Until July last year we had two female cats, both around nine years old and both brought up together from kittens (neither have had kittens and both were "doctored and chipped" many years ago).

In July 2015 we got two "farm" kittens (a boy and girl) and duly seperated the older cats from the new arrivals as per quarantine suggestions. After a few weeks we began to introduce them. One of the older cats hissed a bit and gave out the occasional slap if the kittens got a bit close but is now fully integrated with the youngsters and we are delighted.

The other older female cat is a totally different story. It's impossible to have the "problem" older cat in the same room because blood will be spilled and tonight for instance, the blood spilled was from my hand when the two "warring" parties inadvertently "got together". I had to grab the older cat by the scruff of the neck because she was attacking the younger female. It's been like this for months and we don't know what to do.

In the last couple of months we have bought baby-gates to block off doors and have the older cat in the kitchen while the youngsters (now also doctored) have been in the adjoining room. The older cat howls and fights the "gate" the instant she sees the youngsters. She paces up and down and will try to be vicious through the gate if one of the youngsters walks by. The howl is a little blood curdling - talk about chalk and cheese.

Tonight, the problem older cat forced her way through the baby-gate (god knows how) and attacked the female youngster. In her credit, the female youngster is standing up to her but I had to push my hand in to break up the fight and basically, we are at our wits end and don't know what to do.

Over the last three months the problem older cat has "broken" her way into the vicinity of the youngsters and, quite literally, fur has flown. Tonight my finger was cut and the younger female cats stitches (due to her being spayed) have opened up a bit. On a previous occasion the older cat and the female youngster chased up to the top of a cat scratch post and both fell 4 foot to the floor whilst still locked in combat - it's as if the older cat just does not care.

A bit more about the older cat - she isn't what you would call normal - she is extremely territorial - if another cat steps on the drive she's flying at them like a maniac. I've seen her take on large tom cats who have strayed onto her patch (she is quite slight herself) and really got involved at the sharp-end. It's as if she possesses no fear and she comes back inside with the wounds but, would do it again 5 minutes later. She is both awesome and terrible.

The problem older cat is weird in other ways. Although she lived in the same household from a kitten, at that time a lodger adopted her but he had a tendency to keep her in his room and, when he left (about 4 years ago) she just didn't seem like a normal cat - I'm sorry I can't be specific about this but I'm no psychologist!

Anyway, we don't know what to do about this and would welcome any pertinent advice.

  • Some cats will not accept other cats no matter what, they are the alpha and thats the end of it. They accept the ones that they grew up with but strangers will have to get out of the way. This is not an answer but an observation that i have seen many times already amongst cats; both indoor and outdoor. You know those "funny" videos where a cat chases a massive dog away? if you think your older cat could do that, you have a serious problem with the younger cats; best chance, keep them separated until she ignores them (she will never accept them) How do the younger ones react?
    – Vahx
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 0:15
  • @Vahx thanks for your comments. The younger ones react to the problem older cat in two ways. When they are segregated from each other by the baby gate they go up to the gate but don't get close enough that the older one can "strike" out and touch them. They are inquisitive about her but if the older cat breaks through (as per the other night) they scatter rapidly. The older cat is getting calmer (a very slow process) from behind the baby gate. I've noticed that over the weeks we've been doing it but she's still "mental" if she breaks through because she loves a chase.
    – Andy aka
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 11:40
  • The younger female cat is a lot braver than the young male cat and sometimes she will get quite close and strike back at the older cat's paws - a kind of mini exchange of punches. That gives me some hope that there eventually will be a stand-off type "cold-war" that may get better. The older female cat does tend (it seems) to target the young female cat but that may be because she's braver than the young male cat.
    – Andy aka
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 11:44
  • The young female is provoking her; perhaps not intentionally as younger cats still like to play, but the older one does see it as provoking. Its very hard to react to this as a human, cant train them like dogs. punishing the younger one for provoking could lead to the older one become even more dominant and aggressive; punishing the older one for being aggressive could lead to the younger one trying to become the more dominant one of the group. normally, one of the 2 would have been chased off if this was outside.
    – Vahx
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 11:59
  • Perhaps you could put a piece of cardboard on the baby gate so that they lose visual contact if they provoke eachother; this way, no one is punished. chances are though that the younger female will calm down once she has been beaten a few times; be ware though that cats will group up against another cat in order to defend eachother (normally a stronger will protect a weaker) aka if the older female starts to attack the younger male; the younger female might intervene and it'll be a 2 on 1 stand off (AGAIN THESE ARE OBSERVATIONS FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCES)
    – Vahx
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 12:02

