Introducing Another Adult Cat Or Kitten To Your Cat
23rd July 2020
It is always going to be potentially difficult to introduce a new cat to your resident cat. It is important to recognise that even when the introduction process is conducted as carefully as possible, this is not a guarantee that the cats will happily accept one another. Some cats simply do not want to live with other cats and it is important that you are able to recognise and act on this in order to ensure the cats in your care have the best welfare possible, both in terms of thinking about their physical health and their mental wellbeing.
Reading Thinking of getting a cat? will help you decide whether your home and lifestyle are able to support another cat effectively.
Your cats may live with you for many years. Getting the introduction right and taking extra time if necessary to carry it out could make a huge difference to their perceptions of each other. Not only do owners feel much better if their cats get on rather than disliking each other, but also the cats stress is reduced considerably.
Introduce Your Cats By Smell First
Encourage your senior cat to spend time in a separate room while you introduce your new kitten to the new surroundings. Your new kitty will quickly pick up on the smells around the house and know theres another feline in residence. You can then swap them around, allowing the senior cat to wander around and, in turn, smell the new kittens scent.
Remember to praise and reward both cats while they are learning that theres another kit on the block!
Prepare The Space And Set Up A Kitten Room
Its essential that you have a space set up for your new family addition, and a spare room is the perfect thing for this. Try and make it an area that your cat doesnt use often, and wont be upset about losing to the kitten for a while. Place all the kittens essential items in its new room, making sure that it has a litter box, food, water and scratch post.
Its also a good idea to get your kitten used to its house or crate at this stage, so you should leave it in the room and every now and then place the kitten inside with treats. A great idea before the kitten arrives is to use a Feliway spray, which is a device that that sprays out the pheromones cats excrete when they are happy and relaxed. This will help your new kitten settle in more easily.
Choosing The Right Cat
A kitten might be less of a threat to a resident cat than an adult, because it is still sexually immature – however introducing a playful youngster can be stressful for an older cat who prefers the quiet life, so an adult might be a better choice. Consider your own cats personality and age when deciding on what sort of cat to introduce. Cats who have lived alone for many years or those who have lived with cats unsuccessfully in the past will find it harder to adapt to living with another, so think carefully about whether introducing a cat into your home is the right thing for your existing pet. If you already have two or more cats that get on well, another addition may destabilise the group. You will have to make sure that there is enough space and resources available to allow all the cats to share peacefully, and a very slow and careful introduction will be needed.
Introducing A New Kitten To An Older Cat
Bringing home a new kitten is exciting, but you have to introduce it properly to your older cat. This task can be tricky, depending on your resident felines personality and social skills. For a good start, I recommend the following tips:
- Keep them separated for a while
Youre probably excited to show your older cat the new kitten, but hold up! In the meantime, keep the two felines separate. This is to let the kitten adjust to its new home. Arriving at a new house is stressful enough, what more seeing and smelling a large cat at once. Thats too much stress for a small kitty.
I recommend keeping the kitten in a separate room that your older cat wont access. This way, the kitten will attach its smell inside, which is useful for the succeeding steps.
Make sure that the room is complete with a cat bed, kitten pacifier, food and water bowls, toys, and other supplies. It doesnt have to be too lavish; get the essentials covered. please read here how to make a kitten pacifer
- Let them sniff
The next step is to introduce the new kitten through the sense of smell. As you know, cats recognize other cats through each ones unique scent. This is also true if you are going to introduce a new kitten to your older cat.
Do the same on your kitten. Place your older cats toy in your kittens room so it will be acquainted with the scent. This will prevent stress once the two cats meet.
- Prepare for the first meeting
- Keep encounters short
- Dont run favorites!
Consider Your Cats’ Personalities
Before adding a new kitten to your home consider your current cat’s personality, age, and attitude. If your cat is in the prime of her life and has a bold, outgoing personality, she may enjoy having a fascinating new roommate to watch and play with. On the other hand, if your cat is getting up in years or has a reclusive attitude, adding a new kitten may just make the poor thing anxious and stressed. Most cats will accept a new kitten over time, but if you know your cat will be miserable, you might want to hold off on adopting a new kitten.
How To Introduce A Kitten To Your Older Cat
Cats are strange creatures, theres no doubt about that but thats why we love them. And as every cat owner knows, most cats prefer to rule the roost.
