My resident cat is acting distant after adopting new kitten

by TK
(Los Angeles, CA)

A few days ago, I adopted an approximately 3-month-old male kitten named Charlie. I wanted a buddy for my current 9-month-old female, Chip.

I did a good amount of research about cat introductions, so I was anticipating a little bit of animosity between the two, and I understand it takes time. But I was not anticipating Chip's behavior toward me.

I did expect her to become a little distant. I mean, I did bring home a new kitten and invade her space. I did not, though, expect her to become angry with me.

The first day, she hissed at me and took a swipe (drawing some blood), and since then, she's been super distant.

She was never a very affectionate cat to begin with, but she had moments where she would decide she wanted attention and have "cuddle sessions" with me--purring, "making biscuits," rubbing her head against my chest and hand.

She would also find ways to show me she missed me, climbing onto my chest and winding around my legs when I came home.

Since I brought Charlie home, Chip has done none of that. It's gotten a little better, to the point where she'll jump onto my chest for a minute or two and even purr here and there, but she'll usually jump right off. Her shows of affection have become few and far between.

I'm trying to reassure myself that she's not herself because she's still getting used to Charlie, but I'm really concerned that even when they become friends, my relationship with her won't be the same anymore.

I read that cats can become less affectionate when you're no longer the sole target of their affection. I'm happy that Chip and Charlie are slowly progressing in their relationship, and if I have to sacrifice a little bit of my relationship with Chip so that she can be less lonely and have companionship, I'm willing to do that.

It does help that Charlie is VERY affectionate, so he can maybe fill up some of the empty spaces left behind by Chip. However, I don't want to completely lose my relationship with Chip.

Chip is very, very special to me. I didn't even know I loved cats until she happened to come into my life, and even though she's not that affectionate, she has her own way of showing me she loves me. It breaks my heart to think I might lose that bond with her.

Does anyone have a similar experience? How long did it take before your resident cat returned to "normal?" Or do I have to resign myself to a cat who'll just tolerate me now?

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It takes time
by: Kurt (Admin)

Cats hate change. Change stresses cats out. It'll take time for your cat to adjust. It's hard to say what the next phase of the relationship between you and your cat will look like for sure, but you have the opportunity to help shape the future.

Once upon a time, when I introduced two kittens to my resident cat, she hated the idea, even with a very slow introduction after isolating the kittens. It took some time, but she eventually learned to get along with them, and she forgave me for disrupting her comfortable world. Hang in there.

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