3 Answers 3


My female cat is not as aggressive as yours but is very territorial too. Since having her we've successfully introduced into the household a male cat and a male dog. She was 6 and 8 years old respectively. She used to attack both of them at the beginning, but since they were not very "brave" they would keep to themselves at the ground floor and she would spend most of her time upstairs, so that helped a lot with the transition. During the first months of both the new cat and the new dog, however, if they crossed paths she would definitely attack them. So here's what worked for us:

  • Give the older her favourite place in the house and don't let the new cats get in there.
  • Don't let the newcomers provoke the older cat, tell them no when they do it, show them that they have to go away from her. If they get close, pick them and move them away. Maybe even use a water bottle?
  • Also, when bad things happen, show the older cat that you are not happy with her behaviour.
  • Always feed the older cat first.
  • Does the older cat sleep in your room/bed? If so do not let the youngsters in, this is her special time and place.

I know you've been doing some variation of most of it, but keep at it. I don't know if this will make you happy or sad, but only after 2 years in each instance I'm confident that she will not randomly slap them if they get too close. Older cats tend to adapt very slowly to new situations, is just the way it is unfortunately. Good luck!

  • Remember that a slap is just that, a slap, not a fight. "Go away, kid, I'm not in the mood to be social." They won't do damage unless they really mean to; the posturing and threatening is just part of how they negotiate who gets the sunniest spot and so on. "Use you words", alas, doesn't work that well for them.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 17:08
  • Really good to hear this @EliBud and thanks for the answer and we're considering allowing the younder cats outside (downstairs) access and keeping the one older cat upstairs (big lounge and office area that she liked/lived-in (prior to "installing" the new kittens) because she hardly ever goes out now) - that sees us thru the next phase of the kitten upbringing. I have been using a water pistol on the older cat but she got into such a frenzy that she was oblivious to it despite getting soaked but, I'll also try it on the female kitten to keep her from antagonizing the older one.
    – Andy aka
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 23:59

Are all your cats sterilized? Sometimes hormones that are produced by ovariums, make animals to behave in strange way. I am not a vet, but I have read about such situations. After operations cats (and dogs) usually become calmer and kinder.

Of course, your older cat protects her territory. Maybe some jealousy adds. So try to talk to a vet about sterilization, and ask for advice about some pills that would help her to become a little bit calmer. I usually use catmint when want to introduce 2 cats to each other. Cats like its smell, they even sometimes leak it :) And don't pay attention on something else. I guess, there are some sprays with catmint for comfort use.

And don't forget to "love" your old one. She is in stress, a stranger appeared in her house, maybe she is afraid, that you don't love her anymore. Give her good and tasty food, talk to her, pet her. She must feel your love. She won't get changed shortly, she needs time.

Find videos made by Jackson Galaxy, he is famous "cats whisperer". He gives advices how pets and their owbers can overcome some difficulties. He really knows cats. Maybe you'll find something useful for you.

  • btw You can also use special covers for claws to protect yourself and other animals. And don't let her to out, if she fights with every one she sees, it's dangerous for her.
    – Dude
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 10:12

You could try getting a prescription for kitty valium from a vet. It can take a lot of the starch out of these things.

  • I'll look into that but I'm wondering if this will calm the older cat sufficiently for her to "acquire" better learnt behavior without her becoming a junkie over the period it takes for her to "mend her ways".
    – Andy aka
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 8:22
  • I have used this for some pretty serious issues on several cats and have not found any "withdrawal" issues or even lethargy from the cat under treatment. One of the cats doing it now even jumps for wand toy action just like normal.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 0:22

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