How to Introduce a Kitten to Your Cat

Cats are social creatures that enjoy companionship from their own kind. They are most certainly devoted to their humans, and there are cats who prefer being the only feline in the home, but cats also like being with their own kind. Getting a kitten to keep a single adult cat company is a good idea, but it's not without its issues. Most of the time, adult cats need to warm up to the idea of sharing their space, and a kitten's rambunctious energy can make them a bit reluctant to share. Following are tips to help you introduce a kitten to your cat and help them bond.

1. Bring the Kitten for a Visit to the Veterinarian in Bend

Prior to bringing in the new kitten, you should get them a health check at the vet clinic in Bend. You want to make sure that you're not introducing parasites, bacteria or viruses into the household that can affect the older cat. There will be contact between the two, no matter how much you try to prevent it, and making sure your kitten is free from disease is important. Your kitten will get the vaccinations and health exam they need to become a healthy adult from our veterinarians in Bend.

2. Prepare an Isolation Room for the Kitten for Acclimation

A bathroom makes a great place to keep a kitten during the acclimation period, but any room with minimal furniture works. Hiding spots are okay, but you want to prevent them from hiding so hard that you can't find them. Give them tall furniture or a cat tree for them to play on and have an escape route for when you come in, or when you have a supervised introduction with the resident cat.

3. Give Them a Brief Introduction

Keep the kitten in the carrier for this step. Set the carrier on the floor and let the resident cat approach the kitten. There will most likely be perky interest from the resident cat and submissive behavior from the kitten. You're practically guaranteed to get hissing, swatting, and growling from both parties, so be ready to calm down the resident cat and kitten. If the tension remains high, remove the kitten and carrier to the isolation room and release the kitten after closing the door.

4. Feed Both Resident and Newcomer on Each Side of the Door

Establish a regular feeding schedule if you haven't done so already with your older cat, then start feeding both cat and kitten at the same time, but on either side of the door. Each feline will know that the other is eating a meal. This step introduces the concept that both are fed equally, and they don't have to fight for food when they're in the house together.

5. Supervise the First Meeting

This is best done with a second person in the room to avoid a trip to the animal vet in Bend for the cats. Carry the kitten out into the rest of the house and keep hold of her while the resident cat comes to investigate. Allow the resident cat to sniff at the kitten but be prepared for growling or swatting. Some minor aggression is to be expected, but if it gets to be too much, the second person in the room can quickly separate the resident cat and restore order in the home.

6. Make Interactions Longer After the First Meeting

If the introduction goes smoothly and your resident cat is interested in meeting the newcomer, you can let the two interact with each other until a time-out is needed. Over time, the older cat will make sure the kitten knows how the house is run and both should settle in nicely with one another.

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