Cat Hissing At New Kitten

A cat may hiss often at the new kitten because she expresses territorial aggression through this, feels unsettled, and shows that she is unwilling to share her space. Cat hissing at a new kitten is pretty normal behavior. When a new kitten in the household can best be addressed by properly introducing the cats to each other. Here you start thinking about this query.

cat hissing at a new kitten

How to recognize the Cat’s hissing sound? 

If you are already a cat owner, cat’s hissing sound wouldn’t have been a new thing for you. You must have encountered it several times. If you ask me, how it is – it’s different from an ordinary cat’s voices like meow or trill. It’s kind of similar to how a snake hisses. Moreover, you may compare it with the sound of air releasing from a flat tire of a car.

In actuality, a hiss is made by cats forcing air through their mouth during exhalation. And if you are somewhere close enough to a cat’s mouth or face, you can actually feel that coming out. As per their observations, some veterinary officers say that every creature has its unique pitch as per their voice, so do cats, that’s why hissing sound is different.

Why is your cat hissing at a new kitten?

A cat growling at a new kitten is usually the same scenario, especially if the former cat has gotten used to being the center of attention. However, we observe some opposite cases, too, where a cat and a new kitten will instantly bond with each other. Each cat is unique and has a different personality.

Remember the fact!

If your cat resents the new kitten you just adopted from a pet shelter, you should not panic since it is natural. It only needs some time, a proper introduction of the cats, along with lots of tolerance patience. Here we are sharing some of the most common reasons why your cat is hissing, frowning or growling at the new kitten.

An expert on the relevant topic shared research which states, “Cats don’t like to interact much on face-to-face, that’s why hissing sound shows an indication to imply that they are not interested in any physical fighting or such activity.” Moreover the expert added, there is nothing get worried, when a cat is hissing at a new kitten or the other cat. It’s completely normal. Cats hiss at different other cats or kittens to maintain healthy relationships and boundaries when they get a signal of it being pushed off. A hiss is a quick gesture that means to tell the kitten to stop.

Reasons behind the Cat hissing at a new Kitten

Have you ever noticed whenever your cat gets scared or threatened, it will pull back her lips, menacingly bare her teeth and let out a puff of air that sounds like a hiss?

What kind of behavior is this?

It is a mimicry of a scary natural predator that most animals fear, like snakes, etc. The majority of the animals fear snakes, so imitating this frightening sound is a great way to scare off predators or other animals that your cat concerns about without getting into physical action. Although cat hissing at a new kitten sometimes indicates that your cat is about to attack the newcomer, it’s usually just a warning for him to back off before she runs off.

Misconceptions about Cat Hissing at a new Kitten

Contrary to popular belief, hissing is not always about aggressive behavior, nor is it generally projected by an aggressive cat.

Hissing is a simple emotional expression of discomfort, uneasiness, fear, or stress. A hissing cat is the one who feels threatened, insecure, and uncomfortable.

The common misconception is that the cat who hisses is teasing or taunting the other cat, dog, or person.

It is usually a defensive gesture that is almost projected by a cat who feels victimized or threatened somehow. It is mostly a way to avoid a physical confrontation.

What is Your Cat Saying When it Hisses?

Hissing shows a state of emotion; “I’m upset,” “I feel scared,” “I’m not feeling comfortable,” or “I’m threatened.” Whether your cat is hissing at any vet staff or any stranger, your cat is feeling vulnerable, threatened, or insecure. Let’s explore them one by one.

  1. Territorial Aggression is the most common one.

When a cat hisses at a new cat, she is expressing a form of territorial Aggression. Your cat views your home as part of her territory, so it defends itself from any strangers coming into it. Hissing not only shows Aggression but a warning to “stay away”. It also establishes social order between cats. These cute creatures assume that a trespasser has invaded their territory.

It mostly happens if your cat is the only cat in the house and has become the “apple of everyone’s eyes”. Your cat might hiss at the new cat to let him know that she is the dominant cat in the house. In actuality, your cat does not want to share her space with a newcomer. And due to several observations, it’s especially true when a new kitten is introduced; your existing cat will want to establish herself as the older cat to be respected by the new little one. Usually, it is reluctant to share its personal space, which is why your cat is reacting negatively to the newcomer.

What to do in this situation?

  • You can add in new items for both of the cats, such as their scratching post, the food tray, the water bowl, and the most important i.e., litter box.
  • Every cat should have an extra litter box in a separate area and their appointed sleeping area and favorite toys.

2.     The disrupted routine might trigger the mood.

Your cat may feel unsettled because of her disrupted routine.

It might be the case that your cat hissing at a new kitten because she finds the new kitten a threat. Cats are creatures of a routine habit, and they follow a pattern each day because routine is everything to them. So, when a new kitten arrives, they assume it will disrupt everything because of the additional occupant in the household.  That’s why it feels unsettled and indifferent towards the new kitten; hence, the negative behavior seems like growling and hissing.

