If you are a dedicated cat person, the only thing better than one feline is two or more. There are lots of advantages to having two cats in the household – they can entertain one another while you are away at work, and they can entertain you with their antics when you come home.
Having two (or more) cats in the house can be a lot of fun, but there is one big obstacle to overcome before you can enjoy all that feline bliss. Like dogs and other animals, cats can be territorial at times, and the resident feline may not be ready to welcome the new kitten you just brought home.
Introducing a new kitten to a resident cat can be a tricky proposition, and it is important to proceed with caution if you want to avoid injuries to humans and felines alike. Here are some smart tips for introducing your current cat to a new kitten.
Keep them Separated at First
When bringing a new kitten home it is important to note make the introductions right away. The newcomer will need a chance to get acclimated to their new surroundings, while your resident cat will need time to get used to the idea of another feline in the house.
It is best to keep the kitten in a safe place during those first few days, a spot where they can be sheltered and protected from the chaos of the home and the attention of the current resident cats. Do not fear, however – your existing cats will know about the newcomer long before the formal introduction, and that brings you to the next tip.
Introduce the Scent First
Even if your new kitten is behind a secured door and out of sight, your cat will know it is there. The resident cat will smell the kitten long before you open the door and make the introductions, and you can use that fact to your advantage.
In addition to the natural scent coming from the kitten’s temporary protected home, you can move things along by placing a towel, blanket or other item with the kitten’s scent on it to the spot where your resident cat hangs out. Try out one of these beautiful cat towels, or use your own. This initial scent introduction can go a long way toward soothing nerves and paving the way for a more positive interaction later on.
Provide Separate Food Bowls and Litter Boxes
No matter what their ages, cats can be territorial creatures, and it is important for every feline to have their own individual items. That means providing a separate food and water bowl for your new kitten, one that is not shared with the resident cat.
It also means providing each feline in the household with their own litter box, an important consideration as your new kitten starts moving around the home. A kitten sized litter box that is easy to get in and out of is a must, as is keeping the box scrupulously clean.
Supervise Play Time
Once your new kitten comes out of hiding, it will be time for them to meet their new feline friend. Aided by the scent introduction and other steps, you will be ready to put the kitties together and let them play, all under your watchful eye.
Supervised play time is a must when you are introducing a kitten to a resident cat, so keep a close watch on what they are doing and how they are getting on. It is not unusual to hear a bit of growling, but any serious aggression could mean it is time to separate the feline warriors for a time.
For the most part cats love company, and over time the new kitten you brought home should start playing happily with the cat that was already part of your household. The two cats may take a little while to get used to one another, but once they do they will be ready to entertain one another, and the humans in the household.