How to Introduce a New Kitten to Your Resident Cat – 7 Tips

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

How to introduce a new kitten to your resident cat

Adopting a new cat may bring a lot of happiness to your home. However, if you already have one or more cats, introducing a new cat might be challenging.

It will cause you a lot of difficulties, especially if you have two cats with distinct personalities and lives. To avoid stress for you and your kitties, refer to the article and know how to introduce a new kitten to your resident cat.

7 Tips to Introduce a New Kitten to Your Resident Cat


1. Create a Secure Environment for Your New Kitten

It’s not a good idea to bring your kitten home and expose it to your existing cat right away. Instead, you should have a ready-to-use safe room.

A safe room is a space that resembles a bedroom and, ideally, includes a bathroom. It would help to place the kitten and its toys, bed, litter box, and foods in that room. It should ideally be a place where your existing cat does not sleep every night and where your kitten may become accustomed to having a person in the house.

The safe room helps your kitten become accustomed to the noises and scents of your house while also allowing your current cat to become accustomed to the odors of a new kitten without fear of being attacked. For 1-2 weeks, you should keep the kitten in this secure room before you introduce a kitten to a cat.

During those 1-2 weeks, the kitten will cease smelling like the shelter or breeder from where it came and will begin to smell like your house, which will be less hostile to your current cat. It will also allow the kitten to be cleared health-wise, ensuring that she does not carry any diseases home.

2. Consider your existing cat’s requirements

Bringing a new kitten home to another cat with the same age and energy level is a good idea. For example, while the excitement a kitten brings into the house may appear to benefit your 10-year-old cat, your older cat is more likely to be irritated by a kitten that wants to play all the time.

If your cat has only ever been around other cats as a kitten, acclimating to a new cat in the house may take some time. The new cat should enjoy the company of other cats, since this will help the connection form more easily.

3. Taking control of initial impressions

When introducing new kitten to cats, the first impression is essential. When two cats first meet, they may act aggressively, establishing the tone for their future relationship. As a consequence, you should keep your existing cat apart from your new cat when you first bring him home, so you can control how they interact.

Both cats should be able to smell and hear each other but not see or touch each other. Food and water dishes, litter boxes, scratching posts, and beds should all be available to every cat.

You should feed the cats near the door that separates them, so they learn that coming together is beneficial. Feed the cats extra-special treats at the entry, such as little pieces of tuna, salmon, cheese, chicken, or liver, in addition to regular cat food.

4. Swapping scents

Familiarizing each cat with the scent of the other (without them actually physically meeting) is the best way to introduce kitten to cat.

This is essential because cats use their sense of smell to identify whether or not they are members of the same social group. When a common odor is created, the cats will be able to recognize one another as members of the same social group.

  • Exchange the bedding. To begin, lay one piece of a cat’s bedding in one of the other cat’s beds. There should be adequate bedding for both cats to ensure that they do not have insufficient sleeping/resting places as a result of the change in bedding.
  • Each cat is expected to sleep on the blanket of the other, mixing their two smells to create a communal scent. Silently observe both cats’ reactions to the bedding.
  • Negative behaviors toward the bedding, such as aggressively avoiding it or even hissing at it, may indicate that a cat is less likely to welcome a new cat into its home and, as a result, may need to go through the steps at a slower rate.
  • After the cats have shown comfortable behavior in the presence of the bedding, it can be returned to the original cat’s chamber to allow for more smell mixing. This procedure can be used on many pieces of bedding.
  • Allow each cat’s territory to be explored. Suppose the cats do not react negatively to each other’s scent on the bedding (and rubbed areas), the resident cat might be temporarily restricted (for example, throughout the night) to allow the new cat to investigate the resident cat’s part of the house.
  • On the other hand, you should only use confinement when it is unlikely to produce any suffering, such as frustration.

Alternatively, the new cat might be briefly taken from its room (and confined elsewhere) to allow the current cat to investigate the new cat’s space. It would be best if you only did this when the new cat is entirely comfortable; thus, this is unlikely to be done right after the cats become aware of each other.

5. Allowing the cats to interact

You can introduce the cats to each other after a week or two, providing there are no symptoms of antagonism at the doorway (no hissing, growling, etc.).

To allow the cats to see one another, one option is to replace the door with a temporary screen door. If a screen door isn’t an option, consider putting two baby gates in the door jam, one above the other.

To make the introduction:

  • Place cats on both sides of the entrance, and begin introducing the new kitten.
  • When the cats discover each other, call their names and toss goodies in their direction.
  • Continue to promote feeding, eating rewards, and playing near the barrier over the following several days. Slowly bring the cats’ food, treats, and toys closer to the screen.

6. Allowing the kitties to spend time together is a good idea

The next step of introducing a new kitten to another cat is to allow the cats to spend time together without being separated by a barrier. You should closely monitor these early face-to-face meetings.

It’s best to gather the cats when they’re likely to be calm, such as after a meal or some intense play. If the cats start fighting, have a spray bottle on standby.

Allow the cats to spend more significant and longer lengths of time together as they grow more acquainted. Please seek expert help if one cat spends most of her time hiding or persistently harasses and chases the other.

7. Have Veterinarian Visits Right Away

A frequent vet check-up is required as part of the adoption procedure. Schedule your kitten’s first visit to the veterinarian on the same day you want to bring the animal home, if feasible. You don’t want to put a stop to an introduction that has already begun.

This appointment should include a health exam, any necessary vaccines, and a conversation about spaying or neutering if your kitten hasn’t been fixed.

Before putting your kitten in its dedicated place, please spend some time clipping its nails and brushing its fur in addition to the veterinarian appointment. These activities help you bond with your new pet and minimize the chance of stress reactions towards the resident cat.

In addition, you can refer to this guide to know the cat introduction timeline and the warning signs if the introduction fails.

You can find further discussions on this topic within the Reddit community. Participate in the discourse here:

Introducing new kitten to our cat. Is positive or negative?
byu/ultrainstinctivevk incats

Final thought

While not all cats will become best friends, owing to personality differences, if you take the time to learn how to introduce a new kitten to your resident cat carefully, they should at the very least accept each other.

There’s a high possibility they’ll become best friends if you’re lucky and took the appropriate measures while introducing them. It won’t be long until you see them playing together and even snuggling on the sofa!

Furthermore, the introduction is successful but if your old cat still bullying your new kitten, this guide will help you stop it!

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