How to Introduce an Older Cat to a Kitten

Illustration introducing a kitten and older cat

The method of introducing a kitten to an adult cat must be carefully thought out. It might be difficult for sociable, solitary to adapt to living with a new kitten. If an older cat is having trouble adjusting to the new member of the family, it may frequently show it by seeming depressed, withdrawing, hissing a lot, and perhaps even stopping to eat. Cats do not enjoy change, especially when it concerns their established area, which explains these tendencies. There may be a lot of tension in your home when you introduce a kitten to an adult cat, but there are certain things you can do to help the process go more smoothly.

The secret to successfully introducing a new kitten to your elder cat is preparation. It is more probable that your cat will get along with its new roommate if you prepare it for the new resident and make the adjustments appear less abrupt. Use these steps to give yourself (and your older cat) plenty of time to get ready for this shift.

Calm Your Older Cat

Any cat can benefit from a quiet atmosphere created by pheromones. It's best to use them in the weeks leading up to a new kitten's arrival. There are diffusers, sprays, and wipes that can help your cat unwind without the use of any pharmaceuticals. Before bringing home a kitten, try utilizing pheromones for a minimum of a few weeks.

If you worry that your elder cat will feel uncomfortable and stressed out by the addition of a kitten, you might want to think about giving them calming cat food supplements. These will keep your pet quiet and relaxed without giving it any drugs. They can be continued after the new kitten comes, but they normally function best if given a few weeks before the expected stressful occasion. L-theanine, Phellodendron, Magnolia, Whey or Milk Proteins, and other natural substances shown to be safe and useful for dogs often make up the ingredients list.

Get Your Home Ready

Before your kitten arrives home, you should set up new furnishings for it, including beds, food bowls, a second litter box, and toys. To allow your adult cat to smell them and become accustomed to all the new objects, start placing these items in their new locations approximately a week before the birth of the new baby. Try to incorporate objects that already have the aroma of the cat on them if you can. Be certain that you are prepared for the kitten. Your elder cat will be able to sense if you are anxious and unprepared, and will suffer as a result.

Set aside a tiny space, like the bathroom, where your new cat may hide out for the first few days. Your adult cat shouldn't be allowed to enter this area, but he or she should be able to hear and smell the kittens from outside the door. A litter box, food bowls, and a toy from your elder cat should be placed in this area with the possessions of the kitten.

Prepare Your Cat

Make sure your senior cat is in good health. You want your cat to be physically and emotionally prepared for a new kitten since adding stress to an ailing cat will only make matters worse. To ensure that your cat is healthy and that all of its shots are up to date, bring it in for a checkup with your veterinarian. You want your older cat's immune system to be prepared to fight off everything that comes into the house since respiratory illnesses are frequent among kittens. To prevent any issues, make sure your cat has had the most recent dose of the rabies vaccination if the kitten and cat start biting or scratching each other.

While it happens that elder cats warm up to a new kitten straight immediately, they usually require some time to get used to the changes. Cats may occasionally merely live with a new kitten rather than totally accepting it, staying to themselves and away from the other cats in the home. No of how your cat thinks about the new kitten, you'll want to make sure that everything remains calm so that you have the best opportunity of fostering a developing friendship right away.

Introduce Your Cat to the New Kitten

Allow your cat to sniff the kitten while it's in a carrier or in your arms when you first bring it home. Go straight to the space you had set aside and prepared for your new cat, and let it explore. The bed, food dishes, litter box, and a few toys should all be within easy reach. Do not allow your adult cat to interact with the kitten unattended.

Keep the kitten in its assigned room with the door closed at night, when you're not home, and whenever you can't keep an eye on it and your larger cat. Your cat may poke its paw under the door, smell beneath the door, and listen to the kitten as it grows intrigued. Depending on how your cat is reacting to the changes, do this for approximately a week. After playing with your kitten, don't forget to provide your elder cat a lot of love. The aroma of the cat on your clothing will help it get adjusted to the newcomer, and it will require your care and attention.

Encourage Time Together

Allow your kitten to explore the house under your close supervision after about a week. Your elder cat should be allowed to watch this adventure and hide if it wants to. Your cat and kitten should not be forced to interact. Try playing with both cats at once if your cat has a favorite interactive toy, such as a feather wand or laser pointer. This will promote cooperation. Additionally, you may simultaneously feed them from different dishes and give them both goodies. To ensure that your senior cat does not feel intimidated, make sure there is enough room between the food dishes.

Encourage any positive interactions your older cat has with the kitten using praise, treats, and physical affection. You want your cat to associate the kitten with happy, positive things.

Allow Your Cat to Establish a Hierarchy

Cats require hierarchy, thus a newcomer to the household has to understand its place. It's possible that your adult cat may first try to create a hierarchy with the new kitten. When the newcomer behaves negatively, the larger cat may hiss and swipe at the kitten. Do your best to avoid interfering as long as it is simply hissing and swatting because this is entirely natural. Your elder cat is assuming its position as the dominant cat in the home, and the kitten is learning what boundaries apply to it as the new cat.

Problems and Proofing Behavior

Even if the initial interactions are not favorable, keep trying. It might take some time for older cats to become used to a younger cat. Rushing cat socializing and then becoming angry or irritated when it doesn't work out is a typical error. Maintain your composure and bring the cats together gradually. Consider pacing your encounters and extending your time together gradually. Ask your veterinarian or a behavior specialist for advice if your adult cat is acting very aggressively toward the new kitten.