Introducing a new kitten to your household can be an exciting time for the whole family, but it's important to consider the potential impact on your current cat. However, with careful planning, understanding cat psychology, and being considerate, you can minimize stress during the introduction process and establish a strong foundation for a harmonious relationship.
“Say hello to your new baby brother!”
Introducing a new kitten to your household can be an exciting time for the whole family, but it's important to consider the potential impact on your current cat. Cats are naturally territorial and aware of their social order, so bringing a new kitten into their environment can trigger various negative reactions.
Jealousy may arise as your current cat sees the newcomer receiving attention. Discomfort may occur if there are issues with litter box arrangements, as cats are particular about cleanliness. Aggression and moodiness can arise due to the presence of an energetic and bothersome youngster.
However, with careful planning, understanding cat psychology, and being considerate, you can minimize stress during the introduction process and establish a strong foundation for a harmonious relationship.
Step 1: Preparing Your Home For The New Arrival
To facilitate a smoother introduction, you can try a scent exchange technique before bringing the new kitten home. Take a toy or blanket to the breeder's premises or pet shop and have it rubbed with the scent of the new kitten. Leave this item at home for your current cat to sniff and become familiar with so she recognizes the scent as something non-threatening.
In addition, it's beneficial to prepare a separate room in your home, such as a spare bedroom or utility room, for the new kitten. Equip the room with essentials like a water bowl, food bowl, toys, and bedding. This allows the kitten to have her own space for the first few days, ensuring a gradual and controlled introduction.
Remember, this separation is only temporary and serves as a precautionary measure to help the cats adjust to each other at their own pace.
Step 2: Allow Them To Become Familiar With Each Other’s Scent
When the new kitten arrives, it's important to keep your existing cat in a separate room that is comfortable and contains her favorite items. Introduce the new kitten to the house by giving her a brief tour to help her acclimate, and then settle her into her designated room.
Afterward, you can allow your resident cat to come out of her room, but make sure she is still kept separate from the kitten. Let her smell your hands, which will carry the scent of the new kitten, and offer her treats to provide comfort and create a positive association with the new scent.
This gradual introduction and positive reinforcement help to familiarize your resident cat with the presence of the new kitten and promote a sense of security and acceptance.
To facilitate a smooth introduction, gradually introduce the kitten's scent by swapping food bowls and bedding over a few days. Once both cats are comfortable with each other's scent, allow them to individually explore each other's territory while still keeping them physically separated.
Step 3: Finally, Allowing Your Cats To Meet
The most suitable time for the formal introduction is during mealtime when the cats' focus on food overrides other distractions. As they meet for the first time, it's normal to expect some growling and hissing as they establish their individual places within the hierarchy. Be prepared with a blanket nearby in case a serious fight breaks out, but with proper preparations, they should have developed enough recognition to coexist for a few minutes during mealtime.
Step 4: Gradual Introduction And Treating Them Both Equally
After the first mealtime together, it's important to separate the cats and gradually increase the time they spend together. During their time together, share treats, affection, and attention equally to foster positive associations and avoid favoritism.
As the "leader of the pack," your role is not to mediate or determine the hierarchy between the cats. They will naturally establish their own dynamics. Your responsibility is to maintain impartiality and fairness in all aspects of their care.
While it's tempting to shower the cute kitten with extra attention, it's crucial to take a calm and paced approach to the introduction process. Building a respectful partnership between the older and younger cat and distributing love equally will lead to a harmonious and happy two-cat family.
By following these steps and nurturing their relationship, you'll be rewarded with love and joy from both cats.
Did you know that more than 3.2 million cats are collected by shelters across the country every year? Sadly, nearly one-third of them never make it out and are euthanized due to health problems or sometimes simply overcrowding. Want to know more about adopting a cat? Click here to read more: June Is National Cat Adoption Month
In Need Of A Cat Sitter For Your Feline Companions?
Now you’ve done all the work and successfully introduced your new kitten to your older, wiser cat. They seem happy and tolerate one another well. But now it’s time for you to make arrangements to travel out of town for a few days. What should you do about your cats? Contact Laura’s Kitty Kare of Flat Rock today. With years of experience, we can care for your cats while you’re away, keeping them happy and well-fed so you have one less thing to worry about.