How Vets Introduce a New Kitten to an Adult Cat

Are you considering adopting a new kitten or younger cat but you're unsure how to because you already have a cat at home?

New kittens are usually out to make friends and explore new spaces. However adult cats have already marked their territory and are not keen on inviting anyone into their home. 

Adult cats may even appear to get sad, isolate themselves, hiss a lot and even stop eating if they are not a fan of a new family member invading their space.

So how can you make the introducing of a new kitten/cat a smooth process?

two cats sniffing noses

Preparing for a New Kitten/Cat

The best possible way to introduce a new kitten/cat to your home and to another cat is by having preparation. By preparing your cat for the arrival of their new roommate, it can help make changes seem less drastic which will help your cat adapt better.

Firstly, consider Pheromones, as they can help to create a calm environment for your cat before and after the arrival of the new kitten/cat. Products such as diffusers and sprays can help to keep your cat feeling relaxed without the use of drugs.  

Try adding some of these products to your home a few weeks before you welcome a new cat and possibly until you witness your cats becoming more comfortable with each other.

Place new items for your new kitten/cat around your home a week before their arrival. These items include new food bowls, toys, beds, scratching posts and litter boxes (you should have 1 litter box for each cat plus one extra). This will allow your cat at home to get used to these items before the arrival of the kitten/cat. If possible, it is very beneficial if items could include the scent of the new cat or kitten so that your cat can smell their scent before they arrive.

Be ready for the new kitten/cat. If you are anxious and stressed out, your cat will be able to sense it and therefore also feel this way. If you are prepared and follow our advice, there will be no reason to stress out!

Designate a small room in your home such as a bathroom or laundry for your new kitten/cat to have as their own space during the first few weeks. Place all of the new kitten/cat’s belongings in this room (bed, food bowls, litter box, etc.) Allow your other cat to be able to access this room if they would like to. This will further help both cats adjust to being in the same environment as your cat is choosing when they would like to interact/be in contact with the new cat.

Ensure your cat at home is healthy. If they become anxious and stressed due to the arrival of the new cat, health issues could get worse. It is best to have both cats checked at the vet for health issues before they become roomies. This will ensure both cats are not endangered by catching health issues off one another.

woman holding cat

Introducing Your Cat to a New Kitten/Cat

Now that you are all prepared, it is time for you to bring your new kitten/cat home and to meet your cat. Be patient. It may take some time before both cats become comfortable with each other and for your cat at home to let a new kitten/cat into their territory. Some cats will welcome new kittens/cats pretty quickly, others may never fully accept the new cat being in their home and will just keep to themselves around the house.

When you fist bring the new kitten/cat into your home. Allow your cat to take their time to sniff their carrier or them. Be slow and gentle with both cats. Take your new kitten/cat to the room you have set up for them and let them walk around and sniff the new smells. Ensure all objects, such as their kitty litter box, food bowls and bed are easily accessible. If you are leaving the house or going to bed, be sure to keep the new kitten/cat in this room. Allow for your other cat to sniff around the door and inside the room when they please.

Do not forget to continue to provide attention to your cat and not just the newcomer. They will need your full support and attention and the scent of the new kitten/cat on your clothing to help them get used to the new family member. Give them both loving, positive and happy attention so they both know that this is the vibe associated with each other.

After about a week of confining your new kitten/cat to their designated space, allow them to explore the whole house under your supervision. Let your other cat observe the new kitten/cat’s exploration.

Make sure you never force interaction between the two cats. Instead try to encourage interaction by playing with a feather wand or laser pointer so both cats can choose when to play and join each other. 

Feeding them and giving them treats at the same time in separate bowls is also a good idea to encourage mutual activity. However, be sure not to serve food to them both when they are too close together. They may feel threatened.

two cats sniffing noses

Cat Hierarchy

It is in a cats’ nature to have order, and therefore when a new cat member is in their home they must make it known as to where they rank. There will be a period of time where your cat will try to establish hierarchy with your new kitten or cat. This means that for some time your cat will hiss and swat the newcomer if they are doing something your other cat doesn’t like or if they are in their space. 

Stay calm! This behaviour is totally normal and is best to not interfere with them until they have sorted it out. Your cat is just trying to show their dominance in your home and teaching the new kitten/cat where their boundaries are.

two cats having a stand off

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