Cats can be wonderful companions for each other, as well as for their owners. Introducing a new cat into you household can take time and patience, since cats are naturally territorial. Adult cats will often take to kittens more readily than to another adult cat. The traditional way of introducing cats takes days or weeks, but with kittens it can often be a much faster process.
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Things you need
- A friend to help out
- A cat carrier
- Newspaper or strips of clean cloth
Ask a friend to bring the new kitten into the house in a carrier lined with newspaper strips or clean cloth strips. When the friend and the new kitten arrive, do not react to the kitten in any way. Your friend should keep the carrier near them, while you both sit down and chat a while. Ignoring the new kitten will be paramount in getting your cat to accept the newcomer, so refrain from giving the new kitten any interaction until the two have bonded.
Give your cat time to calm down, then have your friend casually drop some of the newspaper or cloth strips on the floor. Let you cat sniff the paper if he wishes.
Set the kitten carrier on the floor once your cat has sniffed the paper, and allow your cat to inspect it. This must be done on his own terms, so don't call your cat's attention to it. Unless your cat begins to attack the kitten through the cage bars, do not praise or criticise him. There may be hissing or growling. If your cat does begin directly attacking the cage, have your friend pick up the carrier for a while. Repeat this step until your cat is no longer physically aggressive.
Give the cats at least a few hours to get used to one another, with the kitten in the carrier. After the first hour, your friend should leave, letting the carrier remain casually on the floor. Spend the next hour loving and playing with your adult cat.
Distract your male cat with food or treats when the time comes to open the carrier. Once the kitten is out, play with your cat and their favourite toy, or give him attention in his favourite way. Do not pet the new kitten, even if your cat is out of sight.
Watch the cats interact. Do not try to interfere or arrange interaction unless there's an actual physical confrontation that includes scratching or biting. If that happens, remove your cat to another area of the house and spend time with him until he calms down, then repeat this step; but, do not reprimand your cat. Reassure your adult cat so he is comfortable that he is in no competition with the little fluffy roaming around.
Continue monitoring the cats for the next several days. Once your cat accepts the new arrival, usually within a day or so, you can start to give the kitten some attention. Once the cats bond, often indicated by the larger cat grooming the kitten or snuggling up for a nap together, it will be safe to leave them unsupervised.
Tips and warnings
- Adult cats and kittens of the opposite sex seem to bond most quickly.
- Some cats will never accept a new cat, which can be dangerous for a small kitten. Assess your cat's temperament honestly and carefully before deciding to bring in a small playmate.
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