Mother cat aggressive toward older kitten

pip123

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 6, 2021
Messages
3
Purraise
6
About two weeks ago we adopted a mother cat, who is roughly 2, and her son, who is roughly 1. They are rescues and are both fixed. Both cats are extremely friendly, love to be pet, and have never shown any aggression towards us. Additionally, they initially appeared to be on good terms with each other. They slept together, ate together, etc.

A few days after they were adopted, we began to notice that the mother would occasionally get aggressive with the kitten. This would usually take the form of a hiss and a single swipe, after which the kitten would usually run away. Most of the time they're fine, and they still sleep most of the day together, but occasionally when they get close the mother will swat at him. It most frequently seems to happen when they are both coming over for attention, pets, treats, play.

From what I've read, it's normal for mother cats to attempt to drive off their kittens at a certain age. Naturally, I would like this relationship to improve and not deteriorate further. I have been trying to redirect their movements when they come over for attention to keep them out of each others' paths, but am not successful 100% of the time.

Does anyone have any tips or advice? I was thinking about trying a pheromone diffuser next.
 

vince

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Messages
1,672
Purraise
2,646
Location
metro Detroit
Is he still trying to nurse? That might be why she's occasionally swatting him. Overall, it doesn't seem to be disturbing behavior. My cats are all bonded, and there's occasionally a swat and/or hiss between them (a hiss-and-swat just happened as I was writing this when one tried to curl up around my grouchy old guy).
 

rubysmama

Forum Helper
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
19,978
Purraise
45,362
Location
Canada
Hello and welcome to TCS. :wave2: If it's just a hiss and a swat, it's probably fine. It's fur flying or bloodshed that you really need to concern yourself about.

Not sure if she'll see it, but I'm going to tag di and bob di and bob , as I know she's posted before about female cats being the "boss" of the house, so she might have some thoughts to share.
 

ArtNJ

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
4,294
Purraise
4,846
I'm not an expert on mother/child stuff, but I believe by this age they are just two cats living together, not mother and son, not in the behavioral sense. And this is just normal communication stuff. Get off me! Not now! That's mine! That sort of thing. Some cats never do this, but many do, and certainly one year olds can be a real PITA because of their activity and enthusiasm levels.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
14,130
Purraise
18,009
Location
Nebraska, USA
From my experiences, mothers very often treat their grown children like this. My little diva swats and hisses at the boys every day. They get into her space way too often. Females may give a little more respect to another female, but both would still strive to be queen of the house. Boys just annoy them to no end and are there to be disciplined. That is why you should have two boys to bond and roughhouse with each other, and a female to keep them in line.
What you are going through is perfectly normal.Mama will always be mama, not a friend. That doesn't mean they won't bond and become family, they already are, its just our problem in thinking they should act different, not theirs.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

pip123

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 6, 2021
Messages
3
Purraise
6
Gotcha, thanks for the replies!

It just feels so sad to have to wrangle them when they both come over for pets so that no one gets swatted. The young one is a sweet, shier boy and I don't want him to be scared. I do wish he'd wise up a little though. If my partner and I are there both giving pets, he naturally gravitates to the person who is already petting mama! Just stay with the person who's already petting you, bud.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

pip123

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Aug 6, 2021
Messages
3
Purraise
6
IMG_20210727_144127.jpg


That is them on Day Two, unsure about leaving the comfort of being under the desk. The mama is on the left. Not clear from the picture, but she is very petite and her son is about twice her size.
 

Seunie9

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
60
Purraise
45
From my experiences, mothers very often treat their grown children like this. My little diva swats and hisses at the boys every day. They get into her space way too often. Females may give a little more respect to another female, but both would still strive to be queen of the house. Boys just annoy them to no end and are there to be disciplined. That is why you should have two boys to bond and roughhouse with each other, and a female to keep them in line.
What you are going through is perfectly normal.Mama will always be mama, not a friend. That doesn't mean they won't bond and become family, they already are, its just our problem in thinking they should act different, not theirs.
I am following this thread cz I have been dealing with this for a while , the mother is aggressive to her childs males or females , she hiss or growl them run away , some time she fights with them but not gery aggressive , she will hit and run lol cz , my vet said it is fine especially after her surgery bcz of pyometra 6 months ago , so will this last for so long ?
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
14,130
Purraise
18,009
Location
Nebraska, USA
I have a little mama right now that abandoned her kittens at 8 weeks (each litter) to fend for themselves. After two litters and pregnant with a third, I finally trapped her and had her spayed. I think it was because she was pregnant so much that caused her to wean early. Well, it has been 9 months since her first litter and 5 months since her second and she still swats, hisses, and growls at them when they come near. I even have to feed her separately. They keep trying, but she wants nothing to do with them. so her behavior hasn't changed since the spaying and most likely never will. She accepts them being around and doesn't chase them off but wants nothing at all to do with them. Thank goodness they have each other!
 

Seunie9

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
60
Purraise
45
I have a little mama right now that abandoned her kittens at 8 weeks (each litter) to fend for themselves. After two litters and pregnant with a third, I finally trapped her and had her spayed. I think it was because she was pregnant so much that caused her to wean early. Well, it has been 9 months since her first litter and 5 months since her second and she still swats, hisses, and growls at them when they come near. I even have to feed her separately. They keep trying, but she wants nothing to do with them. so her behavior hasn't changed since the spaying and most likely never will. She accepts them being around and doesn't chase them off but wants nothing at all to do with them. Thank goodness they have each other!
This os very similar to my case as my cat got pregnant a lot before I get her and I knew this early and when we had her she was pregnant for 3 times accidentally , I didn't even know she could get pregnant this fast , the last litter was 9months ago I guess but she really had a complicated labor and I think she really needs time to deal with her old kitten who are about 2 yrs now
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
14,130
Purraise
18,009
Location
Nebraska, USA
I had a cat once that had kittens only 75 days apart! She got pregnant within days of giving birth! She was a good mama though, she nursed young and old and took care of them all. She had 3 litters totaling 17 kittens in one summer, I was so glad I finally got her spayed!
 

Seunie9

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
60
Purraise
45
I had a cat once that had kittens only 75 days apart! She got pregnant within days of giving birth! She was a good mama though, she nursed young and old and took care of them all. She had 3 litters totaling 17 kittens in one summer, I was so glad I finally got her spayed!
Yes , I felt good when I spayed her , even if she is a little aggressive but so much better than before and she gained weight , I think she is fine but she will be aggressive for a while
 
Top