Introducing a kitten to your resident cat
Introducing a kitten to your resident cat can be a complex task.
Cats are very territorial. So when you think about having a new company for your resident cat, a dog would be much more easier to introduce. But if you are a cat lover, you will fall in love by a baby kitten and be willing to enlarge your cat family. So with cats the adaptation will work better with baby kittens.
From the point of view of your cat, it means “there’s a new smell similar to mine but not mine, and that’s not safe”. A new cat turns on the alarm about competing for resources: food, water, elimination place (litter), sleeping /resting places, safe places to hide, toys and places to play or hunt).
On my last article I’ve referred to the 5 pillars that should exist at your place for the wellness and confidence of your resident cat in first place. If you have doubts about what you should have please do contact me.
Rarely by chance the old system of putting cats together and let them sort it out will work out fine, but if you want your home to be a peaceful place of coexistence between them forever, you should really start thinking like a cat and follow procedures given by several cat experts all over the world.
Aim and steps:
Step 1-Preparation and mind set “Thinking like a cat”
Your aim will be to make a fusion of both cats smell.
Set up the place (all new resources, don’t use the oldies of your cat) for your new kitten on a room that has not a preference by your resident cat. If possible don’t bring the kitten home without getting your resident used to his smell. Exchange beds, bring your kitten’s blanket and rub on your furniture on your resident cat,
This will allow them to get use to eachother´s smell gradually. Observe the reactions. The new kitten usually is very open to the new, but your cat may not feel confortable. So this will be repeated until you observe the new smell being accepted. At that moment you can bring the kitten into your house.
Step 2-Introduction at home
Try to introduce them by keeping the baby cat on his transport box and observe their body language. If they are not confortable you have to stop and return to the first step. If they have a positive response you can start by opening the transport box gently and see if they feel confortable and act peacefully, allthroughout the proccess speak gently with them. If they are coping associate a nice experience, like giving both cats their favourite (wet) food or snacks.At any moment in this room there should be hidding places so they can hide if they feel the need. Always supervise these first encounters to check if they keep the same atitude.
It’s very important that you don’t accelerate. Always respect their signs, and if there are almost about to fight or chasing immediatly return to the previous steps.
Step 3-Maintain the individual territories for a while
If all goes well you can allow them to be in contact while your are home. And keep them in different places while you are away. Only when you are completely sure they are ok without your supervision you can allow them to stay freely at home. When having 2 cats, always have 3 litter boxes, preferably open ones in different safe quiet rooms of your house perfectly visible and providing hiden places on each room. You will not want them to hunt eachother when going to toilet.
On this proccess there may occur a need of swapping places. Allow the new kitten to know the rest of the house and introduce your resident in the kitten’s room. If you can swap them twice a day. This will be a very important step that will give your resident cat the chance to bravely explore the new smelly territory.
During the introduction period, there can be a stressful atmosphere, so playing time will be essential to mantain an individual bond and a moment of fun with your cat.
If there’s a need, sinthetic feronomons or even floral therapy can be used to help relaxing the animals and ease the process.
This article sources on” International Cat Care” and “Feline master classes” by Hospital do Gato.
Feel free to contact me, if you need assistance on how to introduce a kitten to your resident cat. I’ll be glad to help.
Consultations cost 25€/hour plus transport fees if needed.