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Will My Cat Hate Me If I Get a New Kitten?

If you are considering a new kitten, you may be wondering how your resident cat will react to this…

Will my cat hate me if I get a new kitten?

Your cat won’t hate you, but there is no guarantee that they are going to take to the kitten, and if they do, it will be a fast process.

While some cats (typically older ones) will take a kitten immediately, this is not an outcome that is graven in stone, and your cat might indeed be cross that another cat is in the house now – and getting more attention than they are.

You can help things along by giving the older cat lots of extra attention and you’ll need to be sure that all visits are supervised until you are certain that the older cat will not harm the kitten. Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that your cat will like them – only that they will eventually learn to ‘tolerate’ them.

How can you tell if your cat is sad?

A brown cat lying on a white textile looking sad.

A brown cat lying on a white textile looking sad.

Cats that are depressed will typically be a bit lethargic. They won’t play as much as usual (or at all if they’ve got a serious case of the blues) and they might even eat less and spend most of their day sleeping.

Try to give your cat more attention and schedule it each day – cats love when things run like clockwork and they can expect your attention at certain times of the day.

New toys and treats are also a good idea and get a laser pointer if you don’t have one already – cats have a hard time resisting them and once your cat chases the little red dot a bit, then endorphins from the exercise will naturally boost their mood a little.

Should I keep my kitten separated at first?

Yes, this is a good idea. You should introduce the kitten to your cat with a safety barrier in place, in the form of a plastic kitty-crate with thin metal bars in the door. This helps the cat and kitten to get used to each other’s smells and you can also switch out their bedding to help speed things along.

If your cat isn’t openly hostile at the first meeting, then you can try introducing them in person, but all meetings need to be supervised until you are sure that it is safe. If you see the older cat grooming your kitten, then this is a sure sign of acceptance, but it may take a while for them to adjust to each other.

Provide lots of love and treats for both, with just a little extra attention for the older cat so that they don’t feel like you are replacing them. They’ll come around, in time – it will just take a bit of patience.

What is the best way to introduce my cat to my new kitten?

Invest in a cat crate and keep the felines separated the first night, and in the morning you should switch out their bedding. This will let them get a ‘preview’ of each other’s scents before the formal introduction.

When you are ready and have time to supervise, introduce the kitten to your cat with the kitten confined in a plastic cat-carrier crate. This will allow them to smell each other while keeping your new kitten from harm.

If it goes well, a face-to-face intro is fine, but you’ll need to supervise all visits until you are sure that they are going to get along. Watch for signs of hostility in the adult, such as folded back ears, wildly twitching tail, or off-key screeching. If this occurs, separate them, and keep introducing them to the crate and your supervision.

With some cats, it will take a lot of treats and extra attention for the adult before they will begin to relax – a process that can take weeks or even months! After that, your cat may still dislike the kitten, but they should learn to at least tolerate them, and with a little luck, hopefully, they’ll become friends.

Could my cat try to hurt my new kitten?

Yes, this is a possibility. Cats are lone creatures, for the most part, and they consider your shared home to be their territory. As such, you need to carefully supervise all meetings with the adult cat and the new kitten until you can be sure that the adult isn’t going to be hostile.

Over time, your cat will adjust, but you’ll need to be very patient, and you should play with them and give extra attention to the kitten close by in a crate so that your cat starts to associate happy memories with the new kitten present.

Will my cat change if I get a kitten?

No, your cat won’t change, although they might be a bit irritable during the time it takes to get used to the new kitten – which can sometimes take months!

Once adjusted, if the two become friends, you might see changes in your cat’s daily routine, but their personality isn’t going to be affected beyond what the two cats might teach each other while you are away.

Will my cat get jealous if I get another kitten?

It is quite possible, especially if you live alone with your cat and they are not used to sharing your attention. If this happens, the best thing to do is to give the adult lots of extra attention while the kitten is nearby.

This will help them to start building up a cache of happy memories where the new kitten is also present and this will go a long way towards helping them adjust to the new family member.

How long will it take for my cat to accept a new kitten?

A white kitten leaning on a brown wooden table.

A white kitten leaning on a brown wooden table.

That is going to depend on your cat. Some cats will immediately take to a new kitten, becoming their ‘stepmom’ or ‘stepdad’ right away, but most cats are going to take a while to adjust. Despite being so mysterious, cats are creatures of habit, and it doesn’t help that they are solitary and territorial to boot.

As such, it can take weeks or even months for your cat to adjust, so you are going to need to supervise the two until you are sure that they will get along.

Give the older cat extra attention as well whenever the kitten is nearby, as this will help them to feel less jealous or worried that you are trying to replace them.

Will my cat feel replaced if I get another cat?

Yes, this is possible, but you can do a few things to help reassure the older cat that they are not being replaced. Extra attention and treats are a start and get in the habit of switching out the bedding between the two cats so that they get used to each other’s scents.

Supervise all visits and play with both of them, with extra attention to the older cat, and once they start associating the kitten with fun times then they will quickly start to relax around the new kitten and adjust to their presence in the home.

Is it better to get a kitten as a second cat?

Yes, a kitten is going to adjust easily to the adult cat and the adult will be less likely to get into fights with the young kitten.

This doesn’t mean that hostility is out of the question – you’ll need to watch them both carefully – but if the new cat is the same age as your current one, then fighting is much more likely and it may take both cats longer to adjust to each other.

As long as you have the time to supervise, either scenario is doable, but just be prepared to be there for a longer adjustment and supervision period if the new cat is not a kitten.

Lindsey Browlingdon