When you decide to adopt a new kitten, it’s normally more exiting for you and your family than it is for the cat you already own. Although cats are solitary by nature, most will come to accept or ultimately tolerate any additions. Cats can be very territorial, which is why you should always be careful when you introduce a new kitten to your older cat.

If you are introducing kittens to one another, the entire process can be short, lasting as little as 5 – 10 days. Introducing older cats to each other all depends on their temperament and their own unique personalities. When you present a new kitten to your current cat, you should always make sure that you give your existing cat plenty of love and attention. This way, your cat will feel secure and realise that there is no competition with the new addition for your affection.

When you bring your kitten home, do not rush the introduction process.

  • Keep the kitten in a safe room. The safe room can be any small room in your home, such as a bathroom or spare bedroom. The key is to use a room that your current cat doesn’t spend too much time in. In the area, leave your new kitten with its own scratching post, bed, litter box, water and food dish.
  • Your older cat may howl and hiss when standing at the door, expressing unhappiness. When this happens, ignore it, do not punishing your cat as it will make it more difficult for the cats to get along in the future. After a while, the older cat will start to calm down. Praise and pet your cat when behaviour becomes more relaxed and tranquil when close to the safe room.
  • Once your older cat is comfortable with the kitten in the other room, you can start feeding them using the same food dish, although you’ll want to feed them at different intervals at first. This way, the scent of each cat will be present on the food dish, and they will be exposed to each others’ smell during mealtimes.
  • You can also move the kitten to another room and give your older cat access to the area where the kitten is been kept, for short intervals. This will further encourage both cats to get familiar with the scent without being in direct contact.
  • Once both cats are familiar with each others’ smell, you can start to feed them closer together. To do this, feed them both at the same time while the new kitten in the safe room with the door closed, and your first cat on the other side of the room. After doing this a few times, they should start eating without any hissing or growling. At this point, they are ready to be introduced to one another.
  • This first introduction is very important to control. Prepare food for your cat and kitten, and addIntroducing a new Kitten to older Cats_Cosmic Pets 3 a special treat to the bowl. There are many options on the market including kitty pilchards or tuna. Once a day, feed them at the same time with the door to the safe room open, keep them some distance apart and observe their reaction. They should be more focused on their food and not pay too much attention to each other. This should be continued for a couple of days until they seem comfortable eating while the other cat is within eyesight.
  • Once both cats seem relaxed after eating together you can have them interact with each other in the same room, a bit of growling and hissing can be expected. Although they may be used to each others’ scent; your older cat will still feel a bit awkward sharing territory with the new addition. You should play with them both at first, so they can smell one another and greet in their own way. If they start to fight you should break them up, and give them some time apart.

It may take some time to get them fully used to one another, although once they do, they will become playmates for life.

About the Author
Stefanie Bosman is passionate about improving the quality of life of pets, and the humans that love them – one fur kid at a time! She is the owner of Cosmic Pets™, offering a wide range of products that are pet approved and people friendly. For more information visit www.cosmicpets.co.za or contact info@cosmicpets.co.za