Q: Adding a New Cat

December 30, 2008 | By Cyndileigh | 3 answers | Expired: 2581 days ago

Adding a New Cat

What is the best way to introduce a new kitten to my current cat? He is a 12 year old neutered male. He does not get along with other males, so I am considering getting a female kitten to keep him company. How do you handle the intial introduction?

Readers' Answers (3)
Sarah S.

Dec 30, 2008

I think there is a very good chance your cat will accept a female kitten. I agree with the previous answer that you should start them out in separate areas.

You should also get the kitten it's own litterbox and food bowls so your older cat doesn't feel that all of his 'things' are being taken over by a new kitten.

Give them time and they will adjust. :)

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Jan 13, 2009

The other two answers are right. The best way to introduce cats is to separate them & let them get used to each other under a door. Initially there's usually a lot of hissing & growling but it eventually turns to curiosity & then play. Just do everything gradually. Make sure your cat gets plenty of attention so he has no reason to feel jealous of the kitten. Also, when you start face-to-face introductions you can use interactive toys to alleviate some tension. We always use feather wands, or Da Bird or something similar. At first, there will be interest but separation so play with one & then the other & then go in between. Eventually they move closer in.

I rescued a cat that jumped on every cat he saw - difficult when you do rescue & have them everywhere. He was separated from the others for over a year because every time we let him see the cats, he attacked. We had to put all the others up to let him run around & get his "people time." Then I rescued a kitten & everything changed. I was hesitant to introduce them so I put the kitten in a cat pen. He would stand on his hind legs & just stare but there never was any sign of aggression so I let them meet - very cautiously because this big boy was a brute. But from their first meeting all they did was play. The play got rough sometimes so when it looked like he was getting frustrated or angry, we separated them again. After months of contact with the kitten he is now living amongst the zoo & hasn't attacked since.

Silver is right about not punishing them too. They'll associate the negative reinforcement with the other cat. They may never be best friends but sometimes with cats all you can hope for is a relatively peaceful coexistence. I also don't really think that male or female is going to matter as long as they're spayed & neutered. My house is Grand Central Station for cats & I don't see much difference in my cats' reactions to either sex. A lot depends on the cat. Two of mine were feral males & now they're best friends & use each other for pillows. Some of my females hate each other, some of the males do, some of them hate all of them, & some of them love all. There's still an occasional spat but those are rare. They just all go off to their own little corners if they're annoyed. My 14yo hates them all & never plays with them, always hisses at them, but there's no fighting. We just make sure she always feels like she's getting her share of the attention.

Good luck.

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Dec 30, 2008

I've always been told to initially keep them in seperate rooms for a couple of days, and allow them to sniff each other under the door to gradually get used to each other's smells.

Then slowly start to open up the door and let them meet supervised for periods of time, so you can be there in case there is a bad reaction.

I think it's also best not to scold either cat if there is an initial bad reaction because they may then associate the other cat negatively. Instead just pick them up and seperate them again until they've calmed down.

Eventually you can leave them be.

However at 12 years old, your male may never except another cat into the household, male or female. The older the cat, the harder it is for them. It really depends on him though. Sometimes they surprise us!

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