However, this doesnt mean you cant get another kitty in your home. While it make take awhile, eventually your older cat can learn to share their castle with a new family member, and will over time learn to coexist peacefully with another feline and eventually become friends!
When bringing a new kitten into your home, you want to have a pretty solid preparation plan in place to ensure that there isnt a massive territorial tiff between your new cat and your usual resident feline. Rushing the introduction process will only stress both kitties out, and can end up in serious fights. This is especially bad for your new kitten; as they are much smaller, they will not be able to defend themselves against a bigger and older cat, and are therefore much more likely to sustain serious injuries.
If youre about to bring a new kitten into your home, read our guide on how to make the process of introducing your cat to your new addition smoothly, and hassle free.
How To Find The Right Match For Your Cat
Like finding a roommate or partner, matching up cats requires an understanding of what makes each creature tick. Consider your resident cats personality, and look for a cat thats similar in personality and energy level.
The more you can get cat personalities to match, the better, says Megan Maxwell, a certified applied animal behaviorist in Blacksburg, Virginia. Cats that are similar in personality are more likely to hit it off. A playful cat is a good match for a playful kitten. And that lively kitten may clash with a calm, older cat.
Step 3: Finally Allow Them To Meet
The best time to make the formal introduction is at mealtime, when the desire for food will overcome all other distractions. As they meet for the first time, expect some growling and hissing – this is a normal part of them establishing their individual places within the hierarchy. Be ready with a blanket to separate them just in case a full-scale fight develops. But hopefully, your careful preparations will mean that by this stage, they ‘recognize’ each other sufficiently to co-exist for a few minutes over dinner.
Step 3 Later That Day Swap Cats Scent
Cats communicate visually but also by scent. So you must start by introducing the cats to each other by swapping scent.
- Place your new cats towel on or near your resident cats favourite place and encourage him to approach
- If your cat starts to hiss, spit or avoid the towel place it on the floor away from his bed or food bowl. Each day move the towel closer to the cats food bowl.
- Do the same thing with your resident cats bedding giving it to the new cat for her to smell.
- Swap food bowls between the cats. They will start to associate the positive act of eating with the scent of the other cat. If one of the cats is sick or on a special diet, ask your vet before trying this.
- Once they are completely tolerant of each others scent proceed to visual contact.
How long will it take for cats to like each others scent?
This can vary from a few hours to a few months.
Important tip when introducing cats
Set aside special play and petting time each day. You want to have one on one time with each cat when your introduction is taking longer.
Arrange A Dinner Date
The way to a cats heart is through its stomach. This makes dinner dates a great way to enhance the introduction of senior cats and kittens. Feed both cats at the same time, divided by a barrier.
The best way to do this is to feed the kitten in its assigned room, placing a cat in the doorway. Place the senior cats food bowl on the other side of the barrier. As this is a change in routine, you may need to encourage your cat to eat in this unfamiliar locale.
With luck, both cats will tuck into their respective meals. The presence of the other feline will not go unnoticed, though. Both cats will associate the other with food. This is a good thing. Most cats will do anything for a favored snack, including accepting another animal.
This dinner date will also go some way to reassuring your senior cat that things are not changing drastically. The arrival of the new kitten does not mean you will stop feeding your older cat. Over time, trust will grow.
Choose The Right Kitten
If you are looking at adopting a new kitten,you need to make sure that you choose one which is more likely to get along with your kitty. Cats are territorial, and therefore you have to choose very carefully to ensure that they dont feel threatened by the new addition. Choosing a kitten of a different sex to your cat is often the best choice, as they are less likely to feel aggressive towards a cat that wont be competing with them.
A bouncy kitten could be a lot for an older cat to take on, but the kitten will be grateful to have company after leaving its littermates. Unfortunately, there is no way to judge whether your cat and the newcomer will get along; you simply have to follow the correct introduction procedure and hope that they see whisker to whisker.
Introduce Kittens To Older Cats Through Their Scent
This begins the process of a safe and smooth introduction because cats rely heavily on their sense of smell to identify people, objects, and other pets in their environment, so when you provide the scent from each cat to the other one and have it carried through towels, blankets or clothes, this can further solidify their relationship without the presence of the other cat nearby to feel threatened.
