5 Tips for Introducing a New Kitten to the Resident CatDevan McGuinness
When we were deciding if we were going to get a second cat for our newly adopted cat Ariel, we thought a kitten might be easier all around. I wanted to experience life with a little kitten again, coming off losing my 16-year old-cats and then adopting 3-year-old Ariel. I forgot how much fun it was to watch kittens to play and how sweet it is to watch them grow.
I was also hoping that a kitten would be exactly what Ariel needed someone who wasn’t going to be too territorial, since this was her space first. A cat who has a lot of energy to encourage her to get moving more, and someone she could really grow to love and cuddle with, and a kitten is where we would find that.
The local Humane Society gave us some wonderful tips on how to make the transition for both cats easier. Gmork, our new kitten, has been in our house for almost three weeks now and the two cats, while not cuddling together yet, are playing together and sharing sleeping and eating space. It’s been a process, but there are some tips from the experts on how to introduce a new kitten to the resident cat (which would work well for two older cats as well).
Click through to read 5 tips on how to safely introduce your new kitten to your older resident cat:
Tips for Introducing a New Kitten to the Resident Cat 1 of 6
If you're looking to get a second cat, here are some tips on how to introduce a new kitten to the resident cat.
Choose Carefully 2 of 6
Like I said, we choose the gender and age group of the cat to make sure it's the ideal one for our older cat Ariel. According to the Animal Planet on Discovery, "In an ideal new cat/old cat match-up, the newcomer would be a younger and smaller cat that is fixed and of the opposite gender. If you're going for the same sex, two female cats will pair up better than two males, whose instincts may prompt aggression. The resident cat's disposition should be compatible with the newcomer's and they should share similar energy levels. An older cat that's been the only pet for his entire life will adapt more slowly to another cat's presence, and may especially resent a bouncy kitten."
Give Them Space 3 of 6
It's not the smartest idea to throw the two cats together right away. Discovery's Animal Planet suggests giving them each their own space first, "Secure the two cats in separate rooms; mingle both cats' scents on a sock or washcloth (by rubbing the cloth on their fur) and place the objects next to their feeding areas. Supervise their initial encounters to help the relationship progress smoothly." This will allow your new cat to get used to a smaller surrounding and your older cat can begin to smell the cat before they meet.
Go Slowly 4 of 6
You may have your own timetable for how you want things to go, but really according to the Humane Society -- the slower the better. You don't want the aggression to come out right away and that's why it's smarter to allow them time to smell before seeing each other.
Get Them Used to the Smell 5 of 6
According to the Humane Society, cats get more out of their environment through smells and scents than seeing. They suggest that you, "Feed your resident pets and the newcomer on each side of the door to this room, so that they associate something enjoyable (eating!) with each other's smells. Don't put the food so close to the door that the animals are too upset by each other's presence to eat. Gradually move the dishes closer to the door until your pets can eat calmly while standing directly on either side of the door."
Break Up the Fights 6 of 6
As smoothly as you want things to go, sometimes your cat -- or both cats may exhibit the aggressive behavior and fights could happen. The Humane Society suggests that the stress of a new cat in their space can cause aggression towards you or the other cat, "as soon as there are signs of increasing aggression (flattened ears, growling, spitting, crouching) make a loud noise by clapping your hands or throw a pillow nearby to distract them. If the standoff continues, very carefully herd them into separate parts of the house to calm down."
Photo credits: photostock
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Devan is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario with her husband, three kids and expecting baby #4 at the end of this year. Read more from Devan on Babble and “like” Accustomed Chaos on Facebook!