How to Stop Your Cat Yowling at Your New Cat

If your cat is yowling at your new cat, there are a variety of reasons this could be happening and ways to stop it, including:

  1. Respecting Territories
  2. Matching Personalities
  3. Adopting at the Right Age
  4. Spaying and Neutering
  5. Providing a Neutral Environment
  6. Introducing Your New Cat Properly

When you introduce a new cat into your home an your cat starts yowling and howling, it’s important to figure out why it’s happening.

While there are many reasons that your felines might be vocalizing at each other, once you identify the cause, you can help your kitties to co-exist peacefully.

 

1 – Your cat is a territorial animal, so you should help them feel safe in their space.

In the wild and in domestic life, your cat is a territorial animal. While your kitty might be your best friend and never have an issue with you, you have a pre-established place in your home, whereas a new cat does not.

For this reason, when you introduce a new cat to your current cat, they may feel territorial.

In order to avoid a territory issue between your cats, it’s important to be prepared to introduce your new cat to your current cat beforehand.

Cats are territorial over their space because of their predatory instincts. In the wild, a cat must hunt for food, and this mindset transfers over to your domesticated kitties.

Because of this, it’s important to introduce your new cat with plenty of resources to go around. You should keep extras on hand for both kitties to have access to, including:

•           Separate food and water bowls

•           Multiple litter boxes

•           Plenty of hide-away areas

•           Extra cat scratchers and toys

Once your new cat has been integrated into your home, and your current cat is no longer feeling territorial, they may begin to share space more closely. However, some cats will never have this desire, and you may find that your cats appreciate having their own belongings and territory.

Common responses for a territorial cat include:

  • Yowling
  • Howling
  • Growling
  • Stalking
  • Arching their back
  • Hissing
  • Flattening their ears

When your cat is feeling territorial and exhibits these signs at your new cat, the outcome is highly dependent on each cat’s personality and how they respond to the situation.

If one of your cats backs away from a fight and chooses to be submissive, then the pair might have less of a struggle getting to know one another as time goes on.

If one of your cats becomes aggressive, this will result in a cat fight. This might cause them to:

  • Latch onto one another
  • Bite, scratch, and kick
  • Growl, yowl, and scream

It’s important to not allow a cat fight to continue as your new and current cat could cause serious harm to one another. To intervene, try one of these methods:

  • Throw a blanket or towel on top of them
  • Make a loud noise to distract them, such as clapping your hands or banging on something
  • Use a spray bottle to squirt them with water
  • Break them apart using a pillow or couch cushion

NEVER try to intervene in a cat fight with your own body, as this can cause serious bodily harm to you.

In addition to becoming aggressive and defensive with each other, your cats may also display other symptoms of feeling territorial by marking their space. This can include:

  • Scratching and clawing at furniture and walls
  • Urinating and defecating around their territory
  • Spraying walls and furniture

 

2 – By understanding the personality type of your current and new cat, you can make sure they’re a good fit for each other.

If your cat is yowling at your new cat, it could just be that their personalities don’t mix well.

Cats don’t always follow the stereotypical idea of being lazy and grumpy all the time. In fact, your cat has a distinct personality that contributes to how they live their life and how they interact with other cats.

When introducing a new cat to the family, you may want to consider the personality of your current cat and the one you’re bringing home.

Some cats will be happy to get along with other cats, whereas others may simply tolerate co-existing. There’s also cats who aren’t friendly toward other cats at all and are happier without another feline presence in the house.

Before you commit to bringing a new cat into your home, consider your current cat’s personality type and how they might react. If they’re especially possessive of you and their belongings, they might have a more difficult time adjusting to a new kitty.

If you’re confident that your cat will be able to come around to your new cat, you should then consider the new cat’s personality as well.

Cat personality types can be determined based on a research study conducted in 2017 that looked at the personality types of almost 3,000 cats from New Zealand and Australia.

According to the study there are “five reliable personality factors” which are “Neuroticism, Extraversion, Dominance, Impulsiveness, and Agreeableness.”

The researchers for this study call these factors the “Feline Five” and have used this data to determine how your cat’s personality may be affected by factors in your home.

Based on the data, your cat may have personality traits from any of the “Feline Five”, such as:

Neuroticism

  • Shy
  • Anxious
  • Fearful
  • Suspicious
  • Insecure

Extraversion

  • Curious
  • Smart
  • Adventuruous
  • Interested

Dominance

  • Jealous
  • Aggressive
  • Territorial

Impulsiveness

  • Impulsive
  • Spontaneous
  • Unpredictable
  • Careless

Agreeableness

  • Gentle
  • Playful
  • Peaceful
  • Loving

Ian – please can you put the name of each personality type by their description in this list

The study shows that, just like you and I, your cat can have many personality traits that affect how they respond to situations.

