How to react towards resident cat smacking kitten


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Young Cat
Oct 1, 2018
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Hi everyone!
Just a quick question-
We just introduced a new kitten to our household. Did it VERY slow over the span of over a month. Our 4 year old (as expected) has acted out, but has shown GREAT progress. She is sassy and territorial.

We are to the point of supervised face to face (we have seen SO much progress in this area) but our 4 year old is still smacking the kitten whenever she comes too close to her. No claws, but heavy bops to the head. She has very furry paws, so I suspect I think its worse than it really is , but it makes me feel horrible.

I know it is important to let them form their own hierarchy, and my kitten does not seem too bothered. At the time she will show signs of submission, and run away, but then she is totally fine and will go back to playing and is not afraid of our cat.

How should I be reacting to this? I am NOT yelling at my 4 year old, and we have been giving her lots of treats when she is showing calmness.


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Alpha Cat
May 23, 2018
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I would just ignore it. Keep praising her when she is being peaceful with the kitten. Play with her together with the kitten ect. I think you have the right idea already. Its natural to feel bad for the little guy getting put down but it will lead to harmony in the long run for him to learn his place

Caspers Human

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Super Cat
Feb 23, 2016
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It depends on what you mean by "smack."

Cats often swat, smack, swipe or bop each other with their paws. That's normal cat communication, even between longtime friends.
If one cat comes too close for comfort or does something that the other doesn't like... Swat!
Cats can't talk so that's one of the ways they communicate.

However, if cats use their claws, bite or grapple in a way that's more than just "rassling" that's a reason to step in.

It doesn't sound like your cats are fighting. It sounds like they are still working out their boundaries and setting rules between them.

Best to leave them to their own devices and let them negotiate their relationship. If you step in too soon, they won't be able to negotiate and it will take longer for them to learn to be friends.

Bottom line: It's "cat politics." It's all good! :)


Top Cat
Feb 20, 2011
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If it doesn’t bother the kitten the. I wouldn’t be concerned. It’s a “keep your distance, I don’t like you yet” kind of gesture and it is much better that they work it out now than when the kitten is full grown. Totally ignore the behavior and hopefully in a few months your older cat will come around.