We are a pair of cats who are living happily with a great human. We get roasted chicken and catnip as treats on a regular basis. Now our human tells us that she is bringing us home a “new little brother” in a few weeks. Neither of us quite understand what she means by this—we are not related to each other to begin with so we’re not sure how she could be bringing home a kitten related to both of us. But apparently that’s what she says she is doing. Whether or not this new kitty is an actual relative, we are concerned—does this mean there will be less treats for us? What happens if we don’t like this new kitten? Should we beat him up if he refuses to acknowledge our superiority? We’re really not sure what to make of this whole situation.
Dear Concerned Kitties,
Humans are a quirky bunch. They bring home cats you’ve never seen before in your life and insist that they are your new “brother” or “sister.” They’re really into this strange world of make-believe when it comes to relatives. We cats choose who we want to be close to, and being a brother, sister, aunt or second cousin isn’t an important consideration. For some reason, humans think it is, and I really don’t get it, because I’ve heard humans complain very loudly about other humans they are related to. In any case, it makes me glad I’m a cat. Life is way less complicated for us.
Which brings us to what is going on in your household—your human is bringing home a kitten and you are worried you may not like him. This is a valid concern, believe me. A new cat, whether he is young or full grown, is always a disruption to a peaceful home. So I hope your human is smart enough to confine the new kitten to a room all his own for a while, with his own food, water and litter box. Just knowing that the kitten is there is disruptive enough, even without seeing him. I do recommend checking out the empty carrier he arrived in, to see how he smells (you may find this offensive at first, but you know what? I’ve heard of cats who hated each other’s smells at first who later on became close friends).
Once the kitten has settled in for a few days, your human will probably put some time aside to make an introduction. While this may be traumatic, there is a good side to this—instead of less treats, you might wind up getting more! That’s because your human will want you to associate the kitten with good things, so she will probably give you treats if you don’t just charge ahead beat the kitten up first thing. If you behave yourselves, you’ll probably get a treat when the introductory session is over too. In fact, I’d suggest that even if you don’t find the kitten all that distasteful, hold back on your approval just so your human has to arrange more supervised meetings, accompanied by more treats and, perhaps, toys.
After a few meetings, if everything goes well, the kitten will probably be allowed full run of the house and your human will probably stop watching you all so closely. If you want to make sure the kitten acknowledges your superiority as the Cats Who Were There First, this is a good time to bop him on the nose. Because kittens are irreverent little creatures, a good slap or two is often warranted. Just avoid doing it in front of the human, who will probably freak out. No use causing humans stress over routine cat hierarchy maintenance, you know. I’m sure you guys will all come to a mutual understanding eventually.