Thinking about adding another floof to your fur-fam? Whilst it’s a super exciting time, introducing a new kitten to your resident old tom can also be a bit of a challenge. Cats are sensitive souls and creatures of habit, so making sure this transition is as smooth as possible is paramount to keeping the peace at home. Today we’re going to lay out the 7 Do’s and 3 Don’ts of how to introduce a kitten to a cat to help your feline family members get along like best buds in no time.
1: Do – Prepare Your Home
Step number one for how to introduce a kitten to a cat is preparing your home. Moving away from the comfort of their nursing mother or litter is an anxiety-inducing time for your new kitten, so setting up an area for them to get accustomed to that’s away from your resident cat is important for reducing some of that stress.
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A spare room, bathroom or laundry room is perfect for this and should include everything your kitty needs such as water, a litter box, a cat bed, toys, a scratching post and of course some high-quality natural kitten food.
Wait until your kitten has become comfortable with you before adding another cat into the mix. Signs that your kitten may be ready for the next step include purring and rubbing up against your leg when you enter the room rather than hiding, playing with their toys, and displaying normal eating and drinking habits.
2: Do – Choose the Right Time to Introduce a Kitten to a Cat
Now that your kitten has become comfortable with their hooman family members, it may be time to introduce them to their feline brother or sister. Don’t forget about your old tom during this time. A new cat family member can be seen as an intruder to their territory at first, so make sure they’re comfortable by choosing a time in their lives that’s relaxed.
No other major life changes should be happening in your household and use a day when you know you’ll be at home to spend plenty of time with your cat and kitten.
3: Do – Swap Scents
Cats explore the world through their keen sense of smell which is roughly 14 times stronger than ours, so it’s impawtent to let your furry friends get used to each other’s scent even before trying to introduce a kitten to a cat.
Taking something that has your kitten’s scent on it such as a rug from their bed and bringing it to your old tom to sniff or putting it in their own bed is a great way for them to get used to each other’s scent before meeting so that their first introduction is as much of a shock. This way they’re more likely to accept each other as one of the pack before even meeting.
4: Do – Start with Short Visits
Once your furry friends have had a chance to get used to each other’s scents, it’s time for a face-to-face cat introduction. Start with short visits and supervise their playtime. Let them sniff each other and observe their body language. If either of them seems stressed or aggressive, separate them and try again later, patience is key!
5: Do – Give Them Their Own Space
Once your cat and kitten seem to be getting along, the temptation might be there to try and make them instant besties by placing their beds next to each other or coaxing them both onto your bed for cat and kitty cuddles.
But, even the best of friends need their own space, and your furry friends are no exception. Make sure each cat has their own food, water, litter box and sleeping area. This will help prevent any territorial disputes or catfights.
6: Do – Provide Plenty of Playtime
Cat playtime is a great way to help your furry friends bond. Invest in plenty of toys and interactive playthings such as tunnels, balls or even spare cardboard boxes for them to jump and hide in. This will not only help them become besties, but it will also help them burn off any excess energy which we know hyperactive kittens have boundless supplies of.
7: Do – Be Patient When You Introduce a Kitten to a Cat
Introducing a kitten to a cat takes time and patience. Don’t expect your furballs to become best buds overnight. It may take weeks or even months for them to fully accept each other. Remember to be patient, stay positive, and reward good behaviour with plenty of treats and love.
Now that we’ve covered the 7 steps on how to introduce a kitten to a cat, let’s talk about some of the common mistakes to avoid.
1: Don’t – Rush the Process
Introducing a new kitten to your resident cat can be exciting, but it’s important not to rush the process. Cats are creatures of habit, and they need time to adjust to changes in their environment. Take things slow and let your furry friends set the pace.
2: Don’t – Ignore Body Language
Cats communicate through body language, and it’s important to pay attention to their signals. If your resident cat is hissing or growling at your kitten, it’s a sign that they need more time to adjust. Separate them and try introducing your kitten to your cat again later.
3: Don’t – Punish Bad Behaviour
Like dogs, cats don’t respond well to punishment, and it can actually make the situation worse. Instead, focus on rewarding good behaviour with healthy cat treats and plenty of kitty-cat cuddles. This will help your furry friends associate good behaviour with positive outcomes.
Introducing a kitten to a cat can be a bit of a challenge, but with patience and preparation, you can help your furry family members become the best of friends. Remember to take things slow, pay attention to body language, and provide plenty of resources and playtime…oh, and don’t forget to use this guide on how to introduce a kitten to a cat.
If you’ve recently adopted a kitten head on over to our library of Cat Information Articles and Cat Breed Guides for plenty of helpful resources to get you up to speed on kitten life in no time.