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My adult cat is 4 years old. My kitten is 4 months old. They are both female. The adult is spayed and the kitten is not (but will be soon). They have been living together for 2 months now, and were starting to get along, but the kitten won't leave the cat alone.

The cat, who is wonderful and playful, has lost all her usual temperament.

She swipes at me when I try to pet her, only stays in the house to eat, and then has recently been trying to re-home herself with our neighbors (who we do not know, so that's fun). She was just gone for 3 days til we found her on a neighborhood ad.

The kitten is sweet but definitely a kitten. She won't give anyone space. She plays with everyone all the time and meows constantly every time she is in a room by herself. And if the kitten finds us, she sits on/with us, thus eliminating our one-on-one time with the cat. The cat will no longer relax in a room when the kitten is there, thus producing an endless cycle.

I have demonstrated to the kitten that she should back off and shown the cat attention, but it's not really enough if I'm away at work most of the day.

I don't know how long to wait this out or if I should rehome the kitten, which I would really rather not do, especially since they had started bonding before.

Haaalp!

  • How much time are you dedicating to playing with the kitten? They have a lot of energy, which is why it's often recommended to adopt them in pairs. – Allison C Apr 11 at 13:43
  • I play with her whenever I'm home but my husband and I keep opposite hours so I'm the only person around the house when I'm home. Maybe I should get her more interactive toys to make sure she gets enough mental/physical stimulation and gives the other cat space. – Francesca Apr 11 at 16:13
  • You need to wait until the kitten grows older. 4 month old cat can already by spayed, and it has no female cat odor. It will happen first some months later. Anyways, females don't dislike each other like the males. Only the odor of the adult, male cats is a horrible, disgusting things for the other cats (except females in heat, they find it attractive). A female kitten is not. – Gray Sheep Apr 12 at 1:41
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Kittens are, as I'm sure you've noticed, very high energy animals. They're also still learning how to hunt, chase, and wrestle with prey, much of which they tend to learn from other cats, but that doesn't mean you can't redirect some of that play-fighting energy elsewhere. Conversely, adult cats, while still sometimes playful, will tend to be lower energy in general.

To help redirect the kitten's energy away from the older cat when she's tired of it, you'll need something on which to direct it. You mentioned in a comment that you play with her when you're home; if your husband isn't doing the same, that will also help by giving her a third playmate. Interactive toys and more direct "wrestling" are both good options to get her worn down; direct play with you will have a similar advantage to direct play with other cats, by teaching her more control with her claws and teeth.

You'll also want to make sure she has sufficient toys available, and that they're of a type she likes. Every cat has their own preferences, so if you haven't done so already, get a variety pack of toys and see which ones she goes for the most often, then get her more toys of that type. If you have furniture under which toys can disappear, clean them out more frequently or consider options for stopping toys from going underneath in the first place, to help ensure she always has a wide selection of toys.

You also want to make sure the older cat has sanctuary locations where she can do her best to disengage from the kitten. Cat towers or higher locations are good for this, as kittens are often still learning how high they can jump and may have a hard time reaching the same locations the older cat is able to access. This will allow the cat sufficient time away from the kitten regardless of the kitten's interests; the kitten will likely lose interest in playing with the cat shortly after the cat leaves, and should redirect her energy toward her toys.

If possible, the ideal solution for the kitten is actually a second kitten, but this isn't always ideal for the humans involved. Many organizations recommend adopting two kittens at once (and some will even offer a discount on the combined adoption fee to encourage it) because it gives them another animal with similar energy levels onto which they can direct their own play energy. Without the second kitten, ensuring there are as many alternate outlets for that energy as possible is the best way to help keep the peace.

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