Prepare Your Home Before Introducing Cats To Each Other
Before you bring home your kitten, you have some work to do. Keeping in mind that cats arent usually keen on sharing, plan to double all of your cat supplies. Dr. Fry recommends adding two more litter boxes , extra scratching posts, an additional cat bed, double the amount of cat toys and a second set of food and water dishes in a separate feeding area.
While cats always enjoy vertical space, its especially helpful when introducing cats to each other. Vertical space is very important to cats, says Dr. Fry. They like watching from above, so you should have a tall condo for each cat. For additional spaces, consider cat window perches or wall shelves, keeping in mind that your senior cat may have trouble jumping and would appreciate some lower lookout points.
Youll also want to prepare a temporary room for your kitten that has everything hell need as you slowly work to introduce him into your home.
Two To Four Months Old
At this age, the kitten could be fairly large but usually smaller than an adult cat. Expect the resident older cat to be more fearful. As an added challenge, kittens of this age group are usually extremely active. These little balls of energy may be small in size, but they can deter an adult cat by their sheer enthusiasm and level of activity.
Thats why its best and safest to make the introductions gradually in this case. The larger the kitten, the longer and more gradual the process.
Start by keeping the newcomer in her own safe room for a few days. Give her time to adjust to her new surroundings before she needs to deal with meeting the resident cat.
Follow the gradual introduction process, as its described in this article. Go slowly but know that, on average, the process should take less time than it would when both cats are full-grown. The younger the kitten, the shorter the process.
Keep Health Issues In Mind
Weve already mentioned how newborn kittens should essentially be quarantined because of their fragile immune system. There are other health issues associated with introducing a kitten into your household.
If you adopted a kitten rescued off the streets or from a shelter, the kitten could be carrying some kind of disease or parasites. This time, its your older cat whos at risk.
Its always wise to make sure your resident cat is up on her shots before introducing another cat into your home. Its also good practice to have the kitten seen by your veterinarian before making the introductions. The kitten needs to be checked for infections as well as dewormed and possibly de-fleaed.
Dont rush into making the introductions until the kitten gets a clean bill of health.
Step 1 Before You Take Your New Cat Home
- Set aside one room for your new cat away from the resident cats favourite place.
- Have at least one comfortable sleeping area, one hiding area such as her carrier box, crate or a tent bed, a litter box, a water bowl and a food bowl.
- Plug-in a Feliway® diffuser. You can get one at your veterinarian office. It reproduces cat facial pheromones that are pacifying to cats. It will help lower their stress. Its a good idea to have a diffuser in the new cat room and somewhere in the house where the resident cat spends time.
How To Introduce New Kittens To Older Cats
If youre , youll know that we recently decided to adopt two more kittens from a shelter and this meant that we had to introduce them to our existing three cats that already had made our house into their personal kingdom. So we set out to integrate these two sibling sets into one big happy family and our system worked amazingly! All our rescue cats, related or not related are bonded now!
While our big cats are well-socialized, good natured, and non-aggressive, they were also naturally incredibly wary at first of the new little fur balls we brought home and hissing and growls did occur at first. The kittens were young and at the age where they were very accepting of the world around them and were super chill about the whole thing. But the older kitty crew took some convincing before they accepted the newbies without any hissing. It wasnt love at first sight, but we took several measures to help them accept each other, bond and to help them get comfortable around each other in the most gentle way possible and it worked! All our cats and kittens are now fully integrated into one big happy kitty family. So Im going to share our strategy here in hopes that it might help you too in a similar situation.
Two very important points to note before starting:
- Big cat litter box: white version: | dark grey version: | pearl version:
- Kitten litter box: a positive experience for the kitten, B) respect from the older cat.)
Mingle The Cats And Kittens Scents
The more the cats smell like each other, the easier it will be for them to get friendly.
Get in the habit of petting one and then petting the other without washing your hands in between. Switch elements of their beds or bedding from time to time, so their beds start to smell like each other.
You can even try rubbing a cloth on the scent glands of the face of each cat, and then rubbing that cloth on the furniture to further disseminate and mix their smells.
Use Scent Transfer To Help Your Cats Get Comfortable
Transferring each cats scent to a sock and swapping them will safely allow each cat to become accustomed to the other cats scent.
