Introducing a New Kitten to Your Resident Cat

Anytime you introduce a new pet to your resident pets there are some steps you can follow to make it a positive experience. This is a guide about introducing a new kitten to your resident cat.

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Older cat playing with a kitten.
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orange tabby kittenThe best pet tip I've found with cats is to get a couple of small towels - one for each cat. Rub the cats with their own towel, then give it to the other cat to sleep with and get used to each other's scents. Of course, we still take the time to slowly introduce them to each other, but this towel method seems to make the process go much easier in the long run.

This is Spike. He showed up in our carport one morning and we fell in love with him! He's an adorable orange tabby, 13 weeks old and extremely friendly and playful. He's the 3rd cat that we've adopted in the past 18 months and they all get along very well.

By Mary J. from Florence, SC

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I rescued a black kitten 6 months ago. He was around 8 or 9 weeks old and having been hand reared from 3 weeks old. He was found in a bin with a very ill mother and 4 brothers and sisters, all re-homed. He is very comfortable with people. So comfortable he behaves more like a dog than a cat. He is now about 8 months old, neutered and and a very happy cat.

Just over a week ago my partner came home with a box with a tiny female kitten of around 5 or 6 weeks that he saw being dumped in a bin. Dumping kittens and puppies in bins is a "huge" problem in Spain. So my partner took her and brought her home.

Hugo, the 8 month old, reacted as I would expect. He was pretty unhappy that his kingdom suddenly had another cat's scent in it. I kept her in the second bathroom for the first night and day as she was seriously terrified of everything. On the second day I got hold of a crate and brought her into the living room. To start with Hugo would hiss and growl and run away. Ok, pretty normal right?

So after about a day and half of this he suddenly did a 180, or he seemed to. He sits in front of the crate and plays with her through the bars. He lays on top of the crate and plays through the side slits. He isn't staying outside for as long as before, sometimes he comes in, goes and sniffs her, then goes out again, like he is checking on her. They eat within sight of each other and she meows for him if he is in the room, but not right near the crate. I was thinking I had a major result without really trying.

So I opened the crate and let her out with Hugo in the room. He tried to bite her neck, from the top and from the underneath, and then got her in a headlock and I thought "oh no!", but then he started licking her, her head or her bottom usually, and I thought all was well. The headlock and licking has now turned into dive bombing her at every opportunity and after a minute of licking he starts biting her. He keeps biting her genital area which is somewhat concerning me as she doesn't fight back. She just adopts a completely submissive position and cries out when he bites.

If I shout his name or tap his bum he lets go and gets off her straight away, but then dive bombs her again within about 5 seconds. I've tried a water spray on him before, to stop him shooting up my curtains, but it didn't work as he loves water.

He is super friendly and confident, she is super timid and cautious. Is there anything I can do to help the situation or is it simply a case of waiting until she is bigger, stronger, and hopefully more capable of defending herself before they'll be OK together? Is it possible he can kill her? Her little neck seems so dainty compared to his teeth! Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance :-)

kitten
    Hugo
    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I am glad you didn't have to rehome her.

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    We recently got a new female kitten named Misty and our resident cat, Shadow, a male, seems very angry with both us and the kitten. We haven't properly introduced him to the kitten because when we try to bring him into the house he gets very aggressive and hisses, growls, and scratches. He sits at the door and watches us, but refuses to come inside. He and Misty have seen each other through the window and Misty is fine with him, but we're scared that when we introduce them to each other our resident cat might hurt the kitten. I'd really like for them to be friends and I don't want them to hate each other. How can I make Shadow come inside and how can I introduce them without one of them getting hurt?

    By Eve M

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    I've gone through this before and actually am in the process of this again now. You just have to lock the kitten up when you are away. And let it out when u are there. They just have to get used to one another. Mine have been in together for about 2 months and now my cat let's the kitten eat from her bowl and occasionally licks her. But once and a while she still growls and has attitude. But will get over it.

