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We have four cats: an older lady (14), a slightly younger male (10), and two siblings (1) - one male, and one now heavily pregnant female. Apart from the pregnant cat, the others have been neutered. They all get on pretty well, and will happily sit together, and sometimes play or cuddle together.

Do we need to keep the older cats apart from the kittens when they are born, or is it better to introduce them as soon as possible? Is there any behaviour that we should be looking out for which would indicate a potential problem?

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    I will refrain from answering this question, but normally it is good practice to separate the litter from the adults. It is absolutely essential if there are unneutered males around, but I don't know how essential it is in your case.
    – C.Koca
    Apr 1 at 7:45
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    As it happened, she decided to give birth in the middle of our living room so we couldn't separate her from the other cats. The younger male was curious (we kept him away) but the others ignored her. After the kittens were born we moved them into our office where we could separate her from the other cats. Later, we gave them a managed introduction today and there didn't seem any hostility, so we will continue to give them limited contact for a while and see how it goes. Apr 19 at 11:26

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I didn't get any answers so I thought I would post our experiences as they may be useful to others. I emphasise this is just anecdotal from our particular experience. Also, please remember this only applies to households where all other cats are neutered, intact tom cats are well known to be a potential danger to kittens.


As it happened, our pregnant female decided the place she wanted to give birth was on my wife's lap. We moved her into a nesting box when she started, but since this was in the middle of the living room it wasn't possible to keep the other cats out. The younger male (her brother) was interested but we kept him away the others ignored her. Four healthy kittens emerged over the next few hours.

We then moved her and the kittens into my office and shut the door to keep the other cats out overnight. The next day, we kept the other cats out, but the day after we gave them careful, monitored introductions. The other cats were curious, but not hostile, and the mother cat was friendly towards them although she'd politely escort them out if they approached the kittens when she wasn't with them.

Since I work from home, I could monitor them during the day and we left the door open and only shut them in/the other cats out overnight. The mother cat seems much happier when she is not confined, so we've been trying to keep the door open as much as possible during the day. As far as I can tell, there has been no hostility from the other cats towards the kittens and since the mother cat isn't worried I don't think we need to be.

We will continue to keep an eye on things as the kittens grow and for now (they are a week old today) we will keep the door shut overnight.


Since the kittens are 8 weeks old today I thought I'd update: we've had no problems at all. The other young cat (their uncle) plays with the kittens quite often now and is normally appropriately rough with them, occasionally he's a little too rough eliciting a yelp from the kitten but he's never done them any harm. The older cats largely ignore the kittens, although they chase Maggie from time to time.

Keeping the cats having access through the house has also avoided any conflict between the cats beginning, although the older cats have been displaced from their usual spots a bit by the kittens they don't show significant signs of distress and we've had no behavioural problems from the other cats.

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