How To Introduce Your New Kitten To Your Cat
If you own a cat, chances are you probably are going to want to add another cat into the mixture into your little fur-family.
Especially as you start looking at cute kitten videos. That’s what got me. (And I now have four cats).
But it is really important that when you get a new kitten, you are smart in how you introduce cats to one another.
Hopefully, you have already done everything else to prepare for your new kitten and have moved onto the introducing step. If you haven’t, make sure you check out 7 Helpful Tip for Adopting A New Kitten.
If you don’t go about introducing cats in the right way, then you are dealing with the potential of having cats that don’t get along.
When cats don’t get along, it can add stress onto your lives, and even make one of the cats very unhappy and could lead you to you questioning re-homing options.
So, do the work in the beginning, and you will be happy in the long run.
Do You Want To Add A New Cat To The Family?
Before you go about adding a new cat to the family, you need to ask yourself a solid question of do you really want to add another cat to the family?
Looking at kittens is one thing, but when you bring a new kitten home, you also need to remember a few things.
You will need to get a second litter box, spend more money on cat food, and have to split your time between your cats.
If everything is checking the boxes with you and you still want another cat, go for it!!! (Like I said, I have four).
You just want to make sure you ask yourself those questions BEFORE bringing a kitten home.
Step One: Go Into It With Patience
The very first step which is really a prelude is to go into this process knowing you are going to need patience.
The new kitten will be nervous, the original cat will be curious about the new creature entering their house.
Relationships take time, so as long as you go into knowing that you will need to be patient, you have already completed the first step!
LOOK AT YOU GO!
Step Two: Set Up Your Safe Room
Now the second step is not going to be as easy as the first step.
You want to set up a safe room for your new kitten. This room should have a door that closes to keep your cat safe along with a litter box in that room, and cat food.
I like to include something new in the room as well, like a cat bed, that the new kitten can make as theirs and start to feel part of their new home.
I cannot stress enough to get something new! Do not give the new kitten something of your cat’s because that will only cause issues with the cat feeling like the new kitten is replacing them.
I like to add into the safe room, a cat bed and a toy whenever I get new kittens. I will usually get them a plush toy for them to cuddle with and the cat dancer.
The cat dancer looks like a nothing toy, and costs pennies, but it provides an awesome toy for cats to play with not only on their own, but with their new owner.
After you put everything in the room, you can then place the kitten in the safe room and close the door.
I like to recommend that you sit in there with your kitten for a little bit so they know who you are and then give them space to get used to their new little space.
Step Three: Introduce Your Cats From A Distance
Once your kitten is in their safe room and starting to feel more comfortable, you can introduce your cat to their new family member.
I like to give the kitten at least an hour to smell each other from the door without seeing each other.
After that, you can open the door. I still like to use a screened baby gate so that they can see each other, but still stay safe from any hissing.
Note, there WILL most likely be hissing. This is not a bad thing. Cats hiss at new animals all the time.
Let them see each other for a little bit, and then close the door again. You can do this a couple of times for the next day or two.
You want to keep them separate for at least a day for your new kitten to get used to their surroundings.
Step Four: Switch Roles
After a day or two of keeping your kitten in their safe room with you checking in on them, and letting your cat smell them from a distance, swap places.
Place your cat in the safe room, and let your kitten roam the house.
Not only does this help your new kitten get used to the new house, it also lets your cat smell the new cat and get used to the scent of the new kitten.
This step I would only do for a most a couple of hours.
Your cat is used to roaming their entire house. Chances are they are not going to be super happy being locked in a room for more than a couple of hours.
After you have let them both roam around for a couple of hours, move them back to their original spaces.
Chances are your kitten will have really liked roaming and won’t be too happy to go into their safe space.
If that is the case, chances are you are ready to move onto step five.
Step Five: Let Them Meet Each Other
Now’s the real fun part. You will actual introduce your new kitten to your cat. You can open up the baby gate and let your kitten out in the house.
Again, chances are the cat may hiss as the kitten leave the room, but hopefully having some time to see and smell each other has made the introduction a little easier.
The next question I always get when it comes to actually introducing your new kitten to your cat is the timelines. How quickly can you introduce them?
The truth is, it depends.
Every single family is different. I know some people will wait a week before introducing their kittens to the house cat, and I know some people that do this in a matter of hours.
I didn’t really know about introducing cats when I got my second cat, but she was so shy she basically hid for the first week.
Our third and fourth cat, we gave them about three days to get used to the home and the other cats before we let them out to be wild.
See how your cats interact with each other in these first five steps and put your own spin on it!
Step Six: Rewarding A Positive Meeting
The biggest thing you want to do when it comes to introducing your cat to your new kitten is to reward positive behaviors.
You want the original cat to have a positive association with the new kitten. If they are nice to them, the original cat gets rewarding.
You’re not replacing them, your adding onto their lives.
If your first interaction isn’t positive, don’t punish your cat. Instead, show love to your kitten.
And then when they are nice, or maybe just not hissing, show love to your cat.
This is probably the MOST important step in introducing a new kitten to your cat. Why?
Because how you react to their behavior will set the mood for how they will treat each other going forward.
For example, when Phoebe met the kittens. The first time she groomed their heads I kept saying ‘AWE PHOEBE THAT’S SO NICE! THAT’S SO GOOD PHOEBE’.
And she then realized that it was a good thing to be nice to the kittens, and she would get even MORE attention if she was kind to them.
Now they sleep next to each other and wrestle and definitely have a sisterly relationship.
Step Seven: Remember It Will Still Take time
Finally, remember that this entire process will take time even after you have initially introduced your new kitten to your cat.
In very rare cases, both cats will get along with each other right off the bat.
However, in most cases, you want to give them a few months to get used to each other and establish the dominance factor.
There has to be an alpha in their little pack (besides you). And sometimes that comes easily, and sometimes it’s a struggle.
With my cats, Phoebe let it be known EARLY that she was alpha. And every one definitely fell into place. That allowed her to be kind to the kittens, while still knowing who is the dominant cat in the pack.
Keep in mind there is no timeline. Just know that within the next year, you will have a happy home with multiple cats that make your lives even better!