A cat may hiss at a new cat because of territorial aggression, feeling unsettled and your cats unwillingness to share its space with the newcomer. This is very normal behavior from cats and not a reason for concern as such.
Reasons why your cat is hissing at the new cat
Cats are well-known for being creatures of habit and any break in their routine will most likely create anxiety or even make the cat scared. This can happen when there is a new cat in the household as it means the regular schedule is disrupted due to the new pet addition.
Here are the common reasons why your cat is hissing at the new cat:
Your cat is manifesting territorial aggression
Your cat may be hissing at the new cat because she feels that her territory has been invaded by an outsider. This is prevalent among cats that are used to being the only feline in the household. This is also often observed among unneutered and unspayed cats. An unwillingness to share her space may also mean that your cat was undersocialized or had unhappy experiences with other cats when she was younger. This territorial behavior can be addressed by providing separate resources for the two cats which include their food and water bowls, beds, and litter boxes.
Your cat is stressed because the new cat disrupted the daily routine
Your cat may be displaying aggressive behavior like hissing and growling because she sees the new cat as a threat. She may feel unsettled and anxious because her daily routine and habits are disrupted due to the arrival of the new cat.
They have the same gender or size
The aggressive behavior may be because your cat and the newcomer are closely similar in size or they may have the same gender. Male cats tend to be more aggressive toward each other especially if they are unneutered. When adopting or taking in a new cat, make sure that it is compatible with the resident cat and with comparable energy levels. An older cat may also find it hard to get used to a younger cat’s presence.
Her temperament may be a factor for the behavior
Cats each have different temperaments and personalities so it is normally expected that hissing and altercation will occur during the arrival of a new cat. However, this can be fixed with the help of a proper introduction coupled with lots of patience on your part. Getting two unrelated cats that both come from different environments and backgrounds to become used to each other is not done overnight but it is achievable.
How to properly introduce a new cat to your resident cat?
It is beneficial to be prepared for the arrival of your new cat. You have to prepare not only yourself but you should also make sure that your resident kitty is prepared and conditioned. By doing so, the initial meeting will be a pleasant one and aggression will be avoided. Ensure that the new cat’s personality will also complement that of your resident cat’s temperament to lessen the chances of an altercation.
Here are the steps on how to properly introduce the new cat to your resident cat:
1. Prepare the necessary resources for the new cat.
You should prepare the necessary resources for the new cat at least a week before its arrival. These include her food and water bowl, bed, litter box, and toys. Place it in a designated area that is free of distractions and foot traffic. Allow your resident cat to explore this area so she can familiarize herself with the scents. It is advisable to place the new cat’s blanket in her new bed and you can ask for this from the breeder or shelter where you got her from.
2. You should also prepare your resident cat and create a calm environment for her.
Prepare your resident cat for the arrival of the new cat by ensuring that she is healthy and does not have any health issues. This is because an unwell resident cat tends to be more hostile to a new cat. Have her checked by the vet and see to it that her vaccines are current. Consult your vet if there is a need for a nutritional supplement to instill calmness. Also, you may use Feliway Classic to make her relaxed and calm.
3. On arrival day be sure to introduce the two cats by smell only.
Upon the arrival of the new cat, make sure that your resident cat is in a separate room and won’t be able to see the newcomer. Introduce your new cat to your home and let her explore her new environment so she can pick up the scents as well as the scent of the resident cat. Next, swap them and allow the resident cat to wander in the rooms where the new cat earlier went to so she can also detect the new scent.
4. After the scent introduction, introduce them through visual contact only.
Once both cats have become familiar with the scents the next step is to allow them to see each other from a distance. Make sure that they are separated by a screen door, a gap, or partition. Allow them to size each other up and some cats may even rub their noses or bodies against the door or partition. Should both cats behave like this it is a sign that they are ready to meet face to face.
5. Keep the initial meeting short but sweet.
Allow both cats to meet each other face to face. Closely supervise this initial meeting and keep it short, preferably just a couple of minutes. Most of the time, the previous preparation and scent familiarization will help a lot in avoiding aggressive behavior. However, should the hissing and growling start, it is a signal that you should bring them to separate rooms right away.
6. Lavish the two cats with praises and treats especially if they behaved well.
If your cat hisses and displays aggressive behavior toward the new cat during the entire introduction process then do not worry. It takes a substantial amount of time before two cats will eventually bond with each other. Praise your resident cat if she is cooperative and as a way to assure her that she is not being taken for granted despite the new cat’s arrival. Aside from the praises make sure that you also give the cats some treats.
Closely observe and supervise the two cats as they begin to have minimal interaction over the next few days and weeks. Be watchful as there may be further instances that your resident cat will still become aggressive toward the new cat. Keep to a specific routine with the cats’ sleeping, feeding, and playing time to avoid further stress on their part.
How long does it take for a cat to get used to a new cat?
Normally it will take around eight months to one year before your cat will get totally used to the new cat and even develop a friendship with it. While some cats will become close and bond with each other, some cats never do. Those who do not become friends will learn to avoid each other to prevent fights.
There is no need to worry if your resident cat is hissing at the new cat because it is part of normal cat behavior. Cats are territorial animals and a newcomer to their so-called territory is almost always met with aggression. They are also sticklers for routine and a new cat spells chaos for the resident cat who is used to following a fixed schedule. It takes a good amount of time before cats will bond and like each other so it is always best to be extra patient with your furry babies.
Check also our article on how to get a cat to stop hissing.