Some cats will display different personality traits when they interact with you versus other animals, so it can take some time to get to know your pets.

It’s important to remember that your new cat will need to adjust to your home and other animals, therefore when they first arrive in your home they may feel:

  • Scared
  • Shy
  • Nervous
  • Confused
  • Anxious
  • Curious

You should give your new cat time to adapt to their new surroundings, which can take several weeks to months, depending on a lot of factors, including their personality and past experiences.

For this reason, you should start your new cat off in their own space where they can adjust to the new sights and smells in an area that feels secure. Gradually, you can introduce your new cat to your current cat.

Just like your current cat might feel sociable or unsociable toward your new cat, the same can be said for the cat you’re introducing to your home.

Whether your new cat is socialized to other cats or not, it’s not uncommon for them to react with yowls and hisses during their initial interactions. With plenty of patience, your two cats can soon co-exist with each other.

 

3 – Age can be a giant factor in how your existing cat reacts to your new cat.

If your cat is responding to a new friend with yowls, it could be because of an age gap.

The age of your existing cat and your new cat can play a large role in how they react to each other.

The  main cat age groups  are broken down into multiple areas:

  • Kittens (under 2 years)
    • Neonatal kittens (under 2 months)
    • Young kittens (2 months to 1 year)
    • Junior kittens (1-2 years)
  • Adults (2-10 years)
    • Prime cats (2-5 years)
    • Mature cats (6-10 years)
  • Seniors (10+ years)
    • Elderly cats (10-15 years)
    • Geriatric cats (15+ years)

Whether your current cat is a kitten, adult, or senior, kittens are the easiest age group to introduce to another cat at home. Kittens are still forming their personalities and habits as they mature; therefore it’s a lot easier to integrate them into your household.

Introducing a kitten comes with the benefits of:

  • Your kitten is less likely to have aggressive or dominating tendencies than an older cat.
  • Your kitten will be able to continue developing their personality, habits, and behaviors within your home.
  • Kittens learn by example, so your kitten will be able to practice their social skills from your current cat.

While there’s a good probability that your new kitten will be able to fit right in, there are also negative emotions that your new kitten can afflict on your current cat, such as:

  1. Jealousy

When you bring any new animal into the home, it’s important to ensure your existing pets aren’t feeling left out. The excitement of adopting your new kitten can often overshadow the animals you already have, which can cause your current cat to feel jealous.

To avoid evoking this emotion, make sure to spend equal time with your cats so as not to leave one or the other feeling left out.

  • Annoyance

Kittens are notorious for being especially playful and energetic. While your adult or senior cat might have a high tolerance for this level of activity or even enjoy it, other cats may feel overwhelmed by it instead.

This can lead to your current cat feeling annoyed, which can result in all sorts of responses, including yowling, hissing, growling, and swatting at your new kitten.

To avoid your current cat from becoming annoyed, make sure that your kitten has plenty of toys and forms of enrichment to keep them entertained without having to pounce on your current cat every time they’re feeling bored.

  • Impatience

Just like your current cat may become annoyed by the newest fluffball in the house, they can also become impatient with your new kitten’s actions.

Kittens like to get into everything, including your current cat’s belongings and space. In order to minimize the disturbance this can cause to your current cat, provide plenty of resources to go between both of them.

Introducing an adult cat into your home can have varying results based on the age of your current cat, as well as their gender. Your cat may feel more threatened by another cat of the same gender, however same gender and opposite gender pairings can work based on their age and personality types.

If your current cat is also an adult, it’s especially important to set up boundaries from the start and allow both of your pets to adjust to each other over time.

If you’re introducing an adult cat to a senior cat, or a senior cat to another senior cat, you may need to play matchmaker to ensure your current cat and your new cat are able to co-exist together.

Adult and senior cats have already formed many of their habits and behaviors; therefore you will need to take the time to get to know your new cat’s temperament before introducing them to your current cat.

For any age group, it’s common for there to be some initial apprehension from both of your cats. Defensive and aggressive responses are normal, however it’s important to be extra vigilant about monitoring the two cat’s interactions if there is a substantial age gap, such as between a kitten and an adult cat.

While most cats will be able to co-exist peacefully, there are situations where your cats go beyond yowling and start physically fighting. This can cause serious harm or injury to your animals, especially if one is much older or younger than the other.

Be sure to observe your cat’s behaviors and identify their needs as you introduce them to ensure everything goes smoothly.

 

4 – If your cats have not been fixed yet, you can spay and neuter them to help relieve tension.

