Many cat owners do not realize that their single adult cats may have trouble getting along with a new kitten. A new kitten is usually willing to make friends, but older cats in the household may not want to do anything with the younger ones. Older cats often appear sad, reclusive, whistle a lot, and sometimes even stop eating if they don’t adapt well to the new family member. These behaviors are due to the fact that cats do not like change, especially when it comes to their established territory. Introducing a kitten to an adult cat can cause a lot of stress in your household, but there are things you can do to facilitate the introduction.
Preparation is the key to a successful introduction of a new kitten to your older cat. If you prepare your cat for the newcomer and the changes seem less drastic, he is more likely to adapt to his new roommate. Give yourself (and your older cat) enough time to prepare for this adjustment with these steps.
Calm your older cat
Pheromones are useful for creating a calm environment for any cat. The weeks before the arrival of a new kitten is the perfect time to enjoy it. Broadcasters, sprays, and wipes are all available and help your cat feel relaxed without using medication. Try using pheromones for at least a few weeks before bringing a kitten home.
If you think your older cat will become stressed and anxious with a new kitten, consider dietary supplements designed to calm a cat. These will not drug your pet but will help him stay calm and relaxed. They generally work best if administered a few weeks before the expected stressful event and can be continued after the arrival of the new kitten. Ingredients generally include L-Theanine, Phellodendron, magnolia, whey or milk protein, and other natural ingredients that have proven safe and effective for pets.
Prepare your home
New items for your kitten, such as food bowls, beds, another litter box, and toys, must be placed in and around your home before the kitten gets home. Start putting these items in their new locations about a week before the new arrival so that your adult cat can feel them and get used to all the new things. If you can, try to include items that already smell like kittens. Make sure you are ready for the kitten. If you are stressed and unprepared, your older cat may say so and be negatively affected.
Designate a small room, such as a bathroom, so your new kitten can retire and spend the first week or so. Your older cat should be able to go to the door of this room to hear and feel them, but not have an interaction with the kitten. Place the kitten’s belongings in this room (such as litter and food bowls) with a toy that belongs to your older cat.
Get your cat ready
Make sure your older cat is healthy. The extra stress of a cat in poor health will only make things worse and you want your cat to be not only mentally prepared for a new kitten but also physically ready to handle it. Take your cat for an examination with your veterinarian to make sure he is healthy and his vaccinations are up to date. Respiratory diseases are common in kittens and you will want your older cat’s immune system to be ready for anything that comes into the house. If scratches or bites occur between the cat and kitten, you will also want the rabies vaccine to be up to date to avoid any problems.
Although older cats occasionally take a new kitten immediately, they usually need some time to adjust to the changes. Sometimes cats never fully accept a new kitten but will simply co-exist, staying away from the other cat in the house. You’ll want to make sure that no matter what your cat thinks of the new kitten, that things stay peaceful and that you have the best chance of creating a budding friendship from the start.