Wipe the resident cats face, especially the mouth and cheek areas, with a sock, and place it in the new cats area. Then wipe the new cats face with a different sock and place that in the resident cats area. The following short video, by Johnson-Bennett, describes this process.
Offer Plenty Of Treats
Treats almost always help! Make sure you have enough for both cats. When you see them interacting nicely with each other, offer a treat to help reinforce this positive behavior. If youve already been training your older cat using positive reinforcement methods, its a great idea to do the same with your kitten.
Keep Your Old And New Cats Separated At First
Whatever you do, dont just toss the new kitten right into the mix. This will terrify the kitten and antagonize your existing cat.
Instead, keep the new cat segregated in its own room or section of the house, with its own food, water, bed and litter. You can also provide them with more of a sense of security by keeping them together with the cat carrier you brought them home in, and the blanket you wrapped them up with.
This transition period will help the cats get used to each others smells, and will let the new kitten pick up the smell of your home before getting too close to the other cat. And on that note.
Before You Make Any Kitty Introductions
Before you introduce a second cat to your home, theres lots to think about – including whether adding a new kitten is the right thing to do!
Remember that cats are naturally solitary animals and, particularly if your resident cat is older, it may be scary to see a new bouncy feline entering their territory or scooting under the sofa to play hide and seek. If you choose to introduce a new pet, dont let their first encounter be stressful! Instead, make a gradual introduction, giving each time to get used to the others scent.
Is your new pussycat is going to be a lap cat or an independent cat? Try to get an idea of your new kittys personality before it arrives in its new home – you will probably be able to sense this by watching them while theyre still with their feline brothers and sisters. Your new bundle of joy may be very lively when playing, or may sit back and watch all the antics going on! Ideally, your new kitty should be smaller, of the opposite gender and be similarly active as your resident cat.
Step 1: Prepare Your Home
If possible, before your new kitten comes home, take a new toy or a blanket to the breeder’s premises or the pet shop, and get some of your new kitten’s scent rubbed in. Then, leave this lying around at home for your existing cat to become familiar with. When they first meet, she’ll recognise the scent as something non-threatening.
Prepare a separate room for the new kitten to occupy for the first few days, equipped with her own water bowl, food bowl, toys and bedding. Relax, this should only be a short-term measure.
Introducing The Kitten To Your Resident Cat
Introducing a new cat or kitten to a household can be quite stressful, to all concerned.
Indeed, it can be easier to introduce a dog to a cat than a cat to a cat. This is because a cat wont view a dog as competition for resources it might have to get used to its excited behaviour and learn to stand up to it to avoid being chased, but this usually happens very quickly and much more easily than we imagine. The cat-cat thing is much more difficult.
Its usually easier to introduce a new kitten than an adult cat this tends to be less challenging for the resident cat. Kitten body language and movements are less threatening and they have yet to adopt the concept of territory and competing with others.
A little bit of extra effort at the beginning can make the difference between a good or bad relationship in the future.
Setting Up The Home For Your New Cat
If you have made the decision to get a new cat, the first step when you bring it home is to confine the new cat to a single room. Ideally, pick a room that your resident cat does not use much and that you do not need constant access too, perhaps a spare bedroom or study.
Ensure the new cats room contains:
- Scratching post
These items should be those that came with the cat, or brand-new. It is not a good idea to use some of your resident cats belongings as these will smell of your resident cat, which may make your new cat uneasy at a time when you are trying to help it to feel relaxed in its new surroundings. Likewise, reducing the number of belongings your current cat has has the potential to cause it distress.
In addition, the use of synthetic feline facial pheromone Feliway Classic in both the new cats room and in the area where the resident cat spends the most time will help to create feelings of familiarity and security within the physical environment. For the new cat, this may help to speed up adaption to the new environment and, for the resident cat, it may help prevent any feelings that its territory is being threatened.
Give the new cat plenty of time to become accustomed to the routines of the new home and the people that live within it, and to allow your new cats scent to become part of its room. This will occur:
Signs of frustration at being confined include:
Give Your Kitten Her Own Litter Box
Always provide your new kitten his own litter box and food and water bowls away from where your current cat dines and does her business. Todd says that kittens and cats should have their own everything. If each animal has their own dining and bathroom facilities, there’s less chance of disputes.
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