If you have owned a cat for quite some time, you have probably observed their solitary nature. In addition, cats like to be in sole control all the time. Hence, your decision to add another kitten to the family, your resident cat hissing at the new kitten might be the former’s way of expressing her disapproval at this feline addition.
There is a chance that the two kitties bond right from the get go, in which case you will find them playing, snoozing, and feeding together. However, owing to the territorial nature of cats, it is much more likely that there will be a bit of hostility between the two pets – at least at the beginning. These flaring tempers will settle down with time, which is why you should not panic.
In this blog, we will discuss the various reasons why your cat might be hissing at the new kitten, and some steps that you can take to minimize this antagonism.
Reasons Your Cat is Hissing at Your New Kitten
They Do not Appreciate this Abrupt Change
As mentioned, cats have quite a controlling personality, which means that any sudden changes might leave them feeling confused and anxious. They might also be concerned that the new kitten will take up all your love and attention. In order to calm your older cat down, you should make sure that their routine stays as consistent and undisrupted as possible. Also, find ways to reassure the resident cat that the addition of another feline does not mean that they have become any less important to you. The more you can reassure the older cat, the more likely they are to welcome the new kitty.
On the other hand, the more your cat feels unsettled, the likelier they are to display aggression through hissing or other gestures. Make sure that, apart from the presence of the kitten, your resident cat’s routine stays largely unchanged.
The Territorial Nature
Alongside being controlling, cats are also quite territorial and do not like to share their space. Such territorial tendencies might cause your resident cat to perceive the arrival of a new kitten as an invasion of their home. There is a fair chance that the older cat sees itself as the owner of the house, and it would not want to welcome another cat without its permission. Therefore, the cat might resort to hissing as a way of asserting their dominance in front of the new kid on the block.
To address this potential issue, you must ensure that there are sufficient resources for both your cats. For instance, you should have a separate litter box for either cat, as well as an extra box somewhere else in the house. In addition, you should have separate food and water bowls for each kitty, as well as any toys or other creature comforts like hiding or sleeping spots.
They Might be Feeling Trapped
It is important that you offer your cat an unblocked exit at all times. Cats feel comfort in knowing that there is an exit route should they feel the tension increasing with the other cat. Just the assurance that they can walk away and spend some time on their own can go a long way in making the cats less hostile and more accepting of each other.
If you detect any animosity between the two cats, allow them the chance to distance themselves. If that is not happening, you could try diffusing the situation by clapping or talking loudly. Allow your cats the time and space that they need to adjust to each other’s presence; you can try encourage this adjustment (by keeping the doors open under supervision) but you should never force it. Once the cats start feeling secure and confident in their spaces, peace and harmony will soon follow.
They are too similar to the New Kitten
The saying, “two swords cannot fit into the same sheath”, might very well be applicable to this situation.
If both your cats are male, or are of the same size, these similarities might be forcing them to be hostile to each other. After all, to quote Highlander, “there can be only one”.
At the same time, you must make sure that the new kitten is compatible to the resident cat’s energy levels. If, for example, your resident cat is middle-aged or senior, it might not be very active, and might resent the presence of a bouncy and energetic young kitten.
How to Calm Your Resident Cat?
As you must have realized by now, the arrival and constant presence of a new kitten might induce feelings of anxiety in your resident cat. In the second half of this guide, we will cover a couple of ways that you can use to calm your cat down and ensure that this transition goes as smoothly as possible.
The use of pheromones could help induce feelings of calmness in your cat, as pheromones work by conveying messages of reassurance and safety. During a transitional period where your cat is struggling to adjust to a new normal, pheromones might well be able to help.
Pheromones, however, are no magic solution, and you must make sure that you are using them alongside other methods to make your resident cat feel safe and normal.
If you think that pheromones are proving ineffective at alleviating your resident cat’s anxiety, you could try out some calming supplements. If you are confused about the brand or dosage, a veterinarian will be able to point you in the correct direction.
Prepare your House
We recommend making adjustments to your house at least a week before the new kitten is scheduled to arrive. This will allow your resident cat enough time to acclimatize to the new additions in supplies such as food bowls or litter boxes.
Also, make sure that everything that the new kitten will require is already in place – you would rather be over-prepared than under-prepared. Also, being inadequately prepared will make you feel stressed and anxious, and your cat might end up absorbing some of this anxiety.
It is a good idea to create a separate room where the new kitten can spend their initial week. While you should not stop your resident cat from going close to that room, any direct contact, especially unsupervised, should be prohibited.
Facilitate a Gradual Introduction
You cannot – and shouldn’t – keep the two cats separate for too long. Having said that, you must play your cards right, especially when introducing the two pets for the very first time.
After the first week, you can let your new cat out of their designated room, and encourage them to explore the rest of the house. By removing barriers like locked doors, you can encourage interaction between your cats. However, like we mentioned, you should never try to force the kitties to interact. Every time the cats remain well-behaved in each other’s presence, you should reinforce this behavior by offering treats and praise.
To sum up, even if the two cats do not become best friends overnight, remember that some initial hostility and aggression is completely natural and normal. Try and make the introduction as gradual as possible, and reinforce any positive attitude and behavior.
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