So, you’re thinking about getting a new kitten to keep your older cat company. In your mind, their first meeting will be straight out of a Disney movie; the kitten playfully bops your older cat on the nose, the older cat’s surprise turns to delight and they become best buds forever. The end.
In reality, it’s probably not going to be so easy.
While bringing a new kitty into the family is an exciting time, if you already have a resident cat at home, you will need to take necessary steps to ensure both cats get on and live together in harmony. In this article, we’ll take a look at the things you can do to ensure that those first meetings are a stress-free experience for both kitties.
1. Prepare Your Home
Before you introduce a kitten into the family, it is a good idea to prepare your home as much as possible for the new arrival. If you can, take a blanket or toy to the pet store or cat breeder’s premises and get some of the kitten’s scent on it. Then, take this item home and leave it somewhere your resident cat likes to go such as their bed or a favorite sun-basking spot. When your cat meets your kitten for the first time, he will already recognize the scent and the situation will be less threatening.
You should also assign and equip a room in your home (perhaps the utility room or a spare room if you have one) for the new kitten to live in for the first few days.
2. Getting to Know You…Slowly
One of the biggest mistakes owners make when introducing a new kitten is to make the introduction with the resident cat too soon. This could have disastrous results that may take weeks to fix. A slow and gentle approach will help to ensure both cats are comfortable in each other’s company and see each other as no threat.
On the day you bring your new kitten home, keep your resident cat in a separate room and allow the kitten to have a tour of the house so that she can spread her scent around. Then, settle her in her own room. Do this for a few days while also allowing your resident cat to visit the kitten’s room while the kitten is kept in another room. Let him take his time sniffing her litter box and bedding so that he can get fully acquainted with the new scent.
3. Meeting For the First Time
The best time to let your kitten and cat meet for the first time is at dinner time. They will both be hungry and more interested in their food than each other. However, a little hissing and growling are quite normal at this stage, especially from your older cat. The kitten is more likely to be curious and want to play than show any fear or aggression. Have a blanket on standby in case a full-scale fight starts and you need to separate them. It will be far easier to scoop up the kitten in the blanket and you’ll suffer fewer scratches than if you tried the same trick on your older cat!
4. Building on Your Success
If the first mealtime was a success, that’s great! You are well on your way to becoming a two-cat family. You can continue to build on this success by gradually increasing the amount of time your cats spend together. Share your attention and affection equally and praise your older cat with a few extra treats to show he is still very much part of your family and that there is no favoritism.
Preparing the home environment and introducing your cats slowly will help to ensure a happy and harmonious relationship between you and your feline friends. They will thank you for it by showing you huge amounts of love and you can congratulate yourself for succeeding in what can often be a challenging situation.