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How to Introduce a Kitten to an Older Cat

March 21, 2024

Contrary to popular belief, most cats do better in pairs. Not only will they keep each other active but it’ll also keep them mentally stimulated so that they won’t become bored or stressed.

Unless the cats are already bonded, however, it may take some time for them to get along.

For example, it can take an adult cat several weeks to bond with another feline. Kittens, on the other hand, tend to bond quickly with playmates.

At the end of the day, however, there’s no guarantee that two cats will become friends. For example, they may simply learn to live peacefully with one another, as opposed to being buddies.

Are you thinking of getting another feline? Wondering how you should introduce the new kitten to the resident cat? If so, you’re at the right place.

We’ll be going over everything you need to know about introducing a new cat below. Keep reading to learn more!

Prepare Your Home For the New Kitten

prepare home for new kittenYou want to get your home ready for their meetup before you bring the kitten home. For example, if you can, bring a blanket – one that the kitten has slept on – and place it next to the resident cat’s bed. That’ll allow them to get used to the kitten’s scent.

You’ll also want to prepare a separate room for the kitten so that they will have a safe place to themselves. For instance, you can set up a spare bathroom or bedroom. Make sure to include a litter box, a comfy bed, water, and food bowl, as well as some toys (catnip or crinkle toys are a good choice).

And remember to ‘kitten proof’ the area.

That means removing any breakables, covering any electrical wires or cords, and securing anything that your kitten might eat or chew on. If necessary, you can also block off areas with a baby gate.

It’s also a good idea to set up a cat tree or two so that they will have a higher spot to retreat to, if necessary.

Let Them Get Used to Each Other’s Scent

Once the kitten has arrived, give them a quick tour of the house before letting them settle in their own room. Remember to keep your older cat in another room while your kitten is roaming the house.

Once the kitten has settled into their room, you can let the resident cat out and let them smell your hands, which will be covered with the kitten’s scent.

Giving the other cat some treats will also help them build a positive association with the scent.

Over the next few days, gradually introduce the kitten’s scent into the rest of the house. You can also swap their bedding and food bowls

Let the New Kitten Meet the Existing Cat

Once they’re accustomed to each other’s scents, it’s time for them to meet. We recommend bringing the cats together after a meal as they’ll be more likely to be calm.

Open the door to the meetup room and let them move around as normal.

With the initial face-to-face interaction, there may be some hissing and growling. You may also notice the hairs on their backs rising and their bodies stiffing. Don’t worry about it too much – it’s just them trying to establish a hierarchy in the house.

Just be prepared to separate them in case a fight breaks out. For example, you’ll want to move them away from each other if the older cat tries to strike the kitten.

let kitten meet existing catIf the kitten and older cat are friendly with each other, you can offer them some attention or treats to help them create a positive association.

Just remember not to leave them alone with each other in the room. You want to supervise their interactions carefully to ensure proper behavior.

As the cats become more accustomed to each other, let them spend time together for longer periods during the day.

If they’re not comfortable with each other yet, take a step back. Remember, you never want to force interactions between the kitten and the current cat; you can always revisit the steps at a later time.

Build on the Success

Separate the kitten from the older cats after their initial meeting and keep them apart until their next interaction.

During their time together, make sure to share attention, treats, and affection between them equally – you don’t want them to feel that there’s any favoritism.

Introducing Cats to Other Pets

introduce kitten to dogKittens may become frightened or defensive toward other pets in the home – whether it’s a dog or another animal.

With proper introductions, however, they can be friendly toward them. Remember, most young kittens are playful and inquisitive of their environments – and that includes other animals.

If anything, existing pets may pose more of an issue than the new kitten; this is especially true if they’re known to be territorial.

For those with dogs, it’s a good idea to have them on a leash when you’re introducing them to the kitten. Let them explore each other but pay attention to their body language – be ready to separate the two if tensions arise.

For example, it may be a good idea to keep your dog on a short leash if he has a high prey drive.

Ideally, the dog will observe the kitten but won’t fixate on them.

Just like you would when introducing a kitten to an older cat, you want to start with supervised visits and slowly work your way up toward longer interactions.

Introduce Kitten to Cat – FAQs

What’s the best way to introduce a new kitten if you have one or more cats?

Introducing a kitten to a multi-cat home is not that different from introducing them to a single cat.

Start by introducing them to each others’ scents. You can do this by swapping their beds, towels, and food bowls.

Once they’re used to each other’s scents, you can let them see each other – but remember to keep them separate. For example, you can let them see each other through a screen or glass door.

After a while, you can introduce them, assuming they’ve become more comfortable with each other. Remember to supervise the interaction and separate the cats if a fight occurs.

How long will it take to introduce a kitten to elderly cats?

It depends on your elderly cats’ temperaments, but generally speaking, it shouldn’t take more than a week for them to become relaxed with each other.

What should you do if the cats start fighting?

If the cats show aggression, distract them with a toy or loud noise so that they can retreat. If necessary, you can also separate them using a blanket.

Wait a period before reintroducing them slowly. Depending on the cats’ personalities, permanent separation may be necessary in some cases.

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Sylvia Martinez

Sylvia Martinez is a trusted pet expert who provides her insightful guides on pet care. With a deep understanding of the needs of various pets, she creates detailed resources to assist pet owners in nurturing their animals. Her commitment to promoting compassionate and informed pet care is evident in every guide she creates, making pet ownership a more joyful and informed experience.

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