13 Ecology Ablazingly

Introducing a New Kitten to an Older Cat

new kitten with older cat

You love your furry family member and cater to her every whim, but now you’ve lost a piece of your heart to a new kitten. How do you break it to your first love that your relationship, and home, will now be shared? Introducing a new kitten to an older resident cat can be stressful for pets and their owners, but with these basic techniques you can minimize anxiety and move on to the group hug.

Visit your Vet

Visit the vet before introducing your pets. Your kitten should be thoroughly checked for parasites, vaccinated, and bathed. Even if your kitten isn’t dirty, a quick bath will eliminate odors, which can freak out your resident cat.

Plan the Introduction

Schedule your pets’ introduction during a weekend or when your schedule allows you to spend time with them. Have an isolated place prepared for your new kitten. Your kitten should have his own litter box, food and water dishes, and toys ready in a room you can close off from the resident cat. Carry your new kitten into the house slowly. Speak calmly and positively to your resident cat, who will likely be curious and apprehensive of the new animal in her domain.

Watch for Reactions

Check out your resident cat’s fur, tail and facial expression. Is she sniffing and walking close? Fur flat or raised? If your cat appears calm, gently squat down until your cat can choose to walk up and smell her new roommate.

If your cat is skittish, hissing, or otherwise looks scared, this will be a short introduction. Take the kitten to his new room and shut the door. You may spend a few moments with the kitten as he gets adjusted, but quickly return to reassure your older cat. Give affection, kind words and treats.

Don’t Rush Things

When your kitten acts ready to explore beyond his room, arrange smaller meetings between the younger and older cat. Make their contact longer as they start to get along. If you have multiple cats, you may notice they team together for solidarity. Eventually one of the resident cats will be sent to check out the new kitten and serve to introduce him to the group. It is natural for your kitten to become more affectionate with one cat in a group before becoming comfortable with the others.

If hissing or fighting breaks out, quickly separate both cats, but do not punish them. They are only acting on their instincts out of fear and anxiety. Be patient, continue short meetings, and soon your older cats will begin to accept your new kitten.

Give your Older Cat Attention

As cute as your new kitten is, be sure to give as much or more affection to your older cat, who may be experiencing rejection. Look for signs of discontent in your older cat the first few weeks, like defecating on your personal items or scratching new areas of the house, and distract her with new toys and lots of time and attention.

Watch for Changes in Habit

Watch all your pets, new and old, eating habits and litter box behaviors. Some change is to be expected. If you notice one animal avoiding the litter box, you may need to add one or two more at different locations in the home. You may need to add them anyway to help control pet odor. Add additional food and water dishes as necessary until all your animals are comfortably eating and drinking.