Updated: August 9, 2022 by Kristen Chapple
One might think that all cats are always eager to meet other cats, especially those tiny funny little balls of fur that kittens are, but that’s not always the case, as sometimes, even an otherwise friendly cat might not get along with a new one. While kittens are always on the lookout to make new friends, older cats might not want them around. So if that’s the case, how do you introduce a new kitten to your other cat?
What can you do to beat the odds and make your new kitten be accepted by the other cat(s) in your household? While in their natural environment, they’ll do as they please, when you adopt a new cat, you might need to try a few tricks and force your cat’s natural instincts to become friends with your new kitten.
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How Do You Introduce a New Kitten to Your Other Cat
The most important side of the problem lies in the fact that the older cat in your house has already established her territory and might not be eager to change anything regarding it. So she might see a new cat as an intruder. But there’s good news. You can make them get along.
Cats don’t like changes, but if you can prepare ahead, take time and make tiny changes, they won’t seem to be that big of a deal to your older feline family member, so she might accept everything a lot easier.
It’s all about territory
Cats are territorial creatures and they will fight to keep it while ignoring and chasing away any trespassing intruder, which might happen to be your new kitten.
That can be avoided by arranging a separate space for your new kitten – like a room – which your other cat won’t have access. Make sure you buy your new family member her own water and food bowls, litter box and toys because cats don’t like sharing their stuff. Also, prepare a sleeping space only for the new kitten.
Make no mistake, your cats will adapt to having one another around, but give them time and their own personal space to retreat to when they had enough social interaction. Eventually, they will get used to one another.
One other trick you can do is use pheromones to create a calm environment for your older cat before you bring a new kitten home. Pheromones are synthetic products that imitate the natural chemical that cats spread around them. They come in sprays or diffusers and help calm and relax cats and they’re a good idea when you introduce a new kitten to your other cat.
Patience is the name of the game here. When first bringing a new kitten home, let your other cat sniff the new family member under your supervision and then take the kitten to her room and let her explore all the new things on her own. Occasionally, let your other cat meet the kitten, but only under your supervision. During the night or when not at home, make sure they don’t have access to each other.
This should go on for about a week, and depending on how your other cat reacts, you can leave the kitten explore the entire house, but watch their interaction closely. Don’t force them to interact and make sure you give enough attention to your older cat after playing with the new kitten. When possible, play with both of them at the same time to encourage them to spend time together.
Use treats and praise when your older cat interacts in a positive manner with the kitten, as that will make her associate the new member with positive things.
Besides their well established territory, cats have a hierarchy and your older cat will try to establish it with the new kitten. The process might involve hissing or swatting, so let them be and don’t interfere if it doesn’t get down to a more aggressive behavior. After a while, they will establish their roles and ranks and your new kitten will know the boundaries of her interaction with the other cat in the house.