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Can An Older Kitten Adopt Young Kitten?

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by AnimalCareTaker, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. AnimalCareTaker

    AnimalCareTaker Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Jul 16, 2018
    Hi, I introduced a 3 week old kitten to a 6 month old kitten, both female. The older kitten was whining to see the little kitten so much that I let her see it, she then proceeded to get closer to it and then they both started to play, but eventually the little kitten wanted to sleep, the older kitten didn't really know what to do, she licked it some but didn't seem like she wanted to cuddle with the little kitten. Anyways, I was wondering if the older kitten could adopt the little kitten to be her mother? I'll obviously keep feeding the kitten with formula since milk won't come out of the older kittens nipples, but could she in a way, take care of her, to be her "mother"? If so, what signs should I look for?
    FeebysOwner purraised this.

  2. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

    Oct 16, 2015
    Havelock, North Carolina
    She certainly could, if her own nurturing instinct is strong. If nothing else, the little one will benefit from her company. The signs to look for are nestling, grooming, possibly allowing nursing, and nurturing from the older kitten. Is the older girl spayed yet? If not, and IF she allows the little one to suckle, she may actually start to lactate...actually, she could lactate with contant nursing even if spayed. One of our members had a very young kitten that was adopted by his spayed labrador retriever, who began to produce milk for him.
    ArchyCat and FeebysOwner purraised this.

  3. AnimalCareTaker

    AnimalCareTaker Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Jul 16, 2018
    Hi, um no, she is not spayed. Thanks for the answers! Btw she never had any babies, does that change anything?

  4. AnimalCareTaker

    AnimalCareTaker Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Jul 16, 2018
    Well, the older kitten is nice and all but, she plays too rough and sometimes makes the kitten squeak. When should I step in and seperate them?

  5. Notacrazycatlady

    Notacrazycatlady TCS Member Adult Cat

    Aug 26, 2018
    Only if the older kitten's ears are laid back and blood is being drawn. I have a 1 year old and a 5 month old--when Leo first came in he was barely 3 months and Angus was nearly ten months. Angus was a good 9 lbs where Leo was not even 5 pounds at first. Angus immediately started grooming and playing with Leo. They wrestle around, growling and chasing, but I've seen Angus deliberately hold back with Leo. He could seriously hurt Leo if he wanted but he never has. He'll taunt Leo with his tail, trying to get Leo to attack and he'll let Leo jump him in ambushes and then take off running. He'll also ambush Leo and wrestle with him except he pauses to groom the areas he was just biting. It's adorable.

  6. Pucks104

    Pucks104 My boys! Alpha Cat

    Mar 11, 2018
    North Carolina
    Our Louie plays with Newman the same way. It looks rough sometimes but Louie never really hurts Newman and Newman always comes back for more.
    Notacrazycatlady purraised this.

  7. danteshuman

    danteshuman TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 27, 2017
    Let me tell you how my 3 different cats handled 10 day old kittens:

    1) Merlin become their Daddy. He let one nurse off of him, groomed them, slept with them, played some, taught them to hunt and was always guarding them.

    2) Quassi became the 'Godfather" to one of the kittens. Bopping her on the head and wouldn't let her close until she was 4 months old. Then he let her approach .... respectfully. It looked like he took her under his wing and taught her all of his secrets. He was the top cat. When he passed she became the top cat.

    3) Lincoln accepted them but basically ignored them.

    It sounds like she has decided to let the kitten be her little buddy. More like the godfather relationship. Your kitten will still benefit greatly from this. She will be taught how to be a cat and you can be her new mom. Plus your older cat will teach her new place (under the reining top cat) which will help bring peace in your house long term. I would go ahead and spay your older cat ASAP. I know of many places that will do cheap 40$ spay/neuters. So just google spay & neuter plus your city/state to see what is available in your area. Take tons of pictures, they grow up fast!

  8. talkingpeanut

    talkingpeanut TCS Member Top Cat

    Oct 12, 2015
    It's definitely time to fix your older kitten. She will start to get hormonal and it won't be pleasant for you or the other cats. Do you need help finding a low cost spay/neuter clinic in your area?
    Elphaba09 purraised this.

  9. AnimalCareTaker

    AnimalCareTaker Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Jul 16, 2018
    Nah I won't have any problems spaying her, but what do you mean "ears laid back"? as is pointing backwards?

  10. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

    Oct 16, 2015
    Havelock, North Carolina
    LOL, @NotSoCrazyCatLady said it best! I can't do better. And your little one will learn how to "cat" from your older one! That is invaluable.

    THIS is ears laid back...


  11. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ TCS Member Top Cat

    Jun 1, 2017
    The easiest way to tell if its a problem is if the kitten avoids the older kitten. If the kitten *only* runs and hides when play gets excessive and comes back to the older kitten soon after, then everything is fine. Its just a big bro/little bro situation...big bro gets a little carried away and makes the little bro cry out, but isn't going to actually hurt the little one, and little bro still wants to play more in 5 min.
    Mamanyt1953 purraised this.

  12. Elphaba09

    Elphaba09 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Sep 6, 2018
    NE Ohio
    As others have said, an older cat can certainly adopt a younger cat. When I was staying with my friend, she acquired three kittens who were 7 weeks old. In the end, I kept two (Fennimore and Willow) and she kept one (Pip). The reason she kept the one is that her 9-year-old female cat had taken such a liking to that kitten that we did not want to separate them. That was almost five years ago and they are still inseparable.

    As for the playing, it can often seem rough, but, as @NotSoCrazyCatLady stated, unless there is blood and the kitten seems scared, the rough play is likely fine.

    We recently acquired cat number nine who we named Silas. He was newly 5-week-old when we got him. When he was given the okay by the vet (he was rather sick upon his arrival), he was out running with the other cats. He was barely over a pound at the time, but he initiated rough play with all but two of the other cats. The one cat (Fennimore) is 18 pounds. It was hilarious to watch Silas jump on Fennimore, who is the most laid back cat. Astrid, Freya, and Willow play pretty rough with Silas. If I think it is getting too rough, I say their names and click my fingers. They stop for a moment. lick each other, and then start up again.

    We look at it as the older cats teaching Silas to appropriately play without crossing over into inappropriate aggression.

    This might be helpful: Are Your Cats Playing Or Fighting? — Chewy
    Mamanyt1953 purraised this.

  13. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

    Jul 28, 2018
    When they are playing and the kitten squeaks he's saying "Stop, that hurt." Which can also mean 'I sort of thought it might hurt.' At that point the other cat stops, pulls back and all is good. You may not be able to see the pull back, the distances are small, but that the kitten doesn't squeak again means the other cat listened to him.

    It's similar to kids playing, and one screams but isn't hurt.

    There will be times when your older cat will pin the kitten and the kitten will scream. Don't stick your hand between them. Call to the older cat. Almost always the older cat is teaching maners and the kitten will be fine, if annoyed he couldn't do what he wanted. (which 9 times out of 10 is bite the ever living... er... bite the other cat.)

    You really want the older cat to teach him not to bite. Kittens bite hard because they don't realize it hurts. Once they learn that they don't run around biting everyone, including you.
    Mamanyt1953 purraised this.

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