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Cats/Introducing kitten to adult cat


Dear Kate,

2 weeks ago we adopted a 11 week old female kitten and have been slowly introducing her to our 2 year old male cat.

We initially kept her in her own room and did a lot of scent swapping.

Eventually when the adult cat seemed more settled we introduced her in her cat box.  After a day he was more relaxed and would go up to the cat box to investigate.  Then we introduced them with myself holding the kitten (the adult cat is very protective of my husband so thought it best he sit with him).  After a few days again he seemed unbothered, coming right up to the kitten to smell her and then eating out of my hand whilst I held her.

Then we slowly started to feed them in the same room, getting the bowls closer.  This worked really well and they both seemed comfortable in each others company.

However, then we introduced them for some 'free mingling' for a few seconds to see what happens (both cats seemed happy with each other before this point).  The older cat just hissed at the younger cat and didnt react well at all.  Then the kitten decided to start chasing the adult cat, which is where is all has went wrong, she has not shown any aggressive but seems to just want to play but she is scaring the adult cat, with him just running away from her looking very scared and hissing now and again.  This now happens every time we introduce them, however not if we put her harness on and control where she goes.

Do you have any advice as to what to do next?  When we go back a stage both seem more than happy with each other providing she is not 'left loose'.  I suspect that we just need more time but I dont want to push it and start the adult cat having negative feelings towards the kitten.

Thanks for your help!


Wow can i just start by saying well done. you have done everything right so far. i wish more cat owners would take this much time and effort in introducing their pets to each other. it would make for many more harmonious homes.

Any way, what is happening is completely normal and natural, the fact that your older cat is ahppy around the kitten when they are controlled suggests that your older cat is fine with her. howver the kitten wants to play which of course is normal and the older cat may not have experienced this before. normally what happens is that cats will hiss etc at each other because they are afraid, this fear should subside after a while as the older cat builds more confidence.

i really wouldn't worry too much this behavior is normal and healthy for cats, its their way of communicating and of sorting out their own place in the cat hierarchy.

keep doing what your doing with increasing periods of introduction and free mingling, they will eventually settle down. It may look alarming to us but hissing etc is all show a lot of the time and it will also help tech the kitten about boundaries etc.

keep doing the good work, I'm sure things will settle down soon


best wishes Kate


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Kate Tilmouth


I can answer most day to day cat problems encountered by owners. I have a good understanding of cat behaviour and problems which may arise from changes to their daily routine. I can advise on cat training including litter training and general day to day cat care issues. I am not a vet and therefore cannot answer medical questions.


I run my own cat website at and have been a dedicated cat owner for over 20 years. I have encountered many different cat problems and situations and feel that i have a good understanding of cats and cat ownership.

I am a platinum member of Ezinearticles where i write mainly cat related articles.

Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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