Can Cats and Kittens Get Along?

Get tips on how to introduce young kittens to older cats and how to help both cats get along.

By Marilyn Krieger, CCBC

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Kitten and Older Cat
Kittens and cats can get along with a few guiding principals, but a bond might be better between cats of the same age.
Q: I am thinking about getting a new kitten. I already have one male cat who is approximately 6 years old. Would he react badly if I got a female 2- to 3-month-old kitten?

A: Consider a few factors before adopting a cat or kitten to keep your adult cat company: the age, the personalities and the histories of both your resident cat and the newcomer.

I usually do not recommend pairing a kitten with an adult cat, although there are always exceptions. The age discrepancy between your adult cat and a kitten can be a challenge. Your 6-year-old resident cat is not as active as a kitten. Kittens, by definition, play incessantly, whereas adult cats prefer napping in between moderate to small amount of playtime.

Your resident cat might enjoy and bond with a new cat. If your resident cat has a history of successfully living with other cats, then he will probably do fine with a new friend, as long as you introduce your cats gradually to each other. Every cat is different. Some would rather remain the King and Queen of their households and are not willing to share their people and their territory with other cats.

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Reader Comments

Claire    International

3/11/2015 12:47:37 AM

We introduced a Tonkinese kitten to our 18 year old Burmese boy. We didn't do the protracted introductions, we let them see each other (in a place where they could both escape to if they felt threatened), we kept them apart if we weren't around. The hissing stopped after a few days, the older cat took about 6 weeks to get totally used to the kitten. They started curling up and sleeping together at about 8-10 weeks, she has given him a new lease on life, although sometimes she irritates him but he puts her in her place and she gets the hint. We still keep them separated at night (only because we want the older cat to have a period of total peace). They both lick each other and get along really well. Just thought I'd share as I was worried about getting a kitten, I will add however that our older cat is a gentle, calm and laid-back soul, so this may have something to do with it.

Doug    Nj, NJ

12/26/2014 3:12:31 PM

My cat was 14 years old when we brought home our new 1 year old. At first it wasn't easy. Now they're best friends and my older cat is constantly cleaning the younger one.

donna    tenino, WA

10/12/2014 5:13:17 AM

I have two cats they are brothers but one is being mean to the other one.can you tell me why.

steven    Gatesville, TX

9/25/2014 11:32:27 AM

Hello
I have a question. I have 3 kittens I rescued all from same litter. They are about 10 to 12 weeks old. Very hyper and playful kittens who are now well feed and taken care of. My question is I just adopted a female adult cat. She is very shy and mellow. My kittens hate her. They attempt to attack her and us ally poop all over the place when they see her. What can I do to help the kittens become friendly with new cat?

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