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    I've done the research and followed the instructions. I've tried separating them and slow introductions. I rescued my kitten Charlie about a month ago from a bad home. She's super sweet and playful. But I started to worry because I work long days. She seemed lonely so a couple weeks ago I got another kitten Hurley. She had a hard time coming around to me and my boyfriend. But she's doing great with us now. But Hurley just seems to hate Charlie. I've tried the towels. I've separated them. I've done the kennel, feeding within sight, and playing within sight or sound. Charlie is super playful and curious about Hurley. But if she gets within three feet of her Hurley starts growling, any closer and she hisses and runs. She's scared. Is there anything else I can try to make Hurley less anxious about Charlie?

    calico kitten
      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      When I brought in a rescue, the cat that seemed agitated and nervous I put a calming collar on. I did not think it would work but within an hour he was more relaxed and I have not had a problem since. A friend recommended it after she used one for her rescue with separation anxiety. Fabio wore it for a couple of months and has new friends now. It was $15 well spent. Could have found it cheaper but I did not want to wait for shipping. I got mine at Petco. Hope it helps!

      ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      I have a white cat Marcel who is one year three months old. We have just lost our beloved ginger cat Oscar, his brother. It was a big step for my husband and I to take in our two kitties last year. We took two brothers as we thought it would be easier for them to get to used to their new home and they would be friends and keep each other company. And it was so until this week. They were always together. They went hunting together, they played together, they ate together, they slept together. My beautiful smart boys. As we don't have children my cats are like my babies. They are part of me and it's very hard to get used to the idea of loss of my little baby Osky.

      Now my little Marcy is alone and it makes me worried that loneliness may make him want to go and wonder far from home. I know I won't "replace" my deeply beloved Osky, but I thought maybe I could bring two more kittens in the house and they would be friends with my Marcy? Would they be able to be close as the two brothers were? I honestly don't know what to do. I look at my cat and he looks so bored and sad. And I don't know would it be a good idea to bring more cats or it may be the biggest mistake I make. Really worrying.

      Selfishly speaking I always wanted several cats. They bring such joy and such love in our life. But I am so scared my little Marcy won't be happy with newcomers.
      Could you please share your experience with me? I thought maybe as my Marcel was grown with another cat and as he is only a year and a bit old it will work OK? I will really appreciate if you could share your experience with me.
      thank you very very much in advance!

      cats lying upside down
        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        I am so sorry you have lost one of your babies. Blending cats is a tough job, so I understand why you are concerned. There is no way to guarantee it will be a good mix. It seems most often adopted adult cats just end up tolerating each other. The things I have seen work is getting a kitten of the opposite sex. There are many tricks to make things go well. Do a search on this site and you will find many of them. A couple that come to mind are, swapping sleeping blankets before introducing cats. Having cats eat within sight of one another. And of course, many rescues will take a cat back if it looks like an impossible mix. I have had all of those happen. It helps to remember that cats are not pack animals. They live with extended family only. That is why they do not like being mixed with other cats. But I have had unrelated cats become best friends. And I am with you, one cat is never enough. Good luck to you.

        ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        In April I adopted my 6 month kitten Raven and I've had him since he was 8 week old. He's not really been around other animals, unless we've take my in-laws' dog in while they've gone on holiday.

        Last Thursday I adopted two new kittens about 8 weeks old, a brother and sister who play really nicely with each other. The idea was that Raven would become more sociable and have some friends, but now he keeps attacking them both by grabbing them, chasing them, batting them, and biting them to the point they squeal.

        At night we let Raven sleep with us as he's always done since we got him. We shut the door for the living room and leave the two younger kittens in there alone and we do the same while we're out. When we're home we let Raven into the living room with the kittens, but within 5 minutes he's attacking them or stalking them.

        We tell Raven "no", but he won't stop unless we come over and get him off the kittens, I'm scared that he's never going to accept them or hurt them.

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          You might want to keep the babies separated from your older kitten for awhile. When they are a bit bigger they can probably put the older kitten in his place. Sounds like he needs it. But it is pretty typical behavior.

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          Black and white kitten with black over nose, Jack.I have a male kitten (Jack) who is 12 weeks old and he has settled in with me and my son very happily :) I've had him for four weeks. The vet advised me to get another kitten/cat as he was starting to stress from being lonely. I got my little female kitten (Cookie) yesterday and quite understandably she has been very on edge about the whole thing (shes 8 weeks). He attempts to play with her, but she gets scared and hisses. He tolerates this for about 5 minutes then starts to go for her hind legs. Is this normal? Does anyone have any tips? (also going to get her spayed and him neutered in a couple of weeks...will this help?) Black and white kitten, Cookie.

