How to introduce kitten to older cat

linnea56December 20, 2013

Our daughter brought her 8 week old kitten to stay with us over winter break. We have a 14 year old cat, mostly blind and with health issues stemming from a stroke years back. Our cat is laid back, social and friendly, and has never shown any competitiveness with neighborhood cats when they stop by and look in the door.

I�d like suggestions for the best way to introduce them to each other. We tried a brief encounter today, after the kitten was in the house for a number of hours (they were well separated). I sat on the sofa and petted the older cat until she was very comfortable and purring. Then my daughter brought in the kitten and lifted her closer to my cat. We were expecting the older cat to have issues:she would have smelled the kitten on me in the last few days, but she never stopped purring, and did not react in any way.

It was the kitten who objected! Even though she was just adopted from a shelter 5 days ago, where there were plenty of adult cats. She hissed and growled. We pulled her back right away, and my daughter took her back upstairs. They saw each other for no more than 2 minutes.

What should we do? Just try again every day? We need them to get along. My daughter will be bringing her pet over for holidays or whenever she goes out of town.

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I think the problem was you were forcing the introduction. It's best to let animals approach each other on their own terms, with you nearby in case you need to intervene.

Let your older cat have free reign in the house and leave the kitten closed in a room. Watch the older cat's response as she investigates where the kitten is staying and if she's pretty aloof about the kitten being in the house, then let the kitten out so it can roam and investigate the itself.
I would be more worried about the kitten becoming too playful and harassing the older cat, but your senior cat may quickly put the kitten in it's place. Hopefully, there will be no issues at all and everyone will have a good holiday.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 2:40AM
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I agree with Annz, though I don't think it's necessary to lock the kitten in a separate room unless the house is very busy with foot traffic or if there's no one present to supervise the kit. As long as the house is reasonably quiet and you or your daughter are there to supervise, let the felines both have their freedom in the house. Do NOT force interactions between them, but DO try to tease the kitten into friendly proximity with toys and treats. Don't fret if the kitten chooses to hide for a while, instead. An 8 week old kit has just lost the only security she's known in her life - her mom and littermates - and been thrown into a big, scary world all by herself. I'd be more alarmed if she didn't have a good hiding response.

You and your daughter can and should comfort the baby as often as possible to help bolster her courage and help her feel safe and protected in her new world. Just don't try to force your older cat on her. The felines will make that connection themselves in time.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:33AM
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