Kittens are adorable and fuzzy, but the real challenge is how to properly introduce them if you have another cat at home. Your resident cat may avoid the new pet, or become aggressive and hiss at the new kitten. She may also become resentful of you for bringing home a new kitten.
I got a new kitten and my cat hates me: How can I stop the rejection?
Here are the things that you can do to stop the rejection:
1. Slowly introduce the kitten to your cat.
Here are some tips to introduce a new kitten to your resident cat:
- Have a separate safe space for the new kitten.
- Make sure to take the new kitten to the vet for a complete health assessment.
- Introduce them slowly. Let them both get used to each other’s scents by swapping a toy or blanket that each of them has used.
- Once they get used to the other’s scent, allow them to interact in a limited way. Use a baby gate or let them sniff each other through a separate door.
- Be cautious of warning signals and aggressive behavior. You may have to introduce them again if the resident cat becomes hostile. If either of them shows extreme signs of distress, contact the vet so it can be resolved.
- Be patient with the introduction as it may take weeks before the kitten and resident cat will get used to each other.
- Handle aggressive behavior amicably. If the resident cat resorts to hissing and arching its back, distract it with a loud noise or toys.
2. Feed them in separate areas.
See to it that the new kitten has a food and water bowl in a separate area. Give them their meals in separate locations so the resident cat will not become territorial about her food and so the new kitten can eat in peace.
3. Assign separate sleeping areas.
Provide separate sleeping quarters. Do not attempt to let the new kitten use the old bed of your resident cat. The latter will not take it kindly since she already established possession of such items.
4. Provide an elevated area for the resident cat where she can retreat and observe the new kitten.
Most cats deal with intruders and newcomers by avoiding them or exhibiting aggression. Give your resident cat a safe hideaway where she can get away from the new kitten. A cat tree or high perch is ideal since it allows the resident cat to observe the new kitten.
5. Make sure there is an extra litter box for your cats.
You should have at least three litter boxes at home if you have two cats. See to it that there is no line of sight between the boxes just in case the new kitten and the resident cat are using their litter boxes at the same time.
6. Keep your cats calm by using pheromones like Feliway.
Pheromones like Feliway Diffuser allow cats to become more calm and relaxed. It can help prevent altercations, and your resident cat will be less likely to bother the new kitten.
7. Use treats to create positive associations among your cats.
If your resident cat tends to become hostile toward the new kitten, try to pet the new kitten and allow your resident cat to be near you while you give her some treats. She will be able to detect the scent of the new kitten while enjoying the treats, and she will start to associate its scent with the treats. She will start to realize that it is a good thing, making it a positive scent.
8. Do not leave the new kitten and the resident cat unsupervised.
If you are not at home or asleep at night, make sure that the new kitten and resident cat are separated. You could place your new kitten in a bathroom with her bed, litter box, and water bowl. Keep the door closed so the resident cat cannot access it.
9. Stick to usual routines at home.
While you are still in the process of introducing the new kitten to the resident cat, avoid making sudden changes at home, such as home remodeling or having a noisy party. Disruption in the first cat’s routine could lead to extreme aggression toward the new kitten.
Some cats may take to new kittens easily, but others need considerable time to fully accept them. It will depend on the age of the cat and how well socialized your resident cat is when she is introduced to a new kitten. If your resident cat was not well socialized before she turned three years old, she may have a hard time getting along with a new kitten. Some cats are also better off as only cats at home.
If you notice that your resident cat is showing signs of resentment toward you because of the new kitten, see to it that you shower her with attention before you attend to the new kitten. Try to feed her before you feed the new kitten and let her feel that she is still your priority.
Do cats get jealous of new kittens?
Yes, cats do get jealous of new kittens, especially if the first cat feels that she is getting less attention than before when she was the only cat at home. Cats form their hierarchies and can become angry if their position is threatened by the newcomer.
How long does it take for a cat to get used to a new kitten?
It usually takes around 8 to 12 months for a resident cat to get used to a new kitten. The introduction of the two felines should be gradual; you have to be patient since it takes a long time for a relationship to develop between them. Also, your resident cat is establishing her role as the dominant cat, which is usually manifested by hissing and swatting at the new kitten.
Having a new kitten at home can be an enjoyable experience unless you have another cat. The resident cat usually will not take it lightly and will see the newcomer as a threat. See to it that you properly introduce them to each other and do not leave them together unsupervised. Assign separate sleeping and feeding areas and be sure not to make any abrupt changes at home.
Image: istockphoto.com / insonnia