Introducing a new kitten to your cat
3rd May 2018
Introducing a new kitten is always easier than introducing a new adult cat, as it is less likely the current cat will see the kitten as competition for their resources. Also, kittens are still learning and developing body language and have not begun to protect their territory; they are generally very adaptable and learn easily.
The most important thing to focus on is to ensure the existing cat does not feel threatened by the new arrival. Selecting a kitten of a suitable personality can help, for example, if the existing pet is very timid, then a shy kitten may be a better fit than a confident one.
Ensure the existing cat and new kitten have their own food and water bowls, litter trays, resting and hiding places. When using litter trays, it’s best to supply one per cat plus one extra. Consider giving your cat and kitten a SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder or a SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect each. It’s likely you will be feeding your cat and kitten different food, so the feeders will ensure that their food is kept separate.
The kitten room
Before bringing a new kitten home, set up a room where he or she can be kept for the first few days or weeks to adjust gradually to their new surroundings. This would ideally be a room least favoured by the current cat so that they do not feel put out by having their access to the area blocked. The room needs to have all the suitable resources the kitten needs, such as food and water bowls, a bed, hiding places, a litter tray, toys and a scratching post.
While the kitten is confined to the room you can take the opportunity to introduce their scent to your other cat. This can be done by regular stroking of the cat and new kitten and swapping toys and bedding. It is also important to ensure all pets have a clean bill of health to prevent disease transmission.
The kitten crate
After a few days of scent-swapping and before the first meeting takes place, it’s a good idea to get a crate for the kitten that is big enough to house the litter tray, food and water bowls and a box for the kitten to hide in if he or she feels scared. Take time to ensure the kitten is comfortable while in the crate and is not displaying any negative behaviours when the door is closed. To achieve this, provide food and treats while the kitten is in the crate and take time to play with them. The kitten can be placed in their crate and distracted with some food and the door to the ‘kitten room’ opened for the adult cat to explore. The door to the crate must remain closed at this stage. During this introduction it is important to maintain the same routine for the adult cat that they have been previously used to, so they do not feel the kitten is a threat to their territory and resources in any way.
Expanding your kitten’s territory
Once your cat and kitten seem comfortable in each other’s proximity, the crate can be moved to other areas of the house and the process repeated. This may take several days or weeks for the existing pets and the kitten to feel comfortable enough with each other before the door to the crate is opened. Supervise your pets the first few times you allow direct contact. If there is any adverse behaviour, then keep the kitten inside the crate for a few more days.