You have a cat and for whatever reason you wish to adopt a new kitten. You may be worried that your existing cat won’t tolerate the new addition to the family. Cats are very territorial and it may take a couple of weeks for your resident cat to accept the new kitten. No two introductions are the same. Some cats are very laid back and accept the new kitten immediately, other cats are extremely hostile towards the new kitten and will growl and hiss whenever they encounter the kitten for many weeks.
Cats are creatures of habit and love routine. The introduction of anything new into their routine can cause them a lot of stress. The key to a successful introduction is to do it slowly and in stages. Expect disaster if you were to come in and plonk the new kitten down right in front of your existing cat.
The kitten will be feeling stressed because it has to adjust to it’s new surroundings so it is important to give it a ‘safe’ area of the house to explore without your other cat around.
Select an area such as bedroom, bathroom or laundry. Any room is fine as long as it has a door that shuts and separates the kitten from the resident cat. Provide a litter box, bedding, food, water, scratching post and toys in the kitten’s safe room.
Your existing cat is most certainly going to detect the new kitten under the door by it’s sense of smell. This is good. It gives both the cat and the kitten the chance to grow accustomed to each other’s smell. This is important in the feline world. If the gap under the door is big enough some paw interaction may be begin.
Allow your cat into the kitten’s room periodically BUT only when the kitten is not in there. This will further allow your cat to get used to the kitten’s smell.
After the first day bring the kitten out of his room for short periods to explore the rest of house further BUT only when your cat is safely shut in another room.
When your kitten is comfortable with it’s new surroundings (usually two or three days) it is time for face to face introductions. The safest way to do this is to put the kitten into a cat carrier and then allow your existing cat to enter the room.
The outcome of this initial meeting cannot be predicted as not all cats react the same way. There may be some hissing and growling or paw swiping. Your cat might even run away from the situation. Monitor the situation carefully.
If your cat is curious with no signs of aggression open the carrier door and allow the kitten to come out, but only in his own time. Observe the interaction. Don’t interfere unless you believe the kitten is in danger of being hurt.
If your cat reacts poorly to the situation go back to stage one and put the kitten in the safe room again. Try a face to face introduction again the next day. It can take a period of two to three weeks for your existing cat to fully accept the new kitten.
Some cats act strangely when a new kitten is introduced into the house. They may become skittish, or they may walk around the house apprehensively. They may hide under beds or display other anti-social behavior. This is only temporary. They usually return to their old selves after a period of two to three weeks
Some cats never become ‘friends’ but will tolerate each other mainly by ignoring the other cat’s existence.