How To Introduce Your New Kitten To Other Older Cats For The First Time. The First Meetings Are Extremely Important!

If the kitten is still settling in (Please see advice sheet 'Settling In') you should exclude other pets from the kitten altogether. It is probably enough initially for them just to learn about family members and their new internal environment.

As with humans there is no guarantee that pets will get on straight away. Introductions should be gradual and never forced.

The first meetings are extremely important because they establish hierarchy and, if they are forced or rushed, could set cat against cat. Or set behavior patterns that are extremely hard to remove later. So it is important to get it right from the start. It is easier to introduce a kitten to an older cat because they are less of a threat.

In the first instance each cat should be able to become accustomed to the others smell and presence without making physical contact. It may help the already resident cat to accept the new kitten if you transfer the smell of the new kitten around the house, before they are introduced, or allow each cat access the others room - without the other cat being present. You could also stroke the kitten and transfer the smell from your hands to furniture and between the two cats.

Once the two cats have become accustomed to each others smell and presence its time to let them view each other. Place the kitten in the pet carrier (with the door closed) and allow the older cat to enter the room. The older cat may want to approach the carrier straight away. If it does, reassure the older cat with treats, and stroking, to reinforce a positive experience. If there are any signs of aggression you could use noise diversion tactics or place the kitten out of direct eye contact with the older cat. If the older cat does not wish to approach the carrier do not force it but try again over the next few days. It is possible that the older cat may not want to investigate the newcomer at all but may just accept them into the household. The two cats should meet frequently in this way before they are allowed actual physical contact. To encourage acceptance, in the same room) you could feed the two cats at the same time (The older cat being fed in the room and the kitten being fed still in the closed pet carrier).

Eventually you will feel confident enough to let them actually meet. Choose times for these introductions when both cats are hungry (near feeding time) and use food as a distraction - But, do not starve your kitten! Allow the older cat into the room and place its food down (hopefully they will head for the food bowl). Then let the kitten out of the basket to eat their food (Important: The food bowls should not be close together!) If either of them run away, allow it. It may take some time for them even to eat in the same room. Repeat until some acceptance is achieved. Ensure that both cats are completely familiar with and have accepted each other before allowing free access to any other areas of the house together.
Author: KittenList

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