          By Samantha R from Scotland

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          This sounds very typical. It usually takes a couple of months before they have come to terms with one another. The only time I interfere with cats "working it out" is if there is real serious aggression. Then I keep a water bottle and the naughty one gets squirted. You would think they had been shot with a cannon. One thing I do do with new kitties is give each one their room and they sleep there at night (with food water and a litter box). They have a place to destress and pretty soon they are working hard to be together all the time. Good luck...they are adorable.

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          I have a female cat she's 7 months and we've just got a new 8 week old male kitten. I don't have the room to keep them in separate rooms, but make sure they're not left alone and they are separated at night. My female cat keeps attacking the kitten, she seems to calm down and sometimes just sniffs him then walks away, but other times she's really nasty and pins him and bites him.

          I've made a fuss of her, bought her her favourite food, and I make sure she gets lots of attention so she doesn't feel left out, but she still keeps attacking him. It's only been a week, but I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. They will sleep in the same room together in the day if someone is there, but the minute she thinks you're not looking she gets ready to pounce and she wiggles her behind and then jumps and pins him to the floor and then bites him.

          She sometimes just sniffs and licks him and then walks off, but then she seems to get worse and nastier. I don't think they will ever be friends, but I would love them to co-exist. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

          By Janine

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          Best Answer

          Get a spray bottle filled with water, when ever that kitty is being unruly spray her. It's not going to hurt her and eventually she will get the idea not to harm you're kitten. I use one on a male cat that thinks he needs to spray to get attention. As long as he knows he can't do this he doesn't get sprayed. The long spraying type of bottle is great. Good luck, I have 5 kitties and love them all. Although my male is fixed he still thinks he has to spray it eases my mind just to use this method instead of chasing him.

          ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          Closeup of black kitten.We just got an 11 week old kitten a couple days ago and our 2 year old cat does not like her at all. Not only does our older cat hiss at our kitten, but she hisses at me and I don't know what to do. I'm afraid if they don't get along we will have to rehome our kitten. What's the best way for the cats to bond?

          By Katie P.

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          Great advice from Robyn. Be patient...takes a while! Very cute kitten!

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          tabby male catAbout 1 year and 4 months ago, my partner and I got a male kitten and named him Einstein (attached photo). At first he was quite timid and shy, but then became so loving and was brought up as a house cat. About 6 months ago we started letting him out. Each time he would go further, he started going out most of the daytime and comes home about 6pm. He gets fed and stays in till morning then goes out around 9am. He had done this throughout the summer and autumn.

          Now we are in winter, he started staying in the majority of the day only going out once or twice for 1-2 hour long periods. The past month my partner and I have both been on holiday from work, so we both were in the house all day and so was the cat. I'm scared now that we are back at work and he doesn't want to go out he'll get lonely.

          If my partner and I are busy doing something he'll cry and moan until one of us picks him up and gives him attention, the though of getting a new kitten seems a good idea so he will have a friend when we are at work or a busy doing something so he won't constantly want attention.

          My cat hasn't been castrated, but has never sprayed. We don't want to castrate him as we heard it will change the cat's personality and don't want to take away his 'man-hood'.

          The kitten we are thinking of getting is an 8 week girl, we don't plan to get her neutered mainly for the same reasons. A few of my worries are the my current cat will react so badly to her and it will put a strain on mine and the cat's relationship. I also heard that he will start spraying and will try to have sex with the 8 week old kitten. Please can someone help me find answers, solutions, or suggestions. If this is a good idea or tips on how to get them getting along asap. Please help as I have only a couple of days until I have to tell the person selling the kitten if we will be taking her or not. Thank-you :-)

          By Sophie B

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I have been married 48yrs and in this time, we have had many cats. I highly recommend for you to get him taken care of. The problem of leaving him out and not neutered, he will continue to go further and further away from your house looking for a female. After you get him neutered, please keep him indoors. I can't begin to tell you of the dangers there are for cats. We have introduced kittens with our older cats. Be very patient. Leave your kitten in a room alone with a litter box and gradually introduce it to the household and your older kitty. He will get use to the smells of the house. If you get a girl kitten, they will mesh better, because your boy is the king and he will not like another male coming into the house. Like I said, it takes patience, but, please, don't let your pretty kitty outside. He will go missing someday. Good luck!!!!!

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          My 15-month-old snowshoe seems appalled by the addition of a four-month-old kitten. Rochelle is very high energy and has a strong predator instinct that I help her give release to by providing several cat trees and daily prey-catching opportunities with wand toys. I am afraid she might get stuck alone at home if I get stranded outside of my isolated home location with only someone to come in daily to feed her. I wanted her to have a companion because she loves to play nonstop. Being alone would definitely be hard on her, and just being given food and water daily wouldn't be enough.

