Introducing a New Kitten to Your Older Cat

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Bringing a new kitten into your home can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. Kittens make a perfect pet because they are cute and adorable and easy to take care of. Kittens usually will clean themselves regularly, eat small amounts of food and they are easy to litter train. Of course if you already have an older cat, you will already understand all of the joy that a new kitten can bring to your home.

By having an older cat you will already have experience in how to take care of a kitten so the transition of bringing a new kitten home should be easy for you. However, your older cat is used to being the head of the home and may not find the addition of a new kitten as joyous as you do. There are several things you can and should do when you are planning on bringing a new kitten into your home that will help your older cat adjust to the new situation. In no time the older cat and the new kitten will be good friends and they will be able to entertain each other by playing together.

When to Find a New Kitten

Introducing a new kitten into your home does take some planning, even before you even buy the kitten. You will want to consider when is a good time to bring a kitten home and when will you have the most time to help with the adjustment. Many people like to buy pets for their loved ones at Christmas time but this is one of the worse times to introduce a new kitten into the home. Most of us find the holidays to be very hectic and while you may be off of work for a few days and think that the timing is good, the chaos will most likely prove to be too much.

You will want to plan on purchasing your new kitten at a time when things are not so stressful and when you will have some extra time to spend with both the new kitten and your older cat. Be sure not to plant to bring your kitten home close to your vacation time because it may take several weeks for your cats to be ok left home alone. Just take a look at your calendar and buy the new kitten when you have some free time available.

Before Bringing a Kitten Home

There are some tips that you can start doing even before you bring the kitten home. First, choose a room that you will want the kitten to spend his first few weeks home in. This can be any room of the house but it should not be a room that your older cat spends a lot of time in. Once you have chosen a room, shut the door all of the time. This will allow you older cat to get used to the idea of not being allowed in the room and when you bring the kitten home he will not be so upset about the door being closed off to him.

You will also want to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so that your kitten can be examined and have his shots before he comes home. Your kitten will have a lower immune system and may have caught something at the pounds or pet store. You will want to protect both the older cat and the new kitten before putting them in the same home together. Have your kitten lay on a blanket either right after you buy him or even before and then let your older cat smell the blanket so that he can get used to the scent of the new kitten.

Temporary Isolation

When you bring the kitten home, you will have to keep him in isolation for several weeks until both cats are able to get along. You will have already selected the room before he came home and you should have the room ready for the kitten. You will want to have a new litter box and some new toys for the kitten to play with. Do not give the kitten your older cat’s toys and litter box because he will become very jealous and you should try to curb the jealousy as much as possible.

Both your older cat and the new kitten will come to the door and sniff around and this is very normal. They may even hiss or scratch at the door and you should just let them go because they are just starting to get used to the idea of each other. You will just need to let your new kitten adjust to the idea of a new home and wonder around on his own. He may try to hide at first but he will eventually come around. This is normal kitten behavior.

Extra Attention for Your Older Cat

From the time you introduce a new kitten into your home, you older cat is going to become jealous. Jealous cats can be dangerous, especially to a young kitten and this is why you will need to separate the two for a while. During this time period, you will need to show some extra attention to your older cat so that he knows that you haven’t forgotten him. Some extra petting and loving him will go a long way in having his jealousy subside. You can try to purchase a new toy or two for your older cat to distract him from the new addition to the home.

Your older cat just wants to be loved and as he has been the only cat in the house for many years now most cats do not like to share right away. Cats are social though and once he becomes acquainted with the kitten, they are likely to become friends and play together. Let the cat sniff and explore around the kitten’s door as much as he wants and do not scold him for being there. Instead sit with him in front of the door to reassure him that things are alright.

Having the Two Meet

Once the kitten has settled into his new home and is coming out more on his own, it may be time for the two to meet. The new kitten must feel safe in his environment before trying to introduce him to the older cat. Do not push this meeting and let the cats decide how fast to proceed. Your older cat should also seem ready to meet the new kitten and you will know because he may not be hissing at the door as much and has become accustomed to the idea of having something behind the door.

Bring the older cat into the kitten’s room because this will prevent you from having the kitten run away and hide and not being able to find him. Allow the two to sniff and even hiss at each other. The first few times, your kitten will probably run and hide from the cat but over time the two should become used to each other. Once you feel that the two can be with each other without the chance of the older cat hurting the kitten, you can leave the door to the kitten’s room opened.

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Anthony Jorgensen

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