I have worked in many different areas as a nurse for many years. I also had the opportunity to work with seniors.
Babies and younger children do much to give seniors a bump in their mood and disposition. Young children and babies put a smile on a senior’s face. However, most seniors have just so much patience. While seniors enjoy meeting with younger children, they are notably glad the kids leave so they can return to some peace and quiet.
The funny thing is that I have noticed the same thing with my senior cats. For many years, we always had a mixture of kittens and senior cats.
Our senior cats have no more patience with youngsters than human seniors have with babies and toddlers. All our senior cats can do is be firm and shove the kittens out of the way when they bother the senior cat too much.
Why Will My Kitten Not Leave My Older Cat Alone?
So, the question remains.
Why will my kittens not leave my older cat alone?
I have been a cat parent to many cats for nearly 40 years, and I believe I have seen almost everything, including kittens that would not leave my senior cats alone. Toddlers and kittens can be pesky creatures, especially towards older seniors. Neither can take no for an answer, and each will try their hardest to carry their actions to the limit.
Kittens and younger cats have a whole lot of energy. Seniors, on the other hand, enjoy being lazy, and sleeping is high on their agenda. A kitten will try to get that senior cat up and running, much to the despair of the older cat, who only wants to sleep. The only alternative a senior cat has is to let that little brat of a cat know that play is not high on their day’s agenda.
Kittens and older cats probably will not get along until that kitten is over three years of age and it starts to slow down a bit. Meanwhile, you may hear a lot of hissing, growling, and senior paw slaps until that time comes.
Cats are not creatures of change, so bringing a kitten into the home is bound to upset the senior cat—these two cats are on different timelines.
It would be the same if a senior adult living alone suddenly lives with a fussy baby or rambunctious toddler with a great deal of pent-up energy. All this poor human senior wants to do is doze in their recliner and take life easy. You cannot blame the senior cat or the kitten as this is where each is in their life.
Toddlers, like kittens, do not understand age differences or why the older cat does not want to get up and rough house. If a kitten does not leave a senior cat alone, it is not unusual for the adult cat to swipe at the kitten as it must make the kitten understand that no means no.
What To Do About My Kitten Not Leaving My Older Cat Alone?
Remember that all of this is purr-fectly natural. It is natural for a kitten to have excess energy and want to play and run. As cats age, it is natural not to want to run and play as much as when they were younger. It seems like the older we become, the less energy we have to do the things we used to do. It seems like we nap more often and become slower in our actions. This change is natural in cats and humans.
Because no cat or human is the same, we either enjoy having younger children around all the time, or we do not enjoy this high level of activity and find this annoying and tiring. So you may wonder if there is anything you can do to change these natural occurrences?
What can you do to make the situation more accommodating for the kitten and older cat?
Understand that some recommendations work and some do not because, like human beings, every cat is different.
- You can try a plug-in distresser such as Feliway. Initially, Feliway is expensive because you buy the defuser and solution. However, the next time all you buy is the refill. This product is meant to be a calming agent for pets. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they do not. Many pet owners swear by Feliway.
- You can keep monitoring the situation and intervene when necessary. Let your cats be and see where it takes them. The kitten will eventually realize that it needs to leave the oldster alone.
- Not to add more to your plate, you could adopt another kitten about the same age as the one you have now. Perhaps this will give your kitten a playmate and keep both of them busy. Hopefully, both do not gang up on your senior. I hesitate to say this, but this may work, and if it does not work, you now have one extra pet in your home. Think hard about this approach.
- Be sure to give your older cat more personal time. Perhaps you can make up a place that is meant for your senior. You could use a double baby gate, one on top of the other, so if the kitten does climb up, it cannot get inside where your older cat is trying to rest. A baby gate allows your senior to see what is going on outside. Ensure it has the essentials: litter pan, food, water, bed, toys, love, attention, etc.
- Offer treats to both cats when they are together.
- Invest in some active toys for your kitten. Some toys work, and some do not work in keeping the kitten busy.
- Buy a catnip plant and offer some to both cats. You can also buy a container of dried catnip or cat grass.
- Be sure to have something the kitten can climb onto, such as a tall cat tree at different levels.
Not All Senior Cats Find Kittens Pesky
Our first kitty Baby had short white hair with a black V on the top of her head. To shorten my long story, Beebe had four kits and six grandkits while waiting for spaying and neutering appointments. Our cats beat these appointments twice for the following reasons.
- Spaying is put on hold for a while after a mama cat delivers her litter.
- Male and female cats must be a certain age before spaying and neutering can happen.
Beebe lived to be 19 years old, and to the day she died, she ran around the house giving her adult kits and grandkits baths and pampering them every day.
Beebe loved to be around her adult kits and grandkits. It never bothered her one bit. I believe that, like humans, sometimes cats need goals in their life. They are not much different from us.
Mama Beebe continued caring for her four adult kits while taking over most of the care of her six grandkits along with the kittens’ mother, Mama Silly. I could tell how focused and happy Beebe was around those kittens.
I noticed that senior female cats had more patience with kittens than senior male cats. The females welcomed the younger ones, while the older male cats, not so much.
The exception to this was the father, Papa Pudge Bear. Frequently, I watched Papa teach his six to hunt and climb. This male cat loved those kittens. It was a fantastic process to observe. To this day, I am glad I kept this kitty family together.
Did they always get along? No, but do human family members always get along?
As far as I can see, there is little to no difference between older cats and older humans.