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How to Introduce a Kitten to a Cat

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Toys

  • Cat carrier

  • Food bowl

  • Bedding

When a new kitten arrives, it may take an adult cat a while to adjust to the change. This can sometimes present conflict, since cats are known for disliking change. The older cat may also become territorial. Introducing the kitten to the cat gradually, in a controlled environment, can prevent problems that may arise between the kitten and adult cat.

Let the cat observe and explore the new kitten. Set the kitten in a carrier in the middle of the room. Let the adult cat walk up to him and check him out. After a few minutes, let the kitten out to wander around the room. Allow the cat to approach the kitten, but stay in the room in case the cat becomes hostile.

Introduce the adult cat to the kitten's scent. Hold the kitten gently but firmly in your hands near the adult cat. Let the cat smell the kitten so she can begin to get acquainted. If the adult cat reacts well to the kitten, she may lick or nuzzle him. If the adult cat feels hostile toward the new kitten, she may hiss or try to swipe at him. If the adult cat reacts badly, you will have to continue to familiarize her with the kitten.

Encourage the cat and kitten to play together. You might use a common cat toy such as a feather or a piece of yarn to get them to interact. Rolling a ball across the floor will also encourage them to interact in a playful setting. The adult cat will probably monitor the kitten's movements and actions carefully.

Start with separate supplies. You do not want to force the adult cat to share everything with the new kitten right off the bat. Until the cat adjusts to the change, let the kitten have a separate food dish, litter pan and bedding. Early on, you may event want to keep the new kitten in a separate area or room when you are not supervising the cats' interaction.

Give extra attention to the adult cat. You do not want the cat to feel like she has to compete with the new kitten for attention. You might give her some extra treats or new toys. Make sure the adult cat receives plenty of affection and gets her share of the spotlight while she is adjusting to the kitten.