Treat-giving can also be done by the spouse. It may initially involve casually tossing a treat so the cat can eat it from a distance. You can also do clicker training with your cat so that you can click and reward for any positive step toward your spouse. In some cases, that positive step may simply be that the cat is willing to step into the room where your spouse is sitting. Regardless of whether you clicker train or are simply offering treats for desired behaviors, set the bar low enough so the cat is rewarded for the smallest of steps.
The Power of Play
Playtime is a powerful tool in your behavior modification toolbox. When a cat is in play-mode, she’s having a good time, the good brain chemicals are being released and she’s making positive associations with her surroundings. Initially, you may have to conduct the play sessions while your spouse sits on the sidelines, but it’ll be a way for your cat to see that she can relax her guard and focus on the toy instead of worrying about your spouse. Use an interactive toy based on a fishing pole-design so you can keep the action going. Don’t move the toy too close to your spouse. Keep the action within the cat’s comfort zone.
In subsequent sessions, you can sit closer to your spouse as you conduct the interactive play session and then eventually hand the toy off to the other person. Work up to having your spouse initiate the games with your cat.
Provide your cat with plenty of areas where she can retreat and feel comfortable when your new spouse is around. If there’s no place for her to hide or retreat, she’ll feel very vulnerable and end up diving under the bed. There should be at least one cat tree in the environment so your cat can have a high elevation where she can feel safe. Instruct your spouse that the cat tree is off-limits and when the cat is up there it means she wants to be left alone. If your spouse respects that then the cat will begin to feel as if she can go to the tree instead of hiding under the bed in another room.