied by the kitten,, it’s okay to feel defeated. Luckily, there are people that can help you.

One of these people is a cat behaviorist. It may seem like an unusual title, but the job is real — and legitimate, too.

A cat behaviorist is an experienced professional who works with cats and their owners to eliminate stressors and improve the quality of life for both parties. While some cat behaviorists are veterinarians, some have a background in biology or neurology, and some are certified.

A cat behaviorist will visit you and your cat in your home to identify potential problems in your environment.

A cat behaviorist can provide a new set of (educated) eyes to offer feedback and solutions to help you and your cats live together with harmony. The cat behaviorist will also follow-up with you to track the effectiveness of their suggestions.

We hope that these solutions will help you and your cats live peaceful lives as a big happy family. It can be a hard word, but the end result is very rewarding.


Writer: Rachel Cribby

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