We currently have two cats; one less than a year old and another around 6.

Our adult cat simply wishes to be left alone, but our kitten wants to play with anything and everything all the time, including the older cat. Multiple times a day, I hear a "mrowgrrrrrmeow hissssssssssss" as the kitten pounces on our poor older cat, who bats at the kitten before finding a new place to lounge. They are not hostile to each other at all outside of this, and they get along perfectly fine outside of the times the kitten decides she wants to play with the adult cat.

We eased them into the relationship with each other as recommended in this question, and they do just fine 99% of the time. I understand the behaviors of both cats are 100% natural and justified as well.

Is there anything I can do to discourage the pestering of the older cat?

Would punishing the kitten for aggravating the adult cat be a viable option to condition her into not doing it?

  • I am suffering from the same situation. I have a 4 yr old female cat, and a 3 month old male kitten. What I have discovered is my female older cat likes to play solo, and he of course wants to play with everyone & everything. I have a cat tree, but he just finds her and jumps on her, he is starting to stalk her. She likes/tolerates him until he tries to play with her. He is a very aggressive player, so I try to divert him from her by engaging in play with him until I tire him out, I often get tired out by it as well, but cannot think of anything else to do.
    – user2731
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 3:29

2 Answers 2


The solution has two parts. First, tire out the kitten so she's less likely to view the adult cat as a plaything. Wand toys like Da Bird are pretty effective for most cats (though I have one who prefers snake toys, so we have a wand toy with a feather boa instead of a "bird" attached for him).

Second, make sure that the older cat has enough pathways to escape the younger cat's advances without getting cornered. You want to make sure that there aren't any "dead ends" in your house, and where there are dead ends, generally add vertical shelving/trees to enable the older cat to escape UP and continue getting away instead of having to face the younger cat. In a similar situation we've also belled our youngest so that the older cats can easily find him. For more information on building cat highways through your house, check out Jackson Galaxy's Catification pages. Jackson Galaxy also has a great show on Animal Planet (and Netflix), My Cat from Hell, that may be able to help.

Good luck!


I would say that in this case, letting the cats sort it out for themselves is your best bet since it doesn't seem that there is any physical harm being done. The older cat will let the kitten know that he/she is not in the mood to play, and eventually the kitten will realize that.

However, giving the older cat a place to retreat to would help, somewhere that the kitten cannot get to, like a high up perch.

I would not recommend punishing the kitten for playing as it will get mixed signals and possibly become hostile or have other behavioral issues. The older cat will use cat discipline that the kitten will understand.

  • A high perch is definitely an advantage. If nothing else, my older cat will sit on the ottoman in the center of a room since it's the highest point around. More defensible. I take the same approach and let the older one swat at the younger one, other than roughousing, they get along great.
    – Coronus
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 21:17
  • 3
    Another thing to remember is that "this too shall pass". Once kittenhood is past, the energy levels of the two cats will be much better matched.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 18:05
  • 1
    @Oldcat my youngest is 4 and still pesters the older cats into hissing and yowling if we don't play with him enough. This situation may not resolve itself once the kitten reaches adulthood.
    – Zaralynda
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 16:30

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