If you’re introducing a new cat to your home, it’s important to know if your current and new cats have already been spayed or neutered.

Spaying and neutering are the terms used for fixing an animal by removing their reproductive organs to prevent them from breeding and having certain health and behavioral issues.

If your current or new cat is yowling and howling at the other and one or both isn’t fixed, it’s likely that they’re reacting to all the hormones that come from not being spayed or neutered.

A female cat who has not been spayed will go into heat once she is a few months old. This can occur every few weeks and lasts for several days. During this time, your cat is prone to being extra vocal and may also:

  • Be overly affectionate
  • Rub against things
  • Purr, trill, yowl, and meow frequently
  • Spray and urinate on walls and furniture

A male cat who has not been neutered is typically more territorial and might display aggressive behaviors because of this, including:

  • Yowling, growling, and hissing
  • Stalking around their territory
  • Spraying and urinating on walls and furniture

In order to ensure your current and new cat have the best chance of getting along, it’s important that both of them are spayed and neutered prior to meeting.

While being fixed doesn’t mean that your cats will be the best of friends, it can help mellow out unwanted behaviors and create a more neutral setting for them to meet.

Spaying and neutering your pets has many other benefits as well, including:

  • When you spay a female cat, the surgery removes the uterus and ovaries, which means that you eliminate and reduce the risk of your cat developing infections, tumors, and cysts that can afflict these organs.
  • When you neuter a male cat, the surgery removes the testicles, which helps to reduce the possibility of prostate infections as well as eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.
  • Spaying or neutering your cat can help them to be calmer and cleanler by reducing the level of hormones in their bodies that instigate spraying, frequent urination and aggressive behaviors. 
  • Spaying or neutering your cat prevents pregnancy, which ensures that your animal isn’t contributing to the millions of cats that are euthanized or die due to poor conditions every year.

Not only will spaying and neutering your cats give them the opportunity for a healthier and happier life, but it will also help them to get along more easily and limit the introductory yowling from both cats.

 

5 – How to stop your current cat yowling at your new cat because they feel overwhelmed by their environment

The environment that your current and new cat live together in can drastically affect how they co-exist.

If your cat is yowling at your new cat, it could be because they aren’t living in an ideal environment.

Whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment or a three-story house, it’s important to create a functional living space for your animals. This includes making sure they have the right resources, such as:

  • Plenty of personal space
  • Places to hide, sleep, and destress
  • A clean and easy-to-reach litter box
  • Easily accessible food and water
  • Toys, scratchers, and other forms of enrichment

When you introduce a new cat to your home, it’s important to remember that both of your cats will be making big adjustments.

For your new cat, they are getting ready to explore a completely new place, while your current cat is having to get used to another animal being in their space.

In order to make this a smooth transition for both of your cats, and to limit the possibility of yowling and howling from either of them, you should make sure their shared space is properly set up for multiple animals.

This includes:

  • Having at least one litterbox per cat spaced out around your home
  • Providing multiple food and water dishes
  • Offering a variety of toys and scratchers
  • Allowing your cats enough room to hide, sleep, and get away from each other if needed
  • Giving each animal plenty of love and attention

By creating a positive environment where your cats both have plenty of resources and space, you can help reduce the potential for them to react aggressively toward each other.

 

6 – When your new cat joins the family, make sure to properly introduce him/her to your current cat to avoid bad outcomes.

While your current and new cat might never be best friends, you can help make their lives together easier by conducting a proper introduction.

Yowling and other annoyed and aggressive behaviors are often associated with your cat being uncomfortable about something. In this case, it’s because a new cat has encroached on their space.

That’s why there are steps you can take to make sure both of your cats feel at ease when meeting each other:

  1. Set-up a bathroom or spare bedroom for your new cat to live in for the first few days upon bringing him/her home.

By isolating your new cat, you will give him/her the opportunity to adjust to the new sights and smells, as well as to you and your family.

  • During this time of isolation, monitor your new cat to make sure he/she is eating, drinking, and using the litterbox and not exhibiting any signs of illness.
  • Let your new cat have a toy or bed from your current cat to get used to their scent. Do the same process for your current cat so that they get to know your new cat from afar.
  • Once your new cat has had a few days to adjust to the new surroundings, let your new and current cat have their first proper introduction in an area where both cats feel comfortable and neutral.

It’s natural for your cats to be apprehensive of one another even when properly introducing them, however by taking things slowly, you can reduce the risk of your current cat or new cat feeling especially scared or aggressive.

If your current cat is not eager to accept your new cat, or vice versa, let them get their yowls and howls out and give them time to adjust to the idea of their new furry friend.

 

Writer: Audrey Schottelkorb

Read about Audrey

References

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