Getting a Kitten? – How to Introduce It to Your Adult Cat
Introducing a new cat into your home is no easy feat, especially when you already have a cat or two (or more!) already living there. I am going to share with you the following strategy that I, and many others, have used to make a new cat or kitten comfortable in their new home.
One of the reasons why it is so hard to integrate new cats into a home is because cats are, in general, very territorial. It is simply in their nature. Many of the common traits of cats are due to territory marking- think about your cat rubbing its head on things, or stretching up and scratching the walls or furniture-these are behaviors designed to leave behind a scent and mark the cat’s territory. When you bring a new cat into the home, the older cat feels as if there is an invader in his territory.
The best thing to do, when bringing a new kitten into the home, is to separate the new kitten from the other cats for at least a week, if not longer. You will want to put him behind a solid door, a single bedroom works, or an extra bathroom, find what works for your home. Make sure that this room has all the amenities that the kitten will need-a litter box, food and water bowls, toys, a place to sleep, etc.
During the time spent in isolation, make sure to spend a lot of time showing affection to every cat in the house. This makes sure the older cats don’t feel like they are being replaced, and the new kitten doesn’t feel like it is being ignored. Try feeding the cats near the door to the isolation room. This will allow them to smell each other through the door, and associate the cat smell with the smell of food-which cats always like!
When you are ready, you can allow the new kitten out of the isolation room. Make sure to keep an eye on all the cats when you do this and be ready to break up any physical altercations. Hissing is fine as long as they do not attack one another.
One simple way to make sure that they get along is to make sure that you have more than enough of the things that the cats may fight over. For example, you should have a litter box for each cat, as well as one extra one. Make sure to have enough food bowls and such as well. Also spread everything out so that one cat can’t simply guard the food/litter/toys and not let the kitten at it.
Good luck with your new kitten!