How to Introduce your Kitten to your Adult Cat

Are you concerned about introducing your new kitten to your adult cat? If the answer is yes, then do not worry, as this is normal. This type of introduction can cause many cat owners a lot of worry, but at Country Boarding for Cats and Dogs, we have highlighted six tips to help make the introduction a positive one. We hope you find this article helpful.

1. Prepare your Home

When it comes to introducing a new kitten to an adult cat, preparation is key. To begin with, it is recommended that you set up a designated area for the new kitten away from where your adult cat tends to reside. It is important to respect your adult cat’s boundaries and to also give your new kitten their own space. Everything your new kitten needs should be in their new area such as food and water, a cat tree, litter tray and bed.

2. The Initial Introduction

As soon as you bring home your new kitten, make sure you have safely secured your adult cat in another room of the house with access to their bed, water, food and their favourite blanket or soft toy. It is important you allow your kitten to take their time to explore their new environment alone and to familiarise themselves with the adult cat’s scent. When you feel your kitten has fully explored your house and is ready, allow them to return to their own designated safe area of your home without letting your other cat out. This process should be repeated over the next few days, so that each cat can explore each other’s scent and your home without physically meeting each other.

To help speed up this process, you may consider giving the kitten a blanket or item belonging to the adult cat, as this will have its scent on it. You can put the blanket or item inside the kitten’s bed as they sleep. Likewise, you can also give your adult cat a blanket or item belonging to your kitten to sleep with to help them to familiarise themselves to the new scent.

3. Secure Area

Many cat owners facilitate the initial introduction by investing in a pet friendly cat carrier and ensuring that the kitten is safely inside whilst still being able to see and smell the adult cat. (The carrier will useful in future when transporting your cat in a vehicle.) Before the introduction happens, ensure that you let your kitten familiarise themselves to their new pen by leaving the door open and letting them explore the enclosure at their own pace. 

4. Scent Swapping

As soon as your kitten has familiarised itself to its new home and has been safely introduced to the older cat for the first time, the next stage is to gradually introduce each cat to each other’s scent.

This is important as cats often use the scent of other cats to identify if they are part of the same social group. The aim of scent swapping is to create a communal scent for both cats to recognise each other as belonging to the same social group. Take an item of bedding from each cat and swap them over so try can smell the other cat’s scent. (Skip this if you covered it in Step 2.)

If both cats recognise each other as belonging to the same social group, then there is a greater chance of them getting along.

5. Swap Each Other’s Spaces

The next step is to let your new kitten and adult cat explore each other’s spaces under your safe supervision. You can do this by keeping them apart and allowing them to sniff and explore each other’s territory. Listen and watch out for any vocalisations or actions that indicate your cats are becoming distressed such as hissing, crying or lashing out. As soon as you hear any of your cats displaying these signs of stress, stop the exercise and return to the previous step.

6. Gradual Supervision

Once your cats have become used to each other’s scent, gradually increase the amount of time they spend with each other under your safe supervision. As soon as your cats are regularly spending a few hours a day together without any issues, you should be able to give them a free run of your home. Every cat is different and what may work for one owner may not for another. The average time for your cats to learn to tolerate each other can take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months. However, patience is key.

Closing thoughts…

We hope you found this article helpful. Introducing a new kitten to an adult cat can be stressful for any owner, but by following these six steps you can ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. If you are interested in boarding your cat with us, please contact a member of our friendly team. Country Boarding for Cats and Dogs have been providing a luxury cattery service for the Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Bedfordshire area since the 1950’s. We operate in and around Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock. Call us on 01462 742658 if you would like to enquire about boarding your cat with us.