Cats are strange creatures, there’s no doubt about that – but that’s why we love them. And as every cat owner knows, most cats prefer to rule the roost.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get another kitty in your home. While it make take awhile, eventually your older cat can learn to share their castle with a new family member, and will over time learn to coexist peacefully with another feline – and eventually become friends!
When bringing a new kitten into your home, you want to have a pretty solid preparation plan in place to ensure that there isn’t a massive territorial tiff between your new cat and your usual resident feline. Rushing the introduction process will only stress both kitties out, and can end up in serious fights. This is especially bad for your new kitten; as they are much smaller, they will not be able to defend themselves against a bigger and older cat, and are therefore much more likely to sustain serious injuries.
If you’re about to bring a new kitten into your home, read our guide on how to make the process of introducing your cat to your new addition smoothly, and hassle free.
Choose the right kitten
If you are looking at adopting a new kitten,you need to make sure that you choose one which is more likely to get along with your kitty. Cats are territorial, and therefore you have to choose very carefully to ensure that they don’t feel threatened by the new addition. Choosing a kitten of a different sex to your cat is often the best choice, as they are less likely to feel aggressive towards a cat that won’t be competing with them.
A bouncy kitten could be a lot for an older cat to take on, but the kitten will be grateful to have company after leaving its littermates. Unfortunately, there is no way to judge whether your cat and the newcomer will get along; you simply have to follow the correct introduction procedure and hope that they see whisker to whisker.
Prepare the space and set up a kitten room
It’s essential that you have a space set up for your new family addition, and a spare room is the perfect thing for this. Try and make it an area that your cat doesn’t use often, and won’t be upset about losing to the kitten for a while. Place all the kitten’s essential items in its new room, making sure that it has a litter box, food, water and scratch post.
It’s also a good idea to get your kitten used to its house or crate at this stage, so you should leave it in the room and every now and then place the kitten inside with treats. A great idea before the kitten arrives is to use a Feliway spray, which is a device that that sprays out the pheromones cats excrete when they are happy and relaxed. This will help your new kitten settle in more easily.
Remember scent is important
Cats are very scent oriented, so it’s essential that your two kitties get used to each other’s smell. Once your kitten has arrived, don’t wash your hands between petting the two of them, and after a few days start swapping their bedding or toys; this will help them start to recognise one another’s scents and get used to each other a lot faster.
Use a barrier between the cats for the first introduction – your kitten’s crate it perfect for this. A barrier allows the two to sniff and see each other and get used to the company, before being allowed to physically interact. It’s more than likely they are going to hiss or moan at each other during their first meeting, and this is completely normal. Keep the interactions short at first, and slowly increase them in length throughout the day and those that follow. Remember to take it slowly and do the introductions in a fairly neutral part of the house.
Eventually your older cat and new kitten should be comfortable enough around each other they no longer need a barrier. Make sure these unbarred interactions are always fully supervised at first, and that you monitor both cats behaviour closely. If you see any tension start to rise, place a barrier between them again until they’ve both cooled down.
Once both cats are comfortable in each other’s company, you can start to leave them unsupervised. Just make sure to check in on them regularly, and closely monitor the situation.
To ensure long last harmony, make sure that you have one litter box per cat, and multiple sleeping, drinking and feeding stations, so that they don’t feel forced to share the necessities. You want your cats to feel equally loved and happy in one another’s company, and making sure your two cats feel like they have their own space is an important part of fostering a good relationship between them.