Adding a new kitten to your home is exciting, but it’s also a time of stress. Nobody is going to feel this stress more than the older cat in your home, however. They’re used to getting all the attention, and now you’re bringing in another furry friend to compete with them.
While it’s a big transition for your cat, if you do everything right and give them time, they can come to enjoy their new feline companion. So, what do you need to do to ensure a smooth transition?
The 5 Tips for Introducing a Kitten to Your Older Cat
1. Prepare Your Cat
Just like you prepare older children for the arrival of a new sibling, you need to do the same for your cat. That said, you can talk about it with your cat all you’d like, but they won’t know what you’re saying.
A better strategy is to start setting up the new litter box, toys, and food and water bowls and let your cat investigate. Cats are smart, and when they’re exploring, they know that something new is coming.
Just don’t do it too far in advance; otherwise, your cat will settle back in and not realize that anything new is coming! Setting up 2–3 days in advance is ideal.
2. Get Them Curious
Cats explore their world through smell, so what better way to introduce them to their new companion? We recommend setting up your kitten and cat in separate parts of the house for a few days.
Give each one everything that they need, and spend time with both of them. Your cat and kitten will both know that there’s another feline in the home, and they’ll want to meet them. As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and curiosity is a cat’s middle name.
When they want to meet each other, the first interaction is far more likely to go well.
3. Let the Treats Flow
Everyone loves a snack and your cats are probably no different. Give your cat plenty of treats to put them in a good mood, and as a boost, use catnip. Keep the treats coming throughout the first interaction, but don’t set them up in a way where the kitten and cat will need to compete for them.
A snack social is an excellent way for your felines to meet each other for the first time.
4. Let Them Figure Things Out
Since we want everything to go well between our two felines, we tend to overstep our boundaries a bit. While we need to separate the cats if it turns into a serious fight, we also need to give them plenty of time to work things out on their own.
A simple hiss or swat of the paw isn’t the end of the world, and it’s going to go a long way in the establishment of a hierarchy. This is an essential part of the process, even if it isn’t the most comfortable to watch.
But as long as your two cats aren’t going for each other’s throats, give them space and let them work things out on their own.
5. Give Everyone a Safe Space
We all need an area to get away from things from time to time. This is important for both your cat and the new kitten. Give them somewhere they can go to get away from everything. It could be a separate room, a cubby hole, or a cat bed.
Everyone needs their own space, and if you ensure that your cat and kitten have their own spaces and respect them, it’s far more likely that the interactions will go well, and they’ll become happy family members!
It’s natural to stress out a bit about bringing a new arrival into the home, especially if you have an older cat.
But keep in mind that it’s also natural for cats to be around each other, and kittens are far more malleable than older cats. This means if you’re introducing a kitten to an older cat, the kitten should adapt to the older cat’s expectations.
It might take a few days or even a few weeks, but everything should settle down, and everyone will get used to their new roles. Just do what you can and give it some time.
Featured Image Credit by schubbel, Shutterstock