          In comes barely-four-month-old Delajune. It turned out she was sick from the shelter, plus having a new spay, Delajune didn't play at all. I accidentally introduced them early, so afterward, I let them spend time in each other's company closely supervised. Each has a room the other is kept out of, but they share all the main living space and enclosed outdoor patio, usually at different times, but both of their smells are out there.

          Rochelle has never "puffed up" around Delajune, not even at their first meeting that I am aware of, but she invariably works into a predator mode where she stalks the kitten, pounces on her and bites her. Initially I was angered by this and punished Rochee, but no longer. Now I accept her aggression and merely separate her from the kitten when it manifests, which is every time she is around her for any longer than 10 minutes, and sometimes it doesn't even take a minute. It has been a week last night, eight days total. Today, I let Delajune out of her room and Rochelle came over and groomed Delajune all over, very calmly, then they both ate out of the same bowl. I thought things were getting better, but not five minutes later, Rochee attacked Delajune, had her on her back, and was biting her stomach. She didn't bring blood, but she wasn't playing, either.

          So, what about this situation? I have been reading about introducing new animals (should have read articles first instead of after-the-fact!). I am not sure how to proceed, or what to expect. Will it ever be safe to leave them alone together, or will my adult cat always be prone to be overtaken with ambivalence and unpredictably attack the kitten?

          My cat has five big cat trees, so there is tons of stuff for them to share, including toys, boxes, and many cat tunnels. I have also kept giving Rochee attention so she wouldn't feel a loss of importance because of the little cat. Nothing seems to help. I won't risk her hurting the kitten, and am certainly not going to allow a continuing bully relationship to become established. The kitten is sticking up for herself now, is not acting like prey to Rochee's predator.

          It is the grooming and then attacking only a few minutes later incident today that has got me the most worried, because how will I ever guage what the status of their interaction will be from moment to moment and be safe leaving them alone together? Rochee is a very athletic 8-1/2 pounds. I am guessing the little cat will be much bigger than Rochee when grown: longer, taller, and heavier, but right now she is a waif in comparison.

          Thanks for reading. I am preparing to find a good home for Delajune if this doesn't work out, and am not sure how long I should give it.

          Introducing New Kitten to Resident Cat
            AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

            What a tough situation. It seems like you are doing all the right things. I have never had a similar situation so cant offer much advice. I would be inclined to give them more time, well supervised as you said. Good luck to you.

            ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

            I want to get a kitten to keep my senior cat company, is this a good idea? I have a 15 year old male cat. We got him 15 years ago together with his sister; they were from the same litter. He and his sister lived together for 14 years. They had the occasional fight, but they got along pretty well. The female cat died in January 2014, it was very hard for me and for my male cat as he was alone all of a sudden. I notice that he needs more attention now, he meows a lot, he feels alone. That is what it seems to me. I want to get a kitten, but my parents are afraid that he will not accept the kitten and we will have to rehome it. Does anybody have experience with senior cats and kittens?

            By Sacha D.

            AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

            In my experience, this is a bad idea. Cats are very territorial and are often extremely aggressive to cat newcomers. Older cats rarely take the addition of a new kitten well. You may just succeed in making his senior years a stressful battlefield.

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            We have two cats that are now 6 years old. We introduced a new kitten to the household 2 months ago at the age of 12 weeks. It took a fair while for the older cats to accept the kitten, but now they seemed to have done.

            Only this last week have we started to let the kitten out in the garden. He has been venturing further and further and climbing trees, so all seemed good. But about an hour ago we looked out in the garden and we saw the kitten being held down by the back of the neck by our older male cat. He had his mouth clamped around his neck like we see him with prey he has caught and killed, or more likely when he's half killed it. The kitten wasn't moving and stayed stationary for around a minute. When we approached them the older cat let go and the kitten came running in. Like I said before I have seen him doing this with prey, and usually when the prey struggles, he just tightens his grip. Obviously, we don't want this to happen to the kitten! Has anyone else experienced this?

            Cheers

            By Glenn

            AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

            I have not heard of this particular behavior. It is a little bit scary. I think it might be a good idea to let the kitten get a little bit bigger before he is outside with the other cats on his own. I use a squirt bottle to discourage really unacceptable behavior in my cats. They get the message.

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