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How to Get Your Cats Used to a New Kitten

September 20, 2022 6 min read

Bringing a new kitten home is all fun until our cat sees it. People own cats due to their distinct personalities and hilarious antics. Still, many of us may not be aware of how territorial these adorable creatures are and how familiar they are with their place in a strict social pecking order. If we bring a new kitten home, our cat might feel uncomfortable and act out in ways we can't imagine!

They may hiss, stop eating, and appear sad and withdrawn if they cannot adjust to the new family member. So, how to introduce the adult cat to the new kitten? Let's find out!

Make The Change Seem Less Drastic

The process of introducing the cat to a new kitten can be tricky. It is essential to conduct this task carefully to ensure they don't end up fighting each other.

Some owners ignore their cat's feelings and consider their animals who can get along with everyone. It is false because each cat has a unique personality, and some do not want to share the same space with another cat.

We must plan every move strategically to ensure that our adult cat does not face a troublesome situation living with the new kitten. Cat owners will agree that cats do not like change, and even a subtle change in their environment can lead to stress. However, we can prepare a plan and follow the best practices to make the cats' introduction and interactions smoother. 

The critical question here is how to make the change less drastic so that the cat can quickly adapt to their new housemate.

Tips To Familiarise Our Cat With The New Kitten

With some planning, an understanding of the cat's behavioural patterns, and enough care and consideration, we can slowly and carefully ensure that our cats get along with each other for the rest of their lives. Follow these practical tips to introduce a new kitten to the adult cat and make your home stress-free.

1. Identify The Adult Cat's Personality Traits And Calm Her Down Accordingly 

Know about the cat's personality, attitude, and age to make her used to the new kitten. A new housemate will seem fascinating if the cat has a bold and outgoing personality. However, the cat will probably be stressed and anxious if she has a reclusive attitude. In these situations, we can use pheromones to calm the cat if she finds it difficult to adjust. 

Most cats accept a kitten provided they have ample time to get familiarised. We can start using sprays, diffusers, and wipes weeks before the new kitten's arrival to help our cat feel relaxed without using drugs.

If things start getting out of hand, use nutritional supplements with ingredients like L-theanine, and magnolia because they are safe, effective, and won't make us drug our pet!

2. Prepare The Home For The Arrival of Our New Member

When we decide to bring a new kitten home, It is important to create a separate kitten space first. Confine her to a room to which the resident cat does not have constant access, and fill the room with supplies like food bowls, beds, toys, water, a litter tray, and a scratching post. Start putting these items in their places about a week prior and avoid using the belongings of our resident cat; buy new ones instead.

Start building familiarity with synthetic feline facial pheromone Feliway Classic; this will help the cats feel secure in their physical environment.

So, cats will show signs of being comfortable in their new environment. They will behave friendly by meowing, chirping, purring, and rubbing around the legs, will roll over, rest with their belly exposed, play with toys, rub their face on the furniture and corner of the walls, and will perform normal behaviours like eating, drinking, grooming, and using the litter tray effortlessly.

3. Use Scent for a Deeper Connection

After the kitten has comfortably adjusted to her new home, introduce her to the resident cat. Cats are excellent sniffers, so before they meet physically, ensure to familiarise their body odours. This way, they won't be surprised when they meet physically. 

The idea behind this concept is to make our cats comfortable with the presence of one another. 

Different ways to use scent swapping on our cats are:

  • Exchange their beds
  • Allow each cat to explore the other's area
  • Visual contact is a must

4. Use Crates For Introduction

For the most part, never use crates designed for the dog to introduce cats. We cannot keep the box anywhere in the room; it is advised to position it in the corner and partially cover it with a blanket.

Once we have made all the arrangements for our cat's safety and security, open the room door so they can easily explore each other's space. Make sure to have a hiding place inside the crate, enabling the kitten to hide if she gets anxious when the resident cat approaches her. Add some treats and high-value toys for the kitten and some high-value food treats for the resident cat to make some positive associations.

Once the cats are comfortable, carefully remove the physical barrier and allow them to come in contact. We must constantly watch them until both cats are happy and satisfied with each other’s presence. Apply the wall as soon as there is any sign of negativity or distress among them, and remember we must observe them passively, so do not try to force them for anything.

5. Avoid Being Partial

When a new kitten comes home, we may spend all our energy on making the kitten feel more comfortable. 

If we try to make one cat feel more loved, the other one will feel neglected and unloved by its owner. It is an unpleasant situation we have to avoid. It is advised to manage the time effectively and share treats, affection, and attention equally between both cats. Doing this will build positive associations between both the cats. 

Try to maintain impartiality and fairness between them, and they will figure out the rest themselves.

Conclusion

Mostly everyone adores a cute kitten. The idea of bringing a new kitten home when we already have a resident cat might be a challenging task if not managed properly. Though this potentially tricky situation, we must be fully prepared to handle it like a pro!

Firstly, take a deep breath and calm down. After that, take a step-by-step approach to keep up with their introduction. Also, ensure that we are laying a foundation for a respectful partnership between the younger and older cat by giving them an equal amount of love and affection. 

Performing all our duties responsibly and giving them some days to blend in together is the best practice to make them buddies!

FAQs

1. What should I do if I find my resident cat hissing at my new kitten?

An important thing to consider when our cat is hissing at the new kitten is to perceive their actions. The typical cat behaviours witnessed while they are hissing include ears flattened, back arched, mouth opened with curled tongue, hairs standing on end, etc. 

Another thing we need to make sure of is to check whether they are growling (producing an 'mmmm' sound that becomes low and long) or hissing (with a wide mouth open showing teeth and a forceful breath releasing). 

Once we determine the resident cat's behaviour, it is time to make gradual supervised introductions and be patient by giving both the cats time to get familiar with each other. It is also essential to make the new kitten feel safe by giving her a separate space where she can feel secure.

2. Is it ok if I provide both of my cats with the same litter box?

No. As a parent of two cats, we are strictly prohibited from providing both cats with the same litter box. This cannot be done because it will affect the behaviour and health of our cats in the long term. But, if we want our home to be stress-free and the cats to be happy and healthy, give them separate litter boxes in a private and quiet space.

3. How will I know whether both of my cats have accepted each other's presence or not?

It's easy; we will see signs like the cats enjoying their playtime together, will sleep next to each other, and appearing happier and healthier in each other's company. A strong connection is already made if we see them rubbing their bodies or faces against each other or when they eat and sleep together.



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