Introducing A New Kitten
To Your Resident Cat
Introducing a new kitten to your cat can be a bit of a daunting prospect.
You’re concerned about your adult cat’s feelings, you don’t want your new kitten to get upset and you really want the two of them to get along. This page gives you some useful tips on making the introduction go as smoothly and painlessly as possible.
Tips For Successfully Introducing A New Kitten
There’s loads of different advice available on this subject. I’m going to share the method I use, which has always worked for me.
1) When your new kitten arrives, keep her in a room completely separate from your adult cat for a day or two
This helps your kitten to settle more quickly – she won’t be so overwhelmed or frightened if she’s in a smaller space at first. Also, her scent will be picked up by your adult cat, and his scent by her, which helps prepare them for their first meeting.
2) Put your new kitten into a cat carrier or cage on the floor, then let your adult cat into the room
Introducing a new kitten in this way has several advantages. It lets the two cats look at each other but not touch. The kitten doesn’t get terrified because she won’t get chased and backed into a corner. And the adult cat doesn’t suddenly feel his whole world has been invaded and turned upside down.
Close the room door after the adult cat has entered and let the cats check each other out for a few minutes. Stay in the room with them. If they sniff each other and are friendly, praise them. If one or both of them hiss, spit or growl, don’t worry – this is absolutely normal at this stage. Try to distract your adult cat away from the cage if this happens.
After a few minutes, let the adult cat out of the room if he wants to go. If they’re still being friendly, you can keep them together for longer. If they’re having a spitting contest, it’s probably best to remove the adult cat from the room at this stage.
Repeat this several times a day until they are being friendly and curious about each other.
The next stage of introducing a new kitten involves a role-reversal. Place the adult cat in the cage in another room and bring the kitten into the room to meet him. Repeat this until, once again, the meetings are friendly.
4) Swap roles and rooms again
Place the kitten in the cage in a different room and repeat the process. Then move to another room and put the adult in the cage…etc. etc.
Eventually, the two of them will lose interest in these meetings, and will be used to the sight and smell of each other.
5) Let them out in a room together
When the two of them no longer show much interest in each other, you can let them out in a room together. The best time to do this is when they’re both hungry. Delay their mealtime for an hour or so and then feed them in the same room. Put their food bowls a reasonable distance apart.
Keep a close eye on them, but if you’ve followed these guidelines, you hopefully shouldn’t have any major problems at this stage. If you’re in any doubts about your adult cat’s behavior, keep them apart when you can’t supervise them until you completely trust your adult cat.
6) Let them get used to each other
You’ll usually find your new kitten will start to pester your adult cat once she’s got over her initial fear. She’ll get more and more bold until she pushes her luck too far and earns a swift slap around the head for her efforts. Don’t worry about this or scold your adult cat – he’s teaching her boundaries which she’ll quickly learn. Obviously if your adult cat is being overly aggressive to your kitten, you’ll need to stop him. But this is unlikely; it’s very rare for an adult cat to maliciously attack a kitten – especially if they’ve been introduced in a sensible, controlled way.
Introducing a new kitten to an adult cat in this way may seem like a huge effort compared to just putting them together and letting them get on with it. But I think this extra effort at the start is well worth it – by introducing them in a controlled way, you’re maximizing the chances of them becoming great buddies and living in harmony for many years to come.
If you love cats and want to get all the latest news from the Cat Behavior Explained website, why not sign up for Kitty Chat, our monthly Ezine? It’s informative, useful, fun and free! Just fill out the form below to start reading straight away!