Cats are sensitive creatures of habit. Changes in the home, such as a different partner, a newborn baby or another pet, can be stressful for cats.
“When there are changes in their kingdom, cats have their own ways of expressing their dissatisfaction, ” says animal psychologist Angela Pruss.
The cat might intentionally urinate or defecate on the baby’s blanket or on the new partner’s side of the bed. They are also known to start scratching people when there are big changes at home.
“If a cat relieves itself in bed, the message might be to protest that fact that she used to be always allowed in the bed. If she is urinating on the baby’s things, it can be an expression of jealousy, ” Pruss says.
Inappropriate urination and defecation are a common method of communication for a cat, and it means you have to make some compromises.
“The goal is to create positive experiences with a person the cat sees as an ‘enemy’, ” Pruss says. The new partner should help feed the cat or play with it to help speed the acceptance.
If Fluffy is mad about being kicked out of bed or out of what’s become the baby’s room, you should create a new cosy sleeping spot for her.
However since she might connect that negative experience of restricted access to the arrival of the new roommate, Pruss recommends allowing the cat to explore the new nursery beforehand.
Introducing a second cat to the household can also be tricky. Some cats don’t like to share their space and their people.
When introducing two cats, it’s best to keep them in separate rooms at first. Then swap their beds – that lets the cats investigate the new smells before they make contact.
If they seem calm so far, you can place a baby gate in the door to let the two see each other. Feed both cats while in sight of each other, and then separate them again. Socialising two cats can be a process of many small steps, but taking it slow ensures peace in the household.
Once the two cats have learned to accept each other, let the first cat hold the first position still. If they really become friends, the first cat will allow the second cat to also join in the cuddles on the couch. – dpa