How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17923
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr. Kara is online now

hello, i have a mum cat and her kitten move in with me, mum

Customer Question

i have a mum cat and her kitten move in with me, mum brought her kitten to mine when she was only 4 weeks old! didnt even know the visiting mum cat was pregnant or homeless so was a bit of a shock. after not finding an owner and making themselves quite at home they have decided to move in permently, all as been well and mum cat has been a really good mum with feeding, playing and teaching. the kitten is now coming up to 6 months old (due to be spayed in about 3 weeks..vets wanted her to be 6 months old) but mum cat has started to be a bit nasty to the kitten, whenever the kitten goes near her she growls and hisses and will take a swipe at her, poor kitten runs and hides behind the sofa, mum cat sometimes will look for kitten and go up to her and do the same thing. im not sure if mum trying to get the kitten to go out and find another home or cutting the apron strings but i am happy with them both living here. the mum cat is not aggressive with my boy cat (another cat who appeared out of nowhere and also moved in) mum cat has been spayed, had her spayed when she finished feeding her kitten. im just not sure how to handle this situation. i say a firm 'no lucy' (mum cats name) and have feliway diffuser plugged in and also a natural herbal plug in..dont remember name of it. i also cuddle spooky (the kittens name..called spooky as she appeared exactly one year after my dog dying..the exact day..spooky)
any advice on what to do or how to handle this situation would be really great
many thanks
jo, bootiful, lucy and spooky
ps mum cat eating normally and not aggressive with boy cat (bootiful)
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 4 years ago.

Hello, my name is Dr. Kara and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I am sorry to hear that Lucy is behaving so poorly toward her daughter but her behavior isn't unusual.

Cats don't live together normally in the wild. They have territories, although they
are fluid, and will fight to preserve resources. In the wild once kittens are old enough to hunt, and certainly by puberty, the queen will chase them out of her territory. She does not want more kittens interfering with her resources, which a daughter would likely produce given time. In many cases with unlimited resources in a home environment they learn to live together peacefully and some learn to enjoy each other's company. But some cats simply never learn to tolerate other cats in their environment. It is worth trying to get them to get along, but it may not work.

She probably doesn't bother your male because it was his place first and many time a female will tolerate a male better then another female.

Do they ever ignore one another and co-exist peacefully while in the same room or
does she react every time she sees her daughter?

At this point I would never leave the two of them alone together when you aren't
around to mediate. And in fact you may want to start over with introducing
them again once the kitten has been spayed and has had time to heal, as you will likely have problems when the kitten comes home smelling differently after her spay.


In aggression cases I recommend using a product called Feliway, so I am glad to see that you are using it. It is a synthetic version of a feline calming pheromone.

There are also pheromone collars which may be helpful for Lucy. It's worth a try. See
this link:

Keep them completely separated, behind closed doors until your little one is healed after her surgery. That way they aren't constantly confronting one another but are able smell and hear one another and get used to having each other around in a non-threatening manner.
Make sure to frequently switch bowls, beds, toys and use the same brush on both
cats to get them smelling the same and familiar to each other.

Then try using a large baby gate between areas to keep them separated from each
other but able to see one another for a few weeks. If she is becoming aggressive
at that point with her daughter then you may want to try a homeopathic calming oral medication called Bach's Rescue Remedy. See this link for further information:

We want them calm enough to learn to at least co-exist.

If things are going well allow them in a room together, but only when you are present.

You should make sure that there are plenty of spots for both cats to get up and away from each other, such as cat trees or ledges that are carpeted and comfy to sleep on. Cats do tend to get along better when resources are unlimited. Make sure there are plenty of toys for everyone and don't let Lucy harass her daughter. If she isn't
respecting her and does chase her or continually tries to approach her it's fine to use a can of coins to throw near her as he approaches her for negative reinforcement.

You may also want to feed them separately in different rooms so neither feels there
is any food competition.

If all else fails discuss anti-anxiety meds with your veterinarian like Buspirone or Amitriptyline for both of them as stress is certainly playing a part in this. If either one hates taking pills there are transdermal gel formulations of these medications available.

Finally she may do better when allowed to go out so you may wish to construct an outdoor cat pen so she can safely spend time outside away from her daughter. Here are some examples:

Best of luck with this situation, and let me know if you have any further questions.