3.     The same-gender phenomenon doesn’t work every time.

It’s a fact that your cat and the new kitten may have the same gender, or your older cat may resent the new kitten for its playfulness and jolly nature. But in contrast, some cats do not prefer to meet eye to eye because they belong to the same gender family. If your cat and the new adopted kitten are both males, there is a higher chance and possibility tendency to become aggressive and create hatred for each other. However, it is usually the house cat that is the aggressor or the bully one.

Similarly, in some cases, your older cat may dislike the new kitten because she resents its active and playful nature.

What to do in this situation?

Before considering the adoption or bringing home a new kitten, ensure that it’s compatible with your former cat. Cats that are older in age and used to the single cat arrangement are usually reluctant to accept a new kitten that is active, has constant energy, and is playful.

4.     It may be due to the cat’s temperament.

All the cats have unique characters and temperaments just as humans do, so expect aggressive behavior from their side at the first meeting. The best way to conduct a proper introduction for avoiding any mishap is to help them adjust well to each other.

If your older cat is aggressive to the new cat, then grab her attention at first. Gradually separate them from each other but do not punish the first one. Instead, make sure that each of the cat has access to their resources, essentials and space in the house.

How to manage the situation when your cat hissing at a new kitten?

The main problem arises while addressing the hissing issue of introducing a new kitten to your older cat.

You should be mentally prepared for facing any outcome and reaction while preparing for the arrival of a new kitten. It plays an essential role in this matter. If you introduce both the cats properly, there is a lesser chance of Aggression.

It’s better to make sure and do your research first thoroughly about the new kitten’s personality before bringing her home. And assess yourself if it will be compatible and will get along with your older cat or not.

Best Tips on how you should introduce a new kitten to your older cat

·       Prepare the older cat first for the upcoming change

Try preparing your older cat and create a relaxing environment for her. The best way is to take care of its hygiene first.

Secondly, please bring it to the vet for a thorough checkup and ensure that it has been given the vaccines as scheduled. Moreover, ask for your vet’s advice if any nutritional supplement is needed for her to have a calming mental effect.

Pro Tip:

You may use a cat diffuser in your home to create a relaxing ambience for your resident cat to prepare it for welcoming a new kitten.

·       Help the shy cat in Adjusting

It requires patience to build utmost trust while catering for the shy and fearful adult cat. It would be best if you gave it adequate time in its safe room before being introduced to more significant portions of his new living area.

It is caretakers’ duty to make sure all the possible areas should be blocked from where the cat can escape off. It may include the underside of beds, under the dresser tables or bookcases, inside closets, etc. Cats are masters at hiding. You may not believe it, but a timid cat can remain out of sight for days if hiding spots are available.

  • Why your cat hides itself?

Mostly, it would not make any sense to you, but your cat is trying to communicate with you. When your cat hides, it is doing the act so to stay safe and warm, and when your cat hisses, it is saying, “Back off — this is my personal space.”

The reason is that in the wild, cats hunt alone. It has to survive alone, avoid enemies, and also hide from the prey it wants to catch.

Cats like to have compassion and warmth. They try to hide themselves in small places which helps to retain their body heat.

Smaller spaces help in protecting a cat’s back are also easier to defend. Moreover, it also wants an emergency exit.

Now you know the exact reason why your cat loves that new basket you bought or the cardboard box.

Now you have to make sure that once the cat reaches safely in its room, so, now start working on your relationship. It is now your responsibility to build trust and develop strong bonding with him gradually.

Pro Tip:

  • Always assume yourself to be at the cat’s level while interacting.
  • Avoid staring directly into his eyes; instead, whisper to him and offer a few slow blinks.
  • Please don’t leave it alone during the feedings; it will create a positive environment.
  • Cat toys are so common these days, you may buy some of them. Engage your pet with it and try to play regularly whenever you feel its mood.
  • During a positive and encouraging environment, offer it some treats, soft praise or some needed caress.
  • Most importantly, let it move at his own pace. Give it some time. If it is not ready to be picked up, don’t pick it up. Try to make it comfortable at the maximum.
  • It may prolong up to several months or weeks, one can’t predict a definite time. And in the meanwhile, your new cat will begin to show signs of trust and affection. It may include following you around the house, rubbing against your legs or arms, sitting next to you and sleeping near you.

·       Start preparing for the new kitten’s arrival

The best approach is to start preparing your home at least one week before the new kitten’s arrival. Place the essentials such as its cat’s food bowl, its water dish, the litter box, cat’s comfortable bed, and stuff toys in an assigned space.

Experts give the best recommendation in this case which to promote ample time and space towards the older cat. Take things slowly, so it can familiarize herself with the scents. It’s an entirely different technique dedicated to the cats to familiarize them with the environment. You may also add some items with the new kitten’s scent, such as a blanket it sleeps in.

·       Let both cats have visual contact with each other

As time would pass, both the cats will get used to of each other’s scents, not get them face-to-face of each other. However, separate them by a separator, a door/ window gap, or a glass/ wood partition. It will help in avoiding any unforeseen circumstances.

Give them ample time to get comfortable with each other, and in the meanwhile, they may even sniff noses or rub their bodies against the section. This behavior shows that now they are ready to accept each other and can interact face to face.

·       Introduce both the cats to each other by smell first

According to the principle of desensitization and positive reinforcement, it is important to understand your new cat systematically and step by step.

When you see an older cat hissing at a new kitten, don’t haste yourself during the introduction process. Allow the cats to smell one another under the door, and on mats, you rub on them. The scents shouldn’t bother them which may result hissing towards each other.

Give them sweets or whatever they like to eat while they are nearby each other. You will observe that there will be no signs of hissing or frowning at each other. Your tactics may suppress the resulting aggressive behavior in cats which is triggering it towards hissing. When you feel 100% sure that now there are no signs of aggression, let your new cat interact freely with the former one.

  • Introducing both the Cats – How?

Let them be separated for a few days. Each of them should be given a separate space with its essentials and whatever is needed.

Introduce them with each other’s smell first. Wipe gently with a towel or cloth to let the old cat smell the new cat. Let your older cat smell the towel. Do the same for the new cat. Don’t get panic when your cat hisses or growl during the process, it’s normal.

It’s better if you place cat’s essentials and the food near the entrance. It will help the older cat to small and hear easily and getting associated with the new setup in no time.

  • Give some space and alone time to the new cat. It’s better not to keep both the cats in the same room initially. Allow the new cat to explore.
  • Let the new catwalk around and smell it without having to see the other cat. Both the cats will get used to each other’s scent with this practice sooner. You may make them interact with each other after a few days, and be patient to bear the hissing or growling reactions. Maybe, they start fighting or harm one another. In that case, just separate them and close the door. It is recommended to continue this act twice a day to make them familiar with each other.
  • Let them mingle in fresh and open air. And supervision all the interactions they made on a closed level. Envy or hatred are normal reactions. Do not yell, scold or punish your current cat for whistling to a novice. If it is behaving friendly, or at least not threatening, please praise him and ask him to eat new cat food.
  • Try distracting them by clapping your hands, throwing a pillow between them, or using a wand toy.
  • It is recommended to separate the cats when you leave the house until you are sure they are safe from each other unattended.
  • On the arrival day, allow your older cat to stay in a separate room so it cannot see the newcomer. It will give you time to introduce the new environment to the kitten, who will quickly pick up the smells on the house and become aware of another cat’s presence.
  • After a quick introduction to the surroundings is done, you can swap both the cats and allow the older cat to wander around the rooms where the new kitten has been so she can detect the kitten’s scent.

Pro Tip:

The introduction process should be kept slowly and not be done in haste. You have to be watchful and observant as the older cat, and the new kitten starts try to spend more time together. Here’s a fact that even if there will be no more hissing or cat growling at the new kitten, there may still be instances when the older cat will be aggressive. Stick to a specific routine regarding sleeping, feeding, and playtime because cats are sticklers for routine.

·       Be generous with the praises and treats

It is usual for the cats not to accept each other easily, so do not get too worried. Patience is vital as these things take time.

Patience is vital as it’s a gradual process and takes time. You have to be extremely generous with the praises for your cats during the entire introduction process. Especially it’s essential and highly recommended for your older cat. Your act will assure the cat that it is not being taken for granted or replaced, and instead, it is given a new playmate and buddy. It is recommended that you give them gifts or some pampering more often during the entire process.

·       Be Realistic, Do not expect true love.

We want our cats to get bonded well and love each other truly. We wish that they could become best buddies and cuddle together. But it’s not the same case always. It’s true that they may not want to hang out together but seem to respect each other’s space.

Final Words

Remember the fact! Never punish any of the cats for hissing. It’s a natural behavior; if you do so, both cats will associate the punishment with the other cat’s presence.

Most importantly, if your cat hissing at a new kitten, do not panic or worry as it is considered normal. It takes time for these cats to adjust to each other especially for older cats that are used to being the center of attention. It’s not easy for them to accept and handle a new kitten. However, it can be addressed with the proper introduction and with some level of patience.

There are several things that your cat may be upset about or is not liking. By being aware of it when your cat hisses, he feels afraid, threatened, or uncomfortable, you can change or modify the way you interpret your cat’s behavior or inter-feline dynamics.

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