Familiarizing a New Kitten with Other Cats

Cats and kittens in the same household can be the best of friends, or the worst of enemies, and occasionally, both at various times of the day! One of the main problems is that cats are very territorial and if one cat thinks that a particular part of the room is his alone, he will soon show his displeasure if the kitten should dare to walk anywhere near it. On the other hand, a kitten will sometimes do just that in order to get the older cat’s attention. In some ways, kittens are not unlike small children!

To ensure that your cat and new kitty get off to the best possible start socially, you need to go against what your heart intuitively wants to do. Really, this is in kitty’s best interests even though it may make you feel heartless at the time! Bring the new kitty into the room and leave it in its travel carrier for a while. Allow your cat to wander around the carrier and get accustomed to the new kitten’s smell – stand nearby and monitor the situation so that the cat doesn’t try attacking the kitten through the bars!

Talk gently to your cat about the newcomer. Tell him that it’s a playmate. Reassure him that the kitty isn’t going to take his place in the household’s pecking order. When the cat finally stops pacing around, and perhaps even stops any verbal complaints he has, bring the kitten out of the carrier. Keep a hold of the kitten but fuss the cat. If possible try and transfer the scent of one to the other – once they’ve lived together in the same environment, they’ll have a similar smell and “belong”, although this is no guarantee that they’ll ever be the best of pals!

Never leave the kitten alone with the older cat, especially at night when all humans are asleep, until the kitten is big enough and secure enough to defend itself. It will probably be used to pushing siblings out of the way to get milk from its mother but the sheer weight and size of your other cat is a threat to the well-being of the kitten.

Acceptance will come slowly and friendship ever slower. They may even have a love-hate thing going where you think they can’t stand each other, but remove one of them for any length of time, and the other will start pining for him. By introducing them to each other slowly and not forcing them together, you allow each of them to weigh-up and observe the other, and this is the best way of ensuring that every won’t be